Cyber Monday may be over already, but it’s still a good idea to begin prepping for next year. Preparing early for Cyber Monday is especially important because in-store sales on Black Friday were down from last year due to more people buying online. Take advantage of this trend by getting ready for the big day next year. From analyzing your marketing success to making sure your servers can handle the increased traffic, there’s a lot to do.
1 Year In Advance: Review What Worked & What Didn’t
Take a look back at the marketing and advertising you used this year: what worked and what didn’t? Did your email marketing campaign get as many sign-ups as you hoped? Or perhaps you didn’t use your social media correctly in order to spread the word of your awesome deals. Navigating the intricacies of your marketing and social media tactics will help you get a better grasp on what needs to be improved upon.
Know Your Social Media
Put together a report that highlights what worked on social media and what didn’t. Social media is especially tricky as it’s the fastest changing part of the internet. Perhaps you spread yourself too thin on social media, or focused too much on one platform. What works for one platform won’t necessarily work on another—you must know where your audience is and how to use the platform. This deep knowledge requires constant tracking throughout the year, so you better get started.
Get Help with Your Email Marketing
If your email marketing didn’t get any takers, consider investing in an email campaign service like MailChimp. It can help you generate leads and is easy to integrate into sites like WordPress. With email marketing, you can easily and quickly reach customers to notify them of deals throughout the year—but only if it’s done right. If you don’t know how to do an email campaign, a professional who has experience will be able to help you. They will teach you how to keep the emails related to your business and deals without becoming spammy and annoying to customers.
10 Months in Advance: Make Changes According to Customer Feedback
Did customers contact you about your website or the product they received? Don’t ignore them. Getting feedback from your customers is an important step in improving your site and your strategy.
Take these criticisms and compliments as a starting point to see what you need to improve and what worked. As a result, you’re sure to improve upon your site for next Cyber Monday and customers will be pleased to see that you listened to them.
If you didn’t have a dedicated social media account during your last sale, now is the time to set one up. Talk to your customers, respond to their needs, and ask them for their feedback. They may say anything from “your checkout confusing” to “Your customer service was great!” Asking for feedback can be scary since you don’t know what you’ll get, but it’s the only way you can improve.
9+ Months In Advance: Optimize Your Site for Mobile Sales
How did your site do when it came to mobile sales? Good? Not so great? More people are buying products from their mobile devices to make purchases, so the benefits of having a mobile site greatly outweigh the cons.
In 2013, mobile shoppers spent “an average of $329 per order when on tablets and $250 when on phones.” In a survey this year, 41 percent of shoppers said that they would use their mobile device to make a purchase. In addition, more people will use their devices to get information on a-brick and-mortar store and compare prices.
Making sure that it’s easy for customers to navigate and buy from your site on a mobile device is extremely important for those who tend to buy on-the-go. Don’t overload customers with lots of forms to fill out for at checkout.
2 Months In Advance: Choose Sales Early & Advertise Accordingly
By “prepare early,” I don’t mean start rolling out the holiday deals in July. I mean choose start and end dates for sales and analyze the results. Since customers look for and research deals weeks in advance of Cyber Monday, prepare and organize your sales. Preparing in advance will make it easier to advertise Cyber Monday deals to your customers early. That way, they can easily compare your deals to other stores rather than disregarding your company altogether. When prepared months in advance, it will save you a lot of headaches and stress worrying over what sales are going to take place and how to advertise them.
1 Month in Advance: Make Sure Your Servers Can Handle the Traffic
Imagine you’ve found a great deal online and can’t wait to order it. You put it into your shopping cart and click “Check Out.” Then, you wait. And wait. Your screen is loading for the longest time and then you get the dreaded message, “Connection timed out. Please try again later.” Is there anything more frustrating?
Thanks to the large amount of traffic your website gets on Cyber Monday, customers coming to your site may find themselves trying to connect to a website that’s bogged down. Unless they’re really gung-ho about buying the product from your site, they may just choose to buy it elsewhere.
If you found that your site was having problems keeping up with the increased traffic during this year’s Cyber Monday, take steps to make sure it can handle it next year:
- Prepare a “lightweight version” of your site. According to Google Webmasters, a lightweight version can be a mobile site or one with reduced elements like large images or graphics.
- Use static HTML pages over dynamic ones to reduce the load on your server.
- Test your servers before the big day to see how much your site can handle.
While it’s a good idea to plan ahead, make sure that you don’t over plan. Online trends are always changing and what may work one month may not work the next. If you’re too set in a plan, then you won’t know what to do if it goes wrong. So it’s a good idea to have a backup. When creating a plan, think to yourself, “If I do this, what will my options be if it doesn’t work out?” If your top product sells out, do you have a product you can sell in its place or a way to get more shipped in? Give yourself some wiggle room and you’re sure to be able to handle whatever wrench is thrown at you.