Sep 24, 2013 2:33:00 PM
For many businesses, Q4 is the busiest time of year. It’s a short few mission-critical months when demand spikes, sales explode and not being visible online means losing out on serious revenue.
If you’re planning for Q4 and wondering how to allocate your online marketing budget, here are a few important questions to ask and ways to prepare.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
There’s no question: organic search engine rankings still get the lion’s share of clicks. If you’ve already invested in SEO in the past, now is a great time to evaluate where you stand before heading into the quarter.
What keyword verticals are you most visible in?
Which verticals are you invisible in (not on the first page of results)?
Are your customers searching in new or different ways?
Example: New brand-names trending, new styles or prominent product features
Has Google changed the way they display results in your online niche?
Example: More local listings, sponsored product results, etc.
Is your SEO up-to-date and adhering to Google’s terms of service?
If you’re not sure how to find the answers to those questions, a capable online marketing agency can help you put it all together. Once you know where the gaps are, you can plan to close them and allocate budget where necessary:
Create an on-page SEO strategy to address the gaps you’re facing. Ensure that your pages are properly optimized and incorporated into the rest of your site in an SEO-friendly way.
Get ahead of the game. Add content targeted at your most important keyword verticals now, before the fourth quarter hits. This will give search engines time to index and rank it accordingly.
SEO is a long-term strategy, so if you haven’t invested in SEO at all then you’re a bit late on the draw for this years’ Q4. That said, the old adage “better late than never” applies and there’s still opportunity to seize some market share before the quarter closes out. Best of all, you’ll be much better positioned come next year.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
The nice thing about PPC is that you can ramp up budgets and tweak campaigns at any time to see immediate results. If your business hasn’t invested in online marketing at all and is scrambling to be ready for the coming quarter, this is a great place to start.
Evaluate your exposure. Are you getting enough clicks, or could you use more budget to increase your visibility? Keep in mind that your competition will likely also increase their spend during the busy season.
How are your ads performing? Which are the highest converting? How are the quality scores? If you haven’t been diligently testing different ad copy throughout the year, begin now to inform your decisions during Q4.
Eliminate wasted spend. Check to make sure you’re not burning important budget on irrelevant keywords that won’t ever convert.
In addition, you can leverage PPC to cover the gaps in your SEO strategy and ensure you can still be found for phrases you don’t rank for organically.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
All the traffic in the world won’t do you any good if nobody can convert on your website. It’s crucial that your conversion funnel be optimized to avoid losing the traffic you’ve worked so hard to get.
Analyze your onsite traffic. Where are your customers dropping off in the sales funnel? How can you make the buying process simpler? Eliminate obstacles so that customers won’t have any trouble trying to give you their money.
Carefully test design elements and calls-to-action, measuring the impact of your changes.
Like PPC, CRO can be implemented and tested within a relatively short time frame and you’ll be able to reap the benefits by the time Q4 rolls around. However, just like PPC, testing and changes are best handled by a capable online marketing agency.
Make Q4 A Big One
Whether you’re well-established online or just starting out in the digital world, smart online marketing will boost your profits and expand your reach during this years’ most critical quarter.
Have you seen online marketing play a big role in your Q4? Let us know in the comments!
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