As Halloween comes and goes, eyes turn towards the Christmas season and it all starts with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Here’s a simple 12-point checklist to prepare your business for Black Friday Cyber Monday.
1. Start Early
Sales these days can last for the entire November month, with businesses trying to one-up each other. Even if you are focusing around Black Friday, you should prepare to capitalize on the big day itself months ahead of time.
2. Cover the SEO Basics
Much like any other marketing strategy in the modern age, planning is key to ensure that your business shows up when searches start pouring in. This is another reason early preparation is important. You want to start with the basics when it comes to content and keyword research. Find some of the more popular holiday keywords like “Black Friday”, “best”, and “cheapest” and target them. Don’t be afraid to call in the professionals for some help.
3. Take Shortcuts When You Can
Even if you don’t have your keyword research done early enough, there are shortcuts you can take. One such shortcut is to use directory listings to cover for your shortcomings. Another is PPC advertising. If you made use of it last year, look through the results to see what will give you an advantage this year. Get your adverts placed and approved ahead of time and ensure you aren’t left waiting for Google to respond to requests.
4, Create Useful Content
You want to be sure that you are creating content around what customers are going to want to know about how your business is preparing for Black Friday. That includes information on promotions and deals, opening hours, and anything else they could want to know. Be sure to optimize this information too, with phrases such as “Black Friday 2018”.
5. Gift Guides
Don’t forget to capitalize on annual content. Gift guides are a great way to start. Find gift guides from last year and connect with the people who wrote them. Monitor online services that connect journalists with the experts such as HARO and be sure to respond to gift guide inquiries. You can also submit your products to Amazon holiday promotions and put words like “gift” into product descriptions. Make sure that the content links back to either your home page or a specific product page to boost your rankings even further. Of course, you could also create your own gift guides and gift sections.
6. Make Sure Google Has Enough Time to Crawl Your Black Friday Pages
While you might want to wait until close to the date to reveal your Black Friday deals, the URLs that house them should be visible to Google well ahead of time. That is because it could take some time for the crawlers at Google to find and index online pages. If you wait until Black Friday to even publish them, there’s a good chance they won’t show up in search engines. Treat these pages as landing pages until you’re ready to showcase them. Ask customers for their email and promise them that they will get exclusive access to the best deals.
7. Ensure Black Friday Tags Include the Year
When you are ready to publish those deals, be sure to include the year in the title tag. That way customers know that they are clicking on the right links and getting the right deals. People like to search for “Black Friday” and the year in question to avoid irrelevant content from previous years. Optimize for the current year with your brand name and you’ll have better visibility in searches related to Black Friday 2018.
8. Don’t Delete Black Friday Pages Because Black Friday is Over
Don’t get rid of your Black Friday pages just because the day has come and gone. You’ll have hopefully had websites linking up to you and your deals spread across social media. If you delete those pages, then those links become useless. Keep the pages live, but edit the copy a bit and mention that these were the deals you offered this year, encouraging customers to come back next year to see what’s on offer. That way, you can use existing pages to direct to future Black Friday deals as well.
9. Make the Most of Tech Improvements
We recommend installing an SSL certificate on your website as this has been confirmed to be another ranking signal. It also makes shopping safer for customers and they are more likely to trust websites with such certificates. Also ensure that your website is – literally – up to speed. Load times are a great signal of quality, so you want to be sure that your website loads quickly and smoothly on desktop and mobile platforms.
10. Take Advantage of Google Shopping
Google Shopping has become an important part of search engine results pages, and you can use that to your advantage. These results show up to the right of the page when people search for products. Being able to get your product there can increase sales by as much as 130%. This increase in interest also comes with an increase in cost though. Don’t be afraid to bid more than usual for that space, as it will likely pay for itself. Given that everything is handled through bidding, you can just bid one penny more than the competition.
11. Don’t Neglect Voice Searches
An increase in reliance on voice-activated devices may see shopping behavior change this year. Marketers need to put themselves in the minds of their customers and envision how they are likely to talk to their devices across Black Friday to answer the questions they have. Not only are voice-activated devices likely to be a hot-selling item this year, but more people are going to be using them for their research. Be sure to plan content around the questions people are likely to be asking their devices, as the questions they ask out loud tend to be different than the questions they type into a search engine.
12. Use Marketing Research and Target Consumers Not Ready to Buy Over Black Friday
The products that do well over Black Friday and Cyber Monday are likely to be popular across the entire holiday season. You can repurpose and retarget Black Friday Cyber Monday materials for selling during the holiday season. If someone didn’t make the purchase on the day, you’ve got more time to try and convert them into a customer.
There are lots of things you can do to take advantage of the holiday season. These 12 points are just the tip of the iceberg. Be sure to make use of market research, SEO, and the right deals to have the most successful Black Friday Cyber Monday possible. Don’t forget to take those deals and extend them across the rest of the holiday season to really make the most of them!