Marketing efforts are most successful when you have time to think and plan strategically before implementing them. Last-minute marketing results in inefficiencies, missed deadlines and ineffective messaging.
With my clients, we create a marketing calendar to use throughout the year. Around October, we have a planning meeting to outline our business goals and expected campaigns throughout the year. This gives us time to create content, film videos, develop campaign details and allocate budget in the months leading up to a January launch. If all goes well, you can finalize campaigns two or three months in advance of launch, which gives you space for revisions or unexpected complications.
For most small businesses, organizing your marketing calendar by month sets a good rhythm for reaching your customers.
Sample Monthly Marketing Calendar
- Start “Summer Campaign”
- Publish campaign video to YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn
- Publish four blog posts, then promote on social media
- Send July email newsletter with video and blog posts
- Monitor and adjust Google Ads
- Design and print Fall Presentation Folder for September launch
When a small business is able to plan in advance, marketing tasks become more bite-sized and manageable. It also becomes easier to measure success and to answer that question every business owner asks, “Are we doing ENOUGH?” In our sample June plan above, we are launching a campaign prepared in the previous months along with preparing a campaign for the fall.
Planning Helps Manage the Unexpected
“Putting out fires” is an inescapable burden most business owners bear. Following a marketing plan helps diminish those fires in two ways:
- Anticipates and addresses business issues in the coming year. By thinking strategically and planning, you’ll identify important seasons, due dates, etc.
- Helps you stay on track with business goals when unexpected things happen. Throughout the year, small businesses will always face surprises that need to be addressed with the market, customers, workforce or suppliers. Sometimes they are opportunities, and sometimes they are problems. Folding these events into your marketing plan as they happen helps you manage change while still staying on track.
Do you take the time to plan?