In the run-up to the Black Friday sales, many businesses will be looking for ways to enhance their marketing strategies and pull in customers. The aim is to increase online sales through unmissable discounts and reap the rewards of one of the biggest retail events of the year. US retailers alone generated more than $5 billion in online Black Friday sales between 2013 and 2019.
Although Black Friday originated in the US as the day after the Thanksgiving celebrations, retailers all over will be devising new ways to attract consumers. But how can SEO help online businesses make the most out of the shopping holiday?
Let’s explore some of the best SEO tips that ecommerce sites can put to use this year.
Don’t leave your marketing strategies until the last minute. To maximise your opportunity for sales, start early and email customers with your latest offers ahead of the big day.
According to Matthew Thorpe, the Founder of Grasshopper, “Instead of hitting customers with an offer on the day (like everyone else will), plant the seed a week before and have a couple of pre-sale emails to whet their appetite. Then use the increased traffic to get people onto your list, even if they don’t buy.”
Focus on Your Target Audience
Don’t start spamming customer’s email inboxes with promises of discounts; instead, hone in on your target demographic. Who are your most loyal, returning customers? How can you show them that their influence matters?
The key is to personalise the experience so that it is tailored for your target customers. Use their purchase history to make recommendations about what they should buy next, and make their shopping experience more unique. 75% of customers are more likely to buy from a business if they address them by name and use their purchase history to make suggestions.
Test Your Site
The last thing you want is for Black Friday to come along, and have customers struggling to use your site; online shoppers don’t have a lot of patience, and if your site has any issues or bugs that makes processing their order a hassle, then they will simply give up and go elsewhere. According to a Google study, 53% of mobile site visitors will leave a page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
To avoid losing out on sales, give your site a quick test run to check for any potential problems. Are your items correctly named and priced? Are they easy to locate? Does your shopping cart work? Also, it’s essential to test the site speed, for two reasons; the first being that Google sees site speed as indication to rank pages, and the second being that your site’s speed impacts the customer’s experience. Pages that take longer to load result in a higher bounce rate – when users lose patience and leave the page – and if you have high bounce rates, then it’s a clear indicator that your site needs tweaking.
Optimise Landing Pages
Don’t spend too much time focusing on your homepage, especially when building landing pages are the real necessity for enticing site users. When users browse your site, they need to be able to locate the CTA (call-to-action) that takes them straight to the page they’re looking for, i.e., the landing page. To make sure your landing page is correctly tailored to your customers’ needs, make sure the CTA leads to the appropriate link, i.e., a PDF that the customer can print off if the page is promoting 25% vouchers.
To get the best out of your Black Friday landing page, conduct keyword research to find the right long-tail keywords that fit your business services; for example, ‘Best Black Friday Deals’ or ‘Black Friday Discounts’. You can also spruce up your landing pages with eye-catching text like ‘Check Out Our Exclusive New Line! Quick, It’s Limited!’ or ‘Find the Perfect Christmas Gifts at Our Black Friday Sale Event’.
The purpose of targeted landing pages is to provide additional information for the user that relates to their query and offer them the chance to provide their contact information. This converts users into leads for your business, and also helps you decipher more information about your target demographic through their submitted information.
Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
The majority of modern consumers make their purchases on their mobile phones, so you need to ensure that your site is optimised to be mobile-friendly. Shopping on mobile devices is so commonplace nowadays, it has even been dubbed as ‘m-commerce’, and it is expected to drive almost 50% of ecommerce sales in 2022.
Check how your site performs on a mobile device; you may find that the layout looks off, or the CTAs aren’t visible, but by checking your site’s mobile performance, you can make necessary improvements to better mobile users’ experience.
Make Your Offers Stand Out
Everyone loves a sale, but that doesn’t mean you can afford to be blasé about your products. Simply announcing your shop has a sale on won’t be enough to entice shoppers; you need to ensure your discounts stand out from the competitors.
As well as promoting your discounts, you can also lure in customers with the promise of a flexible return policy, something which often impacts a customer’s decision to buy from your business. Online shopping holds more of a gamble than shopping in a brick-and-mortar store, so customers are more likely to return items they’ve bought online. Make sure your business stands out as one that is trustworthy and willing to offer a reliable service by reviewing your return policy. After all, 60% of online shoppers will review a business’ return policy before they buy, so it’s certainly worth it.
Include Free Shipping
Sometimes, it’s the small things that make a big difference to consumers, and offering free shipping is one of those things. Customers will see free shipping as a big perk when they start scrolling through your company’s latest deals, and while you may not think that paying a little extra for shipping is a big deal – especially if customers are already willing to pay for their items – then you’d be mistaken.
In actual fact, an estimated 88% of shoppers will be more likely to shop somewhere that offers free shipping. So, make sure your business doesn’t lose out on potential sales. You can incentivise shoppers to buy more with the promise of free shipping if they buy a certain number of items, for instance.
Don’t Forget About Cyber Monday
It’s not just Friday ecommerce sites should be focusing on; the ‘Black Friday’ event actually lasts over four days, starting Friday and continuing throughout the weekend up until Monday (or ‘Cyber Monday’ as it’s known). ‘Cyber Monday’ refers to the preference for online shopping, whilst Black Friday traditionally focused more on high street shopping. However, with COVID quickly putting a dampener on shopping outings, it looks like online shopping is going to be more popular than ever. As recently as 2019, online shoppers spent $9.4 billion on Cyber Monday sales, making it an essential focus point for ecommerce sites.
As mentioned, Black Friday is technically a four-day retail event, which means ecommerce sites have until Cyber Monday to optimise their sites and marketing strategies. By using just some of the above tips, you will already be making significant improvements to your sales and possibly even generate more leads. With everything that’s occurred so far in 2020, online shopping is even more of a necessity, so you don’t want your business to lose out.