How to Create a Marketing Calendar


January 9, 2018 By

Cheryl 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 and thrive.

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 calendar: 

Review Your Target Customer

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:

  • Age

  • Occupation

  • Family Status

  • Income Level

  • Geographical Location

  • Preferred websites, social channels, etc.

  • Online habits

  • Interests

  • Relevant psychographic information

Review Your Competitors

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 Goals

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 come along.

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 Success

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 Calendar

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 year.

  • 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 goals.
     

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.

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