It’s that time of year again. If you’re like many marketers, you may find yourself with some unaccounted-for marketing dollars that still could be put to good use and even help secure your budget approval for the coming year. Digital technology has allowed a lot more fluidity in media (and non-media) spend than ever before—enabling marketers to make last minute additions and changes to their original marketing budgets and even experiment with different tactics they have been considering adding to the mix. So, what are the best ways to optimize your remaining marketing dollars while setting the stage for next year’s budget before the clock strikes midnight on December 31? Let us count the ways.
Pay Now, Collect Later
Typical business tactics use a buy now, pay later approach. Sometimes, it’s beneficial to flip the switch. A ”pay now, collect later” model can put your marketing dollars to good use and set you up for success in the coming months or year when you can complete projects without scrambling to find the funds.
what are ways you can implement this approach?
For starters, website maintenance contracts can allow you to pay an annual fee for various services you’ll use throughout the year. And what businesses can’t use that? Whether it’s simple troubleshooting services, website audits, content changes, security monitoring or software updates, most companies have needed these services at one time or another.
Another “pay upfront” option is hiring contractors (copywriters, content strategists, graphic artists, videographers, art directors, creative consultants) on a project, monthly or even yearly basis. If you find a good contractor you like, chances are others do, too. Secure their time with a contract for any upcoming projects for the following year. That’s one way to strategically spend those extra marketing dollars and ensure your contractor is available when you need them.
Blog Posts, and Whitepapers and e-Books, Oh My!
Longer-form published content is a great way to position yourself, members of your team and your company as thought leaders on industry, company, and other timely topics. The two great things about these types of communication pieces are that they are fairly quick and easy to produce and many of them have long shelf lives, allowing you to create a library of them upfront and then pull from them as needed.
Repurpose. Retarget. Repeat.
More and more companies are using their marketing dollars to drive awareness and conversions using social media. The beauty of this approach is that it allows marketers to re-purpose existing ads, infographics and other previously created materials and sponsor them on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter—virtually double-dipping on their effectiveness, then follow them up with a retargeting campaign for even greater impact. According to recent studies, prospects who are retargeted are almost three times more likely to become customers.
Research. Research. Research.
How many times have you wished you had the research to back up or influence your messaging? Whether it’s a deep dive into your current or prospective customers or your competitors, research is a great way to validate your position in the market or give you the push you need to change it. While many research projects take two things that are always in short supply—time and money—extra end-of-year dollars can get the ball rolling, even if the actual work carries into next year.
Smile for the Camera
As anyone who has ever tried to find the perfect image to bring a concept to life can attest, the task is usually tedious and futile. After all, how does the stock house know that someone will one day want an image of a frog wearing a superhero costume or a baby with purple hair? Whether you have an in-house marketing department, an agency or a freelance graphic artist, finding the perfect images takes time. And time equals money. And while photoshoots may seem like a large expense all at once, if you add up the time and money spent on stock images, you’ll see that they pay for themselves over time. Not to mention your photos will be uniquely yours so there’s no danger in a competitor using the same image.
The Bottom Line
Trying to stick to your marketing plan is a valiant goal, but next time you find yourself with extra dollars at the end of the year, don’t just dump them into something that won’t deliver a return on your investment. Consider something that will take your business and your brand to the next level and set you up for success in the year to come.