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.
These leaves not only less “workable” hours, but it can also be harder to get ahold of potential customers (especial in the B2B marketplace).
In this blog, 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 2019!
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 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…
4 Steps to Revving Up Your Q4 Marketing Plan
Step 1: Begin with Day One
One of my favorite business quotes by Steven Covey is “Begin with the end in mind.”
“Begin with the end in mind.” – Steven Covey
I suggest we take this one day further and instead of thinking about how we want to end 2018, let’s prepare for day one of 2019: January 1, 2019.
Close your eyes for a moment and visualize the first day of 2019.
Picture it; the confetti gets cleared. The haze of New Year’s Eve celebrations and holidays are over, and it’s officially January 1st, 2019.
What does your business look like? What do you want your business to look like?
In your ideal world, how is it different than 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 successfully participate in?
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 mark down and declare the time you need to participate in these activities (you social butterfly), but also realize that many of your clients/customers and potential customers 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 blogs.
SMART Goals are:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R= Realistic / Relevant
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 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 marketed out your availability on your calendar, so you know how much time in Q4 you really have.
Example =Increase sales this quarter by 10% from last quarter.
T = Time-Bound: Set a specific deadline.
Example = I’m going to 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’m going to 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 got your SMARTER goals set, 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 Creating 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
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 & 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 your spending 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.
I suggest you beat the rush and plan on sending a Thanksgiving message to your audience.
Or, you could do a World Kindness Day Message (November 13, 2018), or something that makes you stand out from you.
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 in other times of the year they would not consider fitting into their schedule.
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 2019 Budget
The fourth quarter is the perfect time to position yourself with potential new customers that “didn’t have enough room in their budget this year.”
Their busy with the holiday rush as well, so show them how you can add to their ROI and deliver big for them in 2019.
Watch out 2019
If you take time to go through the 4 step exercise and implement these ninja tips Q4 might just be your best quarter yet, leading the way for an amazing 2019!