That’s right. I said the C Word…

Whilst many shops already have their Christmas displays up and running, most sane shoppers only start to think about Christmas around now. Of course, Christmas is a crucial time of the year for most businesses – and not least ecommerce stores. If your business sells any kind of product that makes for a good gift, it’s vital that you get your site ready and spread the word so that your products fly off the shelves (or through the online checkout).

First things first; do a health check of your site to make sure that there are no glaring issues; fix 404s, make sure there are no obvious drop out points in the sales funnel, and analyse your product pages to see which performed best last festive season. If you operate on a local scale, make sure you have your Local SEO nailed. It’s also vital that your site is mobile friendly:

“… in 2014, total e-commerce via mobiles in the UK was £8.41bn, and is expected to grow to £14.95bn this year”

 via RetailResearch.org

Once you’ve discovered or decided which products to push, make sure the pages have good imagery, clear, concise, no nonsense copy and irresistible CTAs. Be wary of overcrowding pages as it can turn visitors off. It’s a good idea to run A/B tests to make sure that you are using the best possible versions of pages; your hunches may be right, but at this crucial time of year it’s best not to take a punt – and the data don’t lie.

Next, give those key product pages a fighting chance and optimise your content around your keywords;

  • Do some keyword research to see which of your key words and phrases are being searched for the most and use them in your product description and other copy where relevant. Remember to write naturally!
  • Make sure the key phrases are used in your meta content – including the URL, page title, meta description, page heading, and in the alt text

Getting It Out There

Now you’ve made your site and product pages all shiny and Christmas-shopper-(and search-engine-) friendly, there’s every chance that they will find you organically, but there’s more that you can do to get ahead – by actively putting your products in front of people.

How? This time of year journalists and bloggers are clamouring for products to showcase in Christmas wish lists and ‘top gift’ features. One way to find journalists looking for Christmas products is through twitter, where those looking for content, comment or contributions use #journorequest. Pair with relevant keywords to get the most relevant tweets e.g. gift guide, christmas, christmas presents etc. Tweet the journalist diectly to ask for contact details so you can email or call them with information on what you can contribute.

Another tried and trusted method is to find out what journalists or publications are planning on writing about around Christmas by requesting a features list. If your product(s) fits with their theme then they should welcome your contribution and ideas.

Bloggers also carry a lot of clout with consumers. Targeting a few of the trend setters and asking them to host or create a piece of content around your product or pitch idea can yield some good results, earning you a company and/or product mention or perhaps a link, and hopefully sending lots of nice referral traffic your way. It is worth noting that bloggers in some industries ask for a small amount of payment in return as they deem it akin to an advertorial, so it is worth considering putting aside some funds if you choose to go down this route. Alternatively, sending them a free product to try will go down well – you’ve just got to hope that they like it!

Whichever tactic you choose, or if you chose to do a bit of all three, contact journalists and bloggers with friendly, informative but concise emails. Make sure grammar and spellings are error free. Offer several ideas or products if you can – people love choice – and make sure any images you send them are good quality, both in content and size/clarity. Ultimately it’s a relationship (albeit mutually beneficial) that you are trying to build, so be honest and open – they are more likely to respond positively. If you’re stumped on how to get started, follow our PR & Blogger Outreach Cheat Sheet, or get in touch to see how we might be able to help.