January 9, 2018 ByCheryl Dykstra
As a business owner, you might not have a lot of time to be
in marketing mode. You have other pressing tasks, but at the end of the day,
you know marketing is absolutely essential in order for your business to grow
One of the best tools for organizing your marketing efforts
and strategically timing your marketing campaigns is a marketing calendar.
Here are a few steps for creating a basic marketing
Review Your Target
Knowing your target customer is the first and most important
step to creating a marketing calendar. By knowing who they are, you can figure
out the best ways to reach them. Is it social media, postcard mailings, email
campaigns, TV, webinars, etc.?
Here are some identifiers to review:
- Family Status
- Income Level
- Geographical Location
- Preferred websites, social channels, etc.
- Online habits
- Relevant psychographic information
Make a short list of your top three competitors. What are
they doing well? What types of promotions are they running? What do you think
you could do better?
Just because they do one thing, doesn’t mean you need to.
Focus on your own marketing plan, but it’s always good to keep an eye on them.
Review Your Marketing
Your goals should be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable,
Attainable, Relevant and Timely) marketing goals that you’d like to achieve in
the next year. Keep your goals to about three to start, as that is a manageable
number for most businesses
Evaluate your current status – number of leads, revenue,
customer acquisition rate, customer retention rate – and strive to improve
those. Remember to make them specific. Instead of “increase website traffic,”
try something like “10 online leads a week.”
Setting goals to help improve revenue is the heart of your
marketing plan. Refer back to your main goals to help make decisions about what
content to produce, where to advertise, and other strategy questions that might
Review Your Main KPIs
(Key Performance Indicators)
In order to know if your marketing efforts are giving you a
return on investment, you need to be able to measure them properly. Review how
you will measure your results.
Look at Peak Sales
Times of the Year
Look at your sales from the past few years. Most businesses
have patterns of when people are buying more or less.
If you have a higher ticket item, see when people start
researching options and when they actually buy. You want to be visible during
the entire process.
Review Past Marketing
Look at what promotions you did last year. Which ones were
most successful? Repeat those. Find a way to incorporate similar promotions in
this year. Don’t fight what you know already works!
Lay Out Your Marketing
Once you’re ready to sit down and start mapping out your
marketing calendar, there are a few easy steps to guide you.
- Get a big calendar so you can see the whole
- Start by inputting all the holidays. Many
business promotions revolve around the holidays, whether it’s your promotions
or your business hours (Black Friday specials, Labor Day specials, etc.). If
appropriate, add these to your calendar.
- Next, highlight peak sales times and lead times
for when decisions are made. Schedule promotions for these times to boost
visibility and guide visitors to a purchase.
- Schedule your planned special events, such as
product launches. Make sure you factor in any communication leading up to the
launch as well as follow-up communication.
- Add in marketing tasks you already do. For
example, if you send out a newsletter once a month, add that to your calendar.
If you blog once a week, add those in as well as what types of promotions you
do to further their reach.
- Once you have those things mapped out, the fun
can begin! Start to schedule other promotions, events, and more. See how they
fit in with the time of year and your other initiatives to help reach your
All of these can be tracked using an Excel spreadsheet.
Also, remember that none of this is set in stone. If you
find that a promotion doesn’t work well, you don’t have to run it again in 3
months. You can always test something new that wasn’t originally planned.
If you need help
setting up your marketing strategy and reaching your marketing goals, please
call us at 407-682-2222 or use the contact form below.