In this post, we’ll talk about how you can set up a marketing calendar to help you promote your business. Any marketing campaign has many moving parts and approaching deadlines. You have promotions to plan and launch. How do you get everything done?
You can manage it all by keeping a marketing calendar. A marketing calendar will show you the big picture, clarify what everyone is supposed to do, help keep track of deadlines, and summarize each day’s tasks.
- What is a marketing calendar?
- What Can a Marketing Calendar Do For You?
- Step One – Set Your Goals
- Step Two – Identify Your Target Audience
- Step Three – Choose a Platform for Your Marketing Calendar
- Step Four – Setting up Your Calendar
- Step Five – Fill in Your Marketing Calendar
- Step Six – Assign Roles
- Refine and Improve
What is a marketing calendar?
It’s an agenda of what you plan to do and when. It outlines the activities that need to be done, such as launching campaigns, creating offers, and updating content.
What Can a Marketing Calendar Do For You?
A marketing calendar contains all your marketing activities that you have planned for the near future. It’s visual and gives you the big-picture view at a glance. You can easily see what needs to be done not only today, but this week, next week, and into the months ahead.
Your marketing calendar keeps you organized. This is especially important when things get busy. When times are quieter, it’s easy to see what needs to be done and how much progress you’re making. When times get busy, you’ll need this handy tool to keep things running smoothly and to avoid overwhelm.
When you have this big picture view, things won’t sneak up on you. You won’t be stuck at the last minute, scrambling to get something together for Black Friday, or taken by surprise by any tasks that may have slipped through the cracks.
It’s also important because marketing tasks need to be consistent. For example, you’ll need to post new content to your blog on a regular basis. You’ll need to get on social media daily and interact with your target customers. You’ll need to be making steady progress towards your goals while avoiding overwhelm. Your calendar ensures this all gets done.
Finally, your marketing calendar will help you increase productivity and efficiency. You can control where you spend your time, streamline tasks, and scale your business. It will contribute to the overall success of your campaigns.
Step One – Set Your Goals
All your marketing should be built around goals. Every campaign needs a clear objective or you won’t get results. When creating your marketing calendar, the first step is to identify the goal for each campaign, along with promotions and major milestones along the way.
You goal might be to earn money, or it could be something less directly related to earning. For example, one campaign’s objective might be to bring new leads into your sales funnel to build relationships.
An objective for many marketing campaigns is to increase brand exposure. You may want to establish yourself as an expert in your niche.
Whatever goal you choose, make it as specific as possible. If it’s to increase sales, identify a target. If your goal is to grow your followers, set a specific number. Assign each goal a deadline so you can create a timeline of things that need to be done on your marketing calendar.
Step Two – Identify Your Target Audience
Since all marketing efforts revolve around a target customer, you need to identify this individual. To do this, businesses create an ideal customer profile. Success depends on providing content and products that this target person is looking for, so you need to understand who they are.
Create a profile that includes demographic information as well as data on attitudes and behaviors. Use feedback from the market to create your profile so that it’s accurate and not based on assumptions.
As you work out the details of your marketing calendar, identify the type of tactics, content, and marketing channels you’ll use to deliver your message to these individuals.
Step Three – Choose a Platform for Your Marketing Calendar
You have several options when it comes to choosing a marketing calendar the tool. It could be paper-based, printable or online. Decide what will work best for you.
A good place to start is to look at tools you’re already using. If you and your team are already on a particular platform, it will make the transition to a marketing calendar much easier. For example, you might already be using Google Calendar or a project management program such as Asana.
The key consideration is that it should be an all-in-one platform. Everything you need should be in one place. You should also consider integration with any promotions you’re planning throughout the year.
Choose a platform that’s simple and easy for everyone to use. Once you have something with ease-of-use in mind, then start exploring features that can make your tasks go smoother. Try out a few different platforms before settling on the one you’ll use.
Step Four – Setting up Your Calendar
Decide how far out to set up your marketing calendar. Best practice is to plan your calendar for the next year so you can include promotions tied to annual events, holidays, and key times of year. Another option is to plan on a quarterly basis or even monthly basis, but keep in mind that this means renewing your calendar often.
Step Five – Fill in Your Marketing Calendar
Now, you’re ready to fill your marketing calendar. Take the goal of each campaign and break it up into major milestones. Brainstorm a list of all tasks that you do daily, weekly, or monthly. Include deadlines, meetings, regular tasks, and anything else you need to do.
Some other things to include are:
- Promotions you’ll run over the next year (or your chosen timeframe)
- Annual events and times of year that are linked to your business, your customers, or promotions you’re running
- Regular business reviews to go over sales and performance
- Industry events like conferences or exhibitions
- Events happening in your community that you might tie into a marketing campaign
- New product launches
- Big things that are happening in your industry
- Any changes in personnel in your organization
Don’t forget to include time for things that aren’t deadline-oriented tasks. One example would be marketing research. You should be conducting marketing research on a regular basis. Other additions could be monitoring analytics, creative idea time, and time to check in with team members.
Your marketing calendar isn’t just a date calendar. You can include other information. This will put all the data for your campaigns in one easily-accessible place.
This might include things like your ideal customer profile, campaign budgets, profiles for members of your team, analysis of your market, SEO keywords, distribution channels, and metrics to measure performance.
Many businesses find it useful to create categories for items and tasks within their marketing calendar. This might mean creating a social media calendar, an email marketing calendar, an editorial calendar, and so on. If you have a lot of information, this will make it easier for your team to navigate.
Step Six – Assign Roles
If you’re working with a team or virtual assistants, make sure your marketing calendar identifies who will perform which tasks.
For example, you might have tasks related to content creation that include content planning, writing the text, editing, posting, and monitoring. These tasks might be performed by different people, so assign the appropriate time to each.
Create protocols for managing the calendar such as removing completed tasks. Make sure everyone understands when and how to update it. Your calendar is dynamic and will change, so everyone working with the calendar must be continually alert to any content alterations.
Refine and Improve
How do you know if you’ve set up your marketing calendar correctly? It can be scary when you’re just about to launch and you’re not sure that you’ve done everything right.
At first, think of your marketing calendar as a beta version. Once you and your team start using it, you’ll quickly figure out what’s working and where adjustments need to be made. Then, you can make improvements so it’s even more efficient.
Hold a few meetings with your team to get their feedback. They may notice issues and places where improvements can be made.
Continue to refine and improve and you’ll have a marketing calendar that allows you to accomplish your tasks, achieve your goals and strategically handle your marketing campaigns.
A marketing calendar is an essential tool for any successful business. It helps you keep track of tasks, deadlines, and roles within your company. When it’s well-maintained, it can help ensure that all the pieces fit together to create a winning marketing strategy. Don’t be afraid to try different approaches, and then refine and improve on the fly. With practice, you’ll have a marketing calendar that works like a charm.
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