11 Ways to Effectively Spend Your End-of-Year Use It or Lose It Budgets

Though it may seem unlikely, you may find yourself in a situation where you have leftover marketing budget from the year. This can be a good thing, but it may also trigger a panic mode about there only being a handful of weeks left to apply the budget. Some corporations have an allotted yearly budget that does not roll over from year to year. If you don’t use those funds, then you’re wasting prized marketing budgets. There is no shortage of ways to spend “slush” funds or “use it or lose it” budget, but these are the top digital marketing ways to maximize your spend.

1. Recycled Content-Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Most likely, you do not need to look too far to find usable and valuable content.

  • Rewrite sections of your article or blog post to make the content more relevant to the time
  • Update data and stats
  • Add an infographic for more interesting visuals and outreach opportunities
  • Turn a blog into an e-book
  • Convert an infographic into a motion graphic
  • Use testimonials in full case studies
Recycle old content

2. Audits

Many companies take the time to do audits on their marketing campaigns during the beginning of the year or at the onset of hiring a new marketing firm. But how many take the time to measure the effectiveness of their efforts at the end of the year? End of year audits should determine the entire direction of your 2020 strategy. Take the time now to audit your performance on all paid media strategy including PPC, SEO, and social media efforts.

3. Strategic Road Map

Allocate time and resources in December to your future strategic direction. Create a marketing roadmap and break out initiatives by a quarterly playbook. You will have a clear and concise visual to reference each week to make sure your team and company is on track to meet monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals. When building your playbook consider how each pillar of digital marketing will fit into your yearly plan. 

8 Pillars of Digital Marketing

4. PPC Assessment

One of the easiest ways to spend extra budget within digital marketing is to up your allocation of funds to Google AdWords and Bing. Start with the low-hanging fruit. Can your campaign benefit by increasing the overall budget? Do you have a strategic remarketing plan in place? Other ways you can add to your PPC budget include:

  • Increasing your budget to gain impression share
  • Adding seasonal keywords
  • Expanding your geographic locations
  • Display Campaigns-publisher, GDN & programmatic
  • Using a Custom-Intent Audience YouTube Campaign
  • Re-marketing
5. Creating How-to Videos and Tutorials

Do you have a help center or FAQ section on your site? A video is more digestible than written content. Consider taking some of the most frequently asked questions and answering them via video. One of the easiest ways to do that is via a motion graphic video. Also if you have a complex product or service, a tutorial video may save your customers and clients time and energy.

6. SEO Evaluation

It is common knowledge that SEO is a long-term strategy. Your website and content should continue to evolve as your customer needs change over time. Making sure your website ranks for relevant keywords and that you stay in favorable rankings, is in itself a full-time job. The end of the year is a perfect time to do a full technical cleanup of your site. Another good use of time is to revisit keyword research to see what has changed in your industry over the last 12 months. One of the most effective content strategies we see going into the new year include listicles related to your industry. This blog, for example, is a listicle.  

7. Boosting Top Performing Posts

If you are active on social media channels you probably already have a good idea what type of content performs well for your target audience. Most of us typically reserve what we deem our “best” content for paid promotion. However, once in a while you will see an organic post that has made a special connection with your followers. Look back through your organic posts for high engagement. Can you benefit from boosting the post or possibly turning it into a paid ad?

8. Marketing Automation
sample marketing automation flow

Most companies we work with are in need of some form of marketing automation. It can be as simple as building out an email cadence, or as complex as creating custom flows and audience segmentation. But at some point, almost everybody can benefit from automation. Here is our list of top things that can improve your marketing automation: 

  • Invest in MA software
  • Segment audiences
  • Create email cadences
  • Implementing flows Including:
    • Lead nurture
    • Cart abandonment
    • Win back
    • Subscriber
    • Beautifully designed content
    • List importation
9. Influencer Marketing

During the holiday season, you will be hard-pressed to find a valuable influencer that is not promoting content. Let’s face it — Influencers have the 411 about the latest and greatest products. Many people rely on their trusted opinion before purchasing items themselves. Influencers often position themselves as experts on a certain topic. Therefore, people look to them to try before they buy. In fact, studies have shown influencer marketing to be the fastest growing customer acquisition method — beating organic and paid search and email. Aligning your company with the right influencer can get your product in front of an impressionable audience during a key buying season.

10. Content Calendar Creation

Taking the time to build out a content calendar for your social media and blogs at the end of the year will save you a headache at the start of the year. Though time-consuming at first, having a minimum of a 3-month plan saves time, money and energy throughout the following months. First, set your 2020 goals for social and blog content. Do you want to position your company as a thought leader? Gain followers? Raise brand awareness?  Or increase brand credibility? Once your goals are clear, follow these steps to creating a master calendar: 

  • Audience research
  • Market research
  • Competitor research
  • Theme selection
  • Imagery selection
  • Copywriting of posts
  • Design
  • Scheduling
11. Web Dev Refresh

Do you have old pictures, testimonials, case studies that have passed their shelf life? Even if your content is relevant, hanging onto old pictures can make your site look outdated. Hair, fashion, and styles change quickly and are reflected through your site’s imagery. Also, service-based industries are heavily reliant on sincere and rich testimonials and case studies. Having a testimonial from a former client is not as valuable as displaying ones from current clients, and the same goes for case studies. Product offerings and services evolve and change. Make sure your case studies reflect this.So if going to the blackjack table is not an option for spending your end-of-year budget, what you’ve just read are viable and practical options for making the most out of your marketing this 2019 holiday season. Contact us for a free evaluation.

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