The months leading up to Q4 are of crucial importance. This will of course vary for each business, but if the holiday shopping season is a big time of year for you, make sure you check the boxes for the 5 items below for things to do right now!

Smart marketers use the summer months to prep for Q4.

Find the Right Channel Mix

Chances are you’re probably on most of the big hitters (Facebook, Google, Bing, and a display partner or two), but it’s important to test out other channels. For example, if you’re an ecommerce business, try Amazon (guide to Amazon advertising here), Ebay, Connexity, Polyvore, and Nextag, just to name a few. You’ll not only widen your reach from a portfolio perspective and potentially find new customers, you’ll also begin to gather important data for each of these channels so that you can be ready to scale at the right times throughout the year.

Optimize Your Audiences

With so many people searching and browsing the web, getting your ads in front of the right people is the ultimate goal.  Make sure you’re segmenting your first-party data into several lists (High-LTV users, high-AOV purchasers, sign-ups, etc.) and either remarketing to these users or creating look-a-like audiences from these lists (or both). For Google search, as you cannot currently use similar audiences from customer match lists, you can create pixel- and URL-based audience lists to build similar audiences.  Also consider using a DMP if you really want a more comprehensive approach to segmenting and targeting audiences.

Refine Your Messaging

This partly goes hand-in-hand with your audiences; you want to make sure you’re serving the right messaging to the right people. For example, if you have an audience list of users who purchased during a promotion, make sure to serve that audience promotional ads in the future. Consider different ads for men and women if that’s applicable to your business, and don’t be afraid to go outside the box with phrases that you test. It can be good to stand apart from your competitors. Note that if you’re using a DMP, you can truly tailor your messaging based on any audience you want to target.

Test Your Promos

Speaking of promos, it’s wise to test them early and not wait to solely run them during the holidays.  Promotions and flash sales are a great way to attract new customers, and acquiring new customers before the busy shopping season can go a long way towards having a larger, dedicated, customer base familiar with the business and ready to make purchases when the time comes.

Incorporate CRO

Conversion rate optimization should be of upmost importance for any business. Once you’re running successfully optimized marketing campaigns, a next big step is testing different ways to convert the traffic. This can be as simple as price changes or as large as full-scale user flow changes. Split the traffic for tests at a percentage amount that you’re comfortable with, and that will reach statistical significance in the proper amount of time. If you’re in the market for a CRO tool, we recommend (and use) Optimizely.

Getting these factors in good shape in June will set you up to capitalize once the Q4 spigot opens. We’ll have more strategies for you each month to get you ready for Q4, so stay tuned.

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Ryan Noonan
I've been in the digital marketing world since 2012. When I'm not building and optimizing marketing campaigns, I like to spend my time outdoors, playing music, reading, writing and hanging out with friends. I also have a dog named Cooper, who looks like the white Direwolf "Ghost" from Game of Thrones.