It's the eve of Thanksgiving in the United States. Many people are taking today off from work to cook while many retail stores are getting set for the start of the massive sales cycle that starts on Friday morning, Black Friday.
By now I expect all retailers have sent out their first flight of ads. It doesn't matter if these ads are inviting customers to your website or to your store; strangely enough all ads increase traffic to your site because people will want more information.
For the last few years Google has been publishing many consumer behavior reports showing that people simply like to look at your website before visiting your store. Every time you run a newspaper ad, radio ad, TV commercial, or send direct mail you will always see a slight increase in websites visitors who searched for your store name. You may also see an increase in searches for your store name with your town name if your store name is similar to another. (Exactly how many Smith Jewelers are there anyway?)
It doesn't matter if you have your website address printed in all your ads, people are more likely to quickly search for your store name online than type in your website address. Want to know how effective your direct mail is at driving traffic to your website? Next time you send a mailing you should take a close look at Google Analytics for increased store name searches.
As usual, once someone arrives at your site you only have a short time to make an impression and gain their business. You can cater the customer experience and make a better impression if you know how visitors navigate your website. Tracking behavior is tricky business, and if you've got a reasonable website budget you should tell your website programmer to activate user tracking on your site for the holiday season.
On the other hand, simply knowing the most popular pages on your website will also help make a good impression. Knowing which pages are popular allows you to carefully place relevant holiday information.
Current sales, changes in store hours, daily deals, and event announcements can all be strategically placed around your website to help guarantee they will be seen.
Other than the home page of your website, here's a list of the most popular pages I've tracked for the last 6 months in order of their popularity:
1. Store Hours page
2. Contact Us page
3. Error page
4. Pages with "engagement ring" in the name.
5. Directions page
6. Online Catalog landing pages
7. Gold Buying/Selling pages
8. About Us pages
9. Blog landing pages
10. Designers We Carry landing pages
Each of these pages presents an opportunity for you. Consumers won't expect to see ads on your Contact, Directions, or Store Hours pages but they are prime online real estate for your site.
Everyone always overlooks the Error page as a source of advertising, but it is. Along with the typical "404 page not found" message you should also take the opportunity to tell the visitor about something special, including your recent ad.
The holiday season is the best time of year to be proactive with your website. Make changes daily if possible because different people will arrive every day expecting to see the most up to date information. You certainly will give a good impression if your site is updated daily.