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Smarter Commerce | November 27, 2014

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40 Tips to Rock Cyber Monday & Everyday Online Sales

Following is a guest post by Pam Moore, CEO/Founder at Marketing Nutz. You can find more of Pam’s writing on http://www.pammarketingnut.com/blog/.

Cyber Monday… either you are ready or you’re not!  Many businesses miss out on a great day to increase sales and connect with their audience because they think it’s only for the big online retailers. Wrong! You don’t have to be Best Buy, Wal-Mart, IBM or Apple to tap into the power and fun of Cyber Monday.

Are you a business leader thinking “big bummer, I wish I would have planned ahead to be ready to rock some additional online sales on Cyber Monday”?

Well we have good news for some of you. It might not be too late. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist nor be a social media wizard to take advantage of Cyber Monday, even if you didn’t plan ahead like you should have.

You Need an Online Presence

Since Cyber Monday is all about deals online, this means you need a presence online.  However, even if you don’t yet have a truly functioning website, never fear. The fact that you found this article is a bonus and probably means you have some type of online presence or at minimum wish you did. However, it is highly unlikely that if this is your first day hopping online or on the social networks that you will see much success with sales. You should instead focus your objectives on building relationships, supporting other businesses which you like, etc.

Check out these quick tips and ideas to help you rock cyber Monday and every day online sales! Most of these tips are good for any day, not just Cyber Monday! 

Get Your Cyber House in Order

  1. Check Server Readiness: If your Cyber day is a success your web traffic could obviously be higher than normal.  Therefore, ensure your server can handle the load. If you are not sure how to check this, call your hosting provider.  Remove any extra files from your server that aren’t needed. Do your server house cleaning as appropriate.
  2. Freshen Up Content: Cyber Monday is a great excuse to freshen and tighten up your content.  Delete redundant content. Minimize and/or unpublish pages that aren’t adding value or driving conversions. Less is often more when it comes to content. Tap into your Google Analytics to help you make decisions on what should stay or go.
  3. Test All Key Functionality & Website Optimization: If you haven’t tested your shopping cart in a month, now is the time! Do a quick test for all possible payment methods. Be sure your site is optimized for mobile and tablets. Optimizing for computer desktop viewing along no longer cuts it. We optimize all of our sites from day one to avoid such fire drills.
  4. Optimize for Search Engines (SEO) and for Social Search: If you haven’t checked out your Google Analytics report lately, then shame on you! It is loaded with useful data to help you make important decisions on content, keywords, as well as learn about your audiences and their behavior on your site.  Use the data to determine what pages you should keep, enhance or delete.  Also be sure to check out what keywords are driving organic traffic to your site as well as what words aren’t driving traffic that you should be.  Priority is to optimize for keywords as well as analyze user behavior.
  5. Setup Landing Pages: Don’t just send Cyber visitors to your home page for all communication.  Setup a few landing pages to support specific content and deals.  This will help you minimize confusion for your Cyber Monday website visitors as well as keep them focused on the specific call to action.
  6. Call to Action & Conversion is #1 Priority: Remember, your Cyber Monday visitor is looking for deals.  Don’t spam them with a page that has nothing to do with the offer.  Make it easy for them to learn about the offer and purchase.
  7. Seamless Brand Experience: If you have time, take a stroll thru your website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter profile page, Pinterest, LinkedIn and any other social media profiles you have.  Check for consistency in brand and content.  Key priorities are of course the low hanging fruit such as logos, colors, key words, descriptions, headers etc.  Even a few minutes spent on brand consistency can enhance your viewers first impression of you and your platform exponentially.

 

Decide on a Cyber Offer

  1. Know Your Audience: Decide the top 1-3 primary audiences you would like to market the Cyber Monday offer to.  Do your research on the audience to determine what communication methods will best reach them.  Included in your research should also be what social media platforms will work best to drive traffic to your website and/or provide the specific offer. Download our POST audience analysis worksheet to help you identify and prioritize your top audiences.
  2. Determine Your Product or Service Cyber Offer: For each audience selected determine the key offer. Obviously you can have more than one offer per audience.  However, unless you are a large business, keep it simple.  People looking for deals online are going to be bombarded with information.  Don’t blast noise on your landing page or they’ll probably bounce out within seconds.
  3. Determine the Terms & Conditions: Plan this up front.  In addition to the regular return, payment and shipping policies think in Cyber terms. Can the Cyber Monday customer take advantage of more than one offer on a transaction. For example if you have a coupon code available via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest & LinkedIn decide up front if they can use more than one coupon code per transaction. If one offer includes free shipping can they combine free shipping with a Facebook coupon for example?
  4. Differentiate: Don’t just pick a boring offer on your boring website that looks like everyone else.  Focus on how you can stand out from the crowd.  If you don’t have the budget to add graphic to your website, no worries! Purchase a photo or two from a photo stock website. Simply picking a unique offer and way to communicate such can help you differentiate.  It doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

Example Cyber Offers

  1. One Day Deals: This one is a no brainer.  Select and launch an offer with an expiration at midnight. Don’t state it’s a one day deal and leave open for two days. You’ll appear as desperate.  Instead, launch for one day and select a different offer for launch right after if necessary.
  2. Social Media Platform Deals: This includes a deal per social media platform.  For example you could have a different offer for Facebook fans, Twitter Followers, LinkedIn connections etc.  Get creative with these and use them as a way to test different audiences.  If you have a good following on each of the platforms you could even break some of the offers down by the hour to test user behavior per platform as well as time of day.
  3. Host contest on Facebook: This is a great way to engage your current Facebook fans as well as possibly obtain new fans.  Be sure to check out the Facebook terms and conditions first though to ensure you aren’t breaking any rules.  Remember, the big brands who spend more money with Facebook for advertising get more leniency than the common fan page biz owner does. Just because Coke or Best Buy is doing a specific type of promotion on Facebook, doesn’t mean it’s okay for you to do the same.
  4. Pinterest Pin it to Win It Promotion: This is a fun and easy way to have a contest. Make sure your web page where the deal is located is “pinnable” and has a working “pin it” button. Don’t forget to also check that the right image is available for pinning. You can leverage email, Facebook, Twitter and all other social networks you are active on to communicate and announce your deal. Invite participants to Pin the deal / page to their Pinterest account. At the end of the day select a winner to receive the grand prize. This could be a free product or service, massively discounted offer, free consultation and the list goes on.
  5. Twitter: This one is quite easy. The obvious opportunity is if you have a cyber deal, then tweet about it.  Make sure you use the hashtag #cybermonday.  You can also setup a Twitter specific campaign only for your Twitter followers. Use a coupon code, secret word or push them to a scavenger hunt as described below.   Many people will be searching Twitter for Cyber Monday deals so if you don’t already have a Twitter account, this might be a good excuse to get one!
  6. Scavenger hunt: I LOVE scavenger hunts when they are developed and executed effectively.  Create a fun scavenger hunt for your audience that inspires, educates and entertains your audience.  Use it as an opportunity to educate them on your services as well as engage them with your brand. Don’t make it too difficult though as you’ll either get no participants or you’ll lose them part way thru.  Make it easy and select a few secret words they have to find across several of your platforms.  Don’t forget to test it from start to finish to make sure you have no cyber holes.  Best bet is to engage a friend or colleague and have them walk thru the contest and offer real-time feedback of their experience.
  7. Word of the day: This one is easy.  Select a word of the day and either share it for them to use as a coupon. A second option might be to ask them to share the word.  Ask them to post it on your fanpage, tweet it to you.  If you have the supporting personnel resources you could then have someone ready to respond to tweets.
  8. Shipping Deals: This one is a no-brainer. Offer shipping discounts for purchase. Could include free or discounted shipping with a certain purchase amount or across the board free shipping. Whatever it is, make it clear.  Support costs can be high for a cyber shipping discount promotion gone bad.
  9. Foursquare check-ins: I love this option.  Even if you haven’t engaged your business on FourSquare yet, this is a great day to do such!  Offer discounts for the Mayor or simply free products or discounts for check-in.  Be sure to train your staff who will be on site. The last thing you want is for a new customer to visit your store or place of business with their iPhone in hand, smile on face only to show it to your employee who has no clue what the offer is about. This would be what we call in social media a big fat #fail and will probably end up the topic of someone’s blog post the next day, guaranteed.
  10. Extra Affiliate Bonuses: If you have an affiliate program, this is a great day to offer an extra incentive to your affiliates.  It’s a great opportunity to not only share with them and remind them of your products and services and how they can make money but also remind them that they too can make money by partnering with you.  Offer extra affiliate payout percentages or even free or discounted products when their efforts help sell a certain amount of your product or services.
  11. Blog Comments: Ask website visitors to comment on a specific blog post or two.  Inform them that if they comment and leave a Twitter user name or email that you will follow up with them with specifics on how to get the deal or coupon code. This is a great way to do market research, get feedback on a specific campaign, creative element or obtain other data needed.
  12. eMail Subscriber Deals: Offer an exclusive email or newsletter subscriber deal.  If you have time inform your audiences via Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms that you’ll be launching a Cyber Monday deal for subscribers.  If executed efficiently this could help boost your number of subscribers substantially if the offer is worth noting.
  13. YouTube: Record a quick or professional YouTube video to share your offer.  One idea it to include a coupon code that is only offered at the end of video.  This is a great way to engage your audience with you and your brand.  Remember don’t make the video too long or you’ll lose your audience before they get to hear the offer!

Determine Communication & Announcement Strategy 

  1. Determine communication strategy:Bottom line, your offer will do nothing if you don’t let people know about it.  Determine up front how you will communicate your cyber Monday offer to your key audiences. Your top goal is to educate your target audience and inspire them to take action. An effective communication strategy is key to your success.
  2. eMail: Communicate to your email subscribers the specific offers. Use this as an opportunity to communicate the offer as well as invite them into your community more intimately.  Engage them in an active discussion or scavenger hunt on your Facebook page. Remind them to check out your Tweet stream for special Cyber Monday deals.  Get creative here and think integration.  eMail is one of the greatest communication mechanisms to help integrate your offline and multiple online platforms.
  3. Blog & RSS Feeds: Blog posts are a great way to communicate your Cyber Monday deals.  Even if you don’t have a lot of subscribers to your RSS feed today it may be a good method of obtaining more subscribers if blog and website visitors find your cyber deal and content useful.  Your blog will also work well as a hub for your Cyber Monday activity.  Use it in combination with your Facebook Fan Page and Twitter stream to keep people informed of how your specific deals, key words, scavenger hunts etc.  What a great way to pull them into all you have to offer in a fun way!
  4. Tweet About It: Being a Twitter addict myself, this is one of my favorites.  I think tweeting about your Cyber deal is a must do for all businesses.  Even if you don’t have a Twitter account, do yourself a favor and get one.  Share information about your Cyber deals, shipping discounts, scavenger hunts etc.  Offer time sensitive Twitter deals but be ready to manage.  The worst thing you could do is announce an offer and not be ready to manage appropriately.  As mentioned above, don’t forget to use the proper hashtags at the end of your tweet such as #cybermonday
  5. Facebook: Announce on your Facebook personal and business page as appropriate. Remember, spamming and posting the same message over and over is not a smart strategy and will only turn your community off.
  6. Pinterest: Pin an image and link to your offer page. Consider creating a new board for offers. Don’t forget to include the price on the pin. Simply add the $ £ symbol followed by the item’s price in the pin description. You may be lucky enough to find that Pinterest featured your pin in their gifts section! You can even add an app on Facebook and integrate the campaign there. You can select to include only the one board that includes the offers! You can then grab the unique url for the tab / app on Facebook and share it to your community via the appropriate online and offline mediums.
  7. LinkedIn: LinkedIn is great for business.  We get leads from LinkedIn every day. I laugh when I hear people write and say LinkedIn is for resumes or for old people.  If you’re not on LinkedIn you are missing out. Why not post a status update on LinkedIn to share your Cyber deals.  If you don’t already have your RSS blog feed integrated to LinkedIn, now is the time.  You can also post any Tweet to LinkedIn by adding #Li to the end of the tweet.
  8. Share on Local Business Friend Pages: If you are member of local or national organizations, Chamber of Commerce etc. post a short announcement on these sites.  Make sure it isn’t written as “spam” but instead focuses on more than just the coupon but on the value of the offer and how the customer can benefit.

Overall Success Tips 

  1. Set objectives and goals. Yes a priority should be sales. However, don’t forget other objectives and goals related to audience engagement, social media community growth, email subscriber growth, opt-ins, readership etc.  Get creative and use Cyber Monday as an opportunity to show off your online goods or launch them if you’ve been hiding behind the avatar!
  2. Know your audience. The more you know about your audience the better your results are going to be. Where are they hanging out online, offline? What are their pain points? What problems do they have that your products or services can help solve? How can you reach your target audience with the right product or service. If your target audience does not hang out on LinkedIn or Pinterest for example, then by all means do NOT promote a “Pin it to Win it” contest all day on LinkedIn! icon smile 40 Tips to Rock Cyber Monday & Everyday Online Sales  You’d be surprised how many businesses we work with who try these mis-matched tactics and wonder why they don’t have a positive ROI. Setting goals and objectives and knowing your audience are key to ensuring you achieve a positive ROI.
  3. Offer something of value. Just because you can have a promotion or deal doesn’t mean you have to just because it is Cyber Monday. Be sure your offer is relevant and offers value to your target audience.
  4. Remember SPAM does not nourish your audience. Even though you’ll see many businesses SPAMMING their audiences on Cyber Monday, it doesn’t mean you should too.  Focus on providing communications, information and offers that provide real value.  Share the information several times during the day but don’t over do it.  Don’t send a tweet for example 20 times in 1 or 2 hours. If you need more clarification on this or have problems with people spamming you, simply send them to my spam stomping “Pet My Pig” campaign and I’ll take care of the rest. You can learn more about it here–> “Pet the Pig Campaign
  5. Use the tips above to create an enjoyable experience for your audience. Make your website comfortable. Invite them in.  Make it easy for them to stroll over to your Facebook Fan Page, Twitter profile etc.  The brand experience should be as seamless as possible.
  6. Be honest! If you just signed on to Twitter, let them know.  Why not share with them this is your first day on Twitter and they should come join you! You’ll be surprised how many newbies might follow right behind you if you are authentic.
  7. Don’t just sell your every day stuff at the every day price. Offer something different.  Should be cheaper, better, or faster!
  8. You have one time to make a first impression. It is better to offer one deal and do it right than offer ten and screw them all up.  Focus on quality, not quantity.
  9. Perfection is the enemy of good. Remember, the #1 rule of marketing is it will NEVER be perfect! Focus on good, really good if you have to.  However, if you wait for perfect you could be waiting until Cyber Monday 2014.  Just get it done and get it out there. Get-R-Done folks!

So Where are You?

Are you ready to rock Cyber Monday? Did you plan ahead and as a result you are ready to rock some additional sales to set you with a strong zoom into 2013? Or did you not plan ahead and are now wishing that you did? Even if you missed the opportunity this year, it isn’t too late to use these tips to turn up the volume on your every day sales. These are things you should be doing as part of your business and online marketing strategy anyway. Social media and online marketing is not a band-aid for a broken business. You should not look at Cyber Monday as something to fix all your problems. Your goal should be to integrate the opportunity with Cyber Monday into your overall strategy, plans and communication. If you have no idea how to do any of the above, call us and we can help.

 

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This blog was originally posted at http://www.pammarketingnut.com/

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