The IMC Insider
Helping real people create wealth and freedom with Internet businesses since 1996
December 6, 2008
Issue #218
10 Simple Last-Minute Tactics You Can Use To Maximize Holiday Sales 
By Derek Gehl

DerekReady for some GOOD economic news for a change?!

Last week's "Black Friday" sales figures are starting to trickle in, and it looks like holiday sales are UP compared to last year!

In fact, according to a report in MarketWatch, (an online comparison shopping service) saw traffic rise by 11% over 2007 during this traditional kick-off to the holiday shopping season.

And the National Retail Federation reports that more than 172 MILLION people visited stores and websites on Black Friday, compared to 147 million last year (that's an increase of 25 MILLION)... 

... and shoppers ALSO spent 7.2% MORE on their purchases!

So despite the stormy economic outlook, the holiday shoppers are DEFINITELY out there, and eager to buy... 

Are you ready for them?

If you haven't spent the time to get your site into shape for the holidays, you only have a couple of weeks left before shoppers abandon web shopping in favor of the malls, in order to avoid the expense of last-minute shipping charges.

So here are ten last-minute tips you can use to quickly and easily "tweak"
your site and marketing strategy to earn extra revenue this holiday season.

Last-Minute Tip #1: Promote Fast Shipping

Have you ever purchased a gift online, only to have it arrive three days afterthe holidays?

Talk about a disappointment, right?

And it's that fear of NOT receiving a gift on time that could stop a LOT of people from clicking the "buy" button on your site in the final days leading up to the holidays...

... unless you make it CLEAR that their purchases will arrive on time! 

So if you use a major delivery service -- like UPS or Fedex -- make sure you clearly state that prominently on your site.

Your customers will feel MUCH more comfortable making a last-minute purchase if you can assure them that the gift will indeed arrive in time to wrap it up and put it under the tree.

And to save yourself a lot of post-holiday customer service headaches, make sure you also include a "cutoff date," after which you will no longer be able to guarantee holiday delivery.

Last-Minute Tip #2: Feature Seasonal Specials In Your Site's First Fold

When adding holiday products or promotions to your site, resist the temptation simply to create a new "holiday" page inside your site, and link to it from the homepage. 

You want to make sure that your holiday specials are right in front of your visitors the second they land on your homepage!

So pick your proven holiday best-sellers -- or the products that are most often searched for on your site -- and feature them prominently right ON the homepage, and preferably within the first fold.

Then, when a visitor weary of surfing for gifts (and suffering from "click fatigue") arrives on your site, they'll be thrilled to find what they're looking forright away, and be more likely to buy then if you send them on a wild goose chase to find your specials buried inside the site. 

Last-Minute Tip #3: TELL Your Visitors Who Your Gifts Are Suitable For 
It's a well-known fact that people don't really want to think when they visit a website. In fact, if you ask them to make too many choices on their own, they'll often just leave the site, rather than come to any decisions.

So rather then leave your visitors to fret over whether particular items on your site would be suitable for certain people on their gift lists, make sure your salescopy tells them which of your products would make good gifts, and for whom... 
  • This would make a great gift for mom!
  • This would make a great gift for the entrepreneur in your family!
  • This would make a great gift for video game fan!
  • This would make a good gift for [insert recommendation here]!
Never assume your customers "get it," because they probably don't... you need to tell them who your product(s) apply to and why they should buy it for them as a gift.

Last-Minute Tip #4: Create A "Top 10 Gift Ideas" List

If you're a business selling numerous products, one of my favorite tactics is to put a "Top 10 Gift Ideas" list on your site.

If someone is surfing the Internet for gift ideas, your list will grab their attention, and you can then direct them toward the products that generate the HIGHEST profits for you!

And don't forget to modify the salescopy of the products you recommend to play up the "gift idea" angle! As I mentioned in Last-Minute Tip #3, you need to TELL your customers who will appreciate your products, and explain why they will make great gifts.

Last-Minute Tip #5: Capitalize On "Seasonal Keywords" in the Pay-Per-Click Search Engines

At this time of year, there's a substantial increase in searches based on gift-related keywords, as shoppers look for presents for their loved ones.

For example...

Hobby-Related Key Phrases:
  • Golf gift idea
  • Fishing gift idea
  • Video game gift
Individual-Specific Key Phrases:
  • Christmas gift for Fisherman
  • Christmas gift for Plumber
  • Christmas gift for Student
So make sure you've set up a pay-per-click campaign to take advantage of these seasonal searches -- and you'll increase the number of holiday shoppers to your site almost IMMEDIATELY. 

But don't just write your ads and call it a day!

To get the highest possible conversion rate from your PPC campaign, you need to continue the theme of the keywords you're bidding on in the salescopy.

So if someone comes to your website after searching with the keyphrase "Christmas Gift for Student," your copy on the landing page needs to explainwhy your product will make a good gift for a student. 

If there isn't a direct connection between the copy in the ad, and the copy on the page, visitors can easily feel they've landed on the wrong page... and leave again. 

One final word of warning: Avoid more general keywords and phrases, such as "Christmas Gift" or "Christmas Gift for Dad." These will be VERY expensive, and you won't get the kind of qualified traffic that you need.

Last-Minute Tip #6: The Countdown Clock!

Looking for a way to REALLY increase urgency on your site? 

Consider adding a countdown timer to your website that counts down to the last minute your customers can order a product from your website and still get guaranteed delivery by Christmas!

Even if you have two weeks left on your countdown clock, the psychology of a clock counting down in front of someone will increase their urgency to order NOW!

The easiest way to add a countdown clock to your website is with one of the many free javascripts available on a site like Go to this site and search for "Countdown Timer" and you'll find a number of options.

Last-Minute Tip #7: Send Out A Last-Minute Email

You probably know a couple of people who like to brag that they got their shopping finished MONTHS in advance, right?

But I bet you ALSO know a few people who don't even start thinking about their holiday gift needs until the last possible minute!

That's why sending out a "last minute" email promotion is NEVER a bad idea -- particularly if you send it out on the LAST day customers can order and still receive their gifts in time for the holidays.

Chances are, the procrastinators on your list will appreciate the heads-up, and LOVE you for saving them from spending Christmas Eve shopping in 24-hour drug stores, and presenting their loved ones with gifts of shampoo and dog treats ;-)

Last-Minute Tip #8: Send Out An AFTER Christmas Email

Remember that the opportunity to promote products for the holidays doesn't end on the 25th. There are LOTS of bargain shoppers out there who can't WAIT for the day after Christmas, when the REAL deals begin! 

So while an after-Christmas email promotion would no longer focus on gift-giving per se, you'll still have an excellent opportunity to clear out the last of your Christmas stock.

Last-Minute Tip #9: Offer The Gift Of Choice - Gift Certificates

Who doesn't love getting gift certificates? They're never the wrong size, never the wrong color, and never have to be returned for something more suitable. 

But gift certificates are great gifts to GIVE, too.

If a customer comes to your site, but doesn't know exactly what to buy, your gift certificates can solve that problem. 

So if you sell, say, camera equipment, and someone is shopping for a gift for a camera buff (but they themselves don't know anything about cameras), a gift certificate can save them from spending hours puzzling over every product on your site.

But even better, for each gift certificate you sell, you gain TWO new customers: the person who purchases it, and the person who redeems it.

Finally, be sure to remind your customers and visitors that, since gift certificates can be delivered electronically, they're ideal last-minute gifts. 

Last-Minute Tip #10: Ship Gifts Directly To Recipients 

Sending a gift purchase to a customer, who then has to wrap and repackage it and send it on to the recipient, can mean a LOT of wasted time, and the closer we get to the holidays, the bigger an issue that will become. 

So if you can, why not tweak your order form so that your customer can have their gift purchase sent DIRECTLY to the gift recipient?

If you offer to ship gifts directly, you'll likely have a lot of customers ask if you can gift wrap them, too. So if your sales volume is small enough for you to handle this, it's an excellent way to improve customer service (and you can charge a small additional fee for the service to boost revenue).

And if you want to go all-out, offer to send a gift card along with the wrapped package, and include a hand-written greeting of your customer's choosing.

With the hectic holiday season now in full swing -- and people eagerly spending their money -- NOW is the time to grab all of those last-minute shoppers, bring them to your site, and make their gift buying experience as painless and efficient as possible.

But remember... the countdown clock is ticking for YOU, too, so if you haven't been focused on last-minute gift sales, you need to take action right away! 

To your success, 

Derek Gehl 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Internet marketing expert Derek Gehl specializes in teaching real people how to successfully start, build, and grow their own profitable online businesses on small budgets. To get instant access to the step-by-step strategies, tools, and resources he's used to grow just $25 into over $60 Million in online sales, visit:

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