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A 6-Step Checklist to Get Your Online Business Ready for the Holiday Season

A 6-Step Checklist to Get Your Online Business Ready for the Holiday Season
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The holiday season will be here before you know it, and now is the perfect time to map out your digital-marketing campaigns in order to drive the most revenue for your business.

Waiting too long puts you at a severe disadvantage -- you need to be ready to capitalize on the increased traffic and the mindset of consumers during this period. They will be ready and willing to click that buy-now button, so run through this quick six-step checklist to make sure your online business is ready for the fast-approaching holiday season. 

1. Analyze previous holiday-season data.

This is something so simple, yet many businesses completely ignore the gold mine of data they have available to them. Where did the majority of your holiday traffic that lead to conversions come from last year? Was it email marketing, social media, paid search or organic traffic?

Related: 6 Ways to Increase the Success of Your Holiday-Email-Marketing Campaign

This is something I am currently doing with all of my search-engine optimization coaching clients. We are diving into their Google Analytics data to identify the best channels to build campaigns around for this holiday season. For example, if a business finds that email marketing was responsible for 40 percent of their conversions during the last holiday season it would be smart to ramp up email campaigns this year. 

2. Build out holiday-specific landing pages.

You will want to have several landing pages to split test, so rather than scrambling to get them done at the last minute, build them out now. This allows you to start your holiday marketing with a large group to pull data from. 

The sooner you are able to clip the poorly performing pages and identify your highest converting landing pages, the sooner you can push the majority of your traffic to the best performing landing pages. You want to make sure you have identified your best performers before the peak of holiday season. 

3. Set up your holiday email-marketing campaigns.

There is a good chance that your holiday email offers and funnels will be slightly different than your traditional email campaigns. For example, your traditional conversion funnel might reach the consumer every 10 days with an offer, but during the holiday season you will want to be a little more aggressive. Consumers are in the buying mood -- if you wait too long you might lose those potential customers to a competitor that reached them sooner.  

Write in advance all of your auto-responder and drip emails ahead of time. Take time to plan it out and think of the best way to entice and convert your email traffic. Throwing together a bunch of emails at the last minute is a recipe for disaster and poor conversion numbers.

Related: How Retailers Can Compete With Amazon This Holiday Season, and Beyond

4. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly.

It’s been said a million times -- you need a mobile-friendly website. While running your site through Google’s mobile-friendly test is a good start, you need to also test your user experience with real visitors. 

Ask friends, family, employees and complete strangers to access your website via their mobile devices and have them navigate your pages, access your offers, submit your forms and attempt to contact your business. You need honest feedback -- if something sucks they need to tell you. Holiday visitors are in the buying mindset, so you need to make sure they don’t get frustrated or annoyed while on your website.

5. Map out your holiday content marketing.

It’s never too early to start planning your holiday content. Start chipping away at it now and you can have all of your blog posts scheduled ahead of time. If you are using WordPress, consider using Edit Flow, a free plugin that makes content scheduling a breeze. It’s especially helpful if you have several team members contributing to your blog.

You will also want to consider increasing your posting frequency during the holiday season. This should be something that you start discussing early with whomever is handling your SEO. You will often want to create your content around holiday specific keywords. 

6. Schedule your holiday season social-media posts.

If you aren’t using an automated social-media tool, now is the time to look into it. I use Hootsuite -- it costs me less than $120 a year and allows me to schedule posts far in advance. You never want to automate all social media, but it’s nice to know that you always have posts scheduled that can spark interaction and drive website traffic.

Holiday-specific images, hashtags and messages are key -- your approach will be a bit different during the holiday season. During peak holiday season, don’t be afraid to throw some direct offers out there -- people will be searching for deals and using the correct hashtags and keywords can help attract purchase-ready consumers.

Do you have any additional tips to share? If so, leave them in the comments section below.

Related: Rid Your Business of Zombie Stock Before the Holidays