Creating a Marketing Calendar for Your Small Business
Successful small businesses, freelancers, authors, brands and entrepreneurs plan out marketing activities months if not a year in advance. Creating a marketing calendar as a visual and scheduled part of your marketing plan lets appropriately allocate your most valuable resources: time, budget, and manpower.
Why is Creating a Marketing Calendar Important?
Creating a marketing calendar gives you a clear advantage in effectively marketing your business. While your competitors are scrambling to play catch up with holiday marketing and special event marketing you are ahead of the game and reaching customers first by deploying unique marketing planned months in advance.
For your marketing to be effective, you must prioritize activities and combine many marketing strategies. And juggle all of that while…
♦ planning content
♦ managing ads
♦ coordinating staff
♦ monitoring outsourced support
♦ tracking marketing supplies and deliverables
♦ meeting deadlines
This can be especially difficult for small business owners and solopreneurs who have to wear multiple hats and manage all business operations.
How are you keeping track of all of that without creating a Marketing Calendar?
You just cannot keep track of all the moving parts of your marketing plan when it is in a folder on a flash drive or in a file cabinet. Your marketing plan is the key to growing your business! Creating a marketing calendar puts a clear visual of scheduled, actionable steps in front of you every day. You’ll know what needs to be done to reach your goals and be prepared to meet your customer’s needs.
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What if I don’t have a marketing plan for my small business yet?
If you don’t have a marketing plan in place, then creating a marketing calendar is an EXCELLENT exercise to get you started. You just need a goal and a strategy to give your marketing plan focus. From there you look at each month and fill in the marketing activities that will help you reach that goal.
Example of how you can build a marketing plan from filling in your marketing calendar…
COMPANY: Flora’s Florals
GOAL: Increase sales by 10% each month
STRATEGY: Get more customers in the store
FILL IN MARKETING CALENDAR:
Jan 2 – Give new logo to printers for Valentine postcard
Jan 6 – Schedule Facebook and Twitter post for next week
Jan 8 – Proof Sunday paper ad for Valentine section
Jan 9 – BLOG POST “How to get Cheaper Valentine Flowers”
Jan 13 – Schedule Facebook and Twitter post for next week
Jan 14 – Put up POS Flyer with Valentine PRE-ORDER specials
Jan 17 – Prepare coupons for Chamber of Commerce luncheon
Jan 18 – Pick up new sidewalk sign
Jan 19 – Review Facebook Ad retargeting for local performance
Jan 20 – Schedule Facebook and Twitter post for next week
Jan 23 – Launch revised Facebook campaign
Jan 27 – Schedule Facebook and Twitter post for next week
Jan 29 – AD IN SUNDAY PAPER for Valentine’s Day
Jan 30 – Put up POS Flyer with Valentine’s specials
WRITE YOUR MARKETING PLAN: Using your planned tasked from above you can start to categorize your marketing activities and build out your marketing plan.
With Flora’s Florals January scheduled activities as an example she can start to build out her marketing plan knowing she will need sections for:
♦ Budget (for everything)
♦ Marketing Collateral (logo design, postcards, flyers, sidewalk sign)
♦ Social Media Planning and Advertising (post schedule, advertising)
♦ Traditional Marketing (direct mail, ad in paper, sidewalk sign, flyers)
♦ Content (blog, social media posts, graphics)
♦ Digital Marketing (Facebook Ads, Ads for blog)
You can build a marketing plan for yourself by creating a marketing calendar by filling in a few months first. With your marketing calendar in front of you write a simple marketing plan that includes your marketing goals, your strategies to reach those goals, and what is already being done.
Refine and edit the document and your activities by asking yourself these questions:
♦ Do my activities support my strategy?
♦ Where is my highest ROI?
♦ What activities can I add to my marketing plan to get me closer to my goal?
♦ Where is my lowest ROI?
♦ Will a redistribution of resources make a positive change?
Answering these questions will help you generate ideas on how you can improve your marketing. They will also spotlight activities you should consider getting rid of to allocate those resources to new or better performing activities.
In the end, you’ll have documented what your marketing goals are, your strategies for reaching those goals, and the steps that will get you there.
Having a Marketing Plan + Creating a Marketing Calendar = SUCCESS
Your marketing calendar is not a replacement for having a marketing plan. And a marketing plan that is created and not looked at for a year isn’t going to do much to grow your business. With strategic planning and a commitment to executing the marketing activities that support your goals, effectively utilizing your marketing plan and your marketing calendar is the fastest path to success.
Download the FREE 2018 Marketing Calendar Template in Excel Here
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