With 2021 coming to an end, businesses have already started planning for the last quarter of the year, Q4.
Before we get into the best strategies for this last quarter, let’s have a look at the timeline and importance of Q4.
When Is Q4 2021?
For most companies, Q4 starts on October 1 and ends on December 31. However, some businesses follow timeframes that are different from the calendar year.
This last quarter gives the chance for one last strategic “push” for the year, which will be followed by a general evaluation of annual revenue and performance. These results impact the yearly planning for the next quarters, business owners planning their expenses depending on how well it all went these past quarters.
Proven Marketing Strategies
Choosing OKRs (objectives and key results) for Q4 usually happens in stages:
- Look back at what was achieved in Q1, Q2, Q3.
- See what’s “done”, “in progress”, and “postponed”.
- Have one final look at your yearly goals.
- Create a list with what you’d like to utterly do this year.
- Start prioritizing those initiatives for Q4.
In case you’re looking to experiment for yourself with some of the best marketing strategies that experts across several industries and departments recommend doing, you’re in the right place.
We gathered advice from 20 experts on what you should be doing for this last quarter of 2021.
1. Influencer Marketing: It’s getting harder for any business to appear in the organic feeds of their followers on social media. That’s where influencers come in, especially micro or nano influencers who just might be your follower, customer, or even employee. By collaborating with them, you can help incite word-of-mouth marketing in social media and help generate content creation that you can source as user-generated content and utilize throughout your digital marketing for more effective results.
2. Short-Form Video: With the average time being spent on TikTok recently surpassing YouTube, short-form video is for real and a content form that no brand can ignore. The beautiful thing is that short-form video can be repurposed across 3 different social networks to get the biggest bang for your creative buck: TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts. If you don’t have the creative team to create compelling short-form videos, do more influencer collaborations with content creators who are already successfully generating engagement in this newest type of digital content.
3. SEO: Did you know that Google searches in April 2021 were at their highest volume since 2013? The pandemic has driven more people online and to do everything digitally, including searching for anything and everything. That is why SEO is just – as if not more important – today because of the needs of a digital-first society. It’s time to double down on new content creation as well as revise your old blog posts to generate free organic traffic from search engines, one of the few sources of reliable free traffic available to businesses.
1. Powerful visuals: Written information that’s paired with relevant images is more likely to be retained by your audience, not for nothing 93% of human communication is visual. Not to mention that over 70% of people are more likely to read your content if its visuals are colorful and stand out.
In 2021, you have two equally simple solutions to generate engaging content: create or curate. When you choose to create your visuals, you can rely on templates (E.g. Xara has lots of pre-made templates that you can customize for your brand) or even on a designer/ freelancer, in case you have enough funds to hire a specialized graphic designer.
Curating content has never been easier, especially since there’s so much content being created daily, every minute. Let’s take for example Twitter: about 456K tweets are sent on Twitter every minute. Following relevant accounts and hashtags across multiple platforms will give you access to a powerful library for your content curation process.
2. Join small communities: Large social networks with smaller communities are revolutionizing the way we engage on social media in 2021 and beyond. Search for relevant groups/ channels/ chats and join the conversation! You have the unique opportunity to generate leads and meet like-minded people to network with easier than ever.
Whether it’s Facebook/ LinkedIn Groups or Twitter Chats, bring value to the table and try to be helpful – both to the person asking a question and to the group’s admin who might notice your contribution and maybe recommend you moving forward.
You can use this strategy especially if:
So, get access to several pre-built audiences inside groups and join the conversation!
Owning your audience: Running your business with social media being your #1 form of marketing is risky. Social media platforms limit the reach of your posts. If you’re lucky, a post may reach up to 10% of your followers. This is resulting in fewer touchpoints with your customers, and potentially leading to lost sales opportunities.
When you build an audience on social media, they own the data, not you. In order to communicate with your followers, businesses are opting to own their audience by incentivizing their followers to sign up for their email list. With email marketing, you are able to reach more of your audience. This, in combination with your social media presence, will lead to a much more loyal customer base.
|Never before has business been more hinged on trust than it is today. For this reason, we’re doubling down on customer reviews, customer case studies, and other social proof to establish trust in our market. Obviously, this also implies that we need to back this up by being fanatical about customer service.|
One of the best marketing strategies for 2021 is to incorporate voice search into your SEO and content strategy. Voice command is a modern comfort that is only growing in popularity, especially as people spent more time in their homes this past year.
If small businesses want to get in front of their audiences in as many ways as possible (which they should), optimizing their content for voice search is a must. Make sure you claim your business listings, use long-tail SEO (as most voice search queries are longer), consider locally-focused content, and use structured data markup.
Personal, human-centric video that is used everywhere! For our marketing, we try to include a personal video.
We also use it for increased engagement on our website as well as in training and support materials. We are even now beginning to include video in every blog we create. The reason is simple – it’s personal and authentic.
The human connection is vital when someone is purchasing a product or service… we buy from people who we trust… and we build trust when we can see someone in front of us(or virtually through a video).
These days there are so many more tools and less pressure for perfection so now is the time to look for ways to create quick, easy videos in all areas of your business!
1. Start a newsletter and turn it into a blog
2. Influencer marketing
So find someone who already has the trust of your target audience. Sponsor their podcast, social media, videos, etc, and offer them free products or services in exchange for an honest (but hopefully positive) review. You can even form a partnership and be featured in their content.
One of the best strategies for 2021 we’ve seen and have already had success with is having a digital event. Because of the pandemic, mostly everyone is still working remotely in the next few months, and this is the perfect time to engage people where they’re at.
Check out the SaaS Growth Summit and hear from SocialBee’s CEO, Ovi Negrean, who was one of the key speakers.
1. Use of Chatbots: Fast, responsive communication will be at the core of marketing plans for 2021 and chatbots can help with that. 24×7 availability and contextual intelligence enable chatbots to provide quick answers to consumers. This instant gratification leads to higher customer satisfaction levels.
2. Hyper-Targeting and Personalization: Consumers have less patience and higher brand expectations than ever before. To cater to the current consumer needs, brands will need to create highly targeted and personalized marketing campaigns and content.
3. Fun and Engaging Content: Given the current global scenario, consumers are starved for entertainment in this stressful time. That’s why many brands have started posting entertaining content to engage their audiences. It also builds brand affinity and social currency (through shares). So, create content, like DIY videos, that is affordable, yet engaging.
1. Top funnel search engine ads and display ads.
2. Mid funnel social media ads such as Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Tiktok Ads.
3. Bottom funnel social media ads combined with shopping ads.
1. Content marketing with a focus on long-tail keywords with a strong intent for purchase (instead of keywords with higher volume that don’t really convert well).
2. Retargeting free trial users (this works really well for SaaS companies) and offering them to sign up for a paid plan.
3. Bidding on Google ads with low CPC and targeting keywords with high relevance and chances for conversion. However, you should not target your competitors’ keywords unless you really must.
1. Turning pieces of your product or service into a piece of content: When you think back to the late 2000s/early 2010s, you can think of HubSpot’s Website Grader. This is a prime example of capturing your audience’s attention by surfacing a valuable piece of your own product.
We’ve done this multiple times at Soapbox with our agenda templates and goal examples library. Both of these content pieces take a valuable part of our product and turn them into actionable pieces of content for our end users.
2. Any marketing leader should take the time to talk to customers to truly understand what the most valuable parts of their product are, and turn them into actionable pieces of content on the marketing website.
1. Follow your audience. Don’t try out the latest and greatest channel, go where your audience is.
2. Be experiential in your marketing. Don’t just push info out, make it fun and interesting and give your audience a way to engage.
3 Collaborate with partners. Don’t operate in a silo. Work together and everyone wins.
|Email signature marketing is a new marketing channel that marketers will be using in 2021. Because banners, buttons, and links in email signatures encourage the recipients to take action.|
1. Multivariate creative testing: As audience targeting capabilities take a hit due to iOS 14 updates, building a data-driven creative process has never been more important.
2. Community building: Building trust has never been more important. Improve returning customer rates and increase your brand’s perceived quality with better reviews by fostering a network of like-minded individuals.
3. Advertising on new platforms: Some big social platforms are changing the game, for example, TikTok makes advertisements look more native than ever before.
1. Live videos remain the most powerful marketing instrument: Despite the world slowly coming back to the offline mode, the digital-first reality continues to dominate. While being trapped by the lockdown, many businesses quickly learned how to present themselves online and further increased the competition for everyone. The only way to stand out now is to build a community around your brand and personality.
To remain a connection with your loyal customers and attract new fans, plan weekly multi-streams. Despite common fear, live streaming has a very short learning curve. It only takes courage to go live for the first time. For all other matters, the market today offers a simple instrument.
2. Incorporating video storytelling into every marketing channel: No matter how a person meets your brand: through an ad, email, or by exploring your social media accounts or website – you can demonstrate your values and benefits using videos.
Video production has long since ceased to be a privilege of big budgets. Everyone can record a professional talking-head video armed with a few basic rules and simple equipment. What distinguishes successful video content today is the storytelling component.
3. Team up with influencers and other brands to create, repurpose and distribute content: Influencer marketing is still popular and going strong in 2021. The idea of extending outreach to other brand’s audiences is not new. However, live videos and the simplicity of organizing an online event, be it a presentation, podcast, video interview, or an expert panel live video combined with repurposing it later, in the digital era gives a new spin to an old strategy.
Promotion among the new audience provides benefits to all participants. Each event allows easy creation of dozens of content pieces and makes it easy to outreach prospects on multiple platforms, that is why this trend is gaining popularity like never before.
For many years LinkedIn people were treating this platform as a virtual resume. But now, LinkedIn has become a powerful platform where people can build meaningful relationships and grow brand awareness (for themselves or the company).
The best strategy that we keep sticking to is creating engaging content and offering valuable resources as lead magnets in exchange for likes and comments.
These types of posts quickly become viral and attract a relevant audience. It only remains to scrape active people who were interested in your offered resource, finds their emails, and reach out to them. Simple, but yet super effective lead generation strategy.
1. Content for the decision stage: Once people have taken the decision to invest in a software, for example, they only have to compare several tools and make a decision. Be the one to meet them halfway and address their needs.
2. Reviews and social proof: We are looking to invest in software review platforms like Capterra and Getapp.
1. Multichannel engagement: With almost all interactions between the brands and consumers happening virtually, it’s easier now to get control over those interactions and make them more meaningful and effective. For example, you can personalize website content based on the intent data or run retargeting campaigns for specific audience segments.
The key here is to keep the buyer experience consistent across all channels and platforms, from website and social media to personal communication.
2. Video: Last year, the explosive growth of TikTok once again proved the potential of video as a marketing tool for both B2B and B2C brands. Plus, it’s still the closest we can get to a real human interaction with the audience.
So, be it a lengthy webinar with guest speakers or bite-sized on social media, you should start integrating video content into your marketing strategy ASAP.
3. Social selling: Despite its name, this is one of the least salesy marketing tactics that is perfect for building awareness and fostering relationships with the audience. And we see many B2B brands doing exactly that on LinkedIn.
We’ve been testing the waters with this tactic too and plan to scale our efforts in the coming months. To start with, encourage your employees across different roles (not necessarily top managers) to build out their personal brands through regular posts and meaningful interactions with your target audience.
|For e-commerce: double down on Pinterest. E-commerce is transforming from the top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel, so you need to adapt your content, use different channels – which translate into audiences. Hence, a multichannel presence is a must!|
1. Online live videos: The video industry grew by 99% in 2020 and is expected to double in 2021. In line with the rapid growth of online courses (40% in 2020) and webinars in the past year, this seems to be a perfect fit for any company that wants to grow as an expert in its respective industry.
2. Reconnecting: Where 2020 was a year of distancing, this year people will want to feel closer to one another. Here, moving away from bots to human interaction in live chats and investing your time in communities with quality content will be worth your while.
3. Personalization: This relates very well with reconnecting, as well as short attention spans and ignoring mass experiences on the web. People want offers directed at them to be tailored to their needs. Implementing personalization at different stages of the customer journey has a direct correlation with your business revenue, as follows:
Personalization is here to stay, and most likely it will become a standard for all.
1. Video Marketing: Eye-to-eye connections are the best way to inform and persuade. Get in front of the camera, tell your business story, and build connections.
2. Email Videos: They are the closest to face-to-face interactions and have the human touch to create a connection for your product.
3. Videos for Linkedin: Videos with captions will help you stand out on LinkedIn and drive leads and traffic to your business page and profile.
We’re hoping this article gave you some inspiration on what you’d like to focus on in Q4. Now, what’s left to do is prioritize and create a plan for working on your goals.
If you need help with your social media marketing strategy, book a 1-on-1 strategy call with a SocialBee expert.