Tap into the Season with Holiday Marketing Content

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2016 is just around the corner, and if you’re looking to ensure 2015’s fourth quarter is a profitable one, you’re hopefully creating lots of great content for your website and blog.

Content marketing, the bane of many merchants’ existence, is one of the most effective avenues for generating traffic, increasing sales, and engaging with customers. The best content is relative and time-sensitive, and takes into consideration important events, occasions, and topics important to your audience.

As you rush to ship and fulfill December’s flood of orders, you’ll want to take measures to ensure your business continues to push out high-quality content through the days ahead. Last minute shoppers are a holiday trademark, and may serve to provide your business with a substantial amount of traffic in the year’s last weeks and days.

Help customers get into the season with some awesome holiday marketing content that’ll hopefully prove to mark 2015’s holiday season as your best quarter yet.

Retrospective lists

December is the perfect time to recap your store’s best and hottest selling items for the past year. If you’re unfamiliar with what products rank where, take a look at your reports and compile a list that highlights your best selling items. Depending on your industry and your number of categories/departments, you may want to craft multiple lists for easy gift hunting.

Here are a few examples of how you can format a retrospective article:

  • 2015’s 10 Best Selling Toys (or narrow it down to: Top Toddler Toys, Top Baby Toys, etc.)
  • The Top Fashion Trends of 2015
  • Our Best Selling Watches of the Year
  • 2015’s Most Popular Diapers
  • Highest Rated Phones of 2015

Customers are always on the search for popular, trending products to gift their family and friends. Creating a retrospective list makes it easy for customers to locate and purchase the year’s tried and true products.

Last-minute gift guides

The holiday season is a hectic time of year for merchants and shoppers alike. After the hustle and bustle of crossing off a long shopping list, millions of shoppers will find themselves short a present or two.

Help customers easily select the perfect last minute gift with a guide that offers great time-sensitive suggestions.

You may want to craft a guide such as:

  • 20 Last-Minute Gifts Everyone Will Love
  • Top Gift Ideas for the Procrastinator
  • 10 Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Children
  • The Best Last-Minute Gifts You Don’t Need to Ship
  • 7 Fool-Proof Last-Minute Gift Ideas

As the countdown toward the holidays dwindle, feel free to send out a newsletter or post on your social media accounts with a link your last-minute guide. Customers will appreciate your quick, useful tips, and their traffic may result in a last-minute spike to your end of year sales.

Holiday Celebration Tips

Millions of families around the world eagerly decorate their homes and stock their kitchens in preparation of their favorite festivities and traditions. A number of important holidays fall in December, including Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, causing countless shoppers to hit the web for countless essentials not found on any holiday gift list.

What kind of list you craft depends on what type of products your store sells. You have a lot of room for creativity here, so don’t be afraid to get a little imaginative. A guide that offers celebration tips is a great way to get customers to see your products in a new light, and offer uses for them that customers might otherwise overlook.

Take a look at some celebration guide examples:

  • How to Transform Your Living Room into a Winter Wonderland
  • 10 Fun Ways to Prepare Your Home for the Holidays
  • The Ultimate Guide to Christmas Decorating
  • Top 20 Products to Spice Up Your New Year’s Eve
  • 21 Tips for the Best Holiday Feast

A Thoughtful Holiday Greeting

While the holidays are likely your business’s most profitable time of year, that doesn’t mean every piece of crafted content needs to include a sales pitch. On Christmas, News Years and other holidays your business plans to celebrate, a simple, sincere season’s greeting can go a long way toward building strong relationships with customers.

A sentimental blog or social media message is the perfect channel for communicating your well wishes and holiday experiences. Feel free to use a festive image or video – especially one that features your team of employees.

A holiday greeting is a great way to connect with customers and give them a glimpse of the faces behind the company. Customers are interested in buying from companies that offer more than just a great product – they want to support the businesses they like, too.

Budget-Conscious Gift Suggestions

Millions of shoppers have a limited budget during the holidays, especially those with lots of kids or family to buy for. Creating a guide that’s tailored to the budget-conscious is a great way to help customers select gifts that won’t put a strain on their wallet – and can potentially help you sell slow-moving inventory.

Some ideas for such a guide include:

  • 10 Gift Ideas under 10 Dollars
  • The Best Inexpensive but Thoughtful Gifts
  • 5 Affordable Tools Your Husband Will Love
  • 7 Awesome Gifts that are Shockingly Cheap
  • Thrifty Gift Ideas for the Budget Conscious

Start crafting some awesome holiday content, today, and start turning your browsers into shoppers. December is a rich and profitable time of year, but you’ll only be as successful as the amount of effort you dish out toward the cause.

The Science Of Using Instagram Like A Big Brand

With 100% organic reach and 300 million monthly users, Instagram offers brands, big and small, an opportunity to engage, inspire and delight fans. And while Instagram has recently opened itself up to more paid opportunities from advertisers and will be moving towards an eCommerce avenue with it’s recently announced ‘Shop Now’ button, Instagram still offers brands a unfiltered opportunity to reach fans for free.

Kissmetrics created this infographic below that highlights how big brands like Nike, Starbucks & Zara use Instagram to drive engagement and purchases.

Some of the most interesting tidbits of information:

  • The most engaging filters are Lo-Fi & or course #nofilter at all.
  • Captions that include questions get the largest engagement, but for eCommerce captions have longer descriptions work best.
  • Photos get more engagement than videos.
  • Wednesday posts see the most engagement.

The-Science-of-Brands-on-Instagram

The Content Marketing Explosion

Even before the area of eCommerce, marketing and sales departments used content marketing to sell their products through customer testimonials, pamphlets, flyers, etc. The written word has always helped businesses educate the buyer and now that all of that information is easily accessible and sharable online, the power of content marketing has exploded! Customers are empowered to research your products and business on their own instead of you having to find them on a street corner & pass information along.

The new power content marketing holds caused marketers to term a new name for the content marketing revolution – “inbound marketing.”  Inbound marketing uses content to “making yourself easy to be found and drawing customers to your website by producing content customers value”. In outbound marketing ( like flyers, pamphlets, advertising etc) you are having to go after your customers, hunt them down and interrupt whatever a potential customer is  doing to pitch them, essentially outbound efforts bothers customers in hopes that your products appeal to the customer enough for them not to be annoyed. Inbound marketing helps your site be found by pre-qualified interested customer, customers come to you. As Hubspot puts it, “you need to set your website up like a “hub” for your industry that attracts visitors naturally through search engines, the blogosphere, and social media.”

The infographic below shares some interesting statistics about the shift in online marketing from outbound to inbound like 90% of B2B marketers use content marketing! If you need help getting your content, blog, or social media up to par, remember the experts at 3dcart are more than happy to help. Read more on SEO & content services here: http://www.3dcart.com/ecommerce-marketing-services.html

 

5 Reasons To Host Your Blog

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In yesterday’s SEO webinar, I received several questions on whether it is better host your blog on your store’s domain or on a hosted platform like WordPress, Blogger or Tumblr.
So which is better?  While there are some pros to using Tumblr like gaining in-site traffic through tags & networking, on the whole hosting your blog on the same URL as our store is better for your business’ branding & SEO.   But why?

1. SEO
All blogs are great for SEO, but self-hosted blogs allow you more control over SEO. Hosting your blog allows you to add SEO friendly plugins and other SEO features that make your blogging efforts much more effective. Hosting your blog on your domain also tells Google that your site offers fresh content ( which it loves) where as your blogging platform would reap all of your fresh content benefits if you hosted it with them.

2. Branding
.Hosting your blog on your domain reminds users that you are a business not just a blog, and helps build brand recognition. Being a content creator gives your store credibility & authority with customers, but that connection is not as easily made when your blog is hosted on a separate URL than your store.

3. Content Control
When you host your own blog, you have full control over the type of content you publish but if you use free blogging platforms,  you are restricted by their  guidelines. If you publish mostly promotional content or only write about your products, you could be flagged as low quality or spam. You could even get banned which would mean all of your hard content marketing work would go to waste.

4.  Functionality Control
If you host your own blog, the only limits to functionality is your imagination. Key branding tools like social media widgets & buttons, newsletter sign-ups and coupon-codes are hard if not impossible to implement on free platforms.

5. Design Control
Design is a huge part of brand recognition, you want your readers recognize the look & feel of your blog from your store and vice versa. Free platforms do not offer the same customization options as self-hosting does.