As a small business owner, you obviously wear many hats in your operation. In most cases, you likely wear all the hats. Creating and implementing a sustained, strategic marketing effort is a difficult task for any organization, but the task becomes nearly unapproachable for many small businesses. Social media posts and other promotional efforts are often done on the fly, when you have time, or may simply be ignored for extended periods of time.
You can up your marketing game significantly by adopting an approach most larger organizations employ: using a marketing calendar. A marketing calendar is just what it says it is: a calendar that you plan in advance that contains all the marketing approaches you plan to use over time. You might put together a weekly, monthly, or annual calendar to guide your activities.
A marketing calendar can be as simple as populating your online calendar with the marketing activities you plan to roll out over time. Maybe you plan to do a social media post on the first and fifteenth of the month. You can plan your holiday promotions in July and have them in place when the season rolls around. How about pre-planning a new customer acquisition program for the spring in January so all the tasks you need to complete for it are in place when the time to launch comes around. A marketing calendar becomes a road map to avoid scrambling at the last minute to produce content. There are four key advantages of using a calendar to plan your marketing activities.
- Strategic: Instead of making things up as you go along, plan a time to map out a strategic plan of activities and efforts. Place those all on the calendar and approach your marketing efforts as an ongoing story you are telling your customers.
- Consistent: Stale web content and inconsistent social media posting is a battle many small businesses face. When your tasks are on the calendar and you stick to doing them, your customer hears a consistent message from you.
- Organized: Just like setting up your accounting system properly, planning your marketing activities may not be the most glamorous task, but both pay off in the long run by keeping you organized. Feeling disorganized can be a huge stress factor; biting the bullet and planning your marketing efforts is a way to relieve that stress.
- Flexible: Just because you put it on a calendar doesn’t mean you are completely committed to a task. Opportunities change, things come up, and you may change your mind in May about something you planned to do in January. When you have a calendar of activities set up, the pieces can always be moved, altered, or deleted.
We’ve been talking in the abstract here about the concept of a marketing calendar. You’re probably asking questions like, “Well, what should a marketing calendar look like” and “What kinds of things should I consider including?” Every person’s personal style and needs are different when it comes to building and implementing a marketing calendar. I would suggest firing up your favorite search engine and plugging “Marketing Calendar” or “Implementing a Marketing Calendar” into the search box. You’ll find more guidance than I could ever give on the subject and plenty of examples. As with most business-related efforts, the most difficult challenge is getting started, but in this case, doing so will likely result in fewer headaches and greater profits.
Need more marketing tips or advising on any business topic? Contact your local Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network advisor at WyomingSBDC.org. All Wyoming SBDC Network services are completely confidential and offered at no cost to Wyoming residents.
About the Author: Paul spent 25 years with an entrepreneurial-minded small business in the educational publishing market that attained an international footprint and experienced sustained, substantial growth. While in the publishing industry, Paul served as Editor-in-Chief, Chief Marketing Strategist, Product Development Specialist, and Instructional Designer. His business specialties include marketing strategy formulation and deployment, staff development, and business growth strategy.