Blast From the Future
Imagine yourself four months from now, as your eyes open early on a Friday morning after a tryptophan-induced slumber. It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and you’d usually be joining bleary-eyed Black Friday shoppers lining up at 5am to get amazing door-busters, but you’re up early for a different reason. You’ve set up your Shopify store and you’re ready to witness your web traffic explode!
As exciting as it will be to watch that live map light up, a greater volume of site traffic will just be greater—unless you take steps now to prepare your store for high conversions. Take those steps, and Black Friday weekend will compound your efforts and you’ll achieve the promise of the holiday: doubled sales (or higher)!
A Changing Landscape
Black Friday used to be a one-day phenomenon. Shoppers used to force themselves out of bed early and spend the day sprinting from store to store to get limited time deals.
Today, many deals are offered online, and extend from Friday through Cyber Monday. All five of these days, including Thanksgiving, see a tremendous increase of traffic to both physical and online stores. To capitalize on this surge of traffic and customer drive to spend money, your actions as a business owner need to start long before the holiday so your store is prepared to reap the benefits of those days of heavy traffic.
Why Start in the Summer?
To make the Black Friday weekend explosive, there are a few actions you’ll need to take in the weeks leading up to it, and on the day itself. Lay the groundwork now.
For example, you’ll want to establish a sale, and share details with your customers and visitors. This step will only be easy if you’ve already built a list of contacts.
Furthermore, if you only have ten or fifteen names in your contact list, any promotions you run on Black Friday won’t have the impact you’re looking for. The sooner you commit time and resources to building your list, the bigger and better the list will be by the time you’ll most want to use it.
Your contact list will also be of greater quality if you focus on building trust early. Getting contacts to trust you is not a quick process. We’ll talk about specific actions you can take to build that trust a little later.
Another reason to start early? In the early days your efforts have lower stakes, so you can feel free to experiment and test. Figure out what content resonates with your audience so you can be sure to use that approach when the stakes are higher. You can do this with A/B testing!
How to Prepare
If your store is currently producing great results, excellent! Stick with them and build on your processes now through October, so that you’re ready for rapid growth in November. If your store isn’t getting the results you want, work on optimizing the processes below.
First, you want to build a list, not buy one. Why? The email addresses in the list might not be current or even active. The people won’t be expecting your messages, so they’ll likely mark you as spam. This will lead to your address being flagged for other users, even ones who have opted in to your communications. The emails may have been unethically collected, and it may be illegal for you to send them an unsolicited message.
Build, Don’t Buy
You definitely want to build your own list of contacts who have given you explicit consent to send them marketing emails (which is essentially how all your emails will be classified, even if you’re using them to just build a relationship).
It takes some level of trust for a lead to give out their email address. Your task in the first several mailings is to build and deepen your relationship.
Welcome to Your List
Start off with a welcome series that thanks new subscribers for the opportunity to send them updates and offers. Let them know you’ll be sending emails over the next several days introducing your company and asking them for suggestions to make your company even better. Then do it! Follow these suggestions from Omnisend on how to use a welcome series to engage your audience.
Ask for Help
After the welcome series has ended, aim to stay top-of-mind by engaging with your contacts through other relationship-building messages. Lisa Foster at Groove points out that one of the best ways to do this is by asking your contacts to help you create content for your site.
Our team at SeaMonster Studios, recommends that you use reviews as integrated site content. In a one-time or periodic email you could let your contacts know how much you benefit from this and ask for their help. Asking for help is a powerful way to deepen a relationship. It’s probably not wise to ask for help in every email, but it’s definitely a good strategy to put this tool in your relationship-building belt.
After tackling active interactions with your audience through the emails you send directly, it’s time to tackle the passive interactions you’ll have with them through your website.
Your Subtle Influence
Your site visitors control how much of your content they want to engage with—but this doesn’t mean you’re powerless to influence their choices. The decisions you make about copy and images, CTA placement and color, etc, have a clear influence on your audience.
That influence is divined after hundreds or thousands of interactions that can be A/B tested to show which elements drive better results. In an A/B test, you will provide two different options for a component in your store—button text, button color, paragraph text, particular image used, layout, etc. Then the A/B test provider will serve up one permutation to half of your visitors at random, the second permutation to the other half, and it’ll record which way gets more results.
An A/B test performed on just a few visitors has a high degree of chance for anomalies so that it won’t represent the wider audience very well. Knowing this, you should give the A/B test enough time to run until the interactions it has measured are enough that you can draw fairly accurate conclusions.
This is a great way to tweak your site into a better form, before the stakes get higher and your traffic goes exponentially up for the Black Friday weekend. Statistically, you can expect traffic to more than double, and in some cases, it’ll more than double.
There are many things you can do to prepare your store for the Black Friday weekend, and we’ve only gone over a few of them. But every action you take now will pay huge dividends, so you should jump in and start making the changes today. You won’t regret it!
*This is a guest post from the team at SeaMonster Studios
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