For most companies, the 4th fiscal quarter runs from the beginning of October through the end of December, marking the final stretch to get your marketing and sales in order to close out the year strong.
While the smell of pumpkin fills the air (and local Starbucks), many people look to this time of year to spend vacationing, at holiday events, and with friends and family.
This leaves not only fewer “workable” hours, but it can also be harder to get ahold of potential customers (especially in the B2B marketplace).
In this post, we’re looking at how you can amplify your marketing plan in Q4 to help you close your year out strong and prepare you for a more profitable 2024!
We’re going over the 4-step process to Revving up Your Q4 Marketing Plan, and… as a bonus at the end, we’re going over Q4 Ninja Marketing Tricks to help you get ahead of your competition!
So, grab a pen and paper (and maybe a pumpkin spice latte to get you in the autumn mood), and let’s get started…
Step 1: Begin with Day One
One of my favorite business quotes by Steven Covey is, “Begin with the end in mind.”
I suggest we take this one day further, and instead of thinking about how we want to end 2023, let’s prepare for day one of 2024: January 1, 2024.
Close your eyes for a moment and visualize the first day of 2024.
Picture it; the confetti gets cleared.
The haze of New Year’s Eve celebrations and holidays is over, and it’s officially January 1st, 2024.
What does your business look like? What do you want your business to look like?
In your ideal world, how is it different from what it is today?
How many leads do you want to see in your pipeline?
How much monthly traffic do you want coming to your website?
What marketing processes do you want to see automated?
What social media platforms do you want your company to participate in successfully?
Take some time to jot down these answers; we’ll revisit them in step 3.
Step 2: Calendar Everything Out (and I do mean everything)
Q4 is filled with so many holidays, social times, obligations, travel, time off, etc.
It’s hard to squeeze everything in if you don’t have time planned for it.
Not only should you mark down and declare the time you need to participate in these activities (you social butterfly), but you should also realize that many of your clients or patients and potential clients or patients are also taking time off for these activities.
We all need time away from work. Mark this “unplugged time” out on your calendar as well.
Schedule your time to plan (now for Q4) and in Q4 for Q1.
After you’ve marked out your obligations and time away from your office, you’ll have a clear idea of how much time you truly have in Q4, leaving you with X days to achieve the results you want.
Now, let’s come up with SMARTER marketing goals for Q4…
Step 3: Set SMARTER Goals
I’m sure you’ve probably heard of SMART goals before. We’ve mentioned them in previous blog posts.
SMART Goals are:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Realistic / Relevant
T = Time-Bound
Michael Hyatt is known for taking SMART goals to the next level with what he calls SMARTER Goals.
SMARTER Goals are:
S = Specific: Identify exactly what you want to accomplish. Example: I’m going to publish one blog post a week.
M = Measurable: Quantify the result. Example: I am going to call 80 new leads a week.
A = Actionable: Start with an action verb, not a to-be verb. Example: Meet with two industry influencers a week.
R = Realistic: Recognize and implement the power of incremental change over time. You’ve already marked out your availability on your calendar, so you know how much time you really have in Q4. Example: Increase sales this quarter by 10% from last quarter.
T = Time-Bound: Set a specific deadline. Example: I will send out the email campaign on November 22nd.
E = Exciting: Make your goals personally compelling. Example: I will hire an assistant to call on prospects (which I hate doing), freeing me up to meet with partners.
R = Relevant: Make sure your goals are appropriate to this stage of your business. Example: I will create a lead magnet centered around our bestselling product to increase leads/sales.
Come up with 3-5 SMARTER goals for your Q4 marketing goals.
Write them out.
Print them out.
Put them where you can see them (maybe by your computer).
Step 4: Plot it Out!
Now that you’ve set your SMARTER goals, you know what you want to accomplish and how much time you actually have available to do so. Plot out how you’re going to get there.
Here are some templates, guides, samples & other resources to help you plot it out:
- How to Create a Marketing Plan You’ll Actually Use: Templates, Guides, & Samples
- How Much Should You Spend on Marketing?
- Your Guide to Creating a Successful Marketing Calendar
- 17 Point Marketing Checkup: Your Ultimate Guide for Reviewing Your Marketing Efforts
- 14 easy-breezy ways to maximize your marketing budget
Plus, these 4 Ninja Q4 Marketing Tips….
4 Ninja Q4 Marketing Tips
Q4 is the perfect time to set yourself ahead of your competition.
After all, they most likely haven’t taken the time to go through the 4 steps for Q4 marketing success like you have, and I can guarantee that most of them won’t take advantage of these Q4 ninja marketing tips.
Ninja Q4 Marketing Tip #1: Amplify the 20
I’m sure you’ve probably heard of the 80:20 rule (also known as the Pareto principle), as it applies to many things.
Boiled down, it states roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
Here are some common examples of how this relates to marketing and sales:
- 80% of profits come from 20% of customers
- 80% of product sales from 20% of products
- 80% of sales from 20% of advertising
- 80% of leads in content marketing are from 20% of the content assets
- 80% of social shares are from 20% of the social updates
If you know your 20% on these items, Q4 is the perfect time to adjust your efforts for maximum return:
- Focus more on that 20% of your customers that generate 80% of your profits
- Put more energy into campaigns around the 20% of those products
- Increase the amount you spend on that 20% of ads that are a win for your company
Ninja Q4 Marketing Tip #2: Pick a Different Holiday to Reach Out to Your Database
Skip the obvious “Happy Holidays” message!
We get bombarded with holiday messages from companies.
You should beat the rush and send your audience a Thanksgiving message.
Or, you could do a National Entrepreneur Day message (November 25, 2023) or something that makes you stand out from your competition.
These are less competitive than the Happy Holidays and New Year’s announcements.
Ninja Q4 Marketing Tip #3: Use Others’ Free Time to Your Advantage
Never disregard quality face-to-face time.
The 4th quarter is the prime time to connect with the senior (and executive) level decision-makers.
With lighter schedules during the holiday seasons, executives are more open-minded and willing to explore opportunities that they would not consider fitting into their schedule at other times of the year.
It’s also a great time to grab coffee with someone in your network or reach out to potential partners to plan for joint marketing ventures in the New Year.
Ninja Q4 Marketing Tip #4: Be a Priority for their 2024 Budget
The fourth quarter is, again, the perfect time to position yourself with potential new customers who “didn’t have enough room in their budget this year.”
They’re also busy with the holiday rush, so show them how you can add to their ROI and deliver big for them in 2024.
Watch out, 2024…
If you take the time to go through this 4-step exercise and implement these ninja tips, Q4 might just be your best quarter yet, leading the way for a fantastic and super prosperous 2024!