How to Prepare Your Online Presence for Holiday Shopping Season

If last December’s numbers are any indication—and experts seem to believe they are—new car sales will reach a record high this holiday season. Whether consumers are buying holiday gifts, looking to get a good deal on 2015 inventory, or eagerly seeking out new 2016 models, December 2015 is looking good for automotive dealers.

The same is true for restaurants, hotels and casinos. As the economy continues to recover and consumers’ financial confidence grows, many are looking to take vacations and enjoy good food and entertainment over their holiday break. These types of businesses can expect to do well in the coming weeks.

But before those customers ever set foot in your brick-and-mortar store, they’re going to gather information about your business and inventory on the Internet—likely using a mobile device. Your online presence needs to be ready.

At Search Optics, we help our clients develop comprehensive strategies to connect with consumers and generate better leads. But there are also several smaller adjustments you can make to your digital marketing mix right now to help engage audiences and convert new customers. Here are a few examples:

Claim and verify local search listings. Customers can’t visit your business unless they know your correct location and hours of operation, so be sure to claim and verify your local search listings across all directories (such as G+, Bing, and Yahoo!). You’ll need to request a physical postcard, fill it out, and mail it back to verify your business’ location; then you can move forward with updating your information. If you don’t take these steps to secure your listings, there’s a chance that a competitor, former employee, or other unauthorized person could update your listings with incorrect information.

Develop engaging content. Today’s consumers expect to have easy access to a variety of relevant, compelling information at every stage of their shopping process. You can help sustain their interest over time—and help get them through your doors to make a purchase—by delivering the information they need at the times they need it. For example, if you only post transactional content (such as lists of inventory), you may only be catering to shoppers who are close to making a purchase decision. You can provide more value to potential customers over time if you also offer more research-oriented content, such as comparisons between products.

Manage your reputation. Customers rely on online reviews more than ever, so make sure you monitor and thoughtfully respond to the reviews your business receives—both positive and negative. Engaging with your customers helps build loyalty, and it gives you the opportunity to address and resolve any problems. You’ll demonstrate that you care about the customer experience your business provides while also taking control of your reputation (instead of allowing others to determine it for you).

Optimize for SEO. You likely want your business to be associated with certain search keywords, but you’ll need to earn that right through quality SEO. You can improve your rankings in search by populating your website’s landing pages with interesting, relevant content that incorporates your desired keywords. But keep in mind that the content must be high-quality: simply adding keywords wherever you can could cause search engines to downgrade your page as spam.

For more information on optimizing your digital marketing campaign, click here.


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