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5 Tips to Improve Your Web Sales During the Holiday Season

This guest post is by Isaac Atia of Howitoo.com

It’s that festive time of the year again: the holidays will soon be at our doorsteps. While many will be celebrating the holidays, us bloggers have to work hard to reach our sales goals.

Hopefully we can celebrate this season in a different manner: by improving our sales and boosting our profits. With competition always around the corner, it’s vital to formulate and apply solid strategies that get real results. Here are my favorite ways to boost sales over the festive season.

1. Create attractive landing pages

It doesn’t matter if you’re selling a product or a service. In order to really convert plain traffic to a final transaction, you must create effective landing pages that list all the benefits of whatever it is you’re offering.

For a landing page to produce good results, it must have a purpose and a goal. What’s your target revenue? Set a time frame, aim high, and work towards your goal.

More importantly, the page must emphasize the ultimate advantage of your offer while stimulating the prospect’s mind. Get in the reader’s head—what are they thinking? To earn the visitor’s trust, link or quote authority figures and websites. Offer your product to a few individuals for free to create buzz and so you can get persuasive testimonials. Feedback is potent and cannot be underestimated. With a little bit of tweaking, landing pages are simply the best way to boost your offer’s sales numbers.

2. Offer incentives to improve sales

There are plenty of incentives to consider.

Free shipping

In the event that your website is promoting a tangible product such as a book, for the buyer, your offer of free shipping can be the deciding factor between making the purchase or ditching the product altogether.

Believe it or not, offering free shipping can actually make you more money. To qualify for delivery that’s free of charge, websites usually require a minimum order. That way, the buyer purchases at least one fairly expensive product or two products at a regular price. How many times did you visit an online store to buy one thing but then bought something else as well just to qualify for free shipping? I know I’ve done it plenty of times.

Slick promotions

Who doesn’t love the buy-one-get-one-50%-off deal? How about buy one, get one free? If you slightly raise the price of the first item and include a separate shipping and handling charge for the second, you could be earning almost the same profit you would by selling both items at the regular price!

How about promoting the older ebook that’s been sitting on your blog’s shelf for quite some time? Maybe throw it in as a free bonus to guarantee the sale. If you’re advertising a valuable service such as blog consultation, how about offering 25% off your first lesson to get things rolling?

Many thriving blogging mentors such as Jon Morrow offer package deals such as “sign up for five classes and get one free,” which can help achieve promotional goals. This is smart because it doesn’t cost you anything and creates more value for your buyers.

Other techniques

Other proven techniques to consider are cross-selling and up-selling. Have you ever bought a shirt and shoes from the same website at the same time? That’s like buying a theme framework and a skin for the design.

The point I’m trying to make is that you can convert sales to even more sales if you address the customer’s needs. The best way to do that is by dedicating a section on your website that links to related products. Placement is important so the related product(s) should be displayed in a highly visible area, preferably on the sidebar or right below your current product.

These are some powerful tips to think about. Keep in mind that there’s no right or wrong incentive that can make or break your sales this holiday. Your success will be mostly measured by the effort you put in and the strategies you apply. It is, however, possible to determine the most ideal incentive for your operation through continuous testing (shifting things around).

3. Rely heavily on email marketing

Email marketing is so powerful because it’s right in your face. When I get an email from ProBlogger’s newsletter, 95% of the time I click on it and read it thoroughly. Why? It’s simple, I’ve been sold on Darren’s ideas as he gained my trust and loyalty as a reader.

I wanted to know this is true for sure so last week I emailed a few successful bloggers and asked about their experience with email marketing. Every single one of them responded with truly positive comments and one person mentioned that it’s beneficial to any web campaign.

I agree—in fact many web gurus have said that a large percentage of their sales come from email advertising. It works because it’s a direct form of sales that builds relationships based on trust. Most importantly, it’s targeted towards a crowd that’s already following your lead, which makes it easier to convert the sale.

Take into consideration that it’s not always just about making the sale. It’s imperative that your value your loyal readers and offer them substantial value in return. Sometimes it’s enough to just get more downloads, views, or subscriptions.

4. Shoot for repeat business through social media

The people who are already following your moves on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are usually the first ones to know when you release a new product, run a promotion, or publish a new post. Connect with people you’ve already convinced in the past. Make them feel at home by dressing up the design of your social network page to a holiday related theme.

Doing this will naturally encourage holiday shoppers to pick up the book you recently published on your website for their family or friends. Maybe they’ll even purchase a service you offer on their behalf. Guess what? You just sold two people without even knowing it.

5. Test your website early and frequently

If you’re expecting a serious wave of traffic for the holidays, the last thing you want is to have any errors such as broken links or pages on your website. If your planning is poor and your website is not fully functional, you could be losing substantial revenue.

Proof read as many pages as you can to check for grammar mistakes, especially the pages where an offer is based on visitor action. The images on your site should load quickly to avoid the visitor from exiting your page.

Your page shouldn’t take more than two to three seconds to load for the same reason. It may also be a good idea to go through a test transaction to make sure that your order link is working properly. This way, if there are any issues, you’ll be the first one to know.

So, how exactly do you improve sales through your website during the holiday season? By implementing the above strategies to your website and making buying easier, more comfortable, and rewarding. Share your extra tips in the comments, so we can try them too!

Isaac Atia writes about blogging tips, SEO advice, and other closely related topics. The goal of his blog is to help other bloggers improve their overall blogging knowledge. You can subscribe to his blog for more posts.

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Comments

  1. Faizan Elahi says:

    Nice tips, one can learn quite a lot from them.

  2. Isaac,

    These are some pretty solid ideas. I think #5 is the most important because nobody’s going to want to buy something from someone who has a sloppy site rife with spelling errors and grammar mishaps. Clearing out these minor blemishes ahead of time will pay dividends in the trust arena.

    -Mitchell

  3. Drewry says:

    how can I create an e-mail list building service free, and effectively target people to give me the e-mail addresses? :-)

    • Free email marketing services are often unreliable. Investing on the email marketing service is the most important investment when it comes to online business, so why invest your time on something that is unreliable. Try out Aweber, Icontact or Getresponse. Aweber comes with $1 trial and iContact and Getresponse offer free plan for first 100 subscribers and then a very nominal price. These are very reliable services and are used by many top online and offline business.

  4. Michael says:

    This is great stuff!

  5. Nice article. For all others who want to promote just their websites and do not have any products or services to offer, you can try to write reviews on affiliate products. You can also think of writing pillar posts on top gifts for the holiday season or something similar.

  6. Drewry says:

    What are pillar posts exactly? I never heard of that before…

  7. Daniel says:

    I think many people will be working out plans for keeping their websites running solidly through the holiday period. Doing a thorough look over our websites for any site issues before the holiday season, could save us having to deal with a lot of hassles in the long run.

  8. Stefan says:

    Can’t agree with 5 enough.

  9. I’m from Italy and I think that these 5 tips are really useful to improve my sales!

  10. Very informative content. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Saif Afridi says:

    nice tips.

  12. enzo testa says:

    Great tips. Thanks for sharing..

  13. Marcie says:

    I love you for this! I was wondering what could be done, not just during the holidays but for all my future ventures, and you answered my questions. You are truly a godsend.

  14. #1 reminds me that running a website has the same principles as running a brick-and-mortar store. The customer’s impulses starts at the store’s window, which is a landing page for our case. And the sales process sparks from there from #2-#5

  15. Derek says:

    I get the grade of “F” for email marketing this holiday season. I have not did this yet and it’s just about Mid Dec. already. I am wondering how much money i just left out on the table for other people to grab. This blog post was a good reminder for me to get a email campaign started A.S.A.P.

    I’ve just started to promote amazon products since they tend to do good around xmas time. Great blog post and i have a few things to brainstorm about today. lol

  16. Logoswish says:

    Thank you for such useful article.