In episode 100 of the eCommerce Lifestyle podcast, Anton shares his winning strategy to ensure record-breaking year-end sales!
The last episode that we published was all about how there still is time in the year to hit these awesome numbers during Q4.
If you had huge goals, maybe you're not there yet. In the previous episode (get caught up here!) Anton gave great tips for what you can do to make sure you finish the year strong.
However, after sharing the episode we had some feedback.
People were asking, "That sounds great, but what should I do? Technically, or specifically what should I be doing for holiday promotions for my eCommerce business to make sure I'm getting the most out of it and making the most sales?"
And that is exactly what is going to be covered in this episode.
Click play on the player above (or scroll through the transcript below) to learn exactly how you should plan your promotions.
Links From This Episode:
What's up everybody? Anton Kraly here from eCommercelifestyle.com, and welcome to episode number 100 of the eCommerce Lifestyle podcast. It's crazy, I didn't even realize we were at 100 episodes, but it came up in a meeting we just had with the team, and that's just awesome. Just wanted to say quick before we get into this episode, for everybody that's been listening since day one, that's awesome, thank you. Hope you're getting a ton of value. For everybody that's new and just discovering this show, really happy to have you as well.
What we do here and what my goal is on the podcast is really just to share what's happening in my businesses, and share some takeaways and some notes from what it is we're working on. It's real time. I record them and just post them up within usually a few minutes. If you're subscribed the podcast, you'll always have kind of an up to date episode, I would say, of what's actually happening now.
You could also go back, I would recommend that if you're new. Listen to all the previous episodes, because what I try to share, even though it's top of mind because it's happening, a lot of it is timeless. You could put together a lot of different episodes to increase your business, get more authority in your niche, get more sales, because that's the goal. That's why I share this with you, to help you make more money.
Specifically that is what this episode is about, it's about how to make as much money as you possibly can during this holiday season. We're getting close. I'm recording this on October 10th, 2019, so we are in Q4. We're about to really get into when sales pick up for pretty much whatever you're selling.
The last episode that I recorded was about how there's still time in the year. If you had huge goals, maybe you're not there yet, in that episode I gave some tips for what you can do to make sure you finish strong. When I posted that, we got some questions from people saying, "That sounds great, but what should I do? Technically, or specifically what should I be doing for holiday promotions for my eCommerce business to make sure I'm getting the most out of it and making the most sales?" I just made some quick notes that we can cover in this episode.
The first thing I'm going to talk about is what to promote. Then I'm going to talk about where to promote it, and then I'm going to talk about how to promote it. Whatever type of eCommerce store you're running, if you're working with different suppliers, or even manufacturers, this should definitely be relevant to you.
The first question, or the first thing we should cover, is what should you promote during the busiest time of the year for offline and online sales, both of them? Whether you are selling products, again, by dropshipping, private labeling, having them manufactured, what should you be promoting? Meaning, what should you put in front of customers? When they go to your website, what should you be showing off? I broke this down into a few different sections because that's how we do it in our business, so that's what I am qualified to talk about.
The first thing is, what are you getting the best deals with your suppliers on? With all of your suppliers, especially the ones that you sell a lot for, they have good products, you have a good relationship, you should be reaching out to them now. You should have started this weeks ago, but it's fine, there's still time, like I said.
You should reach out to them now and let them know that you're planning out your holiday promotions for this year, and you want to know if you can have any special type of pricing for the next three months, throughout the new year. Say it like that, say, "We're putting together our email marketing campaigns. We're putting together our paid advertising campaigns. And we are going to push hard, so we just want to know what type of incentive pricing we could have for our products with you." Maybe they're going to tell you, "Sorry, we can't do anything." Maybe they're going to tell you 5%. Maybe they're going to tell you you get a 10% incentive. Feel it out. The better the relationship you have with them, the better pricing you should get.
Another thing that you can talk to your suppliers about now is if there's any incentives that aren't just financial that they can work with you on. Maybe what they're offering you instead of money off is including something extra with every order. If you're selling something like $1500 stand up desks, maybe there's an accessory that's a light that goes on it that typically wholesale cost to you is $30 as an upsell. Maybe they'll include that with all orders that you place with them throughout the holiday season. Meaning, when you're promoting everything on your website, on that supplier's product pages you can say, "Hey, you're going to get this light for free. It's $100 retail value, or whatever it is, when you order this product from us." Something that, again, they'll work with you.
Because the thing is all of the suppliers you work with, all the brands, they know, just like you know, that this is the busiest time of the year. If you're telling them that, "Hey listen, we're about to literally put together our whole marketing campaign for the next three months. We want to know basically if you're going to work with us by either giving us money off or giving us bonus products so that we can feature your brand in these promotions." Again, what should you promote? That's the first thing you want to look at, where do you have the most upside, or where are you going to have the highest conversions?
Just consider all things equal. You have two suppliers and they sell, pretty much again, equally on your website. If one of them is going to give you 10% off all purchase orders throughout the end of the year, then that's the one that's going to get the main space in your email newsletter. That's the one that you'll be willing to invest more money into ads for, because you now have a reason to push them harder, and you have a reason to get more conversions than anybody else for that brand in the holiday season.
Now, this is kind of a tangent on this one little section of what I wanted to talk about. Let's just say you do reach out to your top suppliers, and maybe you don't have too much of a history with them, so maybe they say, "Listen, we can't do any pricing discounts this year. Maybe next year if we have more history." Maybe they say, "We can't include any bonus offers. We're just not able to do that right now." Well, it doesn't mean that it's over and you can't work anything out. The follow up question that I would ask for that is, okay, I understand. Is there any product specifically that you have in your warehouse, maybe it's overstock, maybe you want to sell through more of product ABC that you have, whatever it is, 1000 units of in your warehouse?
Ask them about that. See if you can still get incentive pricing or a bonus offer, like a little product bundle, for a specific product. Maybe it's not catalog wide. Ask that as a follow up if you can't just get one across the board special offer with that supplier. Definitely do that.
What else should you promote? Well, on your website, we do this, you should do this too, when it comes up to Black Friday, make a new collection on your store, meaning category. I'm assuming everybody listening to this or watching this uses Shopify. Make a new collection, call it Black Friday deals. Then when it's Cyber Monday, call it Cyber Monday deals. Then when it's leading up to Christmas say Christmas Deals. Then when it's New Year's Eve say New Year's Deals.
You'll have this collection on your site that you can feature in your header menu. When people go to your website, if they're there, let's just say even the middle of November, they should see your menu across the top of your website, and standing out in bold it should say whatever the thing is that's closest. Black Friday Deals, and that should be standing out. When they click that, the products that you should put in that collection, one, are your best sellers, showing the discounts that you can offer.
If you have MAP policies that you can't actually price under on your website, minimum advertised price policies, that's still fine. Just show them off in that section. If you are able to include bonus gifts with them, show them off in the primary product image, so when someone clicks into that section, it really looks like they're getting an amazing deal. Because again, they should, but you should make it easy for them, for your website visitors, to find that section on your website. That is another thing you should promote. Again, a collection on your website for each holiday, showing off your best sellers and the products that you can really incentivize customers to buy from you.
Another thing under what to promote. Again, the bonus offers on the best sellers. You should be doing this pretty much all the time throughout the year in your business anyway. Maybe you want to step it up a level. If you sold that, again, stand up desk for 1500 bucks, the bonus offer was the free lamp, and maybe you just included that all year. Maybe you want to include something else, like a tray to hang your wires in so it's not a mess under your desk, or something like that. Get creative. This is the time that you really just, people are buying more, so you want to do everything you can and go above and beyond to make sure as many of them as possible are choosing you.
This is the time you want to pull out all the tricks, all the stops when it comes to conversion rate optimization. Obviously, because this is a podcast, I can't get super deep into what we do for conversion rate optimization. If you want to know more and you're part of my online coaching program, Drop Ship Lifestyle, just go to module five in there, and that shares a whole bunch of tips for how to get people to choose you. Okay, so that's what to promote.
The next is, where should you promote it? Where should you be putting these offers? The first thing that you obviously want to do is have, I still call it the hello bar, even though we haven't used the actual tool called Hello Bar in years. Have the sticky header bar on your website, going across, that stays with users when they scroll no matter what page they're on. That's where you should be giving unique coupon codes for each holiday. Make sure you are swapping them out. As Black Friday is coming up, the hello bar or notification bar across your website should say, "Black Friday special offer." Whatever it is. Save 10% on all orders. Enter coupon code Black Friday at checkout. Expires whatever the date is.
That's something, again, you need it to be unique because you want the people that are looking for these special holiday deals to go to your website and see that right away, and be like, "Awesome, this is what Antonsstore.com is offering. It's right in my face. Cool. I can buy that from them if I want it." You also want it so as your normal traffic is running, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, when those people are hitting your website, and they're not even aware of it, then that pops up right in front of them and they're like, "Whoa, I forgot, Black Friday's coming up, and this is this special offer I can get from the store."
Don't just have your normal save 10% on all orders. Say, "Special Black Friday sale." However you want to word it, but make sure you're using the actual holiday, because that's just going to be more urgency. They'll know, "Oh, it is Black Friday. Oh, it is Cyber Monday. Oh, it is their Christmas sale." Whatever it may be, just incorporate it whenever you can. It makes a big difference with urgency and that, of course as you know, helps with conversions.
Where else should you be promoting all of these offers? Your website, it should look different. During this holiday season on your home page, whether you have sliders or whether you have one hero image, make that, again whether it's Black Friday or Cyber Monday, make it whatever that offer is, and let it be known. That's how I usually say it. Make sure when someone's on your website they know what you're offering, and that it's because it's this time of year. Your website shouldn't just have a little note somewhere saying, "Hey, here's Black Friday." It should be plastered all over your website.
Same thing on your product pages you'll want to add this everywhere you can, so again people know that this is something special. If you're offering those bonus gifts, don't just have an image of the bonus gift on the product page, have the image embedded with the bonus gift and say, "Black Friday special, free lamp, free cable rack." Whatever it is, show it off. Use the actual holiday as an event.
Let's see, what else do I have here? Home page, I mentioned already having that featured collection on your website so people could see that right away. It stands out, they click there, they see the value, they buy from you. That is where to promote across your website.
Now how? How do you get people to actually go to your store, so they'll buy these things, so they'll see the discount codes, so they'll see the bonus offers? How do you drive them there? This is where you really need to start planning now. Again, I'm recording this on Thursday, October 10th. Get to work on this tomorrow. Do this on Friday, or start to.
Emails. Emails are huge. Emails, they make up 30% to 40% of our business. These are emails from previous customers that have bought from us so we have their emails. These are emails from people that have opted in to our websites for discounts and special offers. These are people that have opted in for newsletters, or eBooks, or anything we've ever had behind an email address on our stores, abandoned carts, the whole email list.
I don't care if you have 200 people on your email list or if you have 200,000, you want to have a solid email campaign. What's cool about this is once you have it, you can use it every single year. You'll kind of be doing the work now to make more money this season, but again, even if you only have 200 email subscribers, you'll be sending very similar emails next year when maybe you have 5000, and maybe the next year you have 50,000. This is worth doing. Again, put the time into it. This is going to make the difference of whether you have a successful Q4 or just another quarter gone by.
With these emails, people were asking how often we send them, and when they should start sending them. We start about a week before Black Friday. We don't just wait and send an email on the morning of Black Friday. We start building anticipation. We start talking about how something big is coming. We start talking about special offers that might happen, and we tend to hint at it. We're not just saying, "Hey, we're starting a week early with a promotion." We're priming people to remember us, and to know that something big is coming for the holiday. Again, about a week before Black Friday.
Now, when it comes to Black Friday, and through Cyber Monday, we send at least one email a day. We are definitely not shy about marketing via email around the holidays, because you'll see, around this time of year just check your phone, or check whatever you use to email, on your computer, or iPad, and you'll see how many times some of the biggest companies in the world are in boxing you. Does that mean that everybody on your email list is going to love you and not opt out and go bye? No, but it means you're not going to get pushed to the bottom and forgotten about. At least one email a day from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. We typically extend the sale after a few more days, so it's just they continue. This is like, it's an intense period, but it's worth it.
As far as what we're emailing in this part of the year, we're trying to have offers that are slightly unique for Black Friday and then for Cyber Monday. Let's just say our big focus is the free gifts. Maybe for Black Friday we decide that the emails for that specific sale are talking about the free gifts, the free gifts, the free gifts. What I mean in the bonuses when people buy from us. That's what we'll push heavy in Black Friday period.
Then the Cyber Monday emails, let's say that's when we really want to push discounts, like a across the board discount. That's when the bodies of those emails, the topics of those emails would be focused on that. We don't just email the same thing over, and over, and over. We email unique offers that would incentivize different people to buy, and that would help our audience not just go blind to the emails because they all say the same thing.
Now, obviously we don't just start a few days after ... We don't just stop, I should say, a few days after Cyber Monday, because, oh good, we made a bunch of money. No. Then what we do is keep emails going, typically about one a day still, and we'll email up through Christmas. Not through Christmas Day, but a few days before. We'll be talking about different bonus gifts that are included, we still do that. We talk about buying gifts for family and friends, and we're still getting people back.
Because what you get around, again, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, are the people that they're more just about price. They see an amazing offer, they've been looking for this thing, okay boom, I'm going to pull the trigger because there's urgency. Leading up to Christmas you get a lot more of that B2B from companies trying to buy stuff and lower their tax burden. You also get a lot of the B2C from people buying things as gifts.
We do that, Christmas we don't email, day after we don't email. Then again leading up to New Year's Eve, and then even New Year's Day, we're still pushing products. We're doing a New Year's sale. That's something we've done forever and it works.
As far as what you're promoting in those emails, it could be the bonuses, it could be a discount, it could be whatever you want it to be. The point is this is the time of the year that you should not be shy. You should email like crazy. Listen, if people don't like it, they'll opt out, or they'll just respond, and maybe they'll ask you to opt them out. Maybe they'll be nice about it, maybe they won't, but it's worth doing because the people that want to buy something will remember to buy from you. The people that don't, they won't. It's fine. This is how you're going to make money this holiday season.
A couple more things that I want to mention in how to promote. When you're writing these emails, or working with somebody now to have them written, you don't want to be doing this day of thinking, oh, what should I send? Do this now. When you are creating these, you also want to make a note of what you should be doing for Facebook Ads and what you should be doing for Google Ads.
Now, on Google what we do is run a Display Network, GDN, Google Display Network ads. Those are the images you see across the internet. We run those as remarketing ads. To everybody that's been to our website in the past 180 days typically, we're showing them ads that match up with the offer. When we're posting ads on Facebook, and of course that means Facebook and Instagram, we're running the same ads. The sizes are different, the dimensions are different, but they're the same things that people are going to see on any website they go to that has Google Ads on it.
Just to be clear on this. When the emails are written and you know what you're going to offer, have a set of image ads made that match the offer from the email. If the Black Friday, if that email campaign that you put together is promoting the bonus gifts, when the images are made for Facebook Ads and Google Ads, they should be promoting Black Friday, free lamp with every standup desk, whatever it is, click here. Then that way for the week or so that the emails are going out about that promotion, people get the email, because a lot of them are going to be on your email list, they go on Facebook, they go on CNN, whatever website they go to, and they see the ad from your website that matches up so they don't forget about it.
Now, you'll also be planning, again, your Cyber Monday promo. Whatever that is, have the images made for Facebook Ads for that. Have the images made for Google Ads for that. When the emails switch and the promotions change, you swap out your ads for the new ones. Again, now people have something new that they're seeing in their feed with a different twist. Maybe it's the 10% off store wide, and maybe they click that one and that's how they come to you.
As you lead up to Christmas, you have those emails going out, have the ads running that match them, so people find you every way that they could possibly find you. Same thing for New Year's, when those emails go out, whatever that promotion is, you have the ads running simultaneously that match it. That's how you're going to get as many people as possible to your store. That's how you're going to have an amazing Q4.
A few things for what you can do now. Again, October 10th, so literally now, is start writing or work with a copywriter for the emails that you want to use throughout the next, what's left? Maybe, I don't even know, 80 days or so, 70 something days. This, if you're part of Inbox Funnels, which is one of our programs, we do have email templates for you which make it a lot easier. Either way, just get those emails ready now. You don't want to be waking up on Thanksgiving and being like, "Oh, what can we promote now?" Or, "How should I say this?" Get that done now. Put them all into Klaviyo, if you use them for email marketing. That's how we use. If they're already loaded in there, when the time comes you just click send and it happens on its own. That's the way you want to do it.
The ads, specifically the creatives, so the images you want to use, either go ahead and make them yourself now. You can do it on canva.com. You can use Photoshop if you like that. Whatever you prefer. Of course, you can outsource them. Make sure you're not just having ads that say something random. Make sure they're tied to the promotion. Make sure they say Black Friday, or whatever the holiday is.
What else you could do now is talk to your suppliers. Try to, again, get those deals going. See where you have the most opportunity for the biggest margins, or for the extra products that will increase your conversions. Have those conversations now, because your suppliers are going to be busy once we get really deep in the holiday rush as well.
Also, load up your remarketing list. Those Facebook Ads I'm talking about, those Google Ads I'm talking about, they're not going to strangers. You're going to be showing them on Google and on Facebook to people that have been to your website already. Whatever your marketing budget is now, if it's profitable, if you're doing well, put more fuel on the fire. Build that up. Get your site traffic up. That way when you're running these ads you'll have a bigger pool of people that they'll be shown to, which will increase your chances of more customers.
Those are some of the things you could start doing now. I know I talked fast in this episode. We just finished up our Q4 meeting, and I don't know, I'm pumped up about this. This is what we're working on. This is what we're doing, just like we do every year. This is why we have amazing Q4s. Again, there's no reason why you shouldn't do the same.
Guys, thanks again. This is episode 100. Really appreciate all of you. Hope you've been enjoying these episodes. I'm not planning on slowing down anytime soon, so if you appreciate it, if you get value, I would love it if you can leave a quick review over on Apple Podcasts. Let me know what you think of the show. In a day or so from when this comes live, we'll have the full transcript plus show notes available at ecommercelifestyle.com/episodes. Make sure you check that out as well. That's it guys. Thank you. Appreciate you, and I hope you have an amazing Q4. I'll see you on Monday for the next episode of eCommerce Lifestyle. Bye.