Let’s face it, marketing can be a time consuming and expensive endeavor. So, you might as well do what you can to make sure that you get the most ‘bang for your buck’! Creating a basic marketing calendar is not only a smart business practice, but if used correctly, it will yield enhanced, measurable results.
STEP 1: CHOOSE YOUR PREFERRED CALENDAR TOOL
I recommend using Google Calendar (or a similar digital, interactive calendar). Alternately, some prefer to use a simple Excel spreadsheet. However, the information included in your calendar will be changing frequently, and an interactive, digital format will allow for ease of updates while providing a comprehensive overview of each month. It will even send you reminders of important deadlines to keep you on track.
STEP 2: FILL IN ALL KNOWN DATES such as your vacations, major holidays, pop culture happenings, national news items, etc. These dates will help establish the beginnings of a timetable and schedule of topics that you can follow in the weeks and months to come.
STEP 3: BRAINSTORM TO INCLUDE ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
Take some time to think about what types of advertising and marketing strategies would benefit your business at specific times of the year. For example, networking activities, relationship building correspondence, blog posts, conferences, press releases and news items, direct mail promotions, contests, special sales, etc. These will change as your schedule and needs fluctuate, but the point is to make this step as inclusive as possible.
STEP 4: PLAN YOUR BASIC SOCIAL MEDIA POST TOPICS
Take a look at the events you have entered each week and come up with a few corresponding topics that would work well as posts. Then use a social media management tool such as Bufferapp or Hootsuite to schedule a full week of posts to all your social media accounts at one time.
STEP 5: TRACK, MEASURE, RINSE & REPEAT
Plan time each month to review the success of your marketing efforts. Select specific promotions, then use Google Analytics to track your increase in website traffic. This works best for the posts and promotions that include a link back to your website. Also, review the administrative data reports for each of your social media accounts to note the number of likes and shares for specific posts. (More details on measuring your marketing success coming soon). Now that you have details on the activity spurred by each marketing tactic you’ve implemented, take a look at the months ahead and adjust your planned promotions accordingly.
Once you start using your marketing calendar regularly, you will quickly begin to realize its numerous benefits, as your planned promotions tactics fall into a rhythm and you become more aware of what’s working and what’s not. Take some time to set this system up right, and you’ll soon wonder how you managed to get by at all without it.
Image courtesy of cafepress.com
If you like this post, stay tuned - upcoming articles will cover how a marketing calendar fits into your overall marketing plan, detailed step-by-step tips on how to measure the success of your marketing efforts, how blogging, backlinks and social media work together, how to make social media work for your business, determining your target market and more. These articles will be sent out by email, so be sure you are subscribed. You’ll receive the new Zero Budget Marketing Plan for Equine Business Owners, and you’ll be sure to receive each future article.