How to Spend Your Q4 Budget

How to Spend Your Q4 Budget

The holidays are rapidly approaching and with that in mind, so is the end of 2015. Whether you refuse to believe it or are already in 2016 planning mode, what are you going to do with your remaining budget for 2015? You know it’s there and just thinking about it has been keeping you up on night. How should you spend it so that you get the most bang for your buck? We have four key categories where you can invest your dollars smartly:

Paid Search

While this may be one of your current marketing tactics, now it’s time to spice it up. You have a few options to help spend some more money while still seeing a return on your investment. First, you can test out some new copy on your ads. Performing an A/B test will help you learn more about your customers and what copy resonates with them all while spending more money. You can also switch it up and test the call-to-action. Do your customers prefer “Buy Now” or “Learn More” – test it out and see what performs better?

Next up, have you tested display advertising? During the holidays, sometimes it can be easier to grab someone’s attention with a creative visual ad rather than creative copy. That’s where the display network comes in handy. You can test out different visuals or different messaging. There are different ways to target these ads, but that’s a whole different blog post (probably coming soon). Ultimately, display ads tend to be a bit cheaper than text ads since you’re not necessarily bidding on keywords – but if you do more volume with your display ads, then you’ll still spend your budget.

There are definitely a variety of opportunities to spend your Q4 budget with paid search campaigns, and that could very well just be increasing your budget.

Social Media

Oh! The options are unlimited when it comes to social media. You can (a) run ads (b) boost engagement (c) host a promotion (d) refresh your designs, and more! Let’s discuss the options in a bit more detail:

  • Run ads – there are so many options within this one category as well. But, let’s just focus on Facebook ads for the time being. You can try out some new ads that drive your fans back to your website to buy or to learn more. These website click ads will drive traffic and potentially more sales from both your fans or from the target audience you select. In addition, there’s this fancy thing called re-marketing that allows you to show ads to Facebook users who have recently visited your site and did not purchase. It’s not stalking when it’s on Facebook, right?
  • Boost engagement – see that little button on the bottom right-hand corner of your post “Boost Post?” You can use that to help increase the reach of your post. So if you’re promoting a sale or a deal, go ahead and spend your extra budget and show your post to more people.
  • Host a Promotion – you can go big or you can go small when it comes to hosting a promotion. Either way, you’re going to want to spend some money to help boost your promotion post. Create some graphics, have an awesome (yet relevant) prize and encourage your fans to get involved. Who doesn’t love winning something during the holidays? Most of your budget will go towards the prize and then promoting the posts/contest.
  • Refresh your designs – are your cover photos updated? Are they sized properly? Are they timely and relevant to the season? Work with a designer and update those graphics to be just right for this time of the year. It may or may not take a lot of your budget, but it’s just a good idea.

We could keep going here because you can spend money on LinkedIn, Twitter, even Instagram – but by the time you finished reading this post, it would be 2016.

Software

Technology is ever-changing, so why not update your 2015 (or 2014, 2013, or 2010, or 2000?) version for the latest and greatest version. It’s a simple way to spend your budget and bring you into this generation.

If you’re already up-to-date on your technology, why not seek out new tools or resources that can help your business grow? From scheduling tools or workflow management tools like Wrike and Trello to content automation platforms like HubSpot, the options are seemingly endless. Consult with your team and see what tools they have been testing out or are interested in.  You may be surprised to find out that they’ve been seeking out some new resources to help improve their workflow and efficiency. Plus, it could be a great way to reward their hard work by providing them with the necessary help.

This technically may not fall under software, but it’s a great tool to use to learn more about your website and the experience our users have from start to finish. It’s called a usability test and it allows you to have different people go through and navigate your site and provide feedback. Can they find what they’re looking for? Do they understand your messaging? Is your navigation clear and direct? You set their tasks and then can see how they fare. It won’t drain your entire budget, but it’s a great way to recognize opportunities to improve your website and UX.

The Annual CM Holiday Party!

The Annual CM Holiday Party!

Personnel

Now, let’s transition to how you can use your remaining Q4 budget to help keep and raise employee morale. 2015 has been a long and grueling year (or is that just for me?).  Either way, the end of the year means it’s time to kick back, relax and have some fun with your employees. Here are a few ideas to spend your budget and thank your employees at the same time:

  • Employee Holiday Party – it doesn’t have to be a fancy event, it could just be a gathering at someone’s house or at a local restaurant. But, encourage your employees and their families to gather and celebrate with some food, drinks and maybe a secret gift exchange? It’s a fun way to get employees out of the office and having fun together!
  • Training / Conferences – investing in your employees can improve employee retention. Look at some 2016 conferences that may benefit your employees and sign them up! They’ll be excited for the conference and the opportunity to grow as an employee and yes, you spend your budget.
  • Client Thank You Gifts – this doesn’t directly affect your employees, but you can get them in on the fun! Create personalized thank you gifts for your clients that show your appreciation for their continued support and partnership. It’s festive, fun and your clients will appreciate the kind words.

Conclusion

There is most certainly a ton of ways to spend your Q4 budget but try to think about what you can do to bring the most benefit to your company in the coming year. Remember, the bottom line can move in many ways. Take care of your employees and your business and they will take care of you. Now besides hosting impromptu intra-office laser tag tournaments what other creative ways can you think of to spend your budget?

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Vicky Simpson

Director of Content Strategy
Vicky Simpson is the Director of Content Strategy at Customer Magnetism. Her days are filled with brainstorms, content creation and promotion. When she's not being creative for CM, she is baking cakes or walking her dog!

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