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Where Marketers Go to Grow

December 10, 2014 // 11:00 AM

30 Smart Ways to Spend Your Extra 2014 Marketing Budget

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Think fast! 2014 is winding down, and you may have extra money left in your marketing budget. Don’t let it go to waste!

Here are 30 ideas for spending leftover funds in your marketing budget.

1) Test new versions for low performing calls to action.

Estimated cost: $50 per call to action

Sort calls to action by click rate and conversion rate, then redesign ones with the lowest performance. Change the design to see if you can attract more visitor attention, and tweak the wording to see if you can strengthen the "connection" between the messaging on your CTAs and the landing page.

2) Write a few blog posts on industry topics for a rainy day.

Estimated cost: $150 per blog post

There’s no sense in waiting until the last minute to have blogs to publish. Get ahead by having a few blogs written for 2015 so you can take that vacation you’re planning, knowing that the blog content is taken care of.

3) Identify opportunities on your homepage.

Estimated cost: $150

Install heat map tracking (like CrazyEgg) on your homepage to see where people are clicking and how far they are scrolling down the page. Are people clicking where you want them to? Are they scrolling far enough down the page to find what you want visitors to see?

4) Revise landing page copy.

Estimated cost: $150 per page

Never settle. There’s always room for improvement on your landing pages. Starting with landing pages with conversion rates of less than 20%, have a copywriter tweak language to tune it into your target persona’s needs.

5) Find SEO keyword opportunities.

Estimated cost: $250

If your Google Webmaster Tools account is linked to Google Analytics, you can find out your top SEO keyword opportunities. You might want to identify keywords that are relevant to your product or service where you rank outside the top 10, but have brought people to your website in the past.

6) Do a social media engagement analysis.

Estimated cost: $250

An analysis of all of your social media messages of 2014 will reveal which received the most clicks, likes, favorites and shares. Find out whether LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Slideshare, Twitter, etc. worked best for your business in 2014. You can then take the best social media posts and reschedule them in 2015.

7) A/B test paid search ads.

Estimated cost: $250

If you haven't tried linking people to a popular content offer in your paid search ads, see if you get more conversions when you do. Write new ads and test them against proven performers to see if you can get higher clickthrough or more conversions.

8) Conduct a usability test.

Estimated cost: $350

A usability test will give you real feedback from potential customers. A remote testing service like UserTesting.com will run a visitor through a few tasks that you specify, and you can watch people use your website and comment on what confuses them. This will help you identify what pages on your website need improvement.

9) Try ad retargeting.

Estimated cost: $500

People that visited your website make a great target audience for advertising. You’ll need a few display ads and can try retargeting on social media or through Google Adwords.

10) Experiment with social media advertising.

Estimated cost: $500

Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn allow you to sponsor updates. Try posting one of your top converting content offers and sponsoring the post.

11) Treat your sales and business development people.

Estimated cost: $500

The relationship between sales and marketing can be tenuous at times, so take some time for team building. Take a day away from work, do something fun together, and strengthen relationships.

12) Invest in training.

Estimated cost: $500

You can learn a lot from reading blogs, but investing time and money in certifications or online courses to further professional development is a great way to spend extra marketing budget.

13) Celebrate your success in the past year.

Estimated cost: $500

The end of the year is a great time to take a deep breath and celebrate wins. Reward your marketing team’s hard work with an off-site team get together.

14) Do customer research.

Estimated cost: $500

Are companies you sell to planning growth in 2015, or is the outlook not so good? If you do research, don’t forget to survey current customers, too. Use the research in your planning or to revise your buyer personas

15) Aggregate similar content into different content formats.

Estimated cost: $750 each

Compile several related blog posts into a whitepaper, guide or Slideshare presentation. Likewise, popular whitepapers, guides or presentations can be shortened into blog posts.

16) Design and print some personal thank you cards for your best customers.

Estimated cost: $750

Take a team photo and write a message thanking your best customers for their business in 2014. Design a card, have it printed, and mail them out. Here’s a mockup of a fun card we’re sending this year to our customers.

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17) Perform a competitive assessment.

Estimated cost: $750

HubSpot's competitor's tool provides good competitive metrics, but do a deep dive into your competitors’ websites to look at their content and initiatives in the last year. Where are your opportunities? If you aren't moving forward, you're falling behind.

18) Design an infographic.

Estimated cost: $750

Visual content is popular and easy for your potential customers to digest. Hire a good graphic designer to create a visual to share in 2015.

19) Plan your Q1 2015 content campaign.

Estimated cost: $1,000

Using buyer personas, performance of other content and your SEO keywords, you can build a blog calendar for the first quarter of 2015, along with 1-2 lead generation content topics to generate more leads.

20) Optimize your 2014 blog posts for conversion in 2015.

Estimated cost: $1,000

Because the life of a blog post can span several months, and because you’ve published new content offers in 2014, you may need to revisit old posts and see if there’s a more relevant call to action to improve conversion on your blog.

21) Do a sales analysis.

Estimated cost: $1,000

Finding qualified contacts in your CRM that your company wasn't able to connect with could salvage a few sales. Once this analysis is done, call and send an email to each saying that you didn't connect and ask if they are interested in staying on your marketing list.

22) Analyze email unsubscribes.

Cost estimate: $1,000

Did you lose qualified leads via unsubscribes over the last year? That may signal that your campaigns are not relevant to them, and this analysis may reveal opportunities for better segmentation and messaging.

23) Invest in better CRM integration.

Estimated cost: $1,000

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.

24) Conduct an SEO audit on your website.

Estimated cost: $2,000

You should be re-evaluating your website for SEO opportunities every 6 months or so, and if you’ve got extra budget, now might be a good time to have it done. Have your core web pages reviewed for opportunities and to optimize on-page factors and have web copy reviewed for keywords you've added to your keyword portfolio.

25) Produce an "explainer" video.

Estimated cost: $2,000

One option is to have an animated explainer video produced, but a more economical option (and one that features people at your company) is to shoot a video about customer-focused reasons a potential customer should choose your company.

26) Plan and script a webinar for Q1.

Estimated cost: $2,000

A webinar is a great way to generate new leads. Focus on topics that solve your target persona’s pain points, not making a sales pitch.

27) Get a better content management system.

Estimated cost: $5,000

Is your website difficult to update? 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 version.

28) Localize your website for an international audience.

Estimated cost: $5,000

Planning to expand your company internationally in 2015? You’ll need a localized website. Don't just translate in the appropriate dialect, but also add culturally relevant graphics for the countries that you plan to sell in.

29) Make your website responsive.

Estimated cost: $7,500

If your website isn't already mobile friendly, there are many reasons to jump on that bandwagon, and quickly. Google says that 52% of people say that a bad mobile experience makes them less likely to engage with a company.

30) Write a book.

Estimated cost: $7,500

Most companies have incredibly intelligent subject matter experts. Hire a ghostwriter to put their industry expertise in print to position your subject matter expert and your company as thought leaders.

... And there you have it. You’re ready for 2015. It’s time to share your thoughts. How has your team spent extra marketing budget? Share your thoughts and feedback in the comments below.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing

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