Boosting Business Success by Optimizing Year-End Investments

As the year draws to a close, businesses have a unique opportunity to strategically invest in marketing initiatives that not only reduce taxes but also set the stage for a successful year ahead. In this episode of Local SEO Tactics, hosts Jesse Dolan, Sue Ginsberg, and Bob Brennan explore the benefits of year-end spending, focusing on tax-deductible marketing expenses and providing valuable insights into areas worth considering.

What You’ll Learn

  • Why businesses should leverage year-end investments to reduce taxes by strategically allocating profits into tax-deductible marketing expenses
  • What types of investments you can spend on from revamping your website, and updating your logo, to technical SEO improvements for online visibility
  • How prepaying for marketing services, optimizing Google Business Profiles, and prioritizing customer reviews can yield quick and impactful results for the coming year
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Jesse: A great opportunity at the end of the year for businesses to take advantage of. Because what we’re talking about here why does this matter for end of the year? Right, it’s kind of my point Taxes. So if you’re running a business and you have some profits coming into your end, if they’re just sitting in your bank account, so to speak, you’re going to pay taxes on those profits. So usually business owners are going to try to whittle that down responsibly where it makes sense for tax purposes. So the advantageous part about marketing is it’s 100% tax deductible expense. Welcome back to local SEO tactics where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I’m your host, Jesse Dolan, Join in this episode by Bob Brennan, Sue Ginsberg and you two doing today.

Sue: Another day in paradise.

Jesse: Wow, hold on Another day in paradise. What’s going on, see? That sounds pretty nice.

Sue: I get to talk to you two.

Jesse: All right, now she’s just telling jokes, Bob. Okay, so, sue, what do we have for a topic on this episode here today?

Sue: Today, as we march into December, we are thinking about year-end and everything that means for our business and holidays and personally. So today we are going to talk about how to spend for year-end. Talk about some good ways you can invest in your online marketing to set your business up for success from day one of the new year, to get in some last-minute sales for the rest of this month. All of the above works and that’s what we’re going to talk about. The quote of the day today is in the world of internet customer service, it’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away. That is a quote by Doug Warner, who was a journalist, 13-time Emmy winner with 43 nominations, and four-time reporter of the year, ksla. I love that quote. It’s good for us all to remember how easy it is for someone to click off and click off and onto someone else’s website that’s not yours. Okay, today I will share.

Back in the day when I worked for some very big Fortune 500 companies, it was common practice at year-end to look at your marketing budget and to prepay for marketing services next year from this year’s budget if you had enough left to cover things. For a variety of reasons, this was done in the big company world, so you didn’t get your budget reduced for next year. It was also done to ensure you finished year-year and strong if there were things that you could do that would have that quick of an impact, and again to set up your year, your next year, to start strong by putting these things in place now. While not all companies have the mentality of using up their marketing budget for a last-minute push or to prepay, a lot of businesses do. You. Don’t have to be a big business to be thinking that way. So, whether it is for budgeting or other reasons, we’ve thought about and think about and are thinking about some different ways that you can be smart in your year-end investment and do some things that will help you out for the rest of the year, for next year, for tax reasons, for business reasons, whatever. Then I would say, before I toss it to Jesse and Bob, some things to think about.

How long has it been since you’ve had a website update? In today’s world, an old website is two years old, or a two-year-old website is an old website, and sometimes even less than that, depending on if your services have changed or other things. How about your logo? Does it still represent you. Does it look current? Does it look old? Is it communicating your business like you wanted to be communicating your business?

Logo updates are now happening more frequently than ever. It can be a tweak or it can be a change, depending on how you answer those questions. Maybe your end is a good time to find and fix some technical things that you’ve been waiting to do, or lots of other ways that you can invest in online marketing and use this year’s budget to help yourself for the rest of the year and to set yourself up well for next year. So I would like to hear from you, jesse and Bob, from an SEO and a business owner standpoint, and help us be smarter as we go into the end of the year. We still have a few good weeks left to be working on this, and it may make all the difference in the world.

Jesse: It’s topic. So, sue, yes, this is something that’s a great opportunity at the end of the year for businesses to take advantage of, because what we’re talking about here, why does this matter for end of the year? Right, it’s kind of my point Taxes. So if you run into business and you have some profits coming into your end, if they’re just sitting in your bank account, so to speak.

You’re going to pay taxes on those profits. So usually business owners are going to try to whittle that down responsibly where it makes sense for tax purposes. So the advantageous part about marketing is it’s 100% tax deductible expense. So let me pull up some stuff here you know straight from the IRS. Just to kind of recite for everybody Marketing is 100% tax deductible, but tax law allows businesses to deduct expenses that help them bring in new customers and keep existing ones. These costs may include expenses for advertising and marketing.

Advertising and marketing costs must be ordinary and necessary to be tax deductible. So what does that mean? Just, you know something that’s, you know, going to pass the eye test right. We’re going to talk websites. We’re going to talk to some SEO. You can do billboards, other stuff if it’s just traditional marketing that you or businesses in your space would do.

Also, a necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate this is from the IRS Helpful and appropriate for the trader business.

An expense does not have to be indispensable to be considered necessary, and I’m highlighting that because when they say necessary, you may think something is a little bit luxurious to maybe some new campaign or some new initiative that you weren’t considering. It’s not necessary from like a critical business operations, right, but you think this will bring you new customers and you think this is necessary in that process, you know. Then it should be deductible expense. All the things we’re going to talk about here today are going to be ones that you can consider for this. And another reason it’s advantageous for marketing is this is a space, like Sue said, people can either prepay for maybe a subscription you already have, or maybe you’re going to invest into a new initiative that you haven’t already thrown money at. The cool part with marketing particularly digital marketing with the services that interest provides particularly is you can throw the money at it now and you can get the deliverable after the first of the year. You can get those deliverables in 2024.

Sue: Let’s just talk about a website.

Jesse: So you mentioned that. Right, maybe it’s been a while since you’ve updated or through some new paint on your website. Or maybe you are a new business and you need a website. You don’t even have one. Either way, you can’t just whip up a website in one day. Right, it takes a bit of a process to do it the right way for your brand, for your identity and then also for setting the foundation for SEO.

And maybe you just don’t have the time between now and the end of the year personally to commit for your business to that new website or the updated website. Well, that’s fine, you can still pay for it or put a down payment on it. Right, any expense you put towards that website can still be tax deductible in account for this fiscal year that you’re in, even if your actual initiative carries into or doesn’t all, doesn’t really start until next year for the bulk of the work. So these things are fine. The key thing here that we’re talking about is this is a way for you to draw down your profits and spend some money on this year’s books for accounting While starting those initiatives and really realizing this investment into next year. So that’s different than, maybe you know, buying a vehicle or other capital expenses that businesses may consider at this time of the year.

This is one that actually is an investment into your company right to drive growth, drive sales and increase your profits for next year. So we wanted to take the chance for this episode to really highlight a few areas here for businesses to consider as you’re going into 2024. And we don’t usually do this but shameless plug, of course, like I said, these are things that we can help you with. So if you’re at the 11th hour we’re, you know, a couple weeks from the end of the year here and you want to get going, get ahold of us, reach out to us through local SEO, tactics.com or Intrycks.com and we are happy to discuss any of these initiatives with you for what the budget may be, with the timelines maybe, and what your investment is, things like that. Alright, so kind of setting the stage there from a legal, tax, technical perspective and why I guess an accounting perspective is maybe the best way to put it.

Let’s talk about what some of these options are in the digital space. So actually let me back up this first bullet point I have here isn’t digital, it’s related to it, but I want everybody to think about this equipment, right? So if you’re doing marketing, maybe you’re gonna start recording some videos, right? You need to buy a camera for that content, things like that. So we’re gonna go through. Everything else on this list is very much kind of more service driven or digital. But also think about maybe some of the equipment or tangible assets that you may need to produce this content or to do this type of marketing. Those are gonna be able to be accounted for in the same way.

I’m no tax law expert. But yeah, if it’s a larger expense, maybe it is then a capital investment and you got depreciation that’s not 100% right off this year. That’s all different aside, but definitely consider any equipment or these tangible assets that you may need to do the marketing.

That can be considered part of what we’re talking about here. So easy things to look at. Sue, you did mention this earlier, but I just wanna reiterate. It is the subscriptions and the things that you’re already paying for. Most vendors and service providers are gonna be able to accept prepayment, probably some kind of a discount.

If you’re gonna pay for a quarter or a year in advance instead of monthly, it’s pretty common that you’re gonna get some kind of discount for doing that and that’s something if you’re happy with that service and that investment, take advantage right Pre-pay, spend the money now in 2023, pay for your services in 2024 and get a discount at the same time. That’s always something really good to consider. Another one is gonna be consultation. Maybe it’s starting a retainer or paying for a block of hours. Again, you’re kinda investing into something now and then saving that for down the road.

If you have a particular initiative, let’s just talk to you on the website. Maybe you want some consultations on design or some voice of customer surveys to tap into your audience. Whatever it is, you can consider any of that consultation type stuff as well here if it’s in the marketing space. So we’ve talked about website a few times. Moving on to the next point here, this is one that we always encourage people to look at. It’s not something that’s cheap for a new website or to revamp your website or maybe to expand it. Whatever it is.

But it’s definitely something from an SEO perspective. That’s pretty critical, right? You have to have the content on your website that you wanna be found, for we have lots of episodes where we talk about not just having the content of the keywords, but that’s to look the right way. If you’re looking for a certain widget, digit or whatever your keyword is you’re searching for, when you land on that page for the website you then need to convert. So, even if your website’s doing it for SEO or from a content perspective, maybe you need some better visual assets, right. So a better look to it, work on that, conversion rate, things like that. So a website would be a great investment to throw money at now and it’s gonna pay you those dividends in 2024 and beyond.

And if you haven’t updated your website in a while, let’s say, like last three years, definitely, definitely consider that A lot has changed in what can be done with websites now from a technical perspective and just the current modern look. Pretty easy for people to jump on a website and develop an opinion on if they trust this company or not, just based off of how it compares to everybody else. So probably our.

A1 on the list here to consider for year-end spending and actually I teased Bob and see that I was gonna say this but I haven’t yet how to spend for year-end website would be your number one option on that as far as we’re concerned. So piggybacking on the website you know, bob, this is your favorite area and probably your A1 from an ROI standpoint on investment is anything you can do for your GBP, your Google business profile. I think there’s a couple different paths we can go on this. One is if you’re not paying for anybody to do SEO and optimization on your GBP right now, definitely consider that. If you’re not ranking as good as you think you should, or maybe don’t have the reach in your metro area that you think you should, or just haven’t given any attention, even if you have a GBP but it hasn’t had any SEO applied to it, definitely consider that. All of these areas as well. Again, shameless plug if you’re unsure if it needs investment or maybe where you’re at like, is this good enough or not, we can help you assess that as well and we’ll give you an honest opinion on that to tell you what’s good and what’s bad.

So not just either creating, optimizing, revamping, whatever it is your GBP, but reviews on your GBP. This is something that is huge for the ranking of your GBP, for the reach of your GBP and just for your, for the opinion people will have of you. We say this all the time. There’s for the MATPAC, for the GBP rankings, there’s usually three of them that are gonna show up in the results. A normal convention is you have the top, that’s the best, which I’m not disagreeing with. But there can be a scenario where you’re the third but you have twice the reviews that everybody else has. You’re gonna get that click and you’re gonna get the opportunity for that business based off those reviews that you have.

So, in addition to your GBP at large investing into reviews, now that can be coaching, consultation, training your team. We always say and have the best results with actually asking for reviews in person, right, like face-to-face, human-to-human. Usually people aren’t comfortable with that, right? So training your team and having some coaching sessions and some accountability for that packages for that are gonna be a great investment. In addition to that, there’s automated software solutions or apps that will help you collect reviews. Wouldn’t do that only right, you still wanna do the face-to-face, but the automation will supplement and help you get more reviews for people that maybe couldn’t do it right there on the spot or it just wasn’t convenient or whatever it is. You’re gonna get a few more percentage points of overall audience right Leaving your reviews if you will deploy some type of automated solution to help you get more reviews, and that’s gonna mean sending out text messages or emails to people to leave reviews.

In addition to the actual collecting of the reviews. Usually these automated solutions for reviews are gonna give you reporting capabilities, allow you to maybe integrate your reviews that you’re getting on your profile to your website right To kinda show that edification and tie those together, in addition to other analytics and tool sets that come with the automation that really help everything in the visibility and the understanding of your review landscape, not just collecting them.

So just to recap that point investing into your GBP, optimizing it, getting more reviews on it, both from an automated and a team training, person-to-person approach, gonna be a huge benefit to you, for your business and, again, you can throw money at these things now, in 2023, and have these initiatives start to roll out and really make an impact in 2024.

Hey everyone, just a quick message about our free SEO audit tool on localSEOtactics.com and we’ll get right back to the show. If you haven’t taken advantage of it yet, go on out to localseotactics.com, slash free SEO audit, or look for the yellow button up in the top right corner. Click that and it’s gonna take just a couple seconds. You enter in the page that you wanna optimize what you’re looking for the audit to score against. Enter in that page, enter in the keyword you’re looking to get optimized for and enter in your email address. Click the button and it’s gonna take a few seconds, and then it’s gonna sen d you off a PDF report via email.

It’s a great report. It’s gonna kind of give you an overall score of some vital SEO areas for that page and for your website at large, even though it’s auditing this page. That’s gonna tell you some of the good things that are happening, some of the bad things that are happening too, and give you basically a checklist of some things that you need to shore up and what you can do to improve your SEO for that page, for that keyword that you’re auditing. Now you can use this as many times as you want. You can do multiple keywords, multiple pages, multiple keywords on the same page. You can even use this to check against your competitors, right, if you wanna do a little reverse engineering, see how they’re scoring for a certain keyword, what they may be doing good, that you’re not, and some things to improve there. So lots of different ways to use it, completely free. Again, go on at thelocalseotacticscom slash free SEO audit, or look for the yellow button in the top right corner of the website.

Bob: All right. So from my perspective as a business owner, the best return on money that I’ve seen as far as digital marketing goes is the GBP and money spent in that area. Let’s just say I’ve been in business in a while and I go through this every year. If there’s here’s where there’s actually a profit.

Like I wanna buy a pickup truck or a Tesla or whatever the deal is, and so your payments are typically $1,000 to $1,200 a month or something like that. Right, but you get that big bang up front and I’m not a tax advisor, so I’m not here to do your taxes. Talk to your tax person. I’m just saying, psychologically, you work hard all year and you want some kind of recognition for that. So in your mind as a business owner, you wanna Tesla, you wanna some kind of Scooby snack, say, hey, look what I did. And it isn’t that you don’t deserve it, you deserve it. I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that if you can take that money and invest it in GBP work, in SEO work come next year, it’s a no-brainer. Go get two of them if you want. But the point is that the money you’re gonna spend on a let’s say, a truck or car payment, if you spend that or a good portion of it this year on GBP, it will blow your mind within what 30 to 60 days, jess, would you say is a reasonable to get in the three pack. Now, that’s something I know we can do when there’s other agencies that can do that. But, more importantly, that’s just the beginning You’re going to again have to get reviews and understand that you not only will get you the three pack, but you’ve got to get two or three acts of what are your competition ads for reviews, excuse me in order to get crazy, the crazy results that we’re talking about. So that’s the number one place I’d put my money.

If I had stupid, crazy money, I would find somebody that’s really good at Google ads. We’re not. We can make some recommendations. I personally have never seen what I think is great return on that. But then again, I’m not in a business where, let’s say, it’s crazy margins and I don’t know what that would be. Maybe mortgage business, maybe real estate, I don’t know the businesses I’ve been involved with when we’ve gone down that road. They don’t get their money back. But that again, every business is different and you got to have different margins and every Google ad company out there is different. I have yet to find the one that’s the unicorn that can give me my money back. So that’s my two cents, jess, back to you. So yeah, bob, I think you’re dead on that.

Jesse: The GBP is and I’m not saying it like earlier that website should be considered above GBP. It was just an area definitely to consider and earlier on the bullet points. But from an ROI perspective, yeah, any money you’re going to throw at that GBP if done properly, if getting reviews there’s some asterisks, like you mentioned, right, but that’s going to give you a quick return and it’s also not going to be a multi-week or even multi-month process, like maybe a new website development would be right, where there’s just a lot more layers and people involved in stuff to vet out. Gbp is pretty straightforward in getting reviews, pretty straightforward once you get on board with it. So I think that’s stellar. And we also didn’t mention like Google ads.

Real quick let’s talk about. Go through a few things that we don’t necessarily provide but are still in marketing space, digital marketing space, particularly that everybody should consider for the year-end spending here. Social media right, whether it be yourself or another firm could be just like a GBP. You have to optimize that same thing for your social profiles. You should be optimizing those and making sure they’re on brand. So maybe just a quick once over on something like that.

Or maybe you want some kind of managed campaign or efforts, whatever it is. Social media paid ads like pay per click, local service ads, things like that in Google are definitely to be on the board for you to throw money at the thing with. How should I say this the right way? And again, like Bob said, I’m not tax expert either. Right, so take this information at your own risk. The thing with an agency and a firm like Intrycks is we can take an order and we can invoice you for the GBP work, for website work, whatever it is, and then execute it in the weeks and months ahead to help you spend the money now for things that you need right next year.

Now for paid ads and Facebook ads and some of this stuff. That’s going through the large companies and not somebody like Intrycks. If you’re going to turn on your Google ads, whatever money you spend is happening right now, right? So, like you can spend a lot of money between now and December 31st, but then that’s done, right, so I’m going to pre-pay for some of these things you can for a website or some of these other services, or retainer or subscriptions, so just think about that. As we talk about things you can do in the digital space. Depending who you’re throwing the money at, this can be more or less advantageous to you, and I think that definitely pushes the needle towards the side of Intrycks in this discussion, for what we’re talking for business owners right? You’re looking to throw cash at something to bring your tax bill down and capture those benefits going forward, not just for the next three weeks. A couple other spots on here, though, that I do want to get into is so if you’re out there, if you’re listening, and maybe your SEO is decent and you’re not looking for somebody to just come on and take things over, but you can do supplemental services, like a technical audit on your website and you’re kind of a broad review of what you’re doing for SEO some keyword analysis, some keyword mapping, competitive analysis really a lot of the things that are done either annually or bi-annually for the services that we do. If you haven’t done any of this stuff for a while, again, it’s a great spot. You can throw some money at it, get that feedback and then incorporate it into your plans for next year for your strategies. Thanks, the four of those strategies.

Something to consider is also what are you doing for multimedia? So here at Intrycks we have a service we call Content Accelerator, which is pretty similar to actually the podcast. With the YouTube. You’re listening and watching us right now. It’s creating content in multimedia fashion, but also using it on your website and for SEO. So maybe you’ve been thinking about starting a podcast. Maybe you’ve been thinking about starting a YouTube channel or relaunching your blog, because most companies have a blog that they did seven of them three years ago and then they stopped right and you want to maybe get back on that horse and start it up again. Our service, content accelerator, is great for all of that capturing the video, the audio, putting it into a blog post Just a great rate of turbocharger content and get out there in a lot of ways.

Back to a point I made earlier about maybe some equipment. Right, if you’re going to launch a podcast or a YouTube show, maybe you need some equipment for that as well. We can help you get all that lined up, get the right stuff, prepay for some services, things like that, and go ahead and launch a show. That’s going to help your SEO, your content and that stuff can also be repurposed for social media. There’s a ton of great benefits to consider if you want to go down that multimedia path for your marketing. Definitely have that on your list coming into the end of the year and in that same space, just like from an overall brand standpoint, two other big areas here to consider would be brand guidelines and maybe a revamp of your logo, Just like your website.

Every once in a while, people want to revamp the logo to keep up with modern looks, feels, whatever it is maybe a change in the culture or the direction of your business, and then the logo makes sense. Whatever the reason is, a new logo can be something where you can throw the money at it now and then work that out over the coming weeks and months, because, again, that shouldn’t be a quick process. That should be something if you’re going to throw some money at it. You go through some iterations, right, you can really make that yours. So logo is great. And then also brand guidelines, which is kind of going even deeper into your culture, your brand and your look.

We had an episode a few back with Taylor here from Intrycks on talking about some of these things. But just to reiterate, what brand guidelines are? We simplify it down. Imagine having a PDF that you could have in your back pocket that showed your if you have one, or maybe various logos or representations that would show your logos, the different color schemes to use them, how to represent them. You’ve had particular fonts right. That are your fonts that you’ve selected for your brand to use on your website and your logo and your marketing color schemes, mood a lot of stuff like that on a document or on a file.

And this comes in really handy when you maybe need to get business cards or get a new website right or really have your logo and your brand used in any fashion. If anybody’s out there ever maybe gotten hats embroidered right or something else, maybe the company you’re working with has to recreate your logo, remaster your logo, or they didn’t represent it right. Having these brand guidelines makes it really easy to give them this document and say, hey, I’d like to do this project or create this thing and here’s how this logo should be represented. They have all the colors they need, they have the dimensions, all the specs that they need and how you want it to be represented, for margin, for placement, for font, for things like that. So it’s a little investment into these guidelines, but then, once you have them, all that other stuff is so much easier and it’s on brand and on point.

And then, if you can envision, if somebody does go to your YouTube channel, to your podcast, to your social media, to your website, seize your truck in the parking lot, seize your hat, seize your polo, whatever it is, it’s the same color scheme, right? So same logo, the same representation. I think we’ve all encountered brands where maybe that gets a little disjointed sometimes. Investing in the brand guidelines helps you kind of unify all that and make sure that you have that same representation no matter what and over time, just the consumers really really tie all that in together and really recognize you, even if it’s just a quick glance. So something to consider there as well. So I think we can probably wrap it up here.

That’s a pretty good list, I think, for everybody. If you are sitting on some cash, which not everybody is and hopefully if you are, you’re gonna do something with it instead of just giving it all to Uncle Sam, since you’re in that desirable position, and hopefully, if you’re gonna choose to invest into marketing, to kind of pay it forward, as Bob was saying earlier, instead of rewarding yourself now, pay it forward, grow that nest egg even bigger For next year. Digital to marketing is a great space to do it, whether it’s with Intrycks or another firm. Hopefully there’s some ideas in here that get you thinking and maybe some spots you can throw that money for the end of the year for you and be smart with it.

So with that said, Sue, you wanna wrap up the episode here for us.

Sue: Sounds great.

If you remember one thing, and one thing only. Remember this remember that as business owners, you have the opportunity to reduce taxes by making investment in marketing between now and the end of the year. Marketing is an IRS recognized expense and can be used to your advantage. You can think about this in terms of a new or an updated logo, website redo or update, prepaying your SEO initiatives for next year now, or prepaying other marketing work and initiatives that you wanna have done next year with this year’s budget or this year’s within this year 20, 23, if it helps reduce your taxes for next year. I was also thinking that we have this mindset, Jesse and Bob, because at Intrycks, our clients pay month to month, whereas at other firms, I have heard from business owners that they are asked slash, required to pay a year ahead of time. So I just wanted to put out there that when we keep saying or keep throwing in there, prepay your marketing subscription, your SEO, that’s because our frame of mind is you’re paying it month to month because that’s what our clients do here.

Jesse: That’s a great point, sue, and if you’re tired of paying yearly and you wanna pay month to month, give Sue a call, she’ll talk to you.

Sue: Okay to end this part with the quote of the day. In the world of internet customer service, it’s important for us all to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away. That is such a scary thought, but it’s reality. That’s the world we live in today. So thank you, Doug Warner, for that quote. Thank you, Jesse and Bob. I think this is a great, great, great topic as we roll into the month of December and year-end approaches, as well as year-end budgeting and next year’s taxes.

Jesse: Nailed it. I think that’s good, everybody. Depending on when we drop this, it’s gonna be towards the end of the year, so hopefully everybody’s had a good 2023. Looking forward to a good 2024. And if we can help you out, get hold of us. If not, thanks for tuning in. Hopefully we gave you some good ideas for now and for the future. Thank you, sue, thank you, Bob. Everybody else will catch you on the next one. Take care.

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