It’s almost time for Q4.
If you’re B2C, this is always great news. It’s time to amp up your marketing and rake in the successes. Every year, holiday sales seem to set new records.
If you’re B2B though…well, Q4 doesn’t have quite the same reputation, does it?
In B2B, as the holidays approach, things start to slow down. Clients go on vacation. Fiscal years often end and budget overages mean a conservative approach to the last few months of the year. Not to mention that with half the office out of the office, B2B sales decisions often find themselves on hold.
No wonder December conversion rates are 12% below average.
So what’s a B2B marketer to do in Q4? How can we maximize our time, budgets, and revenues? And honestly, is Q4 really as bad as it is made out to be?
With several decades of experience under our belts and more than a few stats to back us up, here are five ways we think you should spend your Q4 budget and maximize your team’s time:
Create some kickass content.
72% of marketers say content marketing increases engagement and leads.
And that’s not just guesswork. Stats on marketing ROI show that they’re absolutely right.
In fact, content marketing leaders experience nearly 800% more year-over-year growth than their competitors.
That’s right: 800%.
Which is why if you want to go into Q4 with a solid results-focused strategy in hand, content marketing should be a big part of it.
And not only because of the research numbers above, but because content is the kind of thing that naturally grows and expands.
Create an eBook and later you may repurpose it into blog posts, a video series, a SlideShare, a LinkedIn article. Maybe your sales team could use it as part of their sales process. Perhaps the concept will turn into a campaign, inspire a podcast, go viral on social media, or morph into a cool infographic.
Good content—content that helps your customers understand something or succeed at something—begets more good content. Not to mention the kind of results that leave competitors shaking in their boots.
Create a new campaign.
So remember earlier in this piece where we said Q4 is a slow time of year for B2B? The truth is that just because it’s a slow time for sales conversions doesn’t mean it’s a slow time in the customer journey.
Just because fewer buyers are pulling the final trigger, doesn’t mean they have stopped researching, reading, planning, and getting frustrated by the challenges your tools and services are designed to help them solve.
In fact, research says January to May is high season for B2B (with conversion rates in February jumping 10% above average). And since 75% of B2B deals take at least four months to close, Q4 is probably when you’re laying the groundwork for those big Q1 wins.
Which is why Q4 is actually a great time to run a new campaign.
Re-embrace snail mail.
When was the last time you reached inbox zero? For most, the answer is a distant memory. Because our email inboxes are more cluttered than ever before.
(You probably already know that. But if you’re skeptical, type “overwhelmed by emails” into Google. There are a whopping 13.5 million results.)
Which is why direct mail is back—with a vengeance.
It’s breathing life into lead gen campaigns again. Surprising prospects. Standing out in a world where all your competitors are focused on email marketing.
And hey, we’re not knocking email marketing. (How could we when it generates $38 for every $1 spent?) But we are saying direct mail is back and bringing its own compelling results to the table (according to some research, direct mail response rates are over 35 times higher than email).
Upgrade your tech.
As yearly quotas loom larger, we’ve found tech businesses are excited to have new business and willing to negotiate. Not to mention that if your team does have extra time on their hands, you can put that to use learning about and optimizing your new tools.
Hoping to automate marketing in the coming year? Now’s the time to start looking at automation tools. Thinking about implementing a new project management tool? Q4 is a good time to do it.
Have a fear of public speaking? A slower-paced Q4 is the perfect time to hire a coach.
Wish you knew more about Google Analytics? Q4 is a great time to take a class.
Been thinking about training some of your rockstar team members for future management roles? Q4 training program, here we come.
If client vacations are rampant, take advantage of the time to prep yourself and your team for even more success in the new year.
And if you need some help ramping up your content marketing, coming up with direct mail ideas, or brainstorming other high-return investments for Q4? We’re here for it. Reach out to start a conversation anytime.