Corporate budgeting is a complicated process that relies on a lot of guessing. Companies will look at statistics and trends from past years, as well as the upcoming year’s plans, to determine how much money should be budgeted for specific departments and projects—but these trends do not always work out as expected. Changes throughout the year can alter the way that departments use their budgets, and companies sometimes have to make adjustments to support certain projects over others. In many cases, this leads to there being leftovers at the end of year budget—money that was set aside but never spent.
Leftover marketing budgets should be put to good use before the end of the year, but how so? Rather than throwing that money at last-minute advertising, consider using it for the benefit of your department and company at large. Whether it’s developing an affiliate marketing strategy or leading a team-building exercise, you can use your budget wisely to get the new year started on the right foot.
1. Developing Next Year’s Strategy
It’s not too late to start thinking ahead. Even if you have a content schedule created that outlines your initial plans for the coming year, it could use a bit of tweaking. Use your extra budget to set some time aside so you can identify whether your new year’s strategy still fits your business’s current needs. This can involve conducting some research to determine if you need to redefine your immediate goals, or it can revolve around deciding whether you want to generate more leads as the new year begins. This focus is important, as minor tweaking can ensure your business goals are met along the way.
2. Last-Minute Content for the Holiday
Some leftover money can go a long way when used correctly. If you’re scratching your head, wondering what to do with that extra budget, consider using it for some last-minute holiday content. Outsourcing some content for the holidays can be a lifesaver to some of your staff, reducing their workload during the end-of-year crunch while ensuring that premier content is still produced for customers. Furthermore, having this content produced ahead of time will make it easier to publish and promote it in advance, simplifying the process altogether.
3. Year-in-Review Content
Take some time to reflect on all that your business has accomplished this year. A series of documentary-style videos could be an excellent way to tell your investors and customers about everything your business accomplished this year, from new products to grow. Better yet, pull the curtain back a bit and show customers the people who make your business what it is. This humanizing content will give more of a face to your company while speaking highly of the accomplishments you made with a look forward to the coming year.
4. Market and Customer Research
Data can tell you a lot about your business, especially what your customer base looks like and the type of content they want to see. Rather than testing your luck year after year, using the same old method as before, put your extra marketing budget to use by conducting market and customer research. The insights from this research are sure to provide you with a perspective on what your customers want to see. These findings can be used, in turn, to help you create informed content that will further drive your content strategy and business.
5. Team Building and Employee Recognition
Show your employees how much you appreciate them. Take that money and use it to support them, whether it’s providing them with bonuses, honorary certificates, an employee awards ceremony, or an end-of-year company outing. Something as simple as holding a catered lunch by a well-respected nearby restaurant can be a great gift to your employees.
Otherwise, consider holding a team-building activity to build camaraderie between your employees. Such an event can be an excellent time for employees to get together and work on activities that are not business-related, whether it’s something outdoorsy like a weekend camping trip or a simple event one day like visiting a nearby Escape Room.
6. Updating Your Webpages
Instead of deleting those pages—which search engines will penalize you for—update them. On the other hand, you may have old blog posts that just don’t sound fresh or which aren’t optimized for search. Focusing on improving existing content is an excellent investment because most of the work has already been done, so it’s a quick win.
7. Create an Affiliate Marketing Campaign
If you haven’t done so yet, now is the right time to launch your first affiliate marketing campaign. This fast-growing, $12-billion industry can be a goldmine for businesses, allowing them to effortlessly promote themselves through the assistance of affiliate businesses and influencers. Best of all, it’s a low-risk option with a high return on investment (ROI), meaning you’ll get the most out of the initial work you put in. Affiliate marketing networks make it easy on businesses, too, providing them with personalized hubs where they contact affiliates, develop campaigns, and track statistics.
8. Referring to Outside Help
If you’re not sure what to do with your leftover budget, consider putting it into some trusted hands. A creative agency can be just the right people to guide you toward some fruitful ideas, whether it’s conducting some research to identify potential future campaigns or creating content around new products you’ll be dropping at the beginning of the year. This simple venture can provide you with many options moving forward, as well as give your company some ideas of its own.
Waste Not Want Not
Don’t let your extra budget go to waste this year. Use what you have left to improve your company for the better.