Q4 shopping is in full force with costume sales rising and Oktoberfest around the corner. With kids back in school, mailmen and women getting ready to stock up on advil and marketers ready for 12 and 18 hour days, what are you doing to maximize your sales for Q4? Here are 5 things that Bloggers, Ecommerce shops and Affiliate Managers need to start on now so they don’t miss out later.
1. Gift Guides – The one time of year that many sites that normally only send a click or two can actually drive sales is Q4. One of the ways they do this is by creating a gift guide. (Here is a post I did on how to create a unique gift guide that people may want to shop from). By creating one early enough and including unique products or categories, you will have time to approach the companies and merchants you want to sponsor it while they still have budgets to spend. From the other side, brands and Affiliate Managers can take priority and reserve this space while Bloggers are just thinking about starting to build theirs out. By providing them with unique ideas or doing some of the work for them, they may appreciate it and be more receptive to giving you extra space or a paid placement. Right now is the time where you will have the ability to get prime real estate by negotiating and reserving open spaces. If you waited too long last year, you may have missed when your readers had already spent money on their higher priced items and stocking stuffers and advertisers may have missed opened spaces. Start talking to the partners you want to work with now and get yourself in front of them and your placements reserved.
2. Figure out your impulse buy products and schedule them. You have just enough time to index for impulse buy products. If you’ve been keeping track of them over the year and know people will shop for them, stocking stuffers, accessories, etc…, now is the time to start loading them into your social schedulers and other tools. By doing this now you won’t forget about them later. By planning them out now you can also get your merchants to provide you with coupons ahead of time so you can add an extra impulse and hopefully generate more sales. If you think of what would be cool for halloween, halloween parties or halloween accessories, schedule them now. Next month do Thanksgiving and pre-black friday/cyber monday specials and then next month plan your Q4 holiday impulse buy products.
3. Write and optimize your pages now! You still have time to optimize product pages to rank for holiday shopping. By writing enough copy, formatting the page properly and building enough backlinks, you can get extra sales through SEO and long tail that you would have missed. Think about what could be huge for holiday shopping and fix your descriptions and onsite issues. Then try to add more pages and really work on your SEO. It isn’t too late to do this, you just have to pick what the best products are and which ones you have a good chance to rank for with less time. I go over a bit of this in my post learn how to blog for free.
4. Prep your pinboards. Pinterest is a huge sales driver and this holiday season we should see it popping up in our analytics packages regularly. This week you need to sit down, think of a few different pinboard ideas. You should probably set up around 5 of them. You’ll want to make sure that they are not spammy, are relevant to your audience or readers and that you can incorporate some of your products into them. By doing this you can build a following for your boards, start getting people to pin and share them and test what may or may not work. Then when holiday shopping gets a lot stronger, you may have a better idea of what people will react to and can focus on those to drive sales.
5. Prep your newsletter and email campaigns now. One thing that always gets put as a last priority, but can drive sales, are content based and some sales newsletters. Everyone is running around like crazy during Q4 and you can easily run out of time to write a newsletter that adds value to your readers or customers. By thinking ahead and writing them now when you aren’t as busy you can have a solid template that only needs a few tweaks for when you don’t have time to produce anything that you would be proud of during Q4.
There are a million things to do before Q4 and since Halloween shopping has already started, everyone is running out of time to actually plan for it. Right now you should think about what you can do ahead of time so that Q4 is a bit less crazy and your campaigns are the way you want them. By working out deals with site owners that can drive sales or while they have space or by contacting your advertisers, prepping your campaigns and newsletters and also working on optimize your product or category pages for long tail and general terms, you can help give yourself an advantage for Q4.