4 Insights to Attract More Customers During the 2020 Holiday Season

4 Insights to Attract More Customers During the 2020 Holiday Season

Amidst changing consumer preferences, new COVID-related safety measures, and supply-chain setbacks, many marketers are adapting their playbooks in preparation for an unprecedented holiday season. With the majority of consumers working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) events are bound to be unprecedented.

Big retailers are also closing brick and mortar locations to address public health concerns and to decrease overhead costs. As a result, the current climate is quite unpredictable and at times unsteady. How can brands cut through the noise ahead of the Holiday season to win big?

It’s important for advertisers and brands alike to take a close look at the recent consumer trends in order to properly pivot in order to have a successful Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Holiday Season. Read on for key pre-Black Friday insights and findings.


Black Friday and Cyber Monday Starts Early

Due to the unprecedented and sometimes chaotic nature of the global pandemic, it’s no surprise that consumers may feel overwhelmed or indecisive. A recent consumer report by Fluent revealed that 59% of consumers are unsure when or how they will conduct their holiday shopping.

Holiday shopping and black friday

This presents advertisers with a keen opportunity to help consumers make a holiday shopping plan. By making sure online offers and shopping experiences closely mimic in-person shopping experiences, advertisers can tap into consumers’ needs for a sense of normalcy and familiarity.

Further, many brands are launching their holiday and BFCM deals earlier this year. Walmart started promoting their annual Black Friday sale on the 4th of November. Some brands are even planning on continuing to have BFCM offers beyond the thanksgiving weekend as an incentive to get indecisive shoppers to engage.

This may be an advantageous tactic, especially because as we draw near to the holidays, shipping times are expected to increase because online orders have doubled during the pandemic — pre-Holiday season no less. As a brand, it’s important to be very vocal about shipping times. Having constant reminders on websites, in ads and on social media will help to ensure that consumers know when they need to place an order by to receive their delivery in time for the holidays. Recently, there’s also been a shift towards offering free expedited shipping, as opposed to just free standard shipping.


Was Amazon Prime Day Too Early?

Another big change this year was Amazon Prime Day. Amazon typically holds their annual 2-day savings event during the summer. This year however, they opted to have it in October.

According to Fluent’s consumer Pulse report, 22% of surveyed consumer didn’t shop this prime day. Prime day was likely too close to Black Friday to make it worth it for consumers who didn’t participate this year. These consumers are likely waiting for better deals, like the ones typically seen during BFCM. What does this mean for your brand? COVID-19 has led to individuals being placed on leave or furloughed. At this time, shoppers may be putting a greater emphasis on the value of offers and sales. As a result, there has been a recent shift towards deep discounting with some marketers promoting 70% off first-time purchases.

Amazon Prime Day

Another reason for the reduced Prime day participation could be that certain consumers could have been waiting to make up their mind. As we saw from Fluent’s findings, users may not know how to go about shopping this holiday season. This is an opportunity for advertisers to reduce friction and to remove barriers to entry. Making their holiday shopping as painless as possible is sure to be a strong motivator.

Lastly, those who did participate in this year’s Prime day savings event spent more than in previous years. This suggests that consumers who do have the means may be spending more online than ever before. There’s also been an uptick in ‘self-gifting’, likely as a result of restrictions and health guidelines and the impact they’ve had on people’s ‘self-care’ routines.


Mimic In-Person Shopping Where Possible

The pandemic has brought on quite a few unique shopping experiences. More than ever, there is an emphasis on Click and Collect, Buy Online Pick-Up in Store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup orders to ease tensions around shopping in stores. There is also a big emphasis on highlighting any changes that have been made to ensure in-store safety protocols.

Holiday shopping black friday

Where pickup or in-store shopping experiences aren’t possible, it’s important to make sure that online shopping experiences feel familiar and comfortable to shoppers.

This includes:

  1. Adding deep links to your emails, ads or app notifications and push notifications will make it easier for shoppers to find items they’re interested in.
  2. Adding a pop-up before users check out can entice users to grab a few more items like they would in a check-out aisle in stores.
  3. Offering ‘at-home kits’ for experiences users can no longer have in person (for example, a pre-cooked Thanksgiving meal or an at-home gel manicure set) can increase the bottom line by tapping into new audiences while filling a gap in the market caused by restrictions and closure.

If you’re pivoting, pivot with intention. This is a great time to do it!


Christmas Compassion – Give the Gift of Giving

Since a large number of people are concerned about savings, it’d be greatly advantageous for advertisers to lean into that; people are looking for help this year given that loads of folks have been affected by COVID-19. Any deal or offer that will lower a barrier to entry for shoppers will yield better results.

holiday gifting black friday

There has also been a shift recently where brands are leaning in to more philanthropic and ‘here to help’ messaging and offers to ease concerns around holiday spending and expensive items. Others are actually giving back (via their offers) to COVID relief initiatives, unemployment, or homelessness relief programs. There’s also a big focus on helping small and local businesses who may be struggling due to the pandemic.

Ensuring that messaging and collateral leverages these points where possible (and in a genuine way) is a great way to help consumers get through their gift lists while simultaneously giving back to the community.


Hit the Ground Running this Holiday Season

Given these insights, advertisers should aim to offer more aggressive deals, start Black Friday deals earlier and potentially after Thanksgiving to catch late buyers, and add ‘up-selling’ campaigns to their media plans to capture multi/big purchase consumers.

For more holiday shopping tips and tricks, make sure to watch Fluent’s latest webinar, Holiday Shopping Insights: Trends & Insights for Marketers.

If you are interested in taking your performance to the next level, let’s chat. We’re here to help!

The State of Local SEO and How to Get More Local Customers

The State of Local SEO and How to Get More Local Customers

Do you want to acquire more local customers from search?… Of course, you do!

First, you need to understand that SEO is no longer the way it used to be. A lot of has changed. In fact, the impact of these changes are more glaring in local search engine optimization.

When it comes to Local SEO, you need to get serious with Google My Business Page and citations.

When you implement both practices, you’re telling local consumers and search engines alike that you’re open for business. And your sales will possibly increase.

Remember that local searches are more likely to lead to sales, compared to non-local searches. According to a research study by Google, 18% of local smartphone searches generated a purchase within 24 hours.

Of course, links are still important to search rankings, but the approach has changed a lot in the last 3 years. You now need to understand the on-page technicalities first, before moving out to get links.

Make no mistakes about it. Modern SEO boils down to listening to and attending to your website’s visitor – people who consume your content, after clicking on your search result from Google organic listings.

It’s no secret that you have to do more to thrive in the search these days. If you choose to manipulate search using blackhat techniques, you may end up losing your precious rankings.

That’s why I created this in-depth article, to help you understand the State of Local SEO & where to pay attention now.

Your SEO is not all about ranking #1

If you think that SEO is all about getting ranked in #1 position, then you’re making a deadly mistake. Of course who wouldn’t desire that spot – but that’s not the focus.

At the end of the day, the focus of SEO is to build sustainable rankings for your target keywords. You want to rank today, tomorrow, and even next year.

For this to happen, you need an effective social media strategy – because social signals have become an integral part of organic ranking factors.

Once you pass some social juice to your web pages, every other effort would yield better results. In fact, your CTR will weigh more – because you have a lot of people engaging with your content on social media sites.

So the #1 result in Google may not always get the most clicks. Remember that majority of your searchers, especially those outside internet marketing field don’t know the difference between organic and paid search results.

To a large extent, what determines whether a search result (both organic and paid) gets clicked on is the title, meta description, and page URL. And more importantly, the local map packs with reviews and star ratings.

For example, I searched for “plumber” but I don’t feel excited with these results. So I’ll skip them and scroll down a bit.

Scrolling down the same page, a search result in the Google maps caught my attention. I thought I should click on this one. With all these reviews and ratings from real customers, how can I go wrong?

Your localized link is your new advantage

In today’s local rankings, where you got your inbound links play a vital role in the search rankings.

More so, if you get more links from relevant directories and websites in the same geographical area, Google may reward you better.

And for that to work, you need to gain links to your brand social media, to your product page (or specific service page), and pass more link juice to your video content. [image

To surmount your competition, you don’t need the best website design or a huge marketing budget. You need compelling content and trusted backlinks. It’s your new advantage.

Compelling content will help you rank for several long-tail keywords that you’re not directly targeting. And being on Google’s first page drives more clicks to your local business landing pages.

Note that when you get few inbound links from a website with high domain authority, this can improve your rankings for highly competitive keyword phrases.

On the flip side, low domain authority websites can result in a nose dive for your web pages that are already climbing the top of organic listings. Ahrefs conducted an exclusive research study in this respect.

If you look at it closely, you’ll agree with me that modern SEO isn’t about keywords, but on the searcher’s intent.

For example, why do people search for “small business tools” in Google?

Are they looking for tools to buy, or they just want to learn how fast new tools are being released in the small business field?

An in-depth market research will answer that question.

Higher Organic Rankings depends on how much you engage your site users

Truly, links are the lifeblood of local search rankings.

But all links are not created equal.

Since 2014, brands that proactively research authority websites, build relationships, and eventually earned links to their web pages, have seen a spike in organic rankings as the year goes by.

The imminent challenge that local businesses face is the time and expertise to build these links. If you’re in the same both, the solution is to:

Build engagement with site visitors.

Engagement is so important.

For instance, when website visitors are engaged, they’ll share content, cite it, leave valuable comments, write honest reviews, and push your brand to the spotlight through word of mouth.

When I did a search for plumber earlier, did you notice what inspired me to click on a search result?

Reviews and star ratings.

You’ll often find reviews and star ratings in rich snippets of the organic search results.

Reviews are hard to get.

Reviews speak volumes and show how responsive your customers and website visitors are towards your content or product.

Customer reviews may not improve your search rankings (at least Google hasn’t made it clear yet), but it improves user experience.

Consequently, the more reviews your local business garner, the more inspired and ready your customers will be. It can increase your product orders.

From the results above, I can boldly say that the trust level you have with customers can be directly or indirectly traced to how engaging your content is.

Yes the term “content engagement” has become a buzzword. So many local businesses throw it around, but only a few people truly knows what it means.

Of course engagement could mean several things at the same time. But when it comes to getting more local customers through content, the engagement that you want can be summarized in these few points:

  • Get local clients to click on your headline and read your content.
  • Your content inspires local clients to call your business.
  • Your ideal customers find your physical business address, and take steps to visit you now or later.
  • Get customers to place order on your online store.

And so forth.

At the end of the day, you want to track conversions, not some vanity metrics like reach, comments, and so on.

However, you can increase content engagement if you understand the consumer engagement cycle. This is more or less the various paths that your ideal customer must tour, before deciding on your business.

Conclusion

Local SEO is all about telling great story of your brand without rambling endlessly. You don’t have to be a natural-born storyteller.

Great storytelling entrepreneurs thrive on a simple secret:

They understand their audience more than the average Joe.

In your page title, page description, and within your content, find reasons to tell stories that pique the user’s mind. Don’t stuff keywords. Instead, stuff your content with stories.

This is Marcus Sheridan’s strategy. Though he’s known as a pools guy, but by telling stories of his brand and the struggles he had to go through, his local business went international.

And guess what? Today, he generates more traffic from organic searches. Every challenge that you’ve experienced is a goldmine when creating content.

Tap into it – and tell the story – while driving your brand message home. Your local customers will understand it better.

 

This article was a contribution from Michael Chibuzor, who is a seasoned freelance writer. If you’re looking for long-form articles that drives traffic and sales, visit ContentMarketingUp.com.

Case Study: How Shopify Uses White Hat SEO Tactics To Get Customers

Case Study: How Shopify Uses White Hat SEO Tactics To Get Customers

Have you had the chance to look at the backlinks for #1 ranked content pages across diverse industries? Well, it’s easier said than done. It’s a lot of hard work.

However, we chose eCommerce and decided to check thousands of links that point to Shopify (the blog).

Here’s what we found:

What we found amazed us. We weren’t looking at these backlinks per se, but at the patterns, the correlations, and essentially, we wanted to know why Shopify ranks #1 for several eCommerce-related keywords.

Going a step further, we uncovered the importance of content and why your choice of a particular content format matters.

For example, for any given keyword, I might write a “how to” post while you write a “case study” post. Given that your domain authority and mine are exactly the same and let’s assume we get the same amount of social shares, truth is, our rankings will vary.

My hope is that after reading this case study, you’ll properly align your SEO tactics and focus more on whitehat – instead of wearing a black or gray hat.

But before we get into the Shopify’s whitehat SEO tactics, let’s get the basics out of the way.

What is white hat SEO?

It simply refers to any practice that improves your search visibility on a search engine’s organic listings page and makes the users happy. In other words, white hat SEO is aimed at obeying search engines guidelines. It puts the users first.

Be it link building, content creation, on-page optimization, and more, you’ve made a choice to do it legitimately — instead of trying to manipulate search results.

Let’s bring it home: For most people who do SEO, the major concern is to improve their rankings. But that may not be the goal of any website that chooses white hat tactics.

For example, Shopify’s search approach isn’t necessarily to boost search rankings. But rather, they create content to help the users have a proper understanding of ecommerce in general, and running a profitable online store business, to be specific.

Similarly, any practice that’s aimed at inducing search rankings isn’t white hat. It must be another type of hat, and I’m sure Google doesn’t like it.

An overview of Shopify’s SEO tactics

More than 350,000 businesses use Shopify to power their online stores. How do you think Shopify acquires these customers? Is there a secret to their SEO strategy?

Well, it’s not really a secret, except you don’t know it. But we do because we invested 29 hours of our time to study their strategy.

When using SEMRush, the first thing we notice is that Shopify currently ranks for more than 717,000 keywords in the organic search in the US:

But in the Uk, the number of keywords that brings organic traffic is about 70,000.

Why am I showing you these results?

Well, there are two reasons;

  1. First, Shopify has more users in the US than Uk. Obviously, there are more users who share their content and link to them in the US.
  2. Second, you have the opportunity to dominate some of the keywords that Shopify isn’t ranking for in the Uk if you’re an ecommerce entrepreneur. But even if you’re not, you can see patterns that your competitors are using and loopholes to exploit.

Moving on, let’s see the internal structure at Shopify.

Internal page linking

Of course, there are several factors that contribute to a sustainable ranking in Google but internal linking is pivotal.

During our analysis, we noticed that for every post that Shopify publishes on its blog, there’s a minimum of 7 internal links (these are links that points to internal pages; articles that were previously published on the site).

This screenshot is only a section of Shopify’s post. Can you see the seven internal links?

I’m sure you’re used to internal linking. But are you aware of its impact on search performance?

According to Graham Charlton from Search Engine Watch, internal links sends a clear signal to Google that this page is relevant to search users typing in that keyword.

Since an internal link is any link from one page of your domain to another page on the same domain, it becomes clear that if you’re looking to rank an older post that you published, interlinking it with new pages could improve its rankings.

And more importantly, it will help users get access to your older posts and benefit from them.

This is in line with Google’s objective: To build an interconnected web, where users can find exactly what they’re looking for in the search engine.

So from our analysis of Shopify’s white hat SEO technique, which the company may not be deliberate about, we found that internal linking helped a lot.

To make it clearer, one of the keywords that Shopify ranks #1 for in Google is “dropshipping guide.”

That particular page has 16 internal links.

It’s detailed and rich, which brings us to the next phase.

Rich and evergreen content

I don’t have an online store, neither do I promote one. But one thing I observed while analyzing Shopify’s SEO strategy is that they publish only rich and evergreen content.

In fact, when you visit their blog page, you’ll hardly see any post on generic topics. You will either see a case study, an ultimate guide, an interview, or an analysis. Take a look:

This Shopify’s dropshipping guide, for example, contains 11 chapters (i.e., pages). I think it’s the most detailed guide on this topic ever. No wonder the page ranks #1 for that high-volume keyword.

If I tell you that Google is scouring the entire web looking for rich and comprehensive content, would you argue it?

I don’t think so. When you do a search for any random keyword (as long as they’re not question-based), what you’ll see is a comprehensive content.

Rand Fishkin, the founder of Moz in his whiteboard friday teachings a few months ago gave an overview of what to include in your content to make it richer and more useful for your audience.

Most importantly, Google will deem your page more relevant and invaluable to searchers who search for that keyword or related keywords.

Comprehensive content is the best way to beat your competitors and 10x your content.

When you create such a content, you’ll intimidate your competitors and cause them to only envision creating such content, but the discipline to pull a seat and do it will not be there. That’s exactly what Shopify does with each content they create.

If you want to dominate organic search results with your content, the first thing that you have to do is change your mindset about link building. Here’s how it works:

  • Create compelling content first
  • Then build/earn links to it

Most website owners do it the wrong way. They first learn all the link building strategies, but they suck at content creation.

It’s not going to work that way. You’re either going to create 10x content than your competitors that are already ranking higher in the organic listings or you’ll not see results.

How to make your content better than your competitors

a). Write irresistible headlines: Brian Clark said that 8 out of 10 people will click on your headline. Obviously, he’s not lying. But before you write your headlines, take a look at the top 10 rankings for your keyword, see what they did and then craft a better headline.

For example, here are some of the headlines in Google for the search term “influencer marketing tips”:

At a glance, you can see that the headlines are compelling. But that doesn’t mean you can’t improve yours. You could make yours much more beneficial and inviting.

Here are some examples:

  • 25 Powerful Influencer Marketing Tips You Can Implement Now
  • 7 Best Influencer Marketing Tips That I Used To Grow My Startup
  • Influencer Marketing Tips: How to Connect with Influencer Quickly

These are headlines that I created without much research. If I had more time, I’d make something more compelling. But you get the point?

b). Improve your meta description: Search users read your meta description. Data from KISSmetrics proves it. In short, you should think less about SEO and more about click-throughs. Ask questions in your descriptions, and tell users to click and find out more.

c). Go in-depth: If your competitors merely touched the surface of a very important topic/subject, you’ve got an opportunity to do better. You should go in-depth; explain every detail. Touch every aspect of the topic.

For example, if you want to create a post on Google AdWords ads, don’t be surprised if you found that most of the pages that are ranking very high in Google at the moment are not in-depth.

In-depth content is relative. But as a rule of thumb, you need to break down your topic step-by-step.

If searchers are looking to start a consulting business, for example, your article should help them in every way possible. I used this strategy in my recent SEO case study – I found that most of the case studies aren’t detailed and the focus is on one company.

But I changed all of that. I conducted my research, asked questions, and compiled 21 companies and their SEO strategies.

If you’re detailed in your content, then you can’t expect a 1000-word post at the end of the day. It should be between 2,000 – 10,000 words. No fluffs. But real value.

Such type of content is a natural search engine magnet – give it 60 – 90 days and you’ll be amazed at its organic positioning. And guess what? You don’t even have to build hundreds of links to it.

When we analyzed 3,236 Shopify’s posts, we found that 73% of them contains more than 2,000 words.

And of course, an in-depth content isn’t complete without visuals. You need to use your own data (you can always get these visual charts and screenshots from the SEO tools and platforms) that you’re using.

To get even better results from your content, create a relevant infographic and embed into the post.

This would help website visitors trust you more — because you’ve given them the choice to either read the lengthy article or learn from your infographic.

As you can tell, creating comprehensive content is difficult, but that’s what Shopify does every other week and the results are obvious for all to see.

Editorial links powerhouse

Shopify has a great strategy for earning editorial links. Interestingly, we’ve covered how they create comprehensive content on virtually every eCommerce-related topic. This has earned them natural links to rank higher in Google.

Here’s how WordStream defines an editorial link:

“An editorial link is a link that results from a site having good content and marketing techniques. An editorial link is not paid for or directly requested, as is the case with acquired links. Editorial links are part of a strong link profile.”

I’m not aware that Shopify has a team of guest bloggers who pitch other authority blogs to get them published. I’m also not aware of the links the company has purchased to boost their rankings.

It was all editorial. Shopify has great content and as a result of that, people link to them. This has made their link profile stronger than ever. Their dropshipping guide in particular has earned more than 1220 backlinks from 189 referring domains.

Note: Majority of the websites that link to Shopify’s guide are eCommerce-related, while others are media websites, such as Mashable, Lifehacker.com, and more.

Trending keywords selection strategy

Before we concluded our Shopify analysis, we also examined their keyword strategy and found that the company follows a different approach.

Yes, they capitalize on trending keywords (topics).

Why is this important?

Well, you’ve got to know that Google Keywords Planner is outdated. Or to put it mildly, Google uses past data to gauge popularity.

But you and I know that web users are dynamic and needs change over time. So, instead of using Keywords Planner or any third-party research tool to find keyword, you’re better of creating content around trending keywords.

As an example, when Shopify created their dropshipping guide, how to start online store, and several other popular guides that generate a large percentage of its traffic, they used trends.

As of 2012/2013, the keyword “dropshipping guide” wasn’t popular at all. But that notwithstanding, Shopify plunged in, researched on it and created one of the best guides ever. Look at the trend.

Prior to 2015/2016, most dropshipping-related and online store business keywords were fluctuating. Why? Because it was difficult to run a profitable online store in the past. People would get excited about it and later give up. But it’s a lot easier now.

In 2017 and beyond, the right way to do keyword research is by getting into the conversation. Hang out with your target audience, listen to them, and find patterns in their questions and opinions.

If you’ve not been using Quora to find relevant questions you need to start today.

Some topics might not be as popular today as they would in 1 – 10 years time, don’t ignore them. But create rich content and become the authority on that topic — when it eventually grows.

Because by the time the competition begins, your web page would have become stronger. More so, competitors will either link to you or they’ll have no real substance to add to their own content.

But don’t get me wrong. You don’t have to ignore Keywords Planner or any keyword research tool for that matter, but use the insights to research real-time questions from Quora, and follow the trends.

Conclusion

Whitehat SEO tactics might not work for everyone because it takes time.

But if you decide to invest time and resources in creating comprehensive content while capitalizing on topical trends, you’ll not only drive targeted traffic and social shares but earning editorial links to your web pages will be easier.

Yes, Shopify is an authority website and its domain authority is a major determining factor to its search visibility, but the whole essence of this case study is to guide you — and show you opportunities that you can leverage for your own business.

This article was contributed by Michael Chibuzor, who is an SEO consultant for SaaS companies. If you’re looking to improve your search visibility, drive targeted traffic, and grow your revenue, you can reach him directly at https://Saasbrand.com