Each quarter in the Lounge we hold a week-long Quarterly Planning workshop where we work through the yearly ops & marketing calendar together to look back at our progress over the previous 3 months and set our big 3 goals for the months ahead.
If you’re not already doing this sort of planning in your eCommerce business consider this the kick in the pants you might need to sit down and get it done.
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How to Start Quarterly Planning
Now, this process starts with digging into our numbers and identifying which KPIs we want to focus on, but that’s more than we can get into today. Check out episode 93 where I break down all the calculations you need to know.
For today, I just want to focus on the big projects or to-dos you’re going to add to your list. And when it comes to deciding just want those things are going to be, I want you to think about how you can start setting yourself up for success in Q4.
Why You Should Start Thinking About Q4 in Q2
There are two reasons why you want to use Q2 to set yourself up for success in Q4.
One, because Q3 is summertime and we often have a lot of other things that pull our attention away from our businesses. Maybe you’re a parent who will have kids home all day, or you have vacations planned, etc. Even if you have a solid team to help you do all the work. They’re usually requesting time off too and it can be really hard to keep everyone in sync and on track.
Secondly, this allows you to use Q3 to strategize and plan for Q4, so you can be well ahead of the game, leaving you free to focus on just running your business and making money in Q4.
How to Decide What to Focus On
Now, of course, what you focus on specifically is going to be different than the business next to you because you’re all at different stages with different ultimate goals, etc. But let me give you a few examples of how this might apply to you.
Email List Growth & Strategy
The first one is email list growth. Honestly, no matter where you’re at in your business this should be on your agenda for Q2. The majority of your Q4 sales are going to come from those customers who engage with you at the beginning of the year, so get them on your list now so you have tons of time to build a relationship with them.
If you’ve been wanting to implement a quiz for list growth, Q2 is a great time to do it.
This is also a great time to work on your overall email marketing strategy. If you’ve been slacking lately, Q2 is a great time to get back in the groove, start testing out some things, and get people used to receiving emails from you again.
I was just talking to a Lounge member the other day whose main focus this year is PR coverage in holiday gift guides. So she’ll be spending her time making sure she has everything ready to go for when it’s time to start pitching. She’s researching the publications, getting her affiliate program set up, and investing in some support to help her get it all done.
She’s also looking to up her wholesale game this year, so she’s going to participate in Faire’s virtual summer tradeshow so she can build some new relationships and give retailers an opportunity to get to know her products so they’ll be primed to come back for repeat purchases for the holidays. The tradeshow takes place in Q3, but she can use Q2 to prep for it.
Q2 is also a great time to practice the product launch process in your business. If you’ve got a new seasonal collection coming out, create a pre-launch event so you can gather some insight into what does and doesn’t work for your audience.
Website upgrades or optimization is also a great focus for Q2 if you didn’t do it in Q1. I just did a 2.0 migration for a client which included a lot of data migration to meta fields for things like product filters. It was a lot of work, but now we’re able to tap into Shopify’s search and filter app and eliminate a paid app she was using.
For you, website optimization might look like cleaning up your product assortment, refreshing your images, optimizing your bestsellers, or working on SEO.
Another Lounge member focused heavily on optimizing the shopping journey for her best-selling product including featuring more heavily on her home page, in her social content, and even creating a follow-up email sequence to her welcome just to sell that product. Now that she’s got that all in place, she’ll continue down the line for her other top-performing products.
Again, what exactly you should be working on is going to vary and be specific to your business and goals… but think picture as much as possible and figure out what is going to serve you for the rest of the year.
If you need help figuring that out… book a strategy call. It’s a quick and easy way to get my brain on your business so you know your best next steps.