The holiday shopping season can make or break the year for retailers. Savvy use of social, mobile and search tools to support and promote your business at this busy time can help you finish the year strong.

Here are 6 ways your retail business can make the most of online tools to bring customers to you:

  1. Elevate your search position
    Say you’re a local jewelry store that wants to attract couples in your area interested in shopping together for rings. When they search online for “jewelers in my town,” what’s the likelihood that your listing will be the first one they see? You can increase your chances of appearing higher in search results by refreshing the content on your website more frequently than your competitors do. Don’t feel pressured to write full-length feature articles on your blog; photos of new products with short captions, links to relevant news articles, and sale announcements are all ways to make your site appear fresh to the search engines.
  2. Make sure your website is mobile phone-friendly
    Back to that engagement-ring shopping couple. Unless she happens to be sitting in front of her computer when he proposes, they’ll probably use a smartphone or other mobile device to search for jewelry stores. Will your website attract or repel them? If it was designed recently, there’s a good chance you or your developer used a tool that detects what type of device a visitor is using and automatically shows the mobile version. It should load faster and serve up pages in the appropriate screen size with the correct user interface. If not, check out a service such as Mobify, Wirenode, or bMobilized to optimize your existing website for mobile visitors.
  3. Make it easy for mobile users to call
    Dialing the phone number is the top action consumers take after searching for a business on a mobile device. Make sure your number is easy to find on your mobile-optimized site, and make it even easier for customers by enabling them to simply click on the number, instead of dialing, to call you. Some browsers automatically detect phone numbers and convert them to links for smartphone users.
  4. Create shareable social media messages
    Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube to post photos, infographics and videos that showcase your products and unique expertise. A short tutorial on how to shop for diamonds is not just helpful for that fellow who just proposed marriage; it will be shared by all the girlfriends who want to drop hints this season. Messaging that is useful, engaging or emotionally evocative is the most likely to be shared.
  5. Spread special offers via social media
    Everyone likes to share a bargain. Promote your seasonal sales, specials and sweepstakes over social media and encourage your customers to share them with friends and family. Set time limits on in-store offers to create a sense of urgency, make offers first-come-first serve while supplies last, or appeal to consumers’ spirit of giving at the holidays by offering to donate a percentage of sales to local charities.
  6. Cultivate your local search presence
    It used to be enough to have a website and push customer traffic to that page. Now, however, there are many other ways potential customers will discover your business online. Google My Business, Yahoo Local, Yelp, and TripAdvisor are a few services that serve up local business information. Check them all to ensure that you’re showing up consistently across platforms—the same address, contact information, hours, description, and branding should appear anywhere people might search for you.

Without too big of an investment in either time or money, your business can leverage the search engines, mobile devices, and social media to ring up more end of year sales.

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