The fourth quarter is the most profitable time of the year for brands, with online holiday sales hitting a high of $206 billion in 2021. This isn’t very surprising when you consider the number of holidays in this quarter — there's Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Super Saturday.Here are some pointers to help you maximize your Q4 marketing budget during the most lucrative shopping time of the year.
Specify Objectives For The Quarter
Creating specific objectives is a great way to ensure your leftover budget is being spent appropriately. Using the SMART framework and focusing on being strategic — not tactical — are two ways to create great marketing objectives for your brand.
Outline Goals Using The SMART Framework
SMART is a framework that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. Making sure each of your goals is specific, achievable — and not too optimistic — relevant to your business, and can be measured and done on time are key to your business' success. Vague goals hinder your marketing strategy because it's hard to get somewhere if you don't know exactly where you are going. Your marketing team needs to understand what steps to take and the direction they have to go to be successful. Clear goals will give you more progress, productivity, and motivation. Unclear goals will do the opposite. Try this: Instead of saying, "increase Instagram engagement," say, "increase Instagram engagement rate from 2% to 3% within one month by posting one high-quality image or video with relevant hashtags daily". This is a lot easier to track, and you have specific numerical goals to achieve.
Be Strategic, Not Tactical
A strategy and tactic are two different things, even if they sound similar. Tactics are launching a new product or hosting a promotional contest. A strategy should combine both external and internal factors. There are three core parts of a good strategy:
Your strategy should be based on one or more core ideas about your brand, market and consumer.
Your strategy should develop your brand to fulfill its promise and establish its position.
Your strategy should strengthen the relationships with your consumers.
Pinpoint Outstanding Gaps and Push To Fill Them
It's important to do a digital marketing audit to show you the strengths of your strategies while also presenting existing gaps that you can strive to fill in the last quarter of the year.
Content Marketing Audit
Discover which articles or topics created the most buzz and engagement and which completely flopped. Understanding what your customers want to read about helps determine the topics of your next blog or article. You may want to remove low-quality content, edit outdated content, and insert fresh links to increase the ranking.
Social Media Audit
Review your social media pages! You want to find out if you have been gaining or losing followers and the status of your community. A thriving community will help and support your brand, while a negative community can tear it down.
Website Performance Audit
Do you know which of your website pages lead to conversion? Which pages have the highest bounce rates? Your website audit can include a more comprehensive analysis such as page speed, technical issues, user experience and how easy it is to be found on search engines.
Figure out which keywords perform the best. Look for errors that prevent your website from ranking higher and getting traffic. Don’t forget to look at metadata, crawlability, and backlinks.
Build Out Content
Spending money on content is always a great idea. Use data found from your audits to create new content in hopes of building some buzz and attracting sales. Understanding your consumer is essential in creating lead-generating content. Your marketing budget can be used to promote your content. Not only do you have to create great content, but you also have to make sure that your content reaches the right audience and sometimes, using paid ads is the way to go. Paid ads have as high as 200% ROI and can increase your brand awareness by as high as 80%. Most only ads are pay-per-click (PPC) ads which will get you twice the number of visitors compared to SEO.Repurposing content is a great strategy for getting a bigger bang for your buck. For instance, you can repurpose your white paper into infographics to easily catch a reader's attention. Who doesn't like images? Better yet, you can turn your white papers into videos. Just remember to make it interesting. Your content will improve your internet visibility, position you as a thought leader in your field, and provide you with a significant return on investment.
Develop Repeat Business
Drive down costs by focusing on getting repeat business. Although it is not as easy as it sounds, there are ways your business can ensure repeat business to gain loyal customers. Why do you want loyal customers? They recommend your brand to others without your prompting. They’re a walking advertisement for your brand and you will start to see purchase frequency gradually increase among more customers. They help save money because we all know how costly acquiring new customers can be.Some tactics that you can use to gain repeat business are:
Personalized and robust customer service
Offer future-use coupons
Your customers should always have a positive experience when interacting with your business. You will lose customers if you have poor customer service. About 96% of customers said they would drop brands with poor customer service. Yikes. On the other hand, 84% of businesses that work on their customer service reported receiving more profit. Positive experience also includes great website design, high-quality products and many more.
Adjust For Changes In Buyers' Behavior
Inflation has been on the rise ever since the pandemic started, and many have reduced their spending to adjust to the volatile economy. Although consumers are more selective in the items they buy, there are ways to keep profits high. Giving a personal touch to your offer will grab more attention. Target your customers based on their interests or purchase history. Humans flock to connections, and it's important to create one with your customers. Make them feel that they matter, appreciate their support, and show them that you want to help them. In return, they will reward you with their loyalty. Make sure that your marketing campaign message is clear and specific. Show them how your business can help solve your customers' pain points and get straight to the point. If you plan to make a video advertisement on YouTube, you only have several seconds to grab your audience's attention before they click that skip button. Be catchy and light-hearted — include the details later.
Maintain Social Media Presence And Build Relationships With Influencers
Your social media can make or break you. Respond to comments and engage in thoughtful conversation. Don't ignore bad press. Show customers that you pay attention and actually care. Younger generations put heavy importance on communities. You can strengthen your own community, and it all starts with good communication. Where do you start building a strong community? Influencers! They're masters of their own platforms and already have established communities. You can tap into these communities and convert some of their followers into yours. Spending money on influencer marketing is a good idea because 8 out of 10 consumers buy a product after seeing an influencer recommend it.There are many tactics that you can use to enhance your marketing through influencers. Whitelisting allows you to access influencers' social media accounts, allowing you further control. The biggest benefit of whitelisting is the increase in audience outreach. If you pick the right influencers, their audience will have the same interest as your target customers.Not only that, influencers-generated content (IGC) is more personal compared to the usual brand content. They offer more authenticity and closeness, and people are more open to opinions when it comes from an individual trying out a product firsthand. You can even repurpose IGC to get higher ROI. For example, you can use IGC in your newsletter. IGC can be turned into social proof. Nothing is more convincing than seeing real people giving their testimonies. Using performance marketing is a sure way to gain more out of your budget. This way, influencers are paid at the end of their campaigns (and based on their performance) so they have more incentives to do their best. Performance influencer marketing is more measurable and transparent. You can collect data and find out what type of influencers suit your brand, while seeing what kind of content creates the most buzz.Maximizing your budget is not easy, but incorporating these six strategies into your overall marketing strategy will help optimize your last quarter of the year and set you up for success come Q1.
_About the author
Viral Nation is a new media innovation group that powers the social ecosystem through integrated solutions that align strategy, talent, media, and technology. As pioneers in the influencer space, Viral Nation is comprised of a full-service creative agency, a creator and athlete-influencer representation agency, and a technology division creating modern marketing solutions for the social media age.