While we’re busy helping clients plan for the year ahead, we often find there’s still unfinished business for the calendar year we’re closing out. While it’s not even close to a Brewster’s Millions scenario, now is the time to knock that outstanding marketing budget balance down to zero. If you don’t, not only are you missing a valuable opportunity to boost this year’s efforts, you face the possibility of a limited pot of cash next year if someone else is in charge of your budget.
Whether you have just a few hundred dollars or several thousand to play with, we’ve put together a short list of effective ways you can invest the last bits of your 2018 marketing money wisely.
1. Conduct an SEO audit on your website.
If you’re on the second page of Google search results, only around 10% of your potential customers will see you. Over 70% of potential customers who use local search to find a product or service within 5 miles of their location actually visit the business when they find it. SE0 works, yet still only 17% of small businesses are investing in it.
We all know that search engines are constantly updating their algorithms and guidelines, so re-evaluating your website for SEO opportunities every 6 months is critical. If you’re not doing this and you’ve got extra budget, now might be a good time to get started. Going beyond keyword analysis and research, an SEO audit, at a minimum, should include a review of the following:
- Broken links leading users to a dead-end experience
- Consistent URL structure
- XML sitemap implementation and proper usage of robots.txt files
- Duplicate and outdated content
- Amount of pages indexed within search engines
- Implementation of image alt text
- Meta data including missing, duplicate and optimal meta titles and descriptions
- Canonicalization and appropriate 301 redirects
- Site speed
2. Map out your Q1 2019 content campaign.
The biggest challenge we find when building content campaigns for clients is that they have yet to clearly define their purpose. As many who work with us know, we’re always preaching that the only way to build a brand that is believable is to start by clearly articulating your purpose. With a distinct purpose, you create a nest in which brilliant (and believable) creative can hatch. And, of course, creative and content are one and the same.
The most effective content should align with everything your company does as a whole. When purpose is defined and then aligned with company culture and customer experience as well as communications, content becomes much more effective. If this is resonating with you, or you keep thinking ‘I need to figure out our content strategy,’ then some content calendar work is likely a worthwhile investment for your end-of-year dollars.
3. Invest in better CRM integration.
Does your website automatically send leads into your CRM? Can your sales and marketing teams share feedback on leads? Now might be the time to make adjustments to your CRM integration to make it work better for you.
4. Make a small website enhancement.
We’ve talked about the pitfalls of a poor website experience, but often a full redesign isn’t necessary. For example: if your website isn't already mobile friendly or responsive, you can just make that enhancement to vastly improve your users’ experience. We can’t guarantee that all enhancements and updates will be a quick fix or inexpensive, but it’s worth asking (hell, ask us). Knowing is half the battle. If it’s not cheap…
5. Get a better content management system.
Can you easily update content on your website? Or do you rely on one person in your organization who’s the only person who knows how to make updates? Put your website on a different content management system to make maintenance more cost effective. If you like your CMS, now’s a good time to update and make sure you’re on the latest, greatest version.
Regardless of whether you have dollars left in your budget for 2018 or you’re already planning 2019, if you want to attract your target consumer and build a brand that is believable, these are all wise investments. Have more questions? Please reach out, we’d love to show the value some of these suggestions can provide.