It’s October 1st, and the clock is ticking.
The 4th Quarter has arrived, and it’s time to make or break the year.
Why is Q4 So Critical?
It’s When the Buyers are Out and Ready to Spend
The upcoming holiday season drives the need for consumer purchases. They are going to be buying, whether, for personal relationships, or business relationships, consumers face an obligation to gift and celebrate in the 4th quarter. This equals opportunity for you to make sure your product is the target for those purchases. If you haven’t done so yet, take advantage of the early part of October to button up your complete Q4 marketing calendar. The best way to be the recipient of all that consumer spending is to make sure your customers know you exist. How are you going to get your product in front of your target audience? Here is a short list of suggestions:
• Email campaigns. The most effective strategy for casting out a wide net. Stay top of mind with your database by sending out emails. A mix of promotional and information emails might be best — always make sure you have something to offer be it a deal or useful information. Don’t forget to lead with the benefits — ask yourself why a customer should care about your product, how will it improve their life? Moreover, lead with that message. Provide value in all your communication.
• Short lead publications. Magazines have put their Q4 issues to bed long ago, so don’t waste your time here. However, short lead publications, such as newspapers and blogs, have not. Consider your product or service and how it fits the consumer need in the 4th quarter. Target blogs and newspapers your customers are likely to read and who may be publishing year-end gift lists, or who may be otherwise searching for content.
• Telesales. Sounds a bit old school, right? It’s not for every business, but if you have an established customer database with solid relationships, give them a call and make them an offer. Like with emails, lead with a benefit-driven message, and use it as an opportunity to say hello to your best customers. Find out how you can make achieving their end of year goals simple.
• Handwritten note. Email is fast and big, but the personal touch of a handwritten note is timeless and oh-so-rare. Consider your customer demographic — who in that list may find that personal note appealing? Pick a small list of customers and reach out via good old snail mail, this may be just the tactic to get those select big buyers to point their buying power in your direction.
• Social media advertising. Instagram has 800 million monthly active users, 60 percent of whom are under 30. It’s a powerful way to connect, and hopefully, you have instituted a social media strategy to connect with your consumers on this platform through regular unpaid posts. To take it up a notch, consider utilizing Instagram ads to reach your current audience, expand to a new audience, promote your product and engage with your customers. Facebook is equally powerful, and your Facebook and Instagram campaigns can both be managed through your Facebook Ad Manager account. Not only are these ads extremely targeted, but they can also provide a high return with a small spend, and it’s all trackable.
It Sets Your Momentum for the New Year.
It’s easy to get caught up in the business of the holiday season and fall behind. However, if you stay on track, you’ll cruise into the new year with a powerful force. Staying top of mind with your customers during the 4th quarter sets you up for success. If they didn’t pull the trigger on a purchase during Q4, but you correctly displayed to them the value of your product, your likelihood of being on their list of trusted providers is high. In addition to working your existing customer base during Q4 with your buttoned-up marketing calendar, you were likely able to cultivate new prospects. The new year is a perfect time to build upon the relationships initiated with new possibilities gained during the 4th quarter. Put a plan in place to convert your new prospects to buyers.
How to Create a Q4 Marketing Calendar.
I like to keep it simple. Print out a blank calendar for October, November in December. Look at your last years’ marketing efforts. Consider what was successful, and what could use improving — did you send or post too late? Do you think you sent out your campaign too early to reach your audience at prime buying time? Adjust accordingly and put these new dates and tactics on your calendar. Now fill it in with the rest of your marketing mix from the list above. Carefully consider each week of the 4th quarter and plan what you will be doing that week to reach your customers. Don’t forget about lead times for publications or mailing times. If you need photography for your emails, social media or advertising, shoot early! Get a bank of photos together so you’ll be ready to move quickly, working with a photo stylist, and professional photographer can help you up your game. Make sure your calendar is comprehensively likely to reach your customers, and get ready to rule the 4th quarter.