Ahh, April, May, and June—here comes spring, Easter, warm weather, longer days, sunshine. And Q2! How exciting, right?…Right??
Actually, Q2 has a reputation for feeling a bit slow. It lacks the exciting “fresh new start” atmosphere of Q1, the detailed planning that goes into Q3, and the hurried sense of urgency of Q4. But the truth is, Q2 can be just as exciting as the rest of the year, and can help you turn everything around.
It’s the ideal time to review, revise, measure, and motivate.
We’ve discussed what to do in each quarter as part of an overall plan here before, but now we’re going to focus on the second quarter specifically. Which isolated projects, tasks, and practices are best done in quarter two? What type of work will this quarter be ideal for? After all, it’s right around the bend.
If you had a successful and productive Q1, it should have been included:
- Pulling and measuring reports from the previous years
- Checking revenue goals and the progress you currently have measured
- Planning marketing strategies for the year
- Hammering down a budget
- Taking care of marketing strategies early, depending on what you’ll be going with
Finally, you should have a current review of your status after tackling all of the above, to see where you’re at by the end of Q1 and to be well-prepared for the upcoming Q2.
Measure Extra Closely
Once you’re in Q2 at the beginning of April, you should be well aware of your analytics, you should be on top of your budget, and you and your team should all be on the same page with marketing strategies for the year.
Now that a full quarter has gone by, take a look at your initial projections for Q1 and review them. Are they lining up with what’s been accomplished? If not, why?
Make sure to stay on top of your analytics. Seriously: Q2 should be filled with meetings, charts, enforcing accountability, and measuring. Metrics in the second quarter should be monitored extremely closely, as it’s the key time of year when you can truly see if your new strategies are working. Q1 is complete, and your plans should be fully formed by now and getting—or not getting—the results you want as a company.
If the results aren’t where they should be, keeping a close eye on them will allow you to know soon enough to revise your strategy and address what may be wrong. But if you don’t keep good analytics measurements in Q2, you won’t be able to revise quickly, and it may be too late by Q3 to improve.
Follow Up with Marketing Strategies
Some marketing strategies need to get going as soon as Q1, depending on what type of strategy you’ve got going on. Any marketing strategy “seeds” (or even full-blown campaigns) that were begun in Q1 now must be monitored and followed-up with constantly.
For instance, if you’ve decided to implement an SEO-based marketing campaign, some SEO can take anywhere from 4-6 months to kick in, and that will also need to be closely watched to see its progress. Even a simple old-school ad in the paper or a billboard will have a process that needs to be checked up on.
Q2 is the ideal time to be following up on marketing strategies that have either begun or are supposed to begin soon. Do whatever it takes to remain in close contact with those who are helping with your marketing strategies. Don’t leave it up to them to contact you with reports.
Motivate Your Team
At the beginning of Q1, you should have chosen your top five priorities for each quarter and then designated an employee or team to be responsible for each of these priorities in order for everyone to remain accountable and for progress to be measured.
At the start of Q2, ask yourself what goals were achieved, by which employee or team, and how. Which of these methods should carry over into the next quarter? How will the strategy need to be adjusted?
Make a new list based on your collected results and revisions from Q1 of everything your business needs to work together on. Go through this list together and prioritize the goals, and assign each goal to a specific person or team. Because that person or team is responsible for accomplishing that (or those) goals by the end of the next quarter, you’ll need to have weekly one-on-one meetings with them, and create weekly breakdowns of how their goals will be achieved. Then track their progress. This will establish accountability and remind everyone involved what they are working toward.
With spring comes spring cleaning, a time for a fresh start and less clutter. This can go as well for your business. Q2 is the perfect time of year to implement any major new software, since it’s a “slow” quarter where employees can learn a new program. Q1 is often too overwhelming for this; Q3 finds many employees absent for vacations, and Q4 is often rushed and crammed. This leaves Q2 to be the most ideal time for employees to get used to new programs that will improve the business, such as an enterprise content management (or ECM) system.
An ECM system also goes hand-in-hand with spring cleaning because it’s a fantastic way to get rid of office clutter like too much paperwork and too-stuffed filing cabinets. A good ECM system will take all that paperwork and organize it into nice, tidy files on a private company server, which employees can then easily access and share within the company.
This shuts down hours of hunting through paperwork, eliminates the need to have duplicates of documents, and results in seamless collaboration, low-risk security leaks, and better use of employees’ time. ECM is a huge business aid, and Q2 is just the time to implement it.
Prepare for Third Quarter
Q3 has been proven to be the time of year when work suffers the most, due to employees taking their summer vacations. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. With some careful planning and organizing in second quarter, work can continue to flow as normal in the third.
First of all, at the beginning of the second quarter, you should have meetings with everyone who is planning on taking time off, especially those who may be responsible for your most urgent marketing goals and tasks for Q3.
If they’re the only one who is able to perform their tasks, figure out how that can be handled. Are they willing or able to be available for emergencies while on vacation? Will they be able to check/answer email? If not, how might that affect the marketing project? What are the solutions?
If someone else is able to perform their tasks while they’re away, bring in that person or team and discuss everything together. Decide what needs to happen with this project between now and the end of the year, and who will be responsible for what.
By prioritizing and covering your bases with goals and tasks that will still need to be taken care of even with employee vacations, you can ensure that the workflow will be maintained and that the “Q3 slump” won’t be affecting your company this year.
What Works? What Doesn’t?
Q2 is an opportunity. It’s a time for patting yourself on the back when things work, and going back to the drawing board when they don’t. If you start early, stay on track, and stick to a plan, the rest of the year will be much less stressful and more productive.
At Contentverse, we want your company to enjoy a stress-free 2017, with successful marketing results. Don’t miss any advice, tips, or tricks on social and marketing strategy from us. Check out what we’re talking about weekly!
This article was originally published as What’s the Point of Second Quarter by Heather Honeycutt on March 8th, 2017.