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Tips for preparing your business for Cyber Monday

Gift wrapped in green paper with green ribbon
Gift wrapped in green paper with green ribbon

Cyber Monday, the Monday following the U.S.’s Thanksgiving holiday, is a time shoppers expect to find great deals online and retailers expect consumers to spend, spend, spend for the upcoming holiday season. But does Cyber Monday live up to its hype? According to ComScore.com, last year’s Cyber Monday brought in $1.46 billion in sales, up 17 percent from 2011. Overall, 2013 holiday sales are predicted to rise 3.9% to $602.1 billion according to predictions made by the National Retail Federation.

“We predict that online sales will see double-digit growth,” said Charles Tran, founder of CreditDonkey who recently conducted their own  survey of 1,000 shoppers on their holiday shopping habits.  “With each passing year, holiday shoppers are spending more time and money shopping from the peace and comfort of their own homes — or wherever they happen to be with a mobile device.”

Make sure your website and business is prepared for Cyber Monday and the upcoming holiday season with these tips.

Promote your Cyber Monday specials now

“Large retailers send customers an average of 17 emails a month,” said Matt Winn, social media manager for Volusion, a provider of shopping cart software for online sites, in a story on BusinessNewsDaily.com. He suggested small businesses follow suit and pay special attention to their e-mails subject lines, even mentioning Cyber Monday specials within the subject line to attract shoppers.

Use social media account to promote your specials and even offer exclusive deals, such as a coupon of promo code and track how many took advantage of it.

Do you have affiliates? Make sure they know about your specials and have everything they need: graphics, swipe e-mails, links, ads, etc.

You can still use search query data from 2012 to identify top queries around Black Friday/Cyber Monday writes Benjamin Vigneron in a piece for MarketingLand.com. He also suggests building separate campaigns or ad groups for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, etc., to make it easy to enable and disable as needed. You can read more of his paid search tips for the holidays here.

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Create a special Cyber Monday landing page

Consider creating a special landing page on your site just for your Cyber Monday deals. Be sure to clear away any distracting or unnecessary information and that the page loads quickly.

Use holiday images, themes and graphics in your special landing and also in your email campaigns to put your customer in the mood to shop. VectorToons.com is a great source for inexpensive, royalty-free Christmas graphics.

Making sure your website is optimizxed for mobile devices is good advice for any business, but especially for those who cater to the millennial demographic (18 to 34 year olds).  Most millennials plan on doing their shopping via mobile device, about 88% according to Google Think Insights.

Consider offering free shipping and promote additional offers along the bottom of your page similar to what  Amazon does (Customers who bought this item also bought…). Just make sure that these additional offers do not interfere with the checkout process or you could lose the sale altogether.

Most importantly, make sure your website can handle any extra traffic you receive. Contact your hosting company now and make sure you expand your bandwidth.

Create repeat customers

It’s great to make a sale, but don’t stop there. Business owners should take steps to ensure a return trip from shoppers who may be visiting their website for the first time on Cyber Monday. Include an online form that allows customers’ to sign up for your newsletters upon checkout, allowing them to be contacted again regarding future sales and promotions.

Make sure you monitor social media during the holiday season to address any customer service-related issues quickly.

Most marketers have started their holiday shopping marketing blitz back in October, but if you are late, don’t feel bad. Consider that most shoppers don’t start shopping till mid-to-late December and many, about 25%, won’t finish buying until the last minute.