The busiest shopping days of the year are fast approaching. That’s right – the weekend following American Thanksgiving – better known as the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend will soon be upon us. And online sales are growing. Last year, there were more online shoppers (142.2 million) than there were shoppers in stores (124 million)[i] during this infamous shopping weekend.

But this year, with COVID-19, social distancing, and even the threat of more lockdowns, digital marketing and online shopping platforms will be more important than ever. During the pandemic, the retail industry has been one of the hardest hit by the economic fallout. But those who have been able to pivot and take advantage of online opportunities have not only been able to survive – they have been able to thrive.

In fact, according to a report by Shopify, retailers who used their omnichannel platform were able to make up for 94% of lost POS sales through e-commerce.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our behaviours in many ways. Meetings are now held on platforms such as Zoom, WebEx, and Microsoft Teams; we are picking out face masks that match our outfits; and we are buying more online.

52% of buyers that were surveyed by Shopify said that because of COVID, they have been buying more online, and many people who had never made a purchase online before the lockdown became online buyers.

How can your business increase its online sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

If most of your business’s sales to date have been in-store so far, you may be wondering how you can take advantage of this increasingly common shopping behaviour. The following are a few tips that will help you up your game when it comes to digital marketing and online sales.

Email Marketing

One of the things that makes email marketing so effective is that it can be customized to showcase exactly the type of products a given customer is interested in. Capturing email addresses can be done in-store, which then allows you to add your customers to your newsletter list.

Furthermore, when customers visit your website and leave items in their shopping cart without checking out – as about 70% of all customers do[ii] – a gentle email reminder can often persuade them to come back and complete their purchase.

Social Media

Social media is another great outlet to promote your products online and drive customers to your website. Platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram can be used to showcase your business and engage your audience.

On Instagram, for example, 90% of users follow at least one business. To get started on social media, you don’t have to jump on every platform. Simply pick one or two that will be most likely to reach your target audience.

Local Listings and Reviews

Have you ever noticed that when you google something like “car repair shops” or “Thai restaurants,” that the results come back with listings of local businesses? That’s because the companies in those search results have learned how to take advantage of platforms like “Google My Business” and “Yelp.”

Setting up and maintaining these local listings should be considered a critical component of your digital marketing strategy. And once you have these listings set up, you should encourage your customers to leave positive reviews. After all, 95% of online shoppers say that they read customer reviews before making a purchase.[iii]

SEO and Content Marketing

Of course, before customers can make Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases from your online store, they first have to be able to find your website. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and content marketing can help make that happen.

SEO consists of a variety of on-site and off-site techniques (use of backlinks, loading speed, use of headers, etc.) that are favourable to the major search engines’ algorithms and that make your website more likely to be listed near the top of the search results when web users search for specific keywords and phrases.

Content marketing (such as blogs, white papers, etc.) are part of SEO as they can help your website score higher for various keywords, but it also serves to set your company up as an authority in a given field. So even if a website visitor is not ready to make a purchase then and there, they will have reason to keep coming back to your site and hopefully eventually become a customer.

Digital Ads

Digital ads such as Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising are another effective way to drive traffic to your site. Whereas SEO can take some time to develop, PPC ads can get you to the top of the search engine results immediately if you have the budget to pay for the ads.

Keep in mind, however, that in order for a digital ad campaign to be effective, keywords and phrases should be chosen carefully, and best practices (such as creating a separate landing page for your ad) should be employed.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is another form of digital marketing that has been gaining popularity over the years. Through affiliate marketing, retailers can take advantage of a network of partners who can promote their products to their audiences in exchange for a commission on what they sell.

The average order volume (AOV) for purchases made through affiliate links is 21% higher than it is on other channels and can lead to a sales increase of as much as 58% for the retailer.

Influencer Marketing

Although it may sound cheesy to some, influencer marketing is effective. In fact, according to AdWeek, 49% of customers say they have made a purchase based on an influencer’s recommendation.

Referral Programs

Finally, it’s important to note that word-of-mouth referrals from happy customers is always a great form of marketing, whether it’s in person or online. By having a simple yet organized way that your customers can spread the good word about your business, you will be helping to drive your sales.

Contact Rocket Digital today.

Would you like more strategies and help with your digital marketing efforts before Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend? If so, contact the team at Rocket Digital today. We can conduct a free website audit and help you put a plan together to help your business thrive online this holiday season.