The end of the year, Q4, can be the busiest time of the year for many organizations but is also the biggest sales quarter. During this time, consumers are looking for the best deals for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas gifts and more, which is why determining your promotional strategy early for Q4 should be a top priority.
To develop a strategic plan, consider the following:
1. What promotions have other like-minded organizations offered in the past?
2. What promotions have worked for your organization in past seasons? Or not worked?
3. Determine the best strategy for the timing of your sales - will you do 10% one week then jump to 25% or BOGO the next? Will you offer better deals the week before Black Friday?
4. Gather a checklist of items you will need to prepare such as placement, budget, creative, messaging, etc.
5. Set budget and goals for ROI, link clicks and more.
6. Anticipate your top products or services.
7. Will you need to hire seasonal workers to meet the demand?
8. How will you break through the clutter of Black Friday and Cyber Monday when all companies are pushing their products and services?
9. How will you ensure customer service is top-notch for your consumers during this busy season?
Reviewing what has worked and what has not worked in the past is a key research point in developing your Q4 strategy for 2020. Ensure you are reviewing your KPIs, ROI, link clicks and revenue when determining success.
This year, with the outbreak of COVID-19 in late Q1 and lasting through (at least) mid-Q2, many promotional campaigns were thrown off pattern with a sudden surge in online shopping while consumers were practicing social distancing at home. Many organizations quickly adjusted promotions and strategies to fit into the new virtual reality.
This is sure to bring a new set of challenges and opportunities to the planning and execution of Q4 in 2020. Did the stay-at-home sales generate additional revenue or will it take away from Q4 sales? Or, if you are a company that lost revenue during COVID-19, will you have the resources to hit Q4 with a bang?
When developing your Q4 plan, make sure the following items are included:
1. SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound) goals for revenue.
2. A shipping timeline for shoppers that lays out the dates to receive packages before the holidays for standard and rush shipping fees.
3. A plan to engage social media influencers including micro- and macro-influencers.
4. A list of channels to use (website, email, social media, Amazon, Etsy, earned media, etc.)
5. Develop an Abandon Cart sequence to re-capture those who have placed products in their carts but not completed the sale. Remarket to these consumers through a Facebook custom audience, Facebook Messenger or email.
6. Create a Review Incentive program for verified buyers to leave a product recommendation on your website. With 90% of consumers reading online reviews and 84% saying they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, this should be a top priority for brands.
Get started early on this plan and leave room for adjustment as Q4 nears. Happy planning!