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177. What to Focus on Right Now to Finalize Your Q4 Strategy

eCommerce holiday prep

177. What to Focus on Right Now to Finalize Your Q4 Strategy

It’s the height of the Holiday kick-off and instead of prepping for the season, you’ve been glued to your TV watching election results. With everything going on, you might feel a little bit behind the 8-ball. 

My goal here today is to remind you that we’re coming down to the wire. Now is a good time to set aside a block of time to assess where you’re at and figure out what you have left to do. Once you’ve figured that out, you can spend the rest of the season focused on running your business. 

If you’re an OG listener of the podcast this may be starting to sound familiar to you and that’s because this week’s episode is a re-recording of a previous episode. I didn’t just post a replay because the original episode had some time-specific references in it and was missing some other episodes I wanted to point you to – so I decided to start kind of fresh. 

Even if it does sound familiar, keep listening because your business has probably changed a lot in the last 2 years and you may just hear this differently this time. 

Now, if you haven’t gotten very far with your holiday planning I’m going to stick a few must-listen episodes in the show notes that walk you through my marketing campaign planning process to get you started. But I would still recommend you listen to this episode first because it will help keep you focused during the limited time that you have left. 

Prefer to listen to this episode? You can do that here.


1. How to decide what your marketing should look like for your business

2. A useful tool I love called a Knockdown List, which is designed to help you check off all the boxes and make sure you have all ensure you have all your ducks in a row before Black Friday Weekend and Cyber Monday (otherwise known as the Cyber 5.)

If you are behind schedule on fleshing out your holiday plans, your best bet is to limit your focus on things that drive the revenue and profit needles in your business. Don’t get caught in the weeds on things like holiday graphics on your homepage.  At this point in the game, it’s nice to have, but not necessary. 

Put your energy into marketing and selling your product. If you have a small team who can’t do all the marketing things, focus on what has the highest potential of getting you to your goal. 


We’re pretty quick to think we need to do all the things when it comes to planning Holiday (and non-Holiday) marketing strategy. If you have already set yourself up to be able to do that and you can, awesome, and go for it! 

If you’re not set up, this is where you need to start getting real with yourself. Figure out how you can actually hit your goals, without running yourself ragged. The best way to do that is double down on what works and leave the rest for another day. 


1. What drives the most revenue for you? 

2. What is the most profitable? 

There’s a difference between revenue and profit. Different businesses will have different goals and desired outcomes. 

Some early-stage businesses want to drive revenue numbers and build their customer base. 

Other businesses have proven their concept and have a solid customer base. Having both those things means they are ready to steadily maintain or grow their profits. 


This is the most conservative route. If your goal is to drive profitability, then you’ll need to look at not only your revenue-driving activities but which are the most profitable. 


It’s possible that your ads bring in more revenue. Yet, when you break down your ad spend and management fee, it’s less profitable than doing a live video on Instagram or sending out an email.  

Digging deep into your numbers will help you understand this further. Just looking at your revenue isn’t enough to tell you the impact each particular activity is having on your business. Don’t forget to consider the cost of the person executing this, even if that person is you! 


Consider the type of customer you attract with this type of marketing. Are they going to be a one-hit-wonder or a longtime customer with a high lifetime value?

A repeat customer who spends more on each transaction is worth more than a brand-new customer who makes a lower-than-average purchase.

Neither is wrong, but keep in mind that you’ll need more new customers to make up the same revenue as one repeat customer. 


In a previous episode, I talked about two clients I’ve worked with — one in the Bridal industry and another in the hobby industry. Their customer bases are vastly different, with the latter having a MUCH HIGHER repeat customer rate. 

For her, email is already a huge driver of her business, so putting in more effort there will likely lead to extra revenue. 

Another client who thought her ads were performing well, realized, after digging into her numbers, that Instagram is actually the more significant impact driver. The result? They’re putting more effort into Instagram while focusing on retargeting ads instead of trying to reach cold audiences.

Marketing is truly a puzzle and all the pieces fit together and support one another. With a little research, you will find some clear winners that you can put more effort into this season. Give yourself permission to not do ALL THE THINGS. 


What if you’re focused on increasing your revenue and building your customer base, profits be damned?

Firstly, I would challenge you on that for a moment and ask you why that is? Do you really not need to be profitable right now because your business is new, you have another source of income and money to invest in your business? OR is it just because you think it would be cool to say you have a lot of revenue?

If you determine that it really is because you don’t need the profit right now, then you’ll want to approach this a little bit differently. That’s how I started in my business, by the way, constantly reinvesting to grow. 


For you, visibility is going to be KEY and ads are a good way to do that. Your goal here might be to break even on ads so you can grow your customer base. You might even be willing to lose a little bit of money because you know you’ll make up the difference with the lifetime value of your customer (note: I DO NOT recommend you do this unless you really do have the money to lose). 

If that’s the case for you, then go for it! Dial up that ad spend, show up on social media EVERY SINGLE DAY and send emails to your list. Dive into the hustle and grind to capture those customers and that revenue. Then make sure you hit the ground running next year with a plan to retain them! 

Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s in line with your business goals and what you want to create.


Truth be told, this is nothing more than a brain dump into a spreadsheet. 

A few days to a week before a campaign is supposed to launch, I will do a brain dump of everything that is still outstanding from my original plan. I personally like to create this separate list, even if I already have a task management board set up from the beginning. Doing it this way helps me to rewrite everything out and see it fresh in its own space. 


  • Emails you need to schedule
  • Supplies you need to order
  • Canned customer services responses you need to write
  • Website graphics you need to create and add to the site
  • Social media content you need to create
  • Last-minute inventory and site merchandising checks
  • Gift guides you still need to create
  • Anything you came up with in your initial planning, preparation and promotion phase that you have yet to complete

Give yourself and your team grace because it’s possible your list is too big to complete before everything kicks into high gear. 


Once I get everything on the list, then I prioritize. I usually keep it simple with must-haves vs. nice to have. And I’ll delegate or execute accordingly. My focus is always going to be on those things that drive revenue and profit first, as I mentioned earlier. 

If we take that list I just ran through, I would forsake holiday graphics, for my email marketing because I know that is more likely to be an actual revenue driver. 

Another way you can approach this is by using the Eisenhower matrix that I talked about in episode 28, where I talk through how to have smooth operations in business and life during this important season. 

Ultimately, the goal of the knockdown list and this podcast episode is to remind you to take a step back and figure out what your next best steps are. Away from the noise, away from the shoulds, and all the chaos swirling in your brain. 

You don’t have to do all the things. You can have a successful selling season without all the bells and whistles. Done is better than perfect. Email will make you more money than a reel. You became an entrepreneur to have more freedom. Making memories with your family is more important than your business.

Insert any other reminder you need to not be so hard on yourself this season. 

Hey, I'm Jessica

I support scrappy female entrepreneurs with actionable steps & strategies to grow and scale the traffic, sales & profit in their eCommerce businesses. 

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