How to Create a Marketing Calendar That Actually Works

Welcome to 2017!  As businesses gear up for a strong Q1, having a clear road map is key to success this quarter and throughout the rest of the year.  

Planning a marketing calendar early helps many eCommerce stores manage a strategy and stay within their budget. If your business has never created a marketing calendar, need a refresher or just want to find a better way to strategize for 2017, look no further!  

GETTING STARTED

When creating your calendar simplicity is always best.  If you currently use Google Calendar, Google Sheets, or Microsoft Excel, start here.  Marketing calendar templates and services are also available from the below companies.  Note, these are just a few examples and there are many more!  A simple Google search for a marketing calendar template will yield great results.  

KEY POINTS IN YOUR CALENDAR

Once you’ve selected which program to use, you’ll need to fill in the key points that you’ll keep track of. Here are a few main points to note.

  • Date: When will the campaign, content, or event go live?

  • Type of Campaign: List the type of content or campaign you’ll be running. For example: blog, email, tradeshow, social post, display advertising, etc.

  • Owner: Who is responsible for creating this content?

  • Status: Note the current status of the initiative as it moves through its development lifecycle.

Always keep an eye on the main goals as they will be your guiding light.  Whether you are a sole proprietor or a have a large marketing team behind you, the most important part of you calendar is the delivery date and the person that will own the content or campaign. This will help keep you and your team aware of important deadlines and will hold everyone accountable.

UNDERSTAND TRADITIONAL MARKETING CYCLES

Every industry has a specific sales cycle.  Start with a blank 12-month calendar and begin to outline the important events that are specific to your business. In fashion, for example, Spring end of season sales ramp up in July. Utilize this calendar as a jumping off point for key events in the coming year. Outline at least one marketing opportunity that you can deploy each month. Have fun and be creative.

While this list is a great jumping off point, it’s by no means all-inclusive. Take some time to research the events that are relevant to the niche or industry you participate in. Also note any events that are specific or special to your business like a company anniversary. These are great opportunities to share your story with your following, prospects and customers.

PLAN YOUR PROMOTIONAL STRATEGY

For the coming year, plan at least one promotional event for your product or service each quarter. Promos, discounts, and giveaways are a great way to woo new customers and engage your existing clients. Here are a few examples that you can use.

  • Shipping incentives

  • Buy one, get one 50% off

  • Bundle offers – get a free product with the purchase of 3 other products

  • Email list promo or discount – offer discounts for signing up for your email mailing list

  • Social media only offers – create a special discount for your social accounts. You can promote this directly on your accounts or via your email mailing list

  • Giveaways – offer product giveaway on your social accounts for social engagement

EXECUTION IS EVERYTHING

Planning your calendar is the first step.  Use this roadmap as a point of reference for important events. Hold yourself to your calendar but know that things will change along the way. Opportunities will present themselves, budgets will change, and priorities may change. But always keep in mind that success doesn’t just happen, it’s planned for.  Happy New Year!

 

Any comments or questions?  Feel free to comment below.