Tips on How to Create a Marketing Calendar
Creating a marketing calendar allows you to plan and keep track of your marketing goals. Having a visual aid for you and your team will help you to be more productive and will prove invaluable if done right. You need to think strategically to ensure you cover all the grounds of marketing, including what, when and where you will adopt a campaign, your budget and delegation of tasks. Although the calendar should be as detailed as possible, it should also be flexible enough to allow for a change of course if needed. A good schedule will help you to monitor your marketing progress and plan for the following year.
Before you set up your calendar, plan your marketing tactics to correspond with annual sales (Easter, Christmas, etc.) and seasonal cycles (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter), to ensure your marketing campaigns reach your target audience. For example, if you sell health and fitness products or services then the first quarter beginning in January is a good time to advertise, as most people reflect on their health after the Christmas period. Also, mark out other business events and meetings that you plan on attending; and include important personal events, such as family vacations and occasions when you are not going to be at work to enable you to delegate in a timely fashion.
Your target audience should always determine your marketing strategy.
Email – When you know the times of year that your audience will be receptive, schedule email campaigns with sales, offers, coupons and so forth. Detail how and when each one will be run; the specified offers of each; and who will be responsible for managing them.
Social Media – These campaigns can be great to boost your brand and increase sales. Determine what type of content you want to post – blog, advert, article, etc. Schedule dates that you want to post your content, who will post it, and where it will appear (Facebook, LinkedIn, and others). If it is in the form of paid adverts, include the total spend as this will help you to keep track of your finances, and help you decide if your budget can afford it in future.
Website – Don’t forget to include any marketing content that you post on your website. Writing content and responding to customer queries take time so block time out on your calendar.
Newsletters – How often do you send these out? Who is responsible for writing and organising the marketing content and meeting print deadlines? Include these details on your calendar.
Mainstream Media – Whose responsibility is it to write articles, organise adverts, make radio appearances and so forth? Perhaps you need to adjust your schedule for unexpected opportunities to enable you to give an interview? Using a calendar that is flexible will help you to manage surprises.
Podcasts, Webinars, Video – If your company uses these marketing channels on social media platforms or its website, earmark time on your calendar to ensure they are created and posted at appropriate times.
Hosting Events – This could be anything from organising an annual event on social media, or regular events to capture footfall at your store – plan these out.
Networking – Do you or a trusted team member attend networking events or meetings regularly to market your business? Include each event and mark on the calendar which ones are working best for you.
Benefits of Using a Marketing Calendar
Marketing is the cornerstone of any business – but, your marketing efforts must be effective. Create and share calendars with your team or employees so that they know precisely what is expected of them and when it is expected. You can also add the cost, and record the outcome of each campaign on your calendar. Recording this information will help you not only to calculate future budgets but will help you to quickly assess which campaigns were successful and which ones need to be adjusted and improved. Moreover, your annual calendar will contain most of the information you will need to write your annual marketing and business review.
Providing you input all relevant data and everyone has a designated role, your calendar could prove to be the most useful recording and marketing tool you use.