Creating a 2018 Marketing Calendar For Your Small Business
If you are wondering “When is the right time to develop your marketing calendar?”
The answer is NOW.
The answer is really A WHILE AGO but now will work too.
Without a marketing calendar, you are already at a disadvantage in the marketing game. To be effective you must prioritize, combine many strategies while coordinating staff, outsourced support, and marketing supplies, all with various deadlines and deliverables.
Your 2018 Marketing Calendar Template helps you plan, track, and measure the activities that grow your business.
How Do You Use a Marketing Calendar?
Use the 2018 marketing calendar template to plan future marketing efforts, but also refer to it daily to keep track of day to day activities and upcoming deadlines. Referencing your marketing calendar you can manage multiple marketing projects, stay on task, and establish a routine inside a working document that is revised and updated throughout the year.
- Organize your marketing efforts, structure and schedule your marketing activities, highlight important marketing events/activities and deadlines, and focus your efforts and budget on successful strategies as you plan, review and adjust.
- Save on shared drives (cloud), print, or email as a pdf to keep your entire management and marketing team working on the same plan throughout the year. Also share it with people who support your marketing so content developers, copywriters, window designers, printers, etc. can best design a package that is exactly what you need with your brand, schedule, and plan in mind.
- Adjust if, when looking at the whole month, all activities are bunched together. Putting your marketing ideas and goals on a calendar gives you a visual representation of marketing activities and deadlines, highlighting periods of little action and periods of frenzied work, helping you balance out your marketing workload through scheduling, delegation, and better planning.
- Schedule a monthly review and planning session. When you do your monthly review and planning session, dive into the analytics of the previous month or two and make note of results from various campaigns, sales, strategies, and activities. What’s working? What can we do better? What do we need to never do again?
What to put on your Marketing Calendar
Online marketing activities and deadlines for needed content and photos such as blog posts, email campaigns, newsletters. Facebook/Twitter ads or campaigns, Google/Yahoo ads, mobile ads, billboards and street signage, as well as ads and banners on other websites.
Events like trade shows, conferences, industry workshops, charity fundraisers, Chamber of Commerce mixers, professional organization awards and meetings. Any happening where you can network, stay on top of local and industry changes and forecasting, highlight your products or services, and learn from colleagues and competitors.
Marketing campaigns and the deadlines for promotion deliverables (content to the designer, proofs to printer, mailings) to include:
- TV, radio, print, and outdoor ads
- Press Releases
- Direct Mailings
- Specials and Promotions
Adding your Blog Post Topics adds “Content Calendar” duties to your Marketing Calendar helping you keep your blog post messages timely and in line with the rest of your marketing and branding efforts. HubSpot has a great guide on building out your content! Read it here: HUBSPOT: How to Build an Unbeatable Content Marketing Plan
Put your Marketing Calendar RAP (Review, Assessment, and Planning) monthly meeting on your calendar. I suggest mid-month so you can have some results back from the previous month’s efforts and also give yourself enough time adjust next month’s activities.
Schedule a “Brand Day” at least twice a year where you assess the “perception” customers have of your image and revisit your logo, slogans, taglines, and colors to see if your website, signage, business cards, packaging and such need fine-tuning.
Website maintenance such as website updates and launches. This should include updating social media profiles and pages such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn business profiles as well as your pages on review sites like Yelp, online business directories, and business listings with industry organizations and chambers of commerce if any information has changed.
Your Marketing Calendar is NOT Your Marketing Plan
Your marketing calendar is a visual representation of your marketing plan giving a quick glance compilation of activities, tasks, upcoming events, and deadlines. This helps keep your marketing plan out in front of your with actionable steps, instead of in a file. It also assists in coordinating the efforts of your whole marketing team (which is everyone who works with you who comes in contact with a customer or touches your product).
Use the marketing calendar for planning, coordinating, budgeting and more. Use it to help create your marketing plan if you are a visual thinker, but having a marketing plan is still important.
Get Your Copy of the 2018 Marketing Calendar Template