‘Tis The Season…To Spend Wisely Erin Posey Spending strategically means you can operate more efficiently, get your business in front of more people, build a strong brand reputation and grow sales. It’s also important that you invest your company’s money wisely and look for strategic ways to both increase and cut spending. Let’s look at specific ways you can spend wisely and boost your bottom line during this holiday season and beyond. Evaluate your Employee Needs Before Year End As you gear up for the holiday rush and prepare for the new year, it’s important to take a step back to evaluate your team. Which team members do you need to invest in to grow leadership within your business? Are you offering compensation and benefits that will attract and keep top talent on your team? Would it make sense to hire temporary employees or use the services of a temp staffing firm as opposed to hiring full-time employees for short term projects? Are you overstaffed or understaffed in certain departments? Can talent be reallocated among internal teams? Do you have employees who can take on more responsibility in the coming year to avoid outsourcing projects? Review Successes (and Failures) The holidays are a logical time for reflection on the year gone by. It’s a wise end-of-year practice to review what’s working and not working in your business to prep for a successful year ahead. If you have a way to measure sales and marketing results, you can easily evaluate which activities were worth the spending and which activities you can cut. For instance, did you take out an ad in a trade magazine or publication this year? Did you invest in a trade show or sponsor an event? Cut spending in the areas that didn’t perform last year and allocate that budget to programs that brought returns. So if your ad in the trade magazine didn’t drive extra business, maybe you can invest more in the tradeshow you attend every year and really own the event to increase ROI. Make Sure Your Holiday Marketing Has a Purpose To grab the attention of your potential buyers during this chaotic holiday season, you need to market. End of story. But you do not want to mindlessly throw money away. You want to spend on high-impact marketing activities while simultaneously finding ways to trim the fat in your marketing budget. Are you mass emailing your list a holiday greeting without segmenting? Have you done anything to personalize your holiday communications? Do your holiday ads still appeal to the customer personas you’ve defined in your year-round marketing strategy? In any marketing, but especially around the holidays, it’s important to engage your previous buyers and former customers. Winning a new customer is hard work. It’s much easier to make a repeat sale to a happy customer who knows, likes and trusts you. And sending a not to re-engage them Give Gratitude and Receive Loyalty In Return Speaking of happy customers, why not recruit them to be your small army of brand ambassadors this holiday season? Offer them an incentive to tell their friends and family about you. Evaluating your customer lifetime value and knowing your cost to acquire a new customer can help you assess the right amount to invest in a referral campaign. For instance, offering your current customers $500 for any customer they refer to you might seem like a big investment – and it is. But, if it costs 2K to bring in a new customer and your average deal brings your business $10K, it’s well worth the spend. Big Bucks Doesn’t Always Mean Big Results Understand that just because you spend a lot of money on a particular marketing channel or activity doesn’t mean it is going to bring you the results you want. You can spend a fortune on a flashy, holiday-themed marketing campaign and still get zero results. On the other hand, you can use inexpensive, or even free, proven, time-tested marketing tools as part of a smart, comprehensive strategy and have some very happy outcomes. Regardless of the channel, and regardless of the time of year, your message needs to relevant to your audience members. It needs to be focused on them, not you, and help them solve a problem or reach a goal.