We’re firmly within Q4 and for many industries, this is one of the most integral times of the year. From Black Friday to Christmas, it can be one of the most profitable but also competitive periods in terms of advertising. So what can you do as a business to ensure you’re best placed to take advantage of Q4? We’re sharing our four-step process built from years of working with clients during this busy period.
Stage 1: Planning
Before you even begin, it’s key to PLAN. And by this, we mean, which parts of Q4 are the most profitable for you? What products or services will you be offering and what offers will your customer respond to? A hospitality business, for example, may focus on Christmas more than Black Friday. Or a jewellery brand may release a Christmas range in the month leading up to the big day but have a Black Friday offer on standard stock before.
The key here is to pick wisely. And by that we mean, in direct relevance to what your audience responds to. Not just throwing out offers left, right and centre, but targeted offers and a secure sales process to back each offer up.
Once you’ve decided on WHAT and WHEN you can focus on the HOW. Will you be using social media to talk about your products or direct emails to your customer list with special offers? Again this should be led by your customer. Which channels do they spend their time on and what sort of content has worked in the past? Choose a combination for a holistic approach, creating consistency across each platform to help drive leads and sales.
Stage 2: Preparation
Once your plan and strategy are in place now is onto the fun part – implementation. Map out your entire campaign(s) and all of the assets, processes and tech you might need to support it. This will allow you to divide and conquer tasks between your team. Ensuring everyone is aligned on the campaign branding, goals and direction is key.
This should also be prepared in alignment with stock and capacity management. It’s all well and good launching an amazing range of Christmas bath bombs but if you don’t have the stock to back it up, the campaign could be a flop. Equally, as a restaurant taking bookings for new years eve, it’s essential that you pre-plan your capacity and create a seamless booking experience for potential customers.
With both of these aspects in place, the final piece of preparation is tracking. Ensure that your ads, landing page, emails or whatever forms of comms you’re using have tracking, allowing you to see your success and areas to improve. Be sure to test this well before the campaign launch – there’s nothing worse than an eCom store crash or tracking falling behind during your campaign.
Stage 3: Manage the madness
Now you’re prepared, there are a few aspects of your campaigns to keep a close eye on during the madness (from November onwards). First up is sharp increases in business, website traffic and the need for customer service. Do regular checks to ensure your website and sales funnel are working efficiently – from ad to purchase. In addition, having some extra hands on deck to manage customer questions and complaints can be the difference between a one-time Christmas purchase and a long-term customer. Finally, keep tabs on your ad spend. As we mentioned before, November to December is a hugely competitive time for ads so ad spend can shoot up or, without proper management, not make the desired impact. Optimising your ad creative, copy, landing page, store or sign-up service throughout your campaign will keep you ahead of the curve.
Stage 4: Reflecting
Despite it feeling like there isn’t a moment to spare in Q4, once everything is up and running it’s actually a great time to look back over your last year of marketing efforts and plan for the next quarter. This is where data comes in – it can tell you so much about your customers, their buying behaviour, marketing activities that worked, those that didn’t and where you can put your focus for the year ahead. When all of the madness of Q4 is over, be sure to do the same review – really digging into the time and money investments that were worth it. This will give you a really strong foundation going into Q4 next year too – always optimising and reaching for bigger and better results.
Still a bit overwhelmed by what Q4 has in store or want to make a solid marketing plan for next year? Get in touch with our team who would be more than happy to help.