Holiday shopping season is upon us, and the biggest day of the year for consumerism is right around the corner. Black Friday happens on November 23. To help improve your sales and ensure your promotions go off without a hitch, we’ve developed a series of tips to ensure your holiday sales occur without issue. Some will seem obvious, but no point should be overlooked. Every step outlined below will help streamline your business, improve shipping speed, and – if you’re lucky – bring in a few additional customers.
Check your inventory. Twice (just like Santa).
Your goal with holiday sales should be to liquidate as much of the merchandise you have in stock as possible while still making a healthy profit on each product sold. Before you can do this to the best of your abilities, you need to know what you have available, and how much of it is in stock. Running out of something during your holiday sale will cause headaches for everyone, and that goes double if you run out of something because you forgot to check your inventory before launching your sale. The back and forth required to straighten out orders that cannot be fulfilled may cause you to lose future sales, as well as those you are forced to cancel. Prevent this mess from ever happening and do inventory first. Do it twice, in fact, and ask someone else to check your work.
Promote your entire sale, as well as individual items.
You want people to use your discounts to buy more than they usually would, but often those attempting to promote a store-wide sale forget the impact that promoting key items one at a time can have on consumers. You should still mention store-wide discounts, of course, but you should also make room to highlight individual items. If you’re offering 25% off everything online, you should promote the sale by showing how the discount changes the cost for specific products. Create images for Instagram and other networks that highlight these changes. That way, people can more easily understand what a great deal you are giving them. Likewise, you can use Twitter to promote various items and their price after discounts throughout the holiday weekend.
Speaking of promotion, think about paying for it.
I’m about to say something most artists hate to hear: Paying for promoted posts on Facebook and Twitter can have a positive impact on your reach, as well as your overall sales. It would be wonderful if this were not the case, and that those who could not afford paid promotion on social networks saw their sales work just as well, but years of research has made it clear that is not the case. Thankfully, the cost of entry into paid promotions is low. For as little as five dollars you can have a guaranteed reach to hundreds, if not thousands of people who have previously enjoyed your music enough to give you a Like/Follow online. Whether or not they take advantage of the message being conveyed will depend on how you choose to present yourself, but at least you know your efforts are reaching those who are most likely to jump on them.
Create specific Twitter search streams for particular items you sell.
This one is a bit more time-consuming than other tips, but it can help you bring in a lot of new consumers who may have otherwise not checked your store. Numerous tools allow you to create and save Twitter search streams. Find one you like and use it to track people tweeting about shopping/looking for things like ‘new vinyl’ or ‘cool band t-shirts.’ It’s likely these people already have an artist or genre in mind when they send these messages, but you can still reply with links to your store and music. If they don’t respond, oh well. If they do, you’ve got a potential new consumer/fan.
Make the most of SEO.
We’ve talked about this before, but keywords are becoming increasingly important when it comes to how people find your content online. Use a tool such as the Google Keyword tool to understand better how your customers are searching, then modify your own store to reflect what you have learned. It is essential to know which keywords are mostly used during the holidays, such as ‘sales,’ ‘top gifts,’ ‘Cyber Monday,’ and ‘Black Friday.’
If you know nothing about SEO, some services can help you improve your efforts, as well as people on Fiverr willing to work for just $5. Get creative if you must, but the smart decision would be to master SEO yourself as soon as possible.
Make sure everything is working before promoting your sale.
This one may seem obvious, but every year there are a handful of musicians who see their site, or at least parts of their website, crash amidst the sudden upswing in view brought on by the holiday shopping season. Before you push your sale live, make sure every item on your store is listed correctly and that every discount is working correctly. If there is a code word needed, make sure you test it out before sharing it online.