Did your accountant call and say you need to spend more of your budget by the end of the fiscal year? Or do you have a “use it or lose it” budget that you need to spend before we ring in 2023?  If this describes you, this week’s blog talks about how to decide what to spend your remaining budget on.

Although you may seem rushed to decide on what you need, you know that the money needs to be spent sooner rather than later. And if there’s a lot of red tape in getting your budget spend approved, now’s the time to decide what to spend your money on.

What are your goals?

Have you thought about your goals for next year? Have you identified performance gaps you need to plug? What about ways to can go from good to great?

If so, determine what you need to get there. Maybe you need to run more ads, engage your audience with social media, or build a more accessible website. Google has made a lot of changes with more rolling out. Do you need to reconfigure your digital strategy to conform to new best practices, for example?

You can also look into technology upgrades to make your team more efficient next year. An overlooked facet of upgrading technology is your phone system. If you’ve had the same old phone system or on-hold messaging system for years, this could be the perfect opportunity to upgrade.

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) Phone Systems, for instance, have technology that brings your phone system online. This system does away with the old, copper wires used for traditional phone systems. You don’t need to be wired to your office. The hub of your system is on a server. If you have a remote team or remote team members, investing in a new phone system can help keep your team connected and use your budget by the end of the year.

Upgrade your digital tools

If it’s been a while since you updated the following digital tools, consider putting your end-of-year budget to these. Here’s why:

  • Website – You should update your website ever 2-3 years to keep up with changing technology, apps, and more. Increasingly, people are looking at websites on phones and tablets. Is your website set to display properly on those devices? If not, it’s definitely time for an upgrade!
  • Branding and graphic design – Your branding says a lot about your company. Investing a more cohesive brand through visuals, including your logo, website colors, and your font gives your customers a clearer picture of who you are and what you do. Plus, better graphics can improve your SEO.
  • Local search: Google isn’t the only game in town. Although it’s a pain to manage your Google listing, you should also be active on Bing, local business directories, directories specific to your industry, and more. Investing in a solution to manage your local listings can take a lot of work off your plate in the coming year.  Are you subscribing to the Alexas, Cortanas, and Siris of the world? More people are searching just by speaking, so make sure your local listings include virtual assistants too.
  • Virtual tours – Bring a 360-degree view of your business to your customers before they even stop in! The presence of this unique “spin” around your business establishes familiarity before your customer walks through the door. They already know the place. And with the added transparency and the peek inside before entering, you’ve established some trust, too.

Boosting promotions

The last quarter is an excellent time to plan marketing campaigns for the next year, or to make one, big last-minute marketing push. Whether you’re investing in a long-term campaign for next year or throwing your dollars into a last push to earn more revenue, the last quarter of the year is the perfect time to experiment with ad campaigns and promotions.

There are tons of ways you can use your budget to play with campaigns. Here are a couple, plus why they’re a good investment:

  • Social Media: Paying to boost posts on different platforms can show you where your audience is most engaged. When 2023 rolls around, you’ll see what last minute campaigns on social media were more successful than others.
  • PPC: Test keywords that your customers are most likely to search to find you through a PPC campaign. By testing a few keywords that you’re not sure will or won’t work, you can be better prepared for future campaigns and get to know how your customers are finding you. Are they using local search terms like “your service near me” or are they asking for a solution like “How do I fix XY and Z?” By putting your end-of-year budget towards these keywords, you will see what will work and what needs tweaking for more informed campaigns going forward.
  • A/B Testing: Are you launching some new web pages or landing pages and can’t decide on a keyword, overall layout, etc.? Narrow it down to 2-3 ideas and direct your budget to some A/B testing. When the new year rolls in, the page with the best performance could be up and running to kick off a great 2023.
  • Invest in some on-hold marketing: Being put on hold is inevitable. After all, companies spend lots of money to get people to call them. Why not put that on-hold time to good use and invest in message on hold? Not only is it statistically proven to retain customers, it turns an irksome situation into an opportunity to inform your customers about important things, like changing store hours and upcoming promotions.

Need some help?

Smart Link Solutions is on standby to walk you through what your business needs. If you’re having trouble how to spend your remaining budget for the year, give us a call, tell us what your goals are, and we’ll be happy to walk you through some solutions.