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How to Win as an Online Business During the 2020 Holiday Season Eight ways to optimize business exposure and improve conversion rates during November and December.

By Nickie Rowley Edited by Jessica Thomas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

skaman306 | Getty Images

Many businesses in Q4 of any year will strategize how to serve as a top holiday supplier when spending trends are high. This will most likely still prove valid during the 2020 season, except consumers will further leverage ecommerce technologies to limit in-person interactions. Businesses are already preparing to support the demand.

The landscape online is becoming even more broad, because additional vendors have entered the playing field and audience behaviors are shifting. To ensure a company's visibility is maximized and sales are thriving, they'll need a marketing plan that includes a website, other marketplaces and social media. Here are eight ways to make that plan.

1. Create and maintain your online presence

A proprietary website is the cornerstone of this plan, because a business should have an online home. There should be a way to purchase products or services and resources with information about policies, processes and customer support.

A great website is not solely defined by aesthetics and solid functionality. It should also be marketable and connect with set target markets so there's stronger lead conversion. A few ways to influence buyers is by:

  • Creating a consistent look for branding and collateral, which aids in building brand identity
  • Utilizing calls to action through light boxes and banners to display content including new items, discounts and news
  • Harnessing a discount system such as coupons and setting durations for when the sale expires to incentivize quicker purchases
  • Capturing email addresses to send newsletters and promotional materials later

Online marketplaces will serve as a substantial source for a high volume of sales, because this allows shoppers to search for a multitude of products from various suppliers on one platform. Some of the well-known marketplaces are Amazon, Etsy, Walmart and Alibaba.

Once all potential channels for selling have been identified, it's vital to employ the same best practices as a website alongside these other actions:

  • Maintaining good reviews — customers are less likely to purchase when there are lower ratings
  • Remaining competitive with pricing — there's a stronger advantage when costs match similar products, and many vendors use algorithmic re-pricing to automate this process

Social media is a major driver of traffic. Here's one way to look at it: People might not visit a business website daily, but they do visit social media. This is why having a presence on social media is extremely important. Make you post high-quality content with well-designed imagery, full descriptions, hashtags and calls to action. Use advertising to further market your products and make sure to carefully monitor budget, duration of the campaign and the demographic you're targeting.

2. Showcase top products and services

It's common to have large inventories of products with thousands of SKUs and versatile service offerings. During the holidays, showcase your top sellers, packages and seasonal themed items to make the purchasing process as easy as possible for buyers.

3. Add quick-win product additions

The holidays are the time to go above and beyond for your customers, but that might not be economically feasible this year. Here are a few low-cost ways you can market your offerings:

  • Offer gift cards including services so recipients can select what they want and when
  • Bundle items together to offer packages tailors to one person, a couple or a family
  • Provide holiday wrapping and gift bagging
  • Allow delayed delivery, so if someone wants to order a head of time they can do so and select the delivery date

Related: Three Points To Help Business Leaders Navigate The New Normal

4. Review platforms

Reviews are a great way to strengthen the reputability of a company, because consumer feedback is publicized. Many businesses are critiqued on websites external to their own such as on Yelp or Google Business. Some people don't even make a purchase until they've checked the rating of a company. This is why it's vital to address what the public has vocalized are issues, respond to low ratings proactively and actively monitor what consumers are saying.

5. Innovative cross marketing

Finding places online where your target market visits or actively participates is a great start to identifying new places to sell. For example, a firm that dispatches 24/7 personal trainers might advertise on maternity and stay-at-home mom websites with the presumption that new mothers would want to exercise post-childbirth and need flexibility for the time of day.

6. Branding

It can be difficult to know if a gift recipient purchases a product again because the initial sale was made by someone else. This is why it's extremely important to have solid branding, because someone should easily be able to find an organization based on a name and visual identity.

Related: How Your Company's Logo Influences Purchase Decisions

7. Email marketing

Emails are the no. 1 way to push content to consumers. Topics this time of year might include top sellers, holiday-themed items, sales and additional news, all with the intent of lead conversion.

8. Join online communities

In-person events aren't happening, so the content you'd normally promote on banners, printed materials, etc. has been partially or entirely suppressed. This now opens new avenues for what co-hosting events, marketing and partnerships look like online. Do your research and contact organizations on Meet Up.com, Facebook Groups and LinkedIn Groups to discuss ways to uniquely work together.

Related:The 4-Step XaaS Marketing Approach

Nickie Rowley

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO of Luxurious Web Design

Nicole Rowley is the CEO and Founder of Luxurious Web Design, a web development and online marketing company. She is an online instructor with more than 7,500 students in 85 countries. Rowley advises legacy businesses on digital transformation and startups on market entry.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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