How to Prepare for the 2019 Holiday Season From a Marketing Perspective

October 04, 2019

If you’re planning to sell online during the 2019 holiday season, there are three major digital marketing strategies you need to pay attention to. 

Results from an Internet Retailer and Bizrate Insights survey in 2018 showed that 60% of consumers last year planned to do more than half of their holiday shopping online, with more than 80% planning to do at least a quarter of their shopping online. And with total U.S. holiday season sales exceeding $850 billion last year – it certainly felt like the most wonderful time of the year for many online retailers.
 
As consumer confidence in online shopping just continues to rise, the 2019 holiday season could very well be the strongest yet for online sales. If you’re planning to sell online during the final quarter of 2019, do you know how to maximize the sales potential?
 
With continuing developments and changes in social media and online platforms, it can be hard to know what’s working now in the online space. Where should you focus your attention and resources in order to capitalize on the holiday season 2019 sales surge?     
 
Here at JXT Group, we have a lot of experience working on marketing strategies, so we’ll share some of the tips we’ve found most effective. 

Top 3 Ways to Strengthen Marketing Efforts Before the Holidays 

  1. Google Shopping
  2. Facebook Ads
  3. Email Marketing

1. Google Shopping Can Help Your Business Advertising Spending

Did you know that in 2019 there are more than 5.5 billion searches per day on Google? That comes out to about 63,000 searches per second.

These statistics are why smart online retailers know they have to take advantage of Google’s platform. For example, a simple search on Google for “bean boots” will turn up several results.

A simple search on Google for “bean boots” will turn up several results. 
Source

Businesses know the importance of appearing in Google Shopping searches, shown by L.L. Bean’s repeated presence in the search for “bean boots” above.

However, the Google strategy that worked well for you last year or the year before may not be your best decision for 2019.  Here’s what you need to know about current Google best practices for online retailers:

Best Practice 1: Smart Shopping

In Summer 2019, Google introduced its latest strategy: Smart Shopping. First unveiled at Google Marketing Live, this newest type of campaign uses machine-learning to reduce the number of hours it takes to optimize a campaign.
 
With Smart Shopping, online retailers now only have to specify their campaign objectives and budget, and Google will use its high-level automation technology to determine and deploy automatic bidding and ad placements. 

According to early tests, online retailers that used Smart Shopping campaigns achieved 20% greater conversions compared to other campaigns at the same budget.

That said, with this technology still in its infancy, machine learning is not yet ready to take over fully, and it currently works best when it’s integrated with human input. This input includes all the proper signals, segmentation information, data, and campaign goals to ensure that your ad campaign will perform well. 

Why Smart Shopping matters to your marketing: if you’re an online retailer who’s strapped for time and/or money, Smart Shopping campaigns can help you drive more engagement with less work time and budget expense.

Best Practice 2: Google Express

Another new 2019 addition to Google’s suite of services is Google Express. This is an online shopping site that, in essence, is Google’s way of competing with Amazon.

Although it was initially launched in 2013, Google Express was at first reserved only to a few specific areas. As of 2019, Google Express is now available everywhere across the continental United States.

Online customers are able to browse Google Express for a multitude of products, similar to Amazon except with a searching feature that delivers all the power and flexibility of Google Search.  There’s no membership or subscription fee, and many orders over $15 can include free delivery, though ultimately delivery is determined by each individual retailer.

Shopping at Google Express is like visiting a virtual mall where you can interact with a number of different retailers and only have to check out once for everything.

One of the great advantages for retailers, beyond reaching the growing crowd of shoppers who are now flocking to Google Express, is that on this site you don’t have to pay-per-click. Instead, there’s a pay-per-sale set-up, and you only pay a one-time monthly commission for completed sales.

You want to take advantage of the latest e-commerce trends, you want to set up your storefront with Google Express to reach more people and reduce your advertising expenses.

2. Facebook Ads Let You Market Your Unique Products Easily

Facebook is the world’s largest social media platform with more than 2.41 billion monthly active users in 2019. Facebook’s mission is to build community, and for online retailers, the platform provides an opportunity to create and nurture communities of leads and buyers.
 
However, with continuing (and often confusing) changes to Facebook algorithms, it’s not always clear which marketing strategies are working best right now on the platform. In the Facebook Ad for Google below, they encourage users to “Like Page” and offer them an incentive of $300 in credit for their platform. 

This ad intends to gain users and new customers by enticing them with a deal on their social media feed. 
Source

The ad above intends to gain users and new customers by enticing them with a deal on their social media feed.

In 2019, the best way for online retailers to make the most of advertising across the Facebook-Instagram ecosystem is to take advantage of dynamic product ads (DPAs).

As Facebook describes them, DPAs promote your inventory to interested users on your website or elsewhere. To produce DPAs, you create an ad template that automatically uses images and details that you’d like to advertise from your catalog, but they look like every other single image ad. 

With dynamic product ads, online retailers are able to re-target people who have interacted with their brand before. You can also reach similar or “lookalike” audiences to show audiences products that are tailored to their interests.

Why Facebook's dynamic product ads matter to your marketing: If you want to find potential new interested shoppers or reconnect with leads in order to complete a sale, dynamic product ads are the right choice. Plus, you can promote all your items in a unique way without having to configure each individual ad.

3. Email Marketing Presents the Opportunity to Nurture Relationships With Consumers

Research shows that more than 2.7 million emails are sent every second. Although email marketing may be one of the oldest forms of digital marketing, in 2019, there are important new trends to incorporate.

Best Practice 1: Dynamic Content

Dynamic content makes it possible to update and personalize the content presented in your email. Online retailers can set up a “dynamic content block” in the copy of the email that will show different product offers, images, and calls-to-action based on the demographics of the person opening the email.

Best Practice 2: Social Media Integration

No longer are online retailers merely adding social media handles to the bottom of their email messages. New tools like Zapier make it possible to incorporate your Instagram or Twitter feed live inside the body of your email. This not only increases your social media following and interaction but also provides more opportunities for leads to engage with your brand.

Best Practice 3: Micro-Segmentation

Once upon a time, email subscriber lists were segmented according to basic demographic factors like age, location, and gender. In 2019, smart online retailers are using micro-segmentation variables like past purchases and searches to send emails that are even more relevant to each subscriber.

If you want to nurture your relationships with buyers and leads, email marketing is still one of the best ways to do so. But with all the emails sent out every day, savvy online retailers make the most of personalization and integration strategies in order to keep their audiences engaged.

Get Your Business Ready for the Holiday Season Now

Which approach will you take? Implement Google Shopping to efficiently market your relevant items, Facebook Ads to catch the interest of digital consumers, and update your email marketing approach to match the current market needs. 

With the holiday 2019 season just around the corner, now is the perfect time to start exploring these new online marketing possibilities so that you can experience the happiest of holidays this year!