It’s a little hard to believe we’re at the midway mark for September.
With as crazy as this year has been, time still seems to be marching on quickly… and I think it’s safe to say we’re all ready for a new year.
Depending on your business, you may be ramping up your content and marketing for the fourth quarter or you might be planning on easing up because your industry slows down.
Either way, if you haven’t started planning for the next few months, now is the time.
Because we’re an e-commerce business that sells a planning product created on a 90-day plan, addressing the new quarter is always relevant to our marketing (especially since our planner is a 90-day planner).
However, optimizing things for the beginning of the New Year is also extremely important for our customers and business model.
Last year was our first full holiday season and we learned quite a bit in regard to planning, sales, and advertising.
We ramped up our advertising by hiring an agency to help us scale, we participated in our first Black Friday Cyber Monday sale and basically did the best we could to keep up with everything (we were still shipping the planners ourselves, well, Jodi was, and it got a little crazy).
In this post, we’re going to cover:
Your Content Plan
The most important thing to keep in mind with your content plan for the 4th quarter is that it should be manageable. This is not the time to push for more than you’ve been doing unless you have a specific type of campaign you’re running that supports your sales goals and content is at the core of it (example: you’re launching something and want to do a series of live streams that you repurpose).
If you’re not currently creating content on a consistent basis that is part of your normal marketing processes, the path of least resistance for you at this time of year is to get leverage out of the content you’ve already created.
You can do this with:
- blog posts
- live streams
Take what has already done really well and breathe some new life into it. Create new micro-content and schedule it to run throughout the 4th quarter.
With a podcast: create audiograms using a tool like Headliner.app and schedule a new piece of content to be shared each week highlighting a different episode.
You can also update existing content and re-share with updates, news, etc.
Now is not the time of year to re-invent the wheel if your plate is already full.
Regardless of whether you’re repurposing existing content or creating new content, follow our framework by starting with your Monthly Campaigns so you know the content you’re creating supports your business goals.
Black Friday Cyber Monday
We’ve already started planning our BFCM promotions.
Before you decide this isn’t for you or you are completely against doing this, remember that this is about what your customers want.
I know a lot of people who specifically wait to purchase software, products, services, courses… you name it… during this weekend promotion.
This has become so much more than people rushing out to get cheap TVs or the latest toy of the season for their little ones.
Unless you’ve been planning a new product launch for this weekend, I don’t recommend you start planning one now.
Instead, decide what products and services you currently have that you can create an “irresistible offer” with.
Bundle products, ad bonuses, give early access… whatever feels most in alignment with how you run your business (hint: maybe give something extra as opposed to discounting? We’re not against discounts, but it’s just as easy to give something extra and not cut into profit margins).
The elements of your BFCM promotion:
- Landing page + compelling copy
- Promotional email copy
- Upsells/downsells (if applicable)
- Follow-up sequence for purchases
That’s a simple list, but that’s the point.
We want to keep this simple so you can implement and deploy a promotion that serves your customer AND you.
Even though ad costs go up at this time of year (because of course, they would, right? More people online to sell to…), it’s worth running ads if you know your numbers.
Meaning, if you have an ad that is currently working keep it going.
Or, to use us as an example, we ran ads last year and have had ads going since we launched. While we’ve transitioned away from our last ad agency we paused ads to regroup and make new creative.
We have the data to know that advertising works for us at this time of year and is profitable.
If you’re not currently running ads or haven’t, I’d recommend testing a small offer with a small budget now so you can determine what you can afford.
If this is completely new to you I wouldn’t recommend jumping into advertising now unless you have a trusted expert you can work with and a budget that allows you to test (i.e., you can afford to pay for data before conversions start kicking in).
This is the lowest hanging fruit and is one people tend to ignore most often.
Do NOT ignore your email list.
If you haven’t been emailing consistently, now is the time to create a re-engagement campaign.
Do this NOW and get your list looking forward to hearing from you so when you increase your promotions or being promoting consistently people feel like they have a relationship with you.
Even if they don’t buy, they appreciate the emails and still want to hear from you.
Here are a few good articles on creating a re-engagement campaign:
Email marketing has one of the highest ROI’s when it comes to what it costs you to send it vs. what you can earn.
Way too many people avoid email marketing because they think they’re not good at it or don’t know what to say.
Do it anyway.
Like anything else in marketing, it takes time and practice but it is absolutely one of the best ways to sell.
To quote Jodi, ask yourself “What would easy look like?”
This is NOT the time of year to add a bunch more work to your already busy schedule.
Take it from someone who decided that running a Kickstarter in December was a good idea ????… that certainly made for an interesting 4th quarter.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind with all of this:
- Things usually take longer than you expect. Allow enough of a runway to get everything accomplished
- Test EVERYTHING
- Edit what you write (a second set of eyes is invaluable ????)
- Test your cart
- Test your links in your emails
- Test your URL’s
- Test mobile access for everything you do
- Double-check your ads
- Go through your funnel from start to finish
- Schedule in downtime… (I always wondered why we think we can add extra work AND extra time with family and friends and wonder why we end up stressed during the holidays?)
- Don’t try to do everything… pick a few things and do them well
- ENJOY the process. What good is working for yourself if it’s not fun?
- Allow yourself time to process things… in other words, when you get asked to do more, give yourself 24 hours before committing
- Focus on the highest ROI all around: meaning, where can you give the most value, for the least amount of output (not being lazy, this is about leverage), have the most fun, and get the best financial return
This time of year can be hard enough as it is.
Your business should be why you get to enjoy this time of year, not why you feel more stressed.
Start planning NOW for the last three months and have some fun!