Cyber Monday – The Start of the Festive Online Shopping and December Marketing

Cyber Monday (the 26th of November this year) is the ceremonial kick-off of the holiday on-line shopping season in the United States between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. It is also close the the last pay day in time to shop for Christmas for most of us in the UK too. Over 700 million dollars was expected to be spent on this day.
Online spending is on the up:

$9.3 billion spent online from November 1 through 23, a record and 17 percent higher than the $8.1 billion spent online last year

Check out the post $700mm Cyber Monday? for more details.

If you have been following our marketing series, the last post Christmas Marketing – What to do in November. you would have been ready for the Christmas Crunch time between the 23rd of November and 16th December.

So what do you get up to in December?

Check, check and re check! You still have time to tweak your marketing strategies before the 16th of December! Do you have the last shipping date displayed for your target market? If you ship internationally make sure you distinguish between the posting dates.

From the 17th of December:

Ramp down your festive keywords and marketing to avoid wasted pay per click sales. Gather and analyse your data to outline the best method of increase your sales in the next festive season.

Celebrate your success, and forget about your failures until next year when you make moves to eradicate them!

Prepare stock and website for the sales. In the UK sales start on boxing day, so you will need to get moving implementing your strategy, boasting the best prices and driving the bargain ethos. Advertise NOW that your sales start boxing day, in pay per click and on your site. Email all your customers about the fantastic bargains to be had!

Repeat the main and successful steps from your Christmas marketing. top make sure you clear old and redundant stock ready for the trends of 2008!

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Worried about web copy? Then CHEAT!

Well not really…..

Online Copywriting 101: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet

The genius behind ‘Call to Action‘ have brought together some great articles on how to write good web copy. On the internet, words is all we have to communicate to our customers and search bots alike. A product seller will rely very much on the pictures to sell product, but without good and thought out copy how will a buyer know what material it is? How big it is? If it fits their purpose, or indeed if they are allergic to it? Pictures can say 1000 words, but there are essential things that a picture can not say. In comes good copy. Plus Google doesn’t have eyes. Yet….

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Creating Customer Persona’s – Don’t make me think!

Developing persona’s of your customers can be a tricky and long process for a small business. Creating persona’s of your typical customer base can help you with the navigation, construction and wording of your site. You need to answer the questions your customer and direct them appropriately has so they will take the action you want the to with regards to your site.

Typically you can create yourself 4 persona’s. You need to think carefully about your customers, look back through contacts and also ask your customer service and sales teams. Some generic questions you can ask about your customers are:

1. What is their background?
2. What is their level of computer literacy?
3. What position do they hold in life? E.g, school teacher, pharmacist, mother, father
4. How much do they typically spend on a single purchase online?
5. What do they look for in a sale? e.g free shipping, extended guarantee
6. How do they phrase their own needs?
7. What keywords do they use when searching your site or contacting you? (you can look at logs from your site and also through customer service emails)

So with a basic set of questions, you can start to build a basic set of persona’s to represent your customers. Once you have this data you can start writing and addressing the needs of your customers and planning their route through your site.

You need to make sure you have key metrics to show the exit points for your customers. You can theorise about why your individual persona’s might be leaving at that point, before they have taken the action you want. (e.g., register their interest or buy) Have you addressed their needs and communicated in their language?

A good example of language for you the retailer and your typical customer, we can take the example of a digital camera. I want to spend around £130 on a new digital camera.

The camera that has taken my fancy is: Fujifilm FinePix Z10 7MP Digital Camera – Red.

The Argos description is:

# Design/style: Slim.

# 7m pixels.

# 3 x optical zoom.

# 4.8 x digital zoom.

# 2.5in LCD screen.

# Digital anti-blur.

# Face detection.

# SD/XD memory card compatible.

# 26MB internal memory.

# Movie capture with sound.

# Maximum ISO range: 1600.

# 15 scene modes.

# Pictbridge compatible.

# Accessories included in the box – NP45 battery and charger, wrist strap, AV cable, USB cable, CD ROM, PC and Mac software.

# NP45 battery supplied.

# Weight 135g.

# Size (H)5.6, (W)9.1, (D)2.3cm.

Yeah, well knowing nothing of digital cameras, I got the fact it used SD cards and it has a charger.

on eBay however, a seller explained the camera as:

The Z10fd has all the power of Real Photo Technology. The guiding principles behind RPT are simple; to set the highest possible standards for overall image quality, to expand digital photography opportunities and to give you fewer wasted shots

With the human eye as the ideal, Real Photo Technology cameras are designed from the ground up to capture ‘real’ photographs with stunning quality – giving you the power to capture the moment exactly as the eye sees it, no matter how challenging the shooting conditions.

Ultra-fast Face Detection
The FinePix Z10fd boasts Fujifilm’s acclaimed ultra-fast Face Detection technology, which will seek out faces in the darkness of a party (edited to add – this seller has used a real life and common situation to illustrate the features) to give perfectly focused and exposed pictures every time.

A green square surrounds the face of the primary subject on the camera’s LCD screen, whilst white squares identify up to nine other subjects. Movement tracking keeps the camera ‘locked on’ to its subjects until they move out of the picture. The technology works regardless of the subject’s position in the frame, and is not confused by anyone wearing glasses.

Anti blur
Users will immediately appreciate the benefits of Fujifilm’s Super CCD sensor. The increased surface area means it is more sensitive to light, enabling faster shutter speeds to help reduce image blur and the need for flash when taking photos in low light.

The Picture Stabilisation mode on the Z10fd uses high sensitivity (up to 1600 ISO) to help reduce camera shake, freeze subject movement and improve low-light background detail to deliver virtually blur free images.

Ahh, now that makes a bit more sense to me! I would have been taking a chance with the argos purchase as I didn’t really know what it meant. I saw this camera back in August, but have not got round to purchasing it because, well I knew I had to do my research. Not everyone (I would say about 90% of digital camera buyers are like me) is a professional photographer and knows exactly the effects of all the specifications.

So when you are writing your titles and descriptions to suit your persona’s……… remember, where as one persona might have the technical knowledge, another might not and you would have got this from your research! Don’t ignore your persona’s.

Remember you are selling to me, not to yourself or your staff!

This is especially important during the fury of the Christmas Season when snap buying decisions are made.

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Christmas Marketing – What to do in November.

Follow on from:
Gearing up for Xmas 2007 – What to do in October…

Week 1:

You have done your research, you campaign has had 7-10 days. Pin point your successes and failures.

Ask yourself a few questions:

1. What campaigns are working?
2. Why are the successful campaigns working?
3. What campaigns are not working?
4. Why are they not working and what can we change you yield a positive result?

You need to look at your analytical data and see where your revenue stream is coming from on these campaigns, are the keywords you thought were relevant to the season and your product working for you?

Are to continuously testing the efficacy of your landing pages?

Week 2:

You need to analyse your purchase or lead generation process. You should have enough data now to see where your customers are either abandoning the shopping cart or being lost in your pages.

Check your error and web logs, has the site had a slow down due to the increased traffic? Have loading times been effected at all? Do you have any dead links on your site you forgot to get rid of in October?

These holes in your bucket need to be corked before the ‘Christmas Crunch Time’ which is typically 23rd of Nov to 16th Dec.

Crunch starts in week 3.

Week 3:

Check stock levels and product feeds for errors. Display and be realistic about your last posting days before Christmas. Evaluate your pay per click and other active return on investment advertising to increase quality of traffic. Re-evaluate your match types, campaign negative keywords, budget, position and bids to ensure the relevancy of your shoppers.

Don’t sell them something they are not looking for. If they don’t know what they are looking for make sure you are ‘suggesting ideas’ within your advertising i.e Gifts for Mum, Gifts for a music fan etc.

Make sure you campaigns are organised to separate such ‘Suggesting Campaigns’ from product specific or general campaigns. These campaigns are more specific to panic shoppers at Christmas with no idea what to buy their loved ones.

If you do run an affiliate program make sure the creative and promotions are seasonal, add Christmas bonuses.

Week 4:

Wash. Repeat.

Keep tweaking and checking your promotional presence. Keep and eye on your competitors.

Again this is not a complete guide, only suggestions to get you going for the Christmas period and hopefully be a little thought provoking when your are planning your marketing activities. Watch out for the December edition!

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To affiliate or not to affiliate? That is the Question….

Larger companies say that around 50% of their website traffic can come from affiliates. These companies usually have the brand strength and budget to take advantage of such systems as Tradedoubler and Commission Junction. But how about if you are a small to medium sized business who wants to take advantage of affiliate traffic? What do you need?

– An affiliate system for example JROX there are open source affiliate systems and relatively cheap systems which make integration easy.

– Website Integration Skills

– Personal and sales Skills to develop relationships with affiliates and to drive them on with promotions.

– Intermediate HTML, CSS and graphic skills to help with visual creative and also assist larger affiliates in the construction of landing pages and deep linking.

– You need to allow up to 30% of your profit margin to pay your affiliates, remember its a pay per sale model so your affiliates are actively making you money.

Larger systems such as commission junction can be a cold and non personal experience, but if you don’t have any of the above skills you will be hard pushed to maintain a self run affiliate system.

You can try more local affiliate systems that deal with your country only, you might have limited exposure but your business might not be fit for global distribution.

Affiliate marketing is an essential part of your ‘Active Return on Investment’ marketing techniques for your website. Other ‘Active ROI’s’ included cost per click advertising. Search Engine Optimisation for natural search is relatively passive but essential to your marketing strategy as a whole.

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