What’s Your Marketing Strategy for a Strong and Profitable 4th Quarter?
In the blink of an eye, the Holidays will be upon us! While shoppers used to wait until after Thanksgiving to kick off their holiday shopping spree, Forbes reports that by Halloween, 40% of seasonal buyers have already begun pounding the pavement and/or perusing the web.
Don’t worry, there’s still time to put together an impactful holiday marketing strategy for the 4th quarter that translates into new customers, sales, and profitability. But, there isn’t much time to waste – so get started right away!
Here are some core components to consider as you outline your 4th quarter marketing push.
Double Check Your Mobile Efforts
Before seasonal shopping enters into full swing, make sure your website is mobile-friendly. This isn’t just for online shopping sites, but for restaurants, services like hair or nail salons, boutiques and more. From video to carousel to display images, your website and ads should be optimized for smart phones and tablets.
This can even include your Facebook & social media cover photos – make sure they fit the mobile dimensions too. Try this handy social media photo size cheat sheet from socialmediatoday.com.
Make sure your site has a simple-to-use ordering process that can be completed on any kind of device or personal computer. While people may not complete the purchase on their phone, make sure all customer touchpoints including brick and mortar, website, social media, mobile app, etc. are consistent and on brand.
Cater to Your Most Loyal Customers
While it’s important to generate new leads or contacts during this time of year, it’s more effective to hone in on those customers that have an active purchase history with your business. Identify the top 20% of social media followers and or email subscribers that are driving the most traffic to your business and analyze their commonalities. Study their demographics, locations, and interests to create a specific marketing campaign focused on them. This could be a VIP customer sale, or other special promotions exclusive to that target audience and meant to boost your 4th quarter bottom line.
A few examples:
- A Facebook fan only promotion
- Email advance notice of a private sale or event, could even be an extra offer for them or their friends – even calling it a Friends and Family event.
Polish Your Content
Sharpen your content and make it more specific to the 4th quarter. While you may have an overall content strategy, zero in and tailor that copy from a seasonal perspective. For example, if you are drafting a blog about catering, your mission statement may read: I want to tell people about our flexible cuisine options and competitive pricing. But now, rewrite this statement for your 4th quarter: I want to help take the stress out of holiday party planning on a shoestring budget with our flexible catering and competitive pricing. Voilà! Now you’ve got a 4th quarter blog and mailing to customers.
A Sense of Urgency
Create a sense of urgency with your content using promotional ad teasers that imply a limited quantity or time-sensitive promotions and one-off sales. Light a fire under your customers that motivate them to take care of their holiday shopping list sooner rather than later.
Identify Key Dates and Develop a Calendar for EVERYTHING
Take the time to plan out your 4th quarter marketing calendar including emails, direct mail, social media posts, and blogs. Really, anything you want to put in front of your customers should be scheduled and planned for. The results are totally worth making time to do this (in your not-so-spare time).
Take into account important dates such as:
- Black Friday – Friday, November 24, 2017
- Small Business Saturday – Saturday, November 25, 2017
- Cyber Monday – Monday, November 27, 2017
- GROW’s Sparkle Celebration with vendor tables – Wednesday, December 6, 2017
- Christmas is on a Monday this year, that gives you 5 Saturday’s this year from November 25 to December. Make the most of it!
Develop promotions in advance that capitalize on the pre-established shopping buzz. The more you plan out, the easier it’s going to be to execute and the more successful your marketing strategy will be
Plan for an increase in traffic both online and in-person.
- Is your website prepared for an onslaught of traffic and multiple purchase requests?
- Have you considered extending hours of operation or adding some extra staff to the floor?
- If you have an online store, is your shipping company ready for action?
- If you deliver, do you have drivers and staff to help deliver holiday packages?
- Could you provide a special offer or incentive that will bring them back in 2018?
Make sure the gears are well oiled before the fun begins. If you haven’t already, it may also be time to streamline your purchasing process by adding PayPal, Square Cash, or Amazon Pay to your payment options. The easier it is to buy things, the better it is for your business.
Most Importantly – Be Jolly!
This time of year is full of fun and seasonal festivities. Don’t forget to enjoy that and influence your staff to do the same. Customers are visual and love businesses that get into the spirit and letting their “seasonal personality” shine. Add seasonal graphics to your website, decorate your storefront, and use holiday imagery in all your promotions and posts. Help customers get that warm feeling (you know the one) when they enter your store or jump on your website. Take a look at our recent blog 5 Low or No Cost Marketing Tools, too.
We’re Here to Help.
If you have any questions about marketing in general or what marketing tools may be best for you (especially as you enter the 4th quarter) contact us and be sure to check out our list of upcoming classes and workshops.
We’ll also be participating in several holiday-themed events, like Small Business Saturday. Get the details on our Facebook Event here.