If you haven’t started to build a plan around your end of year marketing strategy, don’t fret, there’s still time! Mapping out your end of year marketing strategy can feel overwhelming, but having a plan will significantly increase your overall success. Cut the stress by building your end of year marketing strategy in a logical order. To help you get started and stay organized, we’ve got some BriteIdea Tips for you!
Build a plan
Before you move forward, it is essential first to take a look back. Hit the numbers — dig into the data from Q3 and previous months. What channels have led to the most significant results? What has your marketing spend been each month? What trends do you see concerning your products or services? How much have you been growing month over month with your current strategy? Doing an overall health check on your marketing efforts will help you capitalize on this busy time of year!
Once you have accessed your previous months’ marketing strategy, it’s time to start goal setting. To end the year successfully, it is imperative having clear goals, a plan of action, and a detailed timeline for your marketing activities and campaigns. Use the data you find in your health check to make informed decisions on setting your marketing budget. What channels should you allocate that budget? What products or services should you promote more heavily? Planning now will keep you from making ill-informed and stressful mid-quarter decisions.
Build your promotional calendar
Next step? Time to build a promotional calendar that highlights your business’ strengths. Identify unique opportunities that showcase your product or service. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box or even look at the competition. Build-in some time to research what others in your industry are doing. Learning your industry’s trends will help you come up with a promotional calendar and content that blows everyone out of the water! One of the best ways to do this is to look at the giants in your industry. For example, Starbucks has made its red cup a staple of the holiday season. Their red cup ties to their holiday drinks (i.e., Peppermint Mocha, Gingerbread Latte, and Chestnut Praline Latte). This lets consumers know the holidays are here. For the next few months, you can bet you’ll see Starbuck’s content and promotions focused on those holiday drink offerings all served in the iconic holiday cup.
A great exercise to get some creative ideas flowing is to have your team identify a couple of giants in your industry that they admire. Then, nail down what about those companies’ makes them feel connected to the brand. Try to take a page out of their book and build a promotion calendar that stays true to your brand, but maybe now as a team, you’ll have bigger and better ideas!
Once you’ve mapped out your promotional calendar, it’s time to start building content to support it. Keeping a consistent message across all of your marketing channels (digital ads, social media, and blogs) is the key to success. Think about what kind of content will support your promotional calendar while also bringing more value to your customers. Take some time to plot out what channels you’ll be using and what kind of content you’ll be posting. This next step may take some time but is worth it to create eye-catching content! Map out how different forms of media can best support your content — maybe it’s adding GIFs or creating videos. The time-consuming part comes in creating a variety of content for your audience, so be sure your team has the bandwidth. If they don’t, we’re here to help support your content marketing needs!
Set-up your advertisements
During the last quarter of the year, you’ll want to have a lot of diversity and some redundancy in your ad copy. If you push the same ad copy over and over again, it will no longer catch your audience’s attention. Instead, create content with familiar elements, but not word for word the same — this will help keep your audience engaged and excited. Diverse advertisements are great for driving action. By keeping the ad copy similar, you can test which advertisements are performing better. Take the time now to create the several assets for your campaigns so you can easily swap out any low performing ads. When testing your ads, separate your campaigns by target audience and test several different ads and ad types with each method. Results will vary for every industry and every business, so learning what works well will help pave the way to smarter marketing decisions.
Ad testing can sometimes be put on the back burner due to other marketing tasks taking front seat priority. Don’t let ad testing slip behind. It is key to a successful campaign that you perform frequent testing and are continuously refreshing your creative and copy regularly. This is crucial in higher sale volume months, as you may find valuable findings for your testing. Maybe “Free Trial” works better than “x number of months Free” or “Free Shipping” gains more clicks than “Free Shipping on Orders over x amount.” Test, test, test, and find out!
Prioritize your products
Put your end of year marketing energy and dollars behind your most robust product. Do some analysis on your products or services and select which one you will be focusing on for the last quarter of the year. This should be your most profitable products that also support your business goals. Since the next few months bring the holiday season, you may want to ask yourself which products or services are most relevant to the cheery time of year. Once you have identified your essential products, be sure to have a substantial amount of inventory and a plan on how to handle any sellouts.
Added BI Tip: use your promotional calendar to help mark shipping deadlines for your products. Convey, found that 52% of shoppers prioritized guaranteed delivery dates over free shipping. Add these dates to your calendar and help keep your customer’s expectations realistic when it comes to transportation.
Build your sales funnel early
You’ll want to start building your sales funnel and driving brand awareness during a less competitive time of year. With holiday shopping starting as soon as November 4th, you may want to take advantage of the lull in October to get in front of your customers. You’ll have an edge on the competition who start later and save some dough as advertising premiums can get more expensive the closer we get to the holidays. For those in the service industry, the end of the year can typically be a slower quarter with not much movement. This makes it especially important to spend the time building your sales funnel during October and lean on your existing customer base, who know your business and services. This may mean a big media push to ramp up for the slower months. Remember the BI Team is here to help if you’re unsure of where to start!
Another way to stay to build your sales funnel is by sending out a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly newsletter to current and prospective customers. Entice consumers to sign up for your newsletter by offering a discount when they sign up, exclusive offers throughout the quarter, and previews to new products. Building your newsletter subscriber list is crucial to success, offer multiple places on your website for people to sign up. Use your social media channels to promote signing up for your newsletter. The work you put into your newsletter will come in handy on slower days throughout the quarter by bringing your subscribers back to your website to make purchases.
Bonus tip: Establish checkpoints
After you’ve set your goals, mapped out your promotional calendar, built your content marketing strategy, tested your advertisements, selected your top-performing products, and built a plan for boosting your sales funnel before the holiday season, you might be asking yourself…what next? It’s time to set monthly checkpoints to ensure your strategy is performing well. Better to know mid-quarter if you need to make changes than to get to the end of the and learn your campaigns under preformed.
The BI Team is always just an email away if you need help or get stuck on your end of year marketing planning!