Every business, no matter how small or how large, needs to have a marketing calendar. A business marketing calendar is similar to an editorial calendar – it’s basically your guide to creating your marketing content and distributing it throughout the year. If done well, your marketing calendar is your guide to your business promotions not only through the year, but you can use it to schedule well into the future.
How to Create Your Marketing Calendar:
Start with a long-range view of your plan, from at least five years out. You don’t have to know exactly how you’ll be promoting your business in 2017, but you do have to keep an eye on trends from year to year, and plan for these accordingly. To give you an example, you might find that your annual Easter clearance sale has had lower sales for each of the last three years. So that means it’s time to pencil in something different in for next year. Long-term planning makes it easy to spot the winners and losers in any seasonal campaign. And it’s all about the evaluation at the end of the day.
So grab a calendar and start by writing down all the holidays and other annual events you might want to focus on with your marketing campaigns. Things like Christmas and Easter are easy targets, but don’t forget the lesser-known events like local festivals, and things that don’t occur annually, but are still important, like the World Cup or the Olympics.
Next, think about your products or services. For some businesses, every product will lend itself to profitable marketing campaigns at Christmas, but for others, summer will be your biggest selling season. Don’t automatically dismiss a holiday just because you think it doesn’t fit your market, though.
Remember to include everything you already do to market your business, for example, note the dates that your newsletter is published, or when you do a regular guest post on a blog.
Select your promotion methods.
Not every method will work with each season or event. Vouchers/coupons, sale prices, and free delivery work well usually throughout the year, but they’re especially useful around Christmas time, since much of your competition will be offering similar promotions.
Some other promotional methods to think about are
- Bonus offers (buy one get one free, for example)
- Press releases
- Gift Cards
- Affiliate Contests
- Special events like teleseminars or webinars
Looking at your calendar, decide which promotional methods will work best for each holiday or event you’re targeting. Remember, your campaign not only has to fit well with the season, it has to work with the product you sell.
Get Your Timings Right:
Be realistic. Give yourself enough time to set up and complete your marketing campaigns fully. There’s no point in trying to cram in something because it took longer than you thought it would. The beauty of using a calendar is that you’ll be able to have a visual guide to help you get your timings right.
Calendar Creation Resources:
- Google Apps – there are lots of free calendar templates available if you use the Google Apps suite in your business [and if you don’t, I recommend you do!]
- http://www.brownielocks.com/ – tons of interesting events and holidays to get your creative juices flowing.
- Spreadsheets such as Excell and Numbers [Mac]