It’s the middle of Q4 and you and your marketing team just calculated out the company’s spending for the entire year. The numbers seem to add up — all except your marketing budget, of which you have about a quarter of your annual spend left. You’ve suddenly been tasked with spending the rest of the allotted money from now until the end of the year. Now what?

The first thing you should know is that you aren’t alone if you still have extra budget to spend. The majority of businesses save up the bulk of their marketing budget during the 4th quarter of the year to boost sales during the holiday season. In fact, retail advertising spending alone in the US from November 21st to December 11th was a cool $1,076 million, according to a report by Statista. The real question to as yourself and your marketing team is how will you spend your marketing budget? Below are a few ideas that you can implement quickly and that are a high return on investment during the holiday season.

Wise ways to spend your marketing budget

  1. Update Your Website. When was the last time you updated the look (not just the information) on your website? Has it ever been updated since it launched? If you’re still rocking a 2008-looking website, this means it is now a decade old! Putting some cash towards a freelance web designer can significantly improve your website’s conversion rate and online visibility. Websites these days are sleek, stripped of distracting features or useless information, and are full of videos or graphics to help better explain products and services to users. Take a look at some of your competitor’s sites to determine what aspects of their design you like best. Of course, if you don’t have a website for your business yet, we recommend hiring a web design professional who can get one up and running for you in time to capture some holiday revenue.
    Cost: $$-$$$
    Difficulty: Moderate
  2. Design a New Logo. Perhaps you like your existing logo — but what about making things a bit more interesting for the holidays? Big name brands such as Target often opt to change their logo slightly to make it look more festive. Talk with a logo designer to see whether or not they can do something creative with your logo’s existing icon for the holiday season. If you don’t have a company logo yet, then there’s no time like the present. These days there are plenty of online logo makers that allow business owners to create stunning logos at an affordable price — many of which allow you to save as many drafts as you need before you’re satisfied with the design.
    Cost: $$
    Difficulty: Easy
  3. Order Promotional Products. There’s no better way to get the message out about your business during the holiday season than with promotional items. Promo materials make great gifts for both customers and employees, so be sure to order for both parties. Some of the most influential promotional products include classic t-shirts, pens, printed hats, and canvas tote bags. Get creative and host a holiday party or participate in small business Saturday during which to hand out these little gifts. With one-third of shoppers stating that holiday purchases were made thanks to promotions, this is the perfect thing to spend your marketing budget on.
    Cost: $$-$$$
    Difficulty: Easy
  4. Set Up Online Advertisements. Do you sell your products or services both online and in-store? If so, you should set aside a large chunk of your marketing budget for online ads. Last year, mobile users spent over $2 billion on Cyber Monday. Imagine the revenue you could generate for your business if your ad for your product showed up first for a search term related to your industry. Choose from text ads, image ads, responsive ads, remarketing ads, video ads, product shopping ads, and more. While online ads can get quite expensive depending on the industry you are in and the type of search phrase you are bidding on, the ROI is well worth it. If you are unfamiliar with how to set up either Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, or Google Ads, then we suggest setting aside additional funds to hire a part-time paid advertising guru. Don’t forget that you will need to have both a website and/or social media channels set up before you start your paid advertisement campaign.
    Cost: $$$-$$$$
    Difficulty: Challenging
  5. Attend a Trade Show. Now that the year is coming to a close, the majority of your competitors will most likely be heading to industry-related trade shows and conferences to learn about next year’s big products or industry advancements will be. This is a great opportunity for you and your employees to network with like-minded business owners and to grow your local network. You may also find customers as some of these events, so it is best to be prepared with a few business cards to pass out throughout the day. Business cards are an affordable and effective way to increase brand awareness — just make sure to include all of your company contact information and business logo. Don’t forget to also email your list of past customers to let them know where you will be throughout the holiday season so that they can come and check out your booth to see what you have to offer.
    Cost: $$$$
    Difficulty: Moderate

Having some extra cash at the end of the year in your marketing budget is never a bad thing, and with so many opportunities to spend it on, you can guarantee you will spend the full budget with no problems. The hardest part is deciding what marketing tactic is worth your time and your money. If TV, radio, and public relations don’t seem lucrative, then there are dozens of other avenues to go down to reach your customers this holiday season. Experiment with different ways to market your business and never forget that there’s always next year!