If you listen closely, I bet you can hear those sleigh bells ringing. You’d better be ready, because that faint ringing will soon become a roar as the holiday season gets into full swing. For many retailers, the festive flurry starts in September and storms straight through to the new year. Some retailers make 20-40% of their annual sales during the last two months of the year, according to the National Retail Federation. Now that is one gift many retailers would like to see wrapped up with their name on it!
As you begin to plan for the holiday season, be sure to look for ways to strengthen the foundation of your commerce marketing. Ask yourself this question: are you making the most of the all-important customer acquisition and data-gathering process? It’s not as glamorous as coming up with festive holiday content or dazzling subject lines, but focusing on these tactics now can help you reach your holiday goals later. Here are some tips for success.
Build Your “Naughty and Nice” List of Form Locations
You might be surprised how many forms are forgotten, outdated, orphaned or nonfunctional. Hidden in your website and mobile apps might be forms that have an old logo, capture data points you no longer use, or lack data points that are now central to your marketing strategy. If you don’t already have a list of every form that collects new email subscriptions, now is the time to create one. As you audit your forms:
- Verify they are working correctly, both in user experience and in data capture.
- Keep them invitingly short; don’t ask for too much information.
- Feature those used for email sign-up above the fold on your site.
- Be sure they highlight any incentives or exclusives a new email subscriber will receive.
Make Mobile Sign-up Merry
Your most active shoppers are likely tapping away on multiple devices. More than half of regular online shoppers own a tablet, and 64% own a smartphone, according to a study by Bronto Software and Magento. A mobile-optimized form will make it easier for them to opt in. To maximize sign-ups on mobile devices:
- Ask only for basic, essential info. Remember mobile users are “tapping” in their information.
- Gather more detailed information later, perhaps in a “complete your profile” link in the welcome email.
- Test to confirm that forms render and function properly on a variety of devices.
Think easy and convenient. If your marketing efforts have piqued the shopper’s interest enough that they want to hear from you on a regular basis, don’t spoil it by expecting them to spend more than a few seconds filling in a form.
Believe in the Magic of Pop-Ups
One of the best and fastest ways to grow your list is with a pop-up sign-up form. You’re probably thinking, “No way. Pop-ups are irritating.” They can be, but they can also be a powerful acquisition tool if you implement them correctly. Here are a few top tips to get you started:
- Display the form for first-time site visitors, not every time a shopper visits your site.
- Don’t show the pop-up too often, or you risk frustrating visitors.
- Limit the form to two or three fields. You will have opportunities to build more robust profiles later.
- Provide a clear way to close the pop-up, such as an X or a “No Thanks” button.
Monitor your bounce rate and watch for user complaints. You want to make it easy for visitors to subscribe, not drive folks away from your site, and you certainly don’t want customers to have a negative experience with your pop-up during your busiest time of the year.
It may be summertime, but ‘tis the season for planning. To get the best jingle from the holiday shopping season, start now. It’s never too early to get into the spirit.
Jim Davidson is Head of Research for Bronto Software