The Small Business Marketing Guide for a Strong 4th Quarter Finish

If you can believe it, we have reached the 4th quarter of yet another year! There is still a lot of time to finish this year strong, and even to increase your marketing activity to roll your momentum right into the new year. Not only could this final quarter help you reach or surpass your sales goals for the year, but it can also help you prepare for an amazing 1st quarter.

The key to 4th quarter marketing is time management. This can be an insanely busy time of year in both your and your clients’ worlds. When you manage your time well, you’ll be able to look back on the year with a sense of accomplishment. For the purpose of your marketing strategy, I’d like to suggest 3 areas of time-managed focus to keep your business moving in the right direction:

  • Planning
  • Messaging
  • Making Contact

These are all year-round areas of focus, but we’ll look at them from the perspective of this limited time period.

Plan for Deadlines, Budgets, and Goals in Marketing

Not everyone is a natural at planning, but it is a vital tool in every small business owner’s belt. Planning allows you to use your time most efficiently, and that’s especially applicable in this busy season. Because it is so busy, the first focus is to actually plan to plan. Look at your calendar and mark a day very soon to work on your plan for this quarter, and mark a few days later in the season to develop next year’s marketing budget and strategy.

Your plan for this quarter should only need a few tweaks from what you’ve been doing all year. Never throw out the whole strategy; simply optimize the time you have left. Review your data in Google Analytics and social media insights to see what campaigns and tactics worked the best over the year.

Consider boosting the budget on the campaigns that work best, and keep up with or increase social media posts. You should also be planning your email campaigns for the end of the year, especially if you are going to run any holiday specials.

How did your marketing budget work this year? Consider whether you need to increase it in some areas, or re-allocate it to the most effective activities. Look at how your marketing budget from this year impacted your goals, and create next year’s budget and goals with that in mind.

Focus 4th Quarter Messaging on What Counts

Speaking of budgets, your clients are facing deadlines to either spend down this year’s funds or create next year’s budget. Make yourself part of their plan with your focus on messaging. Whether they have money to spend or need to decide how to write next year’s budget, your services should be at the top of their mind.

To work your way into your target market’s budget, gear your messaging towards concrete ROI data about your products or services, case studies, and client testimonials. Think about your ideal client’s needs, and keep your message in line with meeting them. Convey what your best customers say they appreciate most about you in order to attract similar great clients. Your message is for the people who are most likely to value your services, so keep it simple and honest while using language that resonates with them.

Make Contact with Clients and Potential Clients in the 4th Quarter

While we tend to think that people are too busy for face-to-face meetings during the end of the year, it’s actually a great time to get on someone’s schedule. Many individuals purposely slow down their workload near the holidays, which means they have room in their calendars. Offer to take prospects and clients out to coffee or lunch as an appreciation gesture, and you’ll be surprised just how many say yes. Focus on relationship building during this meeting rather than making a sale, as this will set the stage for business in the new year.

Holiday gifts to key vendors, prospects, and clients are also a great way to make contact during the 4th Quarter. One way of standing out, and managing your time and workload more efficiently for the season, is to send gifts or notes of appreciation at Thanksgiving or New Year’s rather than Christmas. If gifts are not in the budget this year, a handwritten note on a beautiful card is a perfect way to share goodwill and stay top of mind.

Take a Moment to Reflect and Congratulate Yourself on another Great Year

While you’re focused on finishing the year with great momentum for next year, don’t forget to slow down and take stock. Look at how far you’ve come over the life of your business, and consider your reality in light of your original expectations and goals. What can you celebrate, count as a learning experience, and circle back to as you reflect on this past year?

Marketing is a full-time job in most businesses. If you’ve been wearing a marketing hat on top of your owner hat, maybe this is the year to budget for a more efficient plan. Motto Marketing helps small business owners get better control over their marketing strategy. Contact us for an initial consultation during your 4th quarter planning to launch into the new year with a powerful marketing plan.