Prepare for a Successful Q4 and Drive Sales Through the Holiday Season
The holiday season is a critical time for all businesses as you prepare to close out the end of the year's sales. While the holidays can mean the busiest time of the year, some industries find it the slowest time. The following information and strategies will help you position your business for the best results through this coming Q4 and the holiday season.
Understand Your Industry's Market Trends
The first main key principle to making the very most of the end of the year and the holiday season is having a clear and thorough understanding of the marketing trends in your industry. If your business is a brick-and-mortar store or an e-commerce retailer, customers are most likely going to expecting significant sales from you as Q4 closes out. However, businesses in the home service industry see a very different trend, where sales tend to drop in comparison to the rest of the calendar year.
Action for Retail Businesses
Develop a promotional calendar that highlights both your new seasonal arrivals and overstock inventory - holiday sales are a great time to move these products. Your calendar should, of course, keep in mind key dates like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, where customers will be anticipating special deals.
Your calendar also needs to incorporate shipping deadlines as you plan out the details of what you will promote and when you will promote it. Your customers will want to know that their purchases will arrive in plenty of time for their holiday celebrations, and with these deadlines on the calendar, you won't be making delivery promises that you cannot keep.
Action for Service Businesses
There's a lot less movement in the service industry -- and a less acquisition of new customers -- during the holiday season. The best way to move forward during Q4 is by amping up your outreach to your existing customer base, who are already familiar with your business and services.
Focus on promoting your offerings that can help those customers get their homes ready for expected house parties and unexpected visitors or complete their holiday shopping list -- or anything that can help them relax during a stressful season. In addition, staying active during this slow time will keep you top of mind, so you'll be set up for a successful start to the new year.
Get a Head Start on the Holiday Rush
Consumers start their search for the perfect gift well ahead of the holidays. In spite of the attraction of Black Friday discounts, many consumers begin shopping far sooner. According to DEG Senior Email Marketing Strategist Lisa Graves, most of your customers will start their holiday shopping on November 1st, though that start date continues to trend earlier each year.
This makes it critical to start your holiday season and broader Q4 planning well in advance. One way to get a head start on the end-of-year rush and be first in the minds of potential customers is by creating a teaser campaign leading up to the holidays. You can provide a taste of new product/service offerings and deals to come, building anticipation for your holiday promotions.
Action for Retail Businesses
In retail, you have a wide variety of options for designing and deploying your pre-holiday teaser campaigns, especially on digital platforms. Flash sales can boost sales and build momentum well before the larger promotions begin. With the right advertisement of upcoming Q4 sales, you can focus on building both your social following and your email subscriber list prior to the big holiday push.
Action for Service Business
Take advantage of the quieter time leading up to the holidays to build greater awareness of the helpful services that you offer. Be sure to notify your client database of all the various ways you can aid them in being better prepared for the holiday season. Providing this helpful information early on will only help to endear you to your current customers.
Plan Out Your Marketing Campaigns in Detail
The path to success in Q4 is in having a clear plan of action and detailed timeline for your holiday marketing activities and campaigns. This begins with defining your marketing goals for the end of the year and should include analysis and review throughout so that you can refine and adjust your strategies even during the busy holiday season. Your entire team should be aware of the Q4 marketing plan including specials, so that everyone is on the same page when the end of the business year arrives.
Action for Brick-and-Mortar Retail
A blend of digital and traditional marketing strategies should be part of your plan for the last quarter. Email marketing and social media campaigns can reach online audiences, while indoor signs, handouts, direct mail and advertisements in local publications should be considered for the traditional side of your marketing campaign.
Action for E-Commerce Retail
For e-commerce retailers, the holiday season is a time to really hone your online marketing strategies, using and building on your current audience. Social media (including Pinterest), email marketing and website retargeting should all be part of your campaign schedule.
Action for Service Business
As for any business, your email list is the place to start with your holiday marketing campaign, sharing your best upcoming sales with loyal and interested customers. Local publications and networking events are some more traditional marketing techniques you should consider for your Q4 schedule.
Armed with this action plan, you can take your holiday marketing efforts to the next level. The right focus and preparation will ensure that you have even greater success with your campaigns this year whether you are a retail or service business.