Inspiration, Learning, Trends

Preparing Your Items for the Busy Holiday Shopping Season

The holiday shopping season is the perfect time to attract more customers to your items and optimize selling techniques in the marketplace. The value of preparation will help to break through the daily hustle of everyday work and be inspired to grow more as an author.

During the day-to-day activities, it can be hard to plan for future events but this also means missing potential opportunities to connect with customers and grow your business. Coming to the end of the year – it’s a great time to pause, reflect and plan for exciting times ahead.

Here’s what you need:

  • A quiet place to plan.
  • Many coffees.
  • A reliable Spotify playlist to keep you going.
  • A comfortable place to sit (preferably a beanbag).
  • A laptop (or pen and paper for old school folks).
  • Some of your favorite snacks.
  • Bring a friend or your team to brainstorm ideas with you. The more the merrier!

Let’s get started.

1. Item Optimization

Have you optimized your items correctly? Asking this will help you to refine your items and ensure that customers are able to have a more seamless experience with your items.

Depending on what is applicable to your items (item type), make sure to check these five areas: item title and description, cover and preview images, item tags, item type and categories and live previews. Check out some tips for excellent titles, descriptions and tags hereFrom this, customers should have a good idea of what the product is and if it meets what they’re looking for. 

You can find all this information and specific marketplace guidelines on both the Elements and Market Help Centers.

Now, when or how does this become super important? Keep reading…

2. Seasonal Customer Trends

Coming up to the holiday period, there are a number of celebrations and events that can help attract customers looking for seasonal themes. We just had Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Get prepared for the coming few months into next year and make sure you can plan for upcoming holidays.

For example, if you’re a photos author – look at diversifying your portfolio to include photos around New Year or Valentine’s Day. Customers will be able to find your themed items by searching for keywords through item titles, tags, types and categories.

It’s important to note that these dates differ depending on location, so it’s always good to do your research and make sure you’re aware of the different dates that your customers may be celebrating around the world. It is also important to cater for niche holidays/celebrations throughout the year. Diversity is always a strength – and this will help you connect with more customers.

Here are some key dates coming up for the rest of 2017 – 2018:

  • Hannukah: 12th – 20th of December
  • Christmas Day: 25th of December
  • Boxing Day: 26th/27th of December
  • New Years Eve: 31st of December
  • New Years Day: 1st of January
  • Valentines Day: 14th of February
  • Chinese New Year: 16th of February
  • St Patricks Day: 14th of March
  • Mothers day: 13th of May (US & AU)
  • Easter: 1st – 2nd of April
  • Fathers Day: 17th of June (US & AU)
  • Wedding Season: May – July (Varies)
  • Festival Season: June – September (Varies)
  • Back to School: Early September (Varies)

3. Marketing

Marketing is all about showcasing your items in the right place, right time and in the right way. Get your items out there by developing a brief marketing strategy to help guide promotion. A marketing strategy involves the key basics:

  1. What is your unique selling proposition (USP) – or how it is unique in the marketplace? Search the marketplace for potential competitors to identify your competitive advantage.
  2. Define your target market (demographics of people most interested in your service/product). Example questions: How old are they? What are their interests? What is their lifestyle like? Profile your customers to better understand their needs.
  3. What are the benefits of your products/services and how will this impact your customers? These are important details to include in your item description).
  4. How will you reach your target audience? What channels (e.g social media) will you use? How will you leverage exposure by utilizing SEO? (This section is explained further below). Set a few measurable goals to guide your process.

Once you have identified the channel(s), what are your marketing methods? For example: Seasonal marketing, customer competitions, social media marketing, paid advertising or content marketing using articles/blog posts will help you to engage with customers.

Read a quick guide to marketing creative products here.

4. What channels are right for you?

How will you promote what you will be offering? When considering what channel(s) are the best to use for your business, consider the following:

  • How do my item(s) and brand align or work well with this channel? For example, using visual social media platforms (Instagram) versus. written social media platforms (Twitter). 
  • How much time will you need to spend on this channel? Is it worth investing in paid advertising or reaching out to influencers?
  • How complex is the channel to manage?
  • Does the channel fit well with your promotional plan?

Social media, as an example – is a great and affordable way to get your items out there. Check out the different platforms available, such as Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and see what best suits your products and customers. Read about three Envato Authors who use social media really well here

It’s worthwhile to test out a channel, one or two at a time and see what the impact is. Once you have chosen your channels, create a Content Calendar and schedule what you will be promoting, when you will be promoting and how. It is important to ask: How does this content calendar align with my target market? This can be created using a quick excel spreadsheet organized by the week or by using online apps such as Schedugram and HootSuite.

Here,  you are able to promote your item(s) and brand by posting weekly updates, promotions, customer testimonials/stories, featured items etc. You can also create marketing collateral such as banners and social media graphics to visually advertise sales, discounts or unique items. You can do this by using Photoshop, Canva or other online tools to add words, colors, and shapes to your images!

5. SEO

As an author, understanding the basic principles in marketing and SEO (search engine optimization) will help to ensure that your items are reaching the traffic it needs. To begin, SEO involves first looking at keyword research.  This affects how customers find your items using keywords and across channels. Make a list of a few good keywords or phrases for your main item page and title.

Have a look at the marketplace and see if what you’ve chosen, describes and finds similar items. Also, try entering the words on Google and see what comes up. Once you’ve got your keywords, you need to optimize your pages and ensure the content on all your channels and pages includes those keywords. More specifically…

  • The Title: This is the first things customers will see when searching on Market or Elements. It’s also the first thing a customer will see on social media pages. Wherever it is, make sure it is consistent.
  • The Description: This will show up along with your title, so make sure the information in your item description is updated and correct.
  • The Content: Make sure that content on your page is arranged in a way that your keywords are shown in the first few sentences or paragraph.
  • Tags: Tag your item with keywords to help customers find your item if they are looking for something from a specific category. This can also help lead customers to another page looking for a similar product to yours.

This means ensuring that your keywords are consistent across Envato and your own marketing channels (e.g social media pages) by using the same keywords within your bio, item description, content and even status updates. This will help more people discover your item and business. Read some more tips here

Now, this isn’t everything. It’s just a brief overview of what activities and tools may help you during this busy time. Over the next few months, we will take a deeper dive into marketing, SEO and branding, so keep an eye out for it. If you want to build loyal customers and provide exceptional experiences in 2018, this is the time to do it and get prepared.

If you have any questions, want to continue the conversation or share your favorite tips, jump over to the forums and connect with your fellow author community.