During the first quarter of the year many companies feel a lull in sales. If you’re a business to consumer (B2C) company, many people have spent a lot of their cash in the last quarter of the year on Christmas. While business to business (B2B) companies are preparing for taxes and have already planned their budgets for the next year. So how do you ensure that the first quarter of the next year doesn’t give you the winter sales blues?

Using marketing automation and the traffic frenzy of the last quarter may help you get a kick start on the year. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can use marketing tools to win big in the new year.

Business to Consumer (B2C)

Play to a New Year’s Strengths

A New Year a New YOU! Everyone has seen it, and most of us have tried it. Gym memberships skyrocket during the first part of a new year. Organizational stores like Ikea and The Container Store leverage people’s desire to get their life in order. So how can your B2C company use the new year to help someone’s desire to redefine themselves?

If it’s a New Year a New Them, you have to do the same. A New Year, a New Ad strategy. If last year’s sales slumped, don’t use those ads and think you’re going to win. (There’s a saying about the marker for insanity)

No matter what you’re business, find the thing that hits people where they are in that moment. January is the perfect time to do it.

Get People Back Into Their Cart (for the reason they really want to be there)

During the busy holiday shopping season many of us put tons of items into our carts to check shipping costs and comparison shop. Some of us did it just to remember to buy it later – which we probably never did. Now that it’s the new year those carts are still abandoned and now is the time to market to those people.

If they gave up their email address or any other important information, now you can use that to remind them that they were interested in your company once. You can now use that information coupled with the tip above to play to what really gets people excited – themselves.

If you’re not tracking cart abandoners, you’re really missing out on a serious opportunity. Check with your marketing agency or department on how you could be doing this effectively.

Location, Location, Location

While you’re trying new advertising and marketing to existing visitors. Why not try some new places to advertise? If you haven’t considered YouTube advertising, now might be the time. But be sure to advertise in places that play to the reason for the season – people trying to be better than they were last year.

YouTube is full of yoga videos, vegetarian cooking instruction, and DIY project videos that people will be consuming in higher quantities than they were during the holidays. Make sure your ads can tell them how they would be living their “best life” (do I have to quote Oprah here?) if they used your product or service.

Just do yourself a favor – make sure the ad is skippable. Companies who make long ads that one can’t skip are evil and we should all refuse to spend money with them. (I’m looking at you Sprint)

Business to Business (B2B)

Remember – They’re Just Like You

When you’re coming up with your advertising and marketing for Q1 ask yourself: what would get you to spend money right now? You have taxes due. You have your budget set for the year. Why would you go seeking out new vendors? If you can’t answer that then you have to find someone who can help you.

Your customers are just like you, they’re looking to improve their business, cut costs, and grow too. How can you speak to that in your marketing. They may have their budgets set for the year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t disrupt that with lowering costs or introducing improvements for them.

Use Workflows to Educate on Your Benefits

When visitors were coming to your site during the rest of the year, did you use gated content to gain access to important information? The email drip campaigns tied to those new email addresses should be used to educate your opportunities and nurture them down the sales funnel.

If an opportunity is needing a function you offer, you need to disrupt them, tell them you can do this better. In marketing automation software like SharpSpring, lists can be formed by interest. So if a visitor visits a specific page that interests them, you can educate them further with an email workflow all about that particular subject. This will increase the odds that when they’re ready to investigate it further,  you’ll be remembered.

Know When to Hold ‘Em, Fold ‘Em, and When to Pick Up the Phone

Opportunities raise their hand all the time without you even knowing it. We have tools such as Visitor ID and owner notifications in SharpSpring to help sales people know when an opportunity is back on the website and what they’re looking at. (For more info on Visitor ID check out our blog on the subject)

Picking up the phone to reach out to an opportunity without them raising their hand is disruptive and generally won’t win you any favors with people. But knowing when to do it can give you a competitive advantage.

Kenny Rogers nailed it and we all know sales is gambling. Knowing when to do nothing, when to kill a dead lead, and when to pick up the phone and reach out can help you shorten sales cycles and increase your sales in the new year.

Yes, This is Basically a SharpSpring Pitch

Sorry if you got to the end of this and were like, yeah, but we don’t have tools like this. Well, the reality is, you should. Marketing automation, Inbound Marketing, whatever you want to call it is a way to track leads, nurture them, and close them.

Without these tools you don’t have the insights that you might otherwise need to grow your company. Remember the first paragraph: New Year, New You? It’s coming up on a new year, maybe it’s time you looked at your business and said, “I need to organize and change to be a better me.” If you are thinking this, (and my guess is that if you’ve read this far down you probably have at some point) perhaps it’s time to take a look at the ways that you can make positive changes and shake the winter sales blues.

Published 12/19/16 by Eric Lynch