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The winter shopping season is upon us. But despite an economic recession that has all but flattened off-the-shelf sales there is a shining light to be found online.

Earlier this month, Adobe Analytics released their annual sales projections for the period which runs until the ball drops on December 31 2020. This carefully calculated projection shatters all previous year-over-year records by 33% – equal to two years’ growth in one season! You still have time to capitalize in this massive growth of online consumer activity, and the following tips will help make it happen.

6 Things Your Business Needs to Do NOW to Increase Online Sales Through the Month of December 2020

1. Optimize for Google Search 

Start with an SEO audit of your website. While SEO by nature is a slow but steady and sustainable strategy, some simple updates can deliver results very quickly. For example, key product pages may be missing keywords in the meta-data (namely the title tag, h1 heading, and meta-description). If those product pages are already on Google Page 2 or Page 1 yet below the fold, these updates can make a world of difference. If your site gets crawled by Google often these pages may claim prime Google real estate in a few short days. Contact Strategis Consulting Group for a FREE SEO audit.

The other way to gain quick traction on Google is through PPC AdWords. If you have the budget you can get above-the-fold ad space for keyword searches that convert traffic into sales. Start a PPC campaign today.

2. Optimize Your eCommerce

If you’re hoping to get more sales during this period of massive growth in online activity then you need to begin with eCommerce optimization. The good news, is that we have provided a user-friendly guide to getting eCommerce right. The guide applies to any business soliciting and accepting purchases via their website. View our 5 Steps to Smarter Digital Marketing for eCommerce Websites.

3. Leverage the Instant Power of Social Media

The great thing about social media marketing, is that it can deliver instantaneous engagement and sales as long as you have offers and content that people want. It may take time to build an audience organically, but promoted posts on Facebook and Instagram can deliver referral traffic to your site’s landing pages right away. The great thing about promoted posts is that you can start with small $5 increments to test the waters.

You can also use a variety of in-app purchase functions so that you can sell products right from the platforms. Just be sure to keep up to date on recent developments so that you can capitalize on new features and functions made available to you as a business. For instance, in November Instagram made their biggest home screen design change in years by adding a Shop tab to its home screen. The Shop tab (when tapped) delivers personalized recommendations, editors’ picks curated by the @shop channel, shoppable videos, and new product collections. You can set up your shop here. Instagram has also made an update (available to all) that allows non-hashtagged keyword search which can increase the visibility of your posted offers.

4. Fix UX Problems Right Away

SEO, PPC, social media, and all eCommerce efforts won’t make much of a difference if your website aggravates customers. There are key things that irritate user experience (UX) and result in a high bounce rate (BR) and/or poor conversion and it just so happens that they coincide with Google’s recent Page Experience update. Google is demanding that you fix four key vitals, which include the following:

  • Make sure your site looks and functions great on all common mobile devices (check here)
  • Make sure your site’s pages load quickly (check here)
  • Make sure your site provides a secure (HTTPS) browsing and shopping environment
  • Remove all pop-ups and interstitials from your web pages

Google has given businesses until May 2021 to correct issues, but since you’re looking to capitalize on December’s wave of consumer activity the time to start is now. Some items can be fixed immediately. For example, if you’re currently using a pop-up to encourage email subscriptions, remove it right away to provide users with the content (and offers!) that they were looking for. In fact, many elements within the vitals above can be improved overnight with help from a skilled web developer.

5. Tighten Up IT Infrastructure

This tip may span beyond the arc of digital marketing but it’s very closely connected. All of your efforts to increase traffic and conversion rates will be for naught if you become vulnerable to a variety of IT disasters that are VERY common at this time of the year.

One likely scenario, is when online traffic (spurred by marketing efforts) increase in such a volume that your server cannot handle the load. This can cause your website and POS systems to slow or completely shut down. To respond you will want to switch to a scalable cloud-based server that can scale-up to accept increases in volume through December, then scale-down when things settle.

Ensuring that productivity can meet new demands in online marketing and sales is also important. In order to serve the growing base of customers and clients through December your staff workload will increase. However, given that some or all of them are working remotely during the health crisis can you even employ the strategies detailed here today? You can by adopting cloud-based productivity tools such as Microsoft Teams (part of the MS 365 family of products) your online marketing and sales staff can better communicate and collaborate no matter where in the city (or world) they may be.

Another pressing concern within your IT infrastructure, is cybersecurity. The record breaking rise in online activity for the season is to be accompanied by relatively equal growth in cybercrime. As we enter December McAfee is already reporting a 12% year-over-year increase in the number of cybercrime threats. This number is expected to grow over the next four weeks. The number of new malware strains and targeted phishing campaigns is rising fast.

Have an IT support firm perform an audit of your IT infrastructure right away. They can identify gaps and vulnerabilities and ultimately provide supplementary coverage through the season. This leads us to the next point.

6. Bring in Outside Online Marketing Help

To capitalize on this opportunity before the season comes to a close you can’t waste a single day riding the learning curve. Not an SEO expert? Not a social media maven? Don’t have a website developer on staff? Few enterprises check all of the boxes. As an SMB you need to bring in a digital marketing agency to fill in the blanks so that you can take the results to the bank. And don’t worry if you already have an in-house marketing team because the right agency can step up in a supporting capacity and supplement the efforts of your existing staff. View more on why you should bring in outside digital marketing support, even if you have a marketing team.

It’s not too late to make a bold move and take sales from your competitors this December. Contact Strategis Consulting Group right away to get started.