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Web Global Net Web Application & Web Development Project Center  |  Web Site Planning Related  |  Web Site Planning Questions  |  Topic: 10 Tips for the Holidays 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: 10 Tips for the Holidays  (Read 7841 times)
« on: February 26, 2005, 12:56: PM »

10 dynamite tips that will help you get your site on track for the holidays,
optimize sales and profits, and avoid the "Holiday Hangover."

Quick Tip #1: Add a benefit to your headline

If the headline on your web site isn't grabbing your visitors' attention as
soon as they read it, you're losing sales. That's a fact. And nothing grabs
a visitor's attention like a compelling headline with a clear benefit.

Here's a great example from our

Tammie Bowser's site,, sells packages, tools, and
lessons on how to make quilts from photographs -- an unusual holiday gift!
In the past, when visitors first arrived at her site, they saw a headline
that read:


What Is Quilted Photography?


While her visitors are likely to be interested in what quilted photography
is, this isn't a headline that really grabs their attention.

In fact, it's not even really a headline -- it's more of a sub-headline that
would go inside the sales copy. We did a detailed site review for Tammie,
and one of the first suggestions we made was that she use the following


"Learn How to Turn Your Favorite Photograph into a Beautiful Handmade Quilt
-- and Create a Family Heirloom That Will Be Treasured for Generations!"


You'll notice that this headline clearly states a couple of the main
benefits of the product -- that people can use their own photos to make a
unique quilt, and that it's something that will last for a long, long time.

Try jotting down a few key benefits that YOUR product or service offers, and
then working those benefits into an eye-catching headline.

NOTE: A message placed at the top of your page that reads something like
"Welcome to" is NOT a headline. Your headline MUST emphasize a
clear benefit of your product.

If you don't have a headline on your site, make this your holiday gift to
yourself! A well-written headline has the power to literally double -- or
even triple -- your sales overnight!

Quick Tip #2: Feature seasonal specials in the first fold of your homepage

There is never a better time of year for special offers than around the
holidays. Not only are people surfing around actively looking for products
to buy, they are also very receptive to discounts and specials. After all,
everyone knows it's tough to find good deals at this time of year!

It's important that your special be featured on the first fold of your
homepage. (The first fold is the first screen of your homepage that is
visible without scrolling.)

Remember, you want to make it EASY for your visitors to find and buy your
products. The best way to do this is by making sure that every single
visitor to your site sees your featured specials.

And be sure to chose a product for your seasonal special that is a proven
best-seller. Now is NOT the time to be trying to unload products that you
haven't been able to sell during the past 10 months. Feature products that
have been generating solid profits for you all year long.

Quick Tip #3: Send out a holiday e-mail promotion

Remember: The clock is ticking! You really don't have time to go out and
acquire a bunch of new traffic in time for the busy holiday rush.

But the good news is that you don't need to. If you have a list of customers
and/or subscribers, you've already got an incredibly powerful database of
people who are just waiting to make purchases from you!

The reason they can't wait to buy from you? It's the 80/20 Rule: 80 percent
of your sales will come from 20 percent of your customers. People who have
already bought from you are much more likely than anyone else to buy from
you again, because you've already earned their trust.

Whenever possible, you'll want to send out two different promotions -- one
to your existing customers and one to your subscribers. This allows you to
approach each group from a slightly different angle. Here's what I mean:

Your existing customers, who have already bought from you, will want to be
rewarded for their loyalty. What better way to thank them than by giving
them a great deal on one of your most popular products? They'll appreciate
the fact that your offer is being sent to them and them alone, because we
all like to feel special!

If you sell a product that people need to buy only once, you can give your
customers the opportunity to purchase your product as a gift. Remind them
how your product has benefited them, and then explain why it would make a
wonderful gift for their friends or family.

Of course, if you sell a product that people probably wouldn't give as a
gift (lawn fertilizer, for example), you'll need to take a slightly
different approach.

Try something like this: "We know money can be tight around the holidays, so
we've decided to offer our customers a generous discount on lawn fertilizer
until the beginning of the New Year!"

Your subscribers should be sent a slightly different offer. Tell them that
this is a special promotion being offered only to your newsletter
subscribers. Again, you'll want to make sure that you're offering a special
on one of your proven best-sellers.

This little touch of personalization can go a really long way. It's been
proven over and over that people like to be offered a deal that they don't
think other people are going to get.

By making your customers and subscribers feel special, you can dramatically
increase the number of sales that your e-mail promotions generate.

Quick Tip #4: Consider replacing third-party ads

Take a moment and think about whether or not your site is using the first
fold of your web site effectively, especially if you're hosting advertising
for other companies.

Figure out approximately how much money you'll receive from hosting
third-party advertising over the holiday season. Include all revenue from
any banners ads, skyscraper ads, text ads, etc. that are located within the
first fold of your site.

Now, ask yourself whether you could make more by replacing these third-party
ads with ads for your OWN products. For many businesses, even one sale would
be worth more money than their banner ads generate for them in a whole

If it turns out that you could make more money advertising your own products
in place of the paid advertising, drop those banner ads NOW and replace them
with ads for your own products or services. This way, visitors who click on
them will be taken to a product page somewhere on YOUR site, not someone

Quick Tip #5: Offer fast, flexible shipping

By all estimates, 2004 will be the busiest holiday season ever for online
retailers. Forrester Research has predicted that online holiday sales will
grow to $13.2 billion -- a 20% increase over 2003!

But there's still one thing that continues to scare people about buying
online for the holidays: late delivery. There's nothing that drives
customers offline and out to the shopping mall faster than the idea that
their kids' Christmas presents won't arrive until the 28th of December!

If you use a major nationwide delivery service such as UPS or FedEx, you'll
want to feature this information prominently on your web site and ordering
pages. People will feel much more comfortable ordering from a site that uses
one of these services than one that ships through the mail.

Also, be sure to tell your customers that they MUST order by a certain date
in order for you to guarantee delivery by Christmas. This will save you a
lot of headaches when disgruntled customers call you on Christmas morning
wondering why the products they ordered on the 23rd haven't arrived yet!

Quick Tip #6: Offer to ship gifts directly to recipients

If possible, offer to ship your customers' purchases directly to the gift
recipients. This saves your customers the hassle of waiting to receive the
package from you and then sending it out to someone else. This is a great
way to add value to your service without any additional cost to you!

If you do offer to ship gifts directly to the recipient, I can guarantee
that you will have people asking if you offer gift wrapping. This is another
way to give your customers a little extra attention without much additional
cost to you. Of course, if you are expecting thousands of orders and you
work by yourself, this may not be a practical option!

You can also offer your customers the option of adding a holiday card to the
package that you send out. Simply ask them what they want written in the
card, and then include it with the package. You can charge an additional fee
for this or offer it as a free service.

Quick Tip #7: Include some sales material

Each package that you send out as a gift from someone else should include a
flyer, brochure, or coupon from your company. After all, the recipient of
this gift is the perfect potential customer!

Because this person has already seen that you offer great products and
prompt shipping, you stand an EXCELLENT chance of converting that person
into a paying customer -- but only if they know where the product came from!
Always be sure to include some information about your company in gift

Quick Tip #8: Offer online gift certificates

Gift certificates can be an easy way to boost sales for sites that sell
products and services to niche markets.

Here's an example: Joe knows that his Uncle Frank is a serious camera buff,
but Joe doesn't know anything about cameras himself. Joe wants to spend $50
on a gift for Uncle Frank, but has no idea what Uncle Frank would want or
need for his camera at that price.

So, if Joe finds his way to your photography web site and sees that you
offer online gift certificates, his problem is solved! He knows that his
uncle will love the chance to spend $50 on camera equipment, and this way,
Uncle Frank will be able to pick out exactly what he needs.

And the best part is that you haven't just made $50 from Joe -- you've also
acquired Uncle Frank as a customer! Offer him good value on products that he
needs, and you can bet that he'll be back again when he needs to shop for
more camera equipment.

If you are selling a service online, gift certificates are a great way to
turn your service into a gift! No matter what you're selling -- it could be
spa packages or landscape design -- I can guarantee that your service would
make the perfect gift for somebody out there.

Plus, you can remind your customers and subscribers that since gift
certificates can be delivered electronically, they make great last-minute
gifts. Personally, online gift certificates have saved the day for me a few

Quick Tip #9: Explain why your product (or service) would make a great gift

At this time of year especially, it's important to remind people why your
product would make a great gift idea. Of course, sites selling products like
neckties or Christmas ornaments won't need to worry about this as much, but
what if your site is selling something like office supplies?

Write a quick article about why your product or service would make a
practical or unusual gift. You might want to tell a story about how people
who received your services as a gift last year couldn't stop talking about
how unique it was!

You may also want to consider putting together a quick "Holiday Buying
Guide" for your visitors. This can be a great resource for people who visit
your site to buy a gift for someone but don't know much about the products
you sell.

For example, if your site sells wetsuits, you might offer information about
how to choose the right wetsuit as a gift. That way, people who know nothing
about them won't end up buying a waterskiing wetsuit for someone who needs
one for scuba diving.

Quick Tip #10: Offer a "Book Now and Save" promotion

One of the biggest problems encountered by some online businesses is that
they suffer from what I call a "Holiday Hangover." Not only does business
fall off in the month BEFORE the holidays, it also suffers during the month
AFTER, when people don't have any money left!

Because of this, it can be a real challenge for some businesses to get
revenues back on track in the New Year.

One of the best ways to deal with this is to motivate your customers to
purchase your product or service NOW for the New Year in exchange for a
discounted price or value-added bonus. You'll be able to rest a lot easier
over the holidays if you know that you've managed to line up a ton of
business for January.

-------------- Final Thoughts --------------

The holiday season is a make-or-break time of year for many online
businesses. And just because you haven't found the time to set up a
comprehensive holiday marketing strategy doesn't mean that you can't turn a
great profit over the next couple of weeks.

But you do need to take the time to implement some of these quick tips
IMMEDIATELY. And I mean within the next 24 hours!

Stay up late... lock yourself in your office this weekend... do whatever it
takes to get your site ready for the holidays NOW. Every day you wait is
another day of missed opportunities and lost profits!

The great thing is that all of the tips I've just given you can be
implemented quickly and easily. Most of these should only take you an hour
or two to set up on your site, and the results will make you wish you had
started much sooner.
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