It’s not uncommon for a small business to experience a summer slowdown, which is why marketing in September is so critical. As we approach Q4, most business owners are examining their numbers and tracking their revenue targets.
If your small business is below your revenue targets, it’s time to shift gears in September to change your organic content marketing approach.
The good news is that you still have plenty of time
The calendar year is more than halfway through, but you still have the remaining third to make progress towards your annual revenue and growth goals, even without a massive marketing budget or large teams. Start with a high level analysis of the upcoming months to make the most out of your organic content marketing going forward.
1. Take a thoughtful look at what’s going on in your industry and in the lives of your customers
Whether you offer B2B or B2C products or services, you most likely have a “seasonality” to your business in some way. And this may affect your audience’s interest, attention span, or buying behavior.
Some examples include:
College students & school children returning back to school
End of summer activities / closing down of vacation homes
Fall conferences, summits, and expos
Goal setting / budget setting for next year
Winter break for college and school aged children
Holiday retail spending
Year end spending to use up surplus
2. Ask yourself which of your products and services your potential customers will need within the next few months - and which ones they’ll need next year.
This may be the same from year to year, or things may subtly change. Shifts in technology, the economy, cost of materials, and market trends may have your prospects wanting or needing different things this fall.
Decide which of your offers you will focus on in the short term, while simultaneously thinking about lead generation for sales next spring or next summer. Get clear on what you want to sell THIS FALL vs. nurturing a pipeline for next year.
3. Analyze which marketing channels are currently working for you, which ones aren't, and which ones have the most potential
As you probably have guessed by now, there is no “set it and forget it” formula for marketing. What worked 5 years ago probably won’t have the same impact now. The landscape is changing, and so you are your buyers.
Take a look at where your leads and closed sales have come from in the past 6 months. When it comes to content marketing, write down:
How can I get visible in front of new audiences? This could mean new email subscribers, new podcast listeners, new networking partners, or new followers.
How can I nurture the existing audience to be top of mind when they're ready to buy? This is a key component of organic content marketing!
How can I promote my defined offers (without being spammy or turning off my prospects)?
4. Take another look at where your prospects are consuming content
The online universe changes fast. In 2023, Meta launched a new platform and Twitter has undergone high profile changes. Podcasting continues to grow. Search algorithms change. And so much more.
You should have a solid understanding of your ideal client (sometimes called an ideal client avatar) and where they are spending their time. Are they watching TikTok? Do they still read email? How do they want to engage?
Look at the platforms where you think you can get the most traction, and focus your energies there. Pay attention to subtle changes in features and trends on each platform. If you or your team aren’t closely watching the platforms, it may be worth it to get some professional advice on an updated approach to boost your visibility and effectiveness.
At the same time, take a hard look at where your efforts will have less impact. Maybe you’re having a difficult time with the algorithm, or your ideal clients just aren't hanging out there in big numbers anymore. If you have limited marketing resources and staff, think about which areas to streamline.
In addition to social media, examine your current email marketing. Even taking a quick look at some basic high level analytics such as open rates and click through rates can give you some insight into what’s working (and what’s not) in your email marketing. Is your list stale? Are your subscribers opening and responding to your content?
Examine all other areas where you produce or distribute content, such as podcasting, blogging, guest appearances, forums, etc. Take a long hard look at which content is inspiring good engagement, and which is bringing in results (leads, inquiries, and sales). Do this in conjunction with your non-organic marketing, such as paid ads and affiliates.
5. Put together an updated (and realistic plan) for September through December
Take a fresh look at your plan and see where you can make large or small changes to maximize your impact. Focus first on the high impact channels that are currently sending you the best leads, or have the potential to do so.
See if your current content generation is keeping up with what’s popular on each platform, and make sure your content marketing encourages engagement and interaction. Don't get overzealous and commit to a plan that's too much for your resources - time, money, or both!.
6. Quality content is still king. Your audience is probably saturated with the copious amounts of content available on all the platforms. How can your brand stand out and create connections like no one else in your industry can? Getting clear on your ideal client, your brand positioning, and how your brand is different is the foundation for creating compelling content that cultivates followers and subscribers. This is where the good stuff is.
7. Put together a quick outline for the 3 most promising channels at a reasonable frequency.
Do it now, while your plan is still fresh in the head. Start brainstorming ideas and drop them into the outline. This eliminates all the "decision fatigue" each week because you already have a topic - and you know where it's going to go (and when). Create a plan that's easy to execute - or simple to hand off to a virtual assistant or team member.
8. Block off once a week or twice a month to get it done.
Block off some time NOW so that it won't get filled with the million other things that life and business bring. Because business hates a vacuum. Blocking off time (however small) protects your marketing - you'll be glad you did once December rolls around.
Next year, prepare in August for your fall content marketing if you can
Make a note for next year to allocate some thoughtful time for your fall marketing. Hint: it won’t be the same every year! Remember that platforms change, trends change, and markets change. I'm willing to bet some of your offers will change too.
Want help? Book a 90-Day Content Marketing Strategy Plan, where we’ll focus on 3 platforms this fall to strategically hit your particular goals. Your objectives could be to grow a following, build an email list, engage a community and/or sell specific offers. Remember, we only have a few months left - that’s why September is such an important focus month for organic content marketing. A few changes this month could have big impact on your final goals for the year.
P.S. I shared a lot of this back in August to my private email list - if you'd like an earlier reminder next year, sign up for my private content creation emails here: