Q4 Is Upon Us, It’s Time To Optimize!
Q4 is just a few short weeks away. It’s crunch time. So if you’re depending on a great final three months of the year it’s time to get moving (and who doesn’t want one even if you don’t REALLY NEED it). Now’s the time to find the shortest path to success. For us that means optimizing efforts that are already working well.
Not sure where to start optimizing? I want to direct you back to The Core Principles Of Direct Response Marketing, the absolute most useful, consolidated advice we can give you on how to make your work as effective as possible. If your marketing efforts aren't performing as they should, or results are stalling, these five principles provide a great checklist to fine tune what you already have in market.
1. Know your audience through data only:
It doesn’t matter one bit what your audience aspires to do, or what they say they’re planning to do. It doesn’t matter whether they saw your content. All that matters is what they actually do or have done.
Take a look at your data this year. Who has purchased? Who has taken action? Who was sending buying signals but fell through the cracks? Look to leverage any behavioral data to get buyers back on track, make a second purchase, sign up for a demo.
And don’t chicken out. If the data says they’re ready, but they’ve skipped demos or calls, read #5 and ask again. People are busy, life gets in the way. It’s not personal. Use the data to drive your decision making. It’s Q4. It could be the right time.
2. Measure only what matters:
Vanity metrics might make you feel good (impressions, anyone?), but matter little when it comes to moving the needle. If you're not seeing results, make sure you're looking at the metrics that tell you the truth, even if it's disheartening at first.
Think about your goals and what sales wants from you and take a strict look at your year-to-date data through that lens. This isn’t a time to work on any metric that doesn’t have a direct effect on bottom line results. If you think about measuring only what’s going to lead to a new client, or sale, how would you prioritize your efforts? What would you do next?
Be ruthlessly focused on only your key metrics and conversions.
3. Build off what's working:
This is the real secret sauce. Maybe the most important thing in this whole list. You don't have to start from scratch every time. In fact, you should not. Your customers don't read every word (or even every email) you send. They can’t. At best, they’re scanning. Most times, they didn’t see it at all. They are inundated with content, are busy, and just don’t remember.
As an example, think about how you use LinkedIn, or any social platform these days. You log in, scan the first few posts. MAYBE you comment on something, like someone’s promotion, and read half of one article. Then you’re off to the next meeting.
This is how your prospects and customers are interacting with all of the products and services that want their attention. So if something is working, and has made it past the gauntlet of information to connect with people, use it until the numbers tank. I absolutely guarantee that you will get the most out of existing work with some optimizations and tweaks than you will from anything new for the rest of the year.
So dust off your best email, adjust the headline and send it again. Take a piece of content that worked well, tweak it, and run it again (actually never stop running it).
4. Ask for one thing:
It's so tempting to load up extra offers into any piece of content JUST IN CASE your customer wants something different than what you're offering. But, in reality, more options suppress results. Keep it simple and focused.
I can’t tell you how sure I am you’re not doing this. Consistently. Every time. In every key ask. Audit your conversion emails, landing pages, CTAs, and ads. And make sure you are asking for only one thing. If you ask for more than one, your chances of losing your audience entirely increases quickly.
My encouragement for Q4 is to focus on what your data shows you is most likely to lead to a new customer. And then change all your CTAs to that for Q4. If you need sales, concentrate your efforts on getting them. Save your email subscribe asks for Q1 next year. For one it might be a demo, for another it’s something else. Whatever the key prospect action is, focus on that.
5. Ask again (and again):
You really can't forget the marketing rule of 7 (or maybe 77 these days). People are busy, and repetition is still king and queen. Repeat your offers, repeat your emails (maybe change the subject line). You are likely working too hard producing new material when your current content could go much further.
Also make sure you are actually asking. I can’t tell you how many marketing messages I still read where people think they are being completely direct and the ask is still buried. “Please consider, if you have time, would you be interested?” NO! Schedule a demo today. Buy now. Tell them what’s in it for them, and ask them to do what you want them to do directly.
Q4 is the time to close. People want to buy, and they’re expecting to be asked. Budgets are renewing and this is the time to directly ask, even if that’s not normally your MO.
Besides all of the above, go through your emails, your ads, your social posts, your blog posts, your content, your website and make absolutely sure that you:
- Capture attention. Make sure your content stands out. Be differentiated from your competitors. Give them a reason to choose you, and speak to them like humans, not a fact based robot making decisions. The marketplace is crowded and you’ll have to break through.
- Eliminate friction. If anything is confusing, your prospect will move on. Too complicated? They’re gone. Make it so easy and brainless to follow through with your ask so that they can do it easily and quickly.
- Say you. Talk to people. Eliminate jargon. The easiest way to do that is scan for “you’s.” Not “your organization”, YOU. Are YOU experiencing this? I’d love to talk to YOU about it.
- Make your scannables scream. People are scanning. Chances are you read this blog post by 1 - Reading headlines, 2 - Scanning the call outs, 3 - Glancing at anything bolded or capitalized. So is everyone else. Read through your work and make sure that the scannables (headlines, bolded words, CTAs) tell a clear and concise story, so even when they’re scanning they know what to do next.
- Make all content SMART. You know the acronym - specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, time bound. You need to make it as easy as possible for busy, scanning people.
Above all, remember that your audience is human. They’re not lazy or easily distracted. They’re just like almost everyone else—living in a world cluttered with content and contradictory messages. They’re busy cleaning out their inbox, scrolling through their feed, and making split-second decisions about what’s important and what isn’t.
Direct response marketing doesn’t try to change human behavior. It understands and accepts human behavior as it is. Then, it responds in the most effective way to get action: through clear communication, repetition, and singular focus.
Now let’s get out there and crush Q4.