How to Create a Marketing Calendar

woman creating calendar

If you’re like most business owners, you probably don’t have enough time in the day. You’re always trying to find more hours to get things done. One way to help free up some of your time is by creating a marketing calendar. This will help organize your marketing efforts and ensure that everything gets done on time.

First, we’ll talk about differing marketing strategies. Then, this blog post will discuss creating a marketing calendar for your business to help execute those strategies. We’ll also provide some tips on making the most of it!

Marketing and Advertising

Advertising is a form of marketing that involves paid placement of messages to promote a product or service. On the other hand, marketing is a broader term that includes all activities used to promote a product or service. This can consist of advertising, but it also has public relations, customer service, and even sales.

Therefore, you can also schedule your advertising activities on your marketing calendar.

Marketing Communications

Marketing communications is creating, managing, and delivering marketing messages to customers. This can include public relations, customer service, and even sales. It’s essential to have a coordinated strategy for all of these activities, and that’s where your marketing calendar comes in!

Let’s not forget word-of-mouth marketing!

WOM is a long marketing communications strategy that you don’t have direct control over, but consistent action is vital.

One way to nurture word-of-mouth marketing is by providing excellent customer service. Make sure you respond to customer complaints and questions quickly and effectively. You can also encourage customers to leave reviews on your website or social media pages. Additionally, you can hold contests and give away prizes to encourage customers to spread the word about your business.

What about viral marketing?

There’s no surefire way to guarantee that your marketing will go viral, but you can take some steps to increase your chances. First, make sure your content is exciting and engaging. Make sure it’s relevant to your target audience, and make sure it’s high quality. A marketing calendar can help you space out all planning, execution, and follow-up tasks. Mainly, staying consistent is what you want.

Now, onto your marketing calendar.

Get your materials

The first thing I like to do is get one of those oversized desk calendars and colorful post-it notes. Here are eight aspects that I add to my calendar. It’s essential to use post-it notes and pencils because the days and details will shift.

Holidays

As a busy, working mom, I would first like to block off my holidays, and potential 3-day weekends so I don’t commit myself to work on those days. This way, I protect my schedule to focus on my family.

I also like to take my kids’ school calendars and block off parent-teacher conferences, half-days, and school-wide events.

Speaking engagements

How many speaking engagements do you do? Speaking engagement is a great way to reach plenty of potential customers in one space and time. I strive to do at least one per month, although I plan on working up to four. I’ll also put the date I need to submit my proposal as a reminder.

Launch Dates for your signature offer

When will you be launching your signature offer? If it’s a group program, when does the cart close? When is the start date? Block those off.

And don’t forget to count down the days so you can send reminders to people who haven’t signed up yet!

Networking Group Meetings

I am a member of two networking groups. I make sure to put the dates of our monthly meetings on my calendar and the deadlines for any programs or events that we’re planning.

Content Marketing

Blog Post publishing dates

I try to publish one new blog post per week. I’ll write the title of the blog post and the target date for publishing on my calendar. This way, I can ensure that I’m always ahead of schedule.

Email newsletter release dates

Email marketing is a great way to reach potential customers consistently. I like to release my email newsletter on the first Monday of every month. I’ll write an “email newsletter” on my calendar as a reminder to start working on it a few weeks in advance.

Social media content

I also use my marketing calendar to plan out my social media content. I’ll jot down ideas for blog posts, graphics, and other content that I can share on social media. This helps me make sure that I always share fresh, new content with my audience.

Retreat Day

Retreat Day is the perfect time to step back and analyze your business. If you can prioritize one day per quarter, this is great! Make sure your financials are up to date so you can analyze your quarter’s Profit and Loss statement and KPIs. Ensure that you’re selling products that pull in profit and not just cash.

Consider your marketing efforts. What worked well, what didn’t, and how can you do better?

Are you fulfilling your wants and needs in the big picture, or are you self-sacrificing?

Add to your continuous improvement plan. You will likely find news-worthy PR content or blog ideas when you reflect on your growth for the most recent quarter. Take this time to readjust your post-it notes for the next quarter.

Batch Days

Batch days are days where I specifically hold for more significant projects. Here are some examples.

Market research

One of the most important things an entrepreneur can regularly revisit their market research. This allows you to keep track of any changes in your industry, your target market, and the needs and wants of your customers. It also helps you to identify new growth opportunities.

Content marketing planning

Content marketing planning is creating a content strategy for your business. This involves deciding which types of content you will make when you complete it and how you distribute it.

Search engine optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing a website for Google and other search engines. SEO helps a website rank higher in search engine results pages, resulting in more visitors. I use Jasper.AI, Surfer SEO, and Yoast.

Submit to search engines

Using Google Search Console can help you submit your website to search engines. You can use Google Search Console to verify your website, add Sitemaps, etc.

Digital signatures

Most people don’t change their digital signatures frequently enough. You should change your digital signature at least every 1-2 months. I like to link to my latest promotions or blog articles in my digital signature.

Boss Friday

Boss Friday is the Friday of the first whole week in a month. For example, if August 6th is on Thursday, Boss Friday.

Boss Friday is the perfect time to analyze your Profit and Loss Sheet. When you look at your money consistently, you also strengthen your mindset and brainstorm great financial facts. If you need help with this, no worries. Work with a small business financial coach (Janet Johnson) to help you understand your business’s money story.

Most Importantly, Padding

Ensure to block off client days, free consultations, back-office work, continual learning, and mental health days. I also like to schedule time for me to think. This is when some of my best ideas come!

Marketing Calendar Strategy

Pre and Post Launches

The weeks before an event is considered the prelaunch, and the weeks following an event are the post-launch. Make sure to build this into your schedule. I know it’s a lot to do, but once you’ve mapped out your goals for pre and post-launch, you can delegate blog posting, Facebook ads, and social media posts to an assistant. Or, you can pre-schedule them on a social media content managing platform like HootSuite.

Prelaunch Activities

About four weeks before your event, do a pre-pre launch where you tell your people that you’re planning to do a special event in a month. Survey them and ask, “If you could ask me anything about XYZ, what would you want to know?”

Use this data to customize your event to their needs.

Next is the time to start building hype for your upcoming event. You can create a landing page, run social media ads, and send email blasts to your list. It would help if you also started reaching out to potential affiliates and influencers who can help promote your event. The more people you have talking about your event, the more successful it will be.

Open Cart

Open cart runs for about one to seven days, and then it closes. A closed cart means that people can no longer use your special offer. Don’t just open your cart and hope your attendees buy! Nurture them through the process.

Close Cart – Post Launch

This is the time to follow up with everyone who attended your event. You can do this by sending out surveys, emailing attendees, and writing blog posts about the event. It would be best if you also took this time to reflect on what went well and what didn’t go well. This will help you make changes for future events.

Marketing Calendar Conclusion

Creating a marketing calendar for your business can seem like an overwhelming task. However, this article has provided you with the tools to create and manage one so that you don’t have to worry about forgetting your goals or important dates. This is the best way to stay on track when using marketing to increase sales.

When it comes time for Boss Friday (the first whole week of every month), you’ll be able to look at all of those notes from earlier in the quarter and use them to adjust your strategy accordingly. This is what I do with my clients. Curious? Please reach out and apply for a free consultation. I’d love to see how I can help you plan out and implement a marketing calendar to help grow your business.

Published by Janet Johnson, MBA | Small Business Coach

Janet Johnson is the author of My Money Pivot: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Finding & Making More Money. Before becoming a coach, Janet gained seventeen years of experience in a family-owned manufacturing company. She also trained small business owners in Financial Management and Lean Enterprise through contracts with the State of Connecticut and the Small Business Administration for seven years.

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