Whether you’re new to running your own business or you’ve been running for a few years, a marketing calendar can prove useful to everyone. Just like the name suggests, a calendar (also known as a marketing plan) is a great way to keep track of what’s going on within your business and can help you to hit those all-important deadlines. Like a school timetable, a marketing calendar can help you plan what you should be doing, where you should be doing it and when you should be doing it by.
How do you create a marketing calendar?
If you’re planning on creating a marketing calendar, you should already have a focused marketing strategy in place. For more information on this, check out our tips on creating your own simple marketing strategy here. A marketing plan must work towards the goals of your business and focus on what you want to achieve in the next 12 months. It’s important to make sure these goals are measurable as this will help you monitor your marketing calendar progress.
You should focus on:
By covering off your goals, target audience and key messages, you will be able to create solid marketing foundations throughout your calendar to meet your business goals.
What should you include in your plan?
Once you’ve noted down your goals, target audience and key messages, you can start pulling your plan together. Including the odd challenge is also a great way to help your business grow. For example, if you know you need to communicate more with your audience you may want to consider setting up an email campaign or doing more on the video side of things.
The next step is to list your key marketing assets. This could include lists, tips and simple images that can be used time and time again. Creating just three can make a big difference in developing a mixture of marketing activities. Now you need to plan out these activities. As mentioned earlier, a marketing calendar is like a school timetable. It’s all about creating a doable plan that helps you act in a timely way.
The focus is on marketing activities that consistently promote the key messages both on and offline through areas like social media, website, search engine optimisation (SEO), blogs and case studies. A mix of marketing activities helps you repeatedly reach your target audiences in different ways without getting overwhelmed.
Any marketing activities you put in place need to be measurable. That way you’ll be able to see what is and isn’t working and what could be improved. Tools for measurement could be email platforms, Google Analytics and social media insights. By including measurements within your plan, you can review the results of your marketing activities. These results help you make future decisions to refine your marketing plan, giving you clear direction and keeping your marketing activities simple and easy to follow.
How often should you review your marketing calendar?
How often you need to review your marketing calendar depends on the performance of your marketing activities. If you notice that your marketing activities aren’t performing as well as you’d hoped or you’re not on track for reaching your goals, it’s okay to stop and review what you’re doing. You may need to try an alternative method or pause your current actions.
To put a time frame on it, a good rule of thumb is to aim to review your marketing calendar on a monthly basis. You don’t need to go into extreme detail when carrying out these reviews, just enough to make sure your marketing plan is on track. By regularly staying on top of your marketing strategies and updating your plan, you’ll be able to spot the activities that work best for your business. Not only does this mean you can reshape your marketing calendar, it helps you know where your time and resources are best placed.
How much of your time will it take?
A simple marketing calendar will usually span 3 months. This time frame allows you to execute a number of marketing activities, review them and make sure you’re on track to achieve your business goals without procrastination kicking in. It’s all about making marketing simple, that way it’s doable.
If you have an accountant, they should be your first stop for business advice. If you don’t have an accountant or they can’t help, BuBul has a wide range of experts available. For more advice on creating a marketing calendar, contact our expert* Anna on LinkedIn.
*We’ve picked experts we know and trust who are good at what they do. All of them will give you at least an extra 30 minutes free advice if you contact them and would then charge their normal prices. They don’t pay to be on BuBul and don’t give us any money from anything they earn as an expert.