The last quarter of the year is an important one for just about every type of business. At some point during the year, marketing and sales teams begin their preparations for this busy time of year like they are preparing for a big game. There are hours and hours of looking back at past Q4 holiday promotion efforts and their results, analyzing strategies to consider, then finally practicing and preparing for the big moment.
The fourth quarter is busy for lots of reasons
For many businesses it’s the last quarter of their fiscal year and there is an enhanced focus to meet goals. There is a concentration of major holidays over the last three months of the year, some of which come with the exchanging of gifts and a hypersensitivity to capturing as much of the created demand as possible. We also tend to think of January as the beginning and December as the end, so as we approach the final stretch we’re looking to end things on a high note creating a desire to perform well, then celebrate!
There are also several data driven reasons that Q4 is important and a time period us marketers and sales teams should pay special attention to.
Q4 is an extended period of predictable, focused demand
Unlike most economic cycles where it’s difficult to predict what’s going to happen in the future, it’s pretty much guaranteed that there will be a spike in demand between October 1st and December 31st.
This spike used to be concentrated from the Friday after Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. A study posted on Think With Google indicated that in 2014, 48% of shoppers said they did the majority of their shopping before Cyber Monday which was up 40% from 2013. Additionally, 25% said they had done their shopping before Halloween.
In short, we should be planning to launch our holiday campaigns before Thanksgiving. Not many of us like to see the Christmas decorations for sale in October, but guess what, they are there because people are buying them.
Your new customers are shopping, be there when they are
The 4th quarter is a great time to build your customer base. The increased number of ways to shop has grown a lot. Visiting a store used to be the only option. Then we got buried under a mountain of paper catalogs (remember that!). Now we can order anything, at any time, from any device. Companies have gotten really creative with tools like the Amazon Dash Button and Dominoes taking pizza orders by hashtag or emoji.
All these buying options, at least in part, created a consumer that is willing to buy from a new company with a compelling offer. Google’s 2014 Post Shopping Intentions Study found that 50% of people were open to buying from a new retailer and 41% actually purchased from a new retailer.
Here’s what our Q4 holiday promotion data says
Giveaway marketing is a popular tool to use in the fourth quarter. It’s a way to tailor the extended demand period with a promotion, plus an effective way to expand your customer base and generate new customers. As a result, it can be a key indicator to determine the increased demand over the fourth quarter.
You should be able to easily look in your web analytics tool to find out when your fourth-quarter rush typically starts. Metrics to consider include: number of sessions, new visitors, and site search queries. For Rafflecopter, we typically see the Q4 rush of traffic start the last week of October and run through the third week of December. During this time in 2014 we processed over 36 million entries.
Our customers see traffic to their giveaway pages start at about this same time. In 2014, almost 20% of annual traffic to Rafflecopter customers’ giveaway pages occurred between the last week of October through the third week of December. Plus the average number of pageviews to Rafflecopter giveaway pages was about 25% higher over that same time period versus the rest of the year.
It’s not too late
While the year’s busiest time is about to begin for a lot of us, it’s not too late to get your promotions together. There are still several good weeks of increased demand to come! If you need a little inspiration, here are a few holiday giveaway and promotion ideas.