Holiday rush or holiday meltdown

The holiday season is the busiest time of year for many retail businesses and ecommerce websites in the US and other countries.

Unfortunately for many B2B companies, the holiday season happens to be the dead zone for annual sales. My personal industry slows down about a week before thanksgiving, and with the exception of a few days in December, doesn’t pick back up until mid-January. Interestingly enough, I can spend the same on advertising during these dark hours and get a 70% less return on each dollar I burn.

Bad Holiday Business

Since there is little (Not Nothing) a business can do to maintain their level of sales, or sign-ups, the holiday offers a perfect time to make changes.

Here are 5 things you can do on your B2B website this holiday season when times are slow, to make your site even better when traffic picks back up.

  1. Cleanup your website.
  2. Start a SEO campaign.
  3. Optimize your contact or checkout path.
  4. Get a better tracking system.
  5. Optimize your PPC campaign.

1. Cleanup your website

The best time to make major changes on your website is when it will effect the least amount of people. The holiday is the perfect time because traffic can dip to 50% of normal and lower in some instances. This makes it ideal to redesign just about anything you need on your website. You can change the layout, add a lot of new content, create new sections of your website, and just generally fix anything that has been in need of a makeover. You could even update your look with a new logo.

recommendation: Convert your site to a CSS based, table free design. Also, update your site to a fluid width layout so that visitors with any size browser window can equally enjoy your website.

2. Start a SEO campaign

Hopefully you already work on optimizing your site and building content that makes other website owners want to link to you. If not, now is the perfect time to create some linkbait, clean up that html code on your site, submit to some good directories, and research all the in’s and out’s of SEO.

recommendation: If you’re new to SEO or just aren’t sure of your knowledge, buy Aaron Wall’s SEO Book, it’s well worth the $80. Also don’t forget to start reading the various SEO blogs for some great information from industry professionals.

3. Optimize your contact or checkout path

What good is all that traffic to your website, if you fails to convert your visitors into shoppers? You can read a few books on web usability, and optimize your checkout or lead generating path. There are also a number of service providers that will closely scrutinize your checkout path and give you a detailed report on their analysis and recommendations.

recommendation: If you haven’t read Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think, go get a copy right now. While you’re there pick up Jakob Neilson’s Prioritizing Web Usability and Designing Web Usability. Lastly, read everything written by Bryan Eisenberg. You wont be disappointed.

If you want an outside professional to analyze something on your site like your shopping cart, contact form path, of checkout forms, take a look at usability effect.

4. Get a better tracking system

Do you know where your visitors come from, what they do when they get to your website, where the leave from, and how long they stay on each page? Do you know your shopping cart abandonment, or which page visitors stay for the shortest period of time? Getting a solid analytics or tracking system is key to getting the most from your website visitors, and is vital in figuring out where visitors run into problems on your site and how to fix them.

recommendation: At the very least get google analytics or another free program for website analytics. If you need a robust, highly featured system, take a look at clicktracks, omniture, or websidestory. Start tracking your visitors and make improvement to your site based on statistics, not beliefs.

5. Optimize your PPC campaign

PPC advertising can be one of the most effective marketing tools available. But, since PPC is an instant way to get traffic with no long term SEO or other traffic benefit, it is extremely important to make every penny count. Optimizing a PPC campaign can include finding new relevant key words, optimizing ads, making keyword specific landing pages, and making the most of your budget by bidding carefully.

recommendation: Read the book, ‘Winning results with Google Adwords’ which will help you get the most out of your Adwords and Overture campaigns. The Mindvalley Blog also frequently posts information on how to get more out of your Google Adwords campaign.

If you have a lot of keywords or a very high monthly budget in your yahoo search marketing (Overture) campaign, I highly recommend using PPC Pro to manage you campaign. It easily pays for itself monthly on my overture campaigns.

If you are looking for another channel to advertise on, look at textlinkads, and adbrite for text link advertising.

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1 Comment:
  1. Flexible houses 13 Nov, 2007

    Good tips not to waste time and money.

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