In just a few weeks the online world will be buzzing with Cyber Monday and Black Friday deals, bargain-basement prices, demand generation bombardments and ingenious marketing campaigns. In a time when all the competition is vying for consumers’ time, how do you set your site apart from the herds?

Beyond the obvious creative genius, increases in marketing spend and luck of the draw, preparation is the key to marketing success. Establish the groundwork early by utilizing best practices, optimizing your conversion funnel and doing a little bit of research.

Here we outline just a few practices that can help your site perform at higher levels than previous years—all by focusing on the fundamentals.

  • Search Engine Optimization
    • SEO can be pivotal part of your success in a holiday marketing campaign. Guaranteeing that you are following all the basic best practices and that you are set up to be as helpful to the Google spiders as possible will garner you a better ranking than your competition. Focusing on ensuring that your mapped keywords to each page are utilized in unique Title Tags and your Meta Descriptions are devised as a creative call to action will better help your position within the SERP. Make certain that as you are creating enticing and optimized landing pages for your products during the holidays. Follow best practices with a linking strategy, structuring your page with proper header tags, alt tags, and compelling keyword-focused, topical content.
    • Once you have allowed yourself the time for the foundational strategies, begin to focus on some new keyword research. Look at holiday-specific terms with your brand such as differences between words such as “deal” and “sale” or “holiday” and “Christmas”, etc… In addition, be aware of what your big traffic days are. If you have sites across different regions in the world, does Cyber Monday really happen on the same day? Knowing these factors will help you prepare for the marathon that is the holiday season.
  • Mobile
    • Confirm that your mobile version of the site is ready to go. If your mobile URLs are different than your desktop URLs make sure they are redirecting correctly. Have you utilized rel=alternate tags on your desktop site and canonical tags on your mobile? Are you using VARY in your headers with the user-agent?
    • Also understand that last year mobile traffic made up 33% of all holiday e-commerce traffic (Branding Brand Mobile Commerce Index—Holiday 2012). In fact, not only was mobile traffic roughly 1/3 of holiday traffic but comparable sales growth from 2011 to 2012 was over 170%.
    • The graph below illustrates the growing importance of mobile commerce overall and how relevant it can be during the holiday season.

Graph

  • Conversion Funnel
    • Verifying that your conversion funnel is performing at the highest level possible will also greatly benefit your site over the holidays. The conversion funnel, from the shopping cart to the thank-you page, will be the only part of your site that will touch 100% of your revenue. Knowing this, a small percentage lift for these pages can produce a large lift in overall revenue.
      • Utilize best practices and optimize your process to how your consumers respond most positively.
      • Focus on the location of trust messaging throughout the process.
      • Minimize the amount of scrolling by placing calls to action at both the top and bottom of the page.
      • Reduce form length by utilizing a “Same as Billing” checkbox.
      • Ask yourself questions like, “Does a clickable breadcrumb prevent bounces?”
    • All these small, fundamental changes can produce winning results that will garner you greater revenue during the busiest time of the year.

By focusing on fundamental aspects of SEO, Mobile and Conversion Optimization this year, your site will see increased traffic, revenue and conversions. As rudimentary and simple as this may sound it is 100% necessary in order for your site to begin to lead the pack during the holiday sprint. Achieve marketing success and attain a lift this holiday season that will tower over previous years.