Getting organized is nearly always in the top 10 overall list of New Year’s Resolutions. It is also one of the hardest resolutions to keep. Give yourself a head start and draft your marketing calendar now, before the ball drops.
Studies show that resolutions containing a plan of action are significantly more likely to last throughout the year.
What does a marketing calendar look like?
Well, to start you have twelve months to fill with lots of fun and inventive ways to engage your target audience. There are several things to take into consideration, many of which will be unique to your specific industry. Identifying events, occasions and trends that could have a potential effect on your market is the first set in creating your calendar and sticking to your goals.
- Timing of peak sale performances
- Holiday marketing strategy
- Product releases
- Periods of traditionally slow business
- Anticipated changes or new services within the business
Examples of industry specific conditions would be a peak in sales for many retail establishments toward the end of the year. Fitness industries may see a spike in memberships sold during the early months. Lawn care or home improvement business may find themselves busier with the weather is nice. These fluxes in customers should be anticipated in order to capitalize on them year-round.
How should you plan your marketing calendar to respond to anticipated changes throughout the year?
Planning ahead will undoubtedly minimize the last minute rush to generate holiday sales ads, host store-wide events, or release new product information. Your calendar should be set to reflect anticipated release dates for marketing material. This should include the type of marketing material whether it is digital advertising, store banners or hard copy coupons (just for example). Going into these promotional events with a plan will also make them more successful.
Set a realistic marketing budget and expectations
Each business differs in what’s needed to optimize marketing efforts while staying within a reasonable budget. Attempting to full campaigns for social media, SEO, paid ads and print marketing may not be an option for your budget. Don’t bite off more than you can chew starting January 1st. This is where is important to sit down and plan your calendar for the best possible strategy, which may include slowly increasing the budget throughout the year. There are several things to consider when planning your marketing budget:
- Position Marketing as an investment rather than a cost
- Review your current marketing insights
- Know your operational cost
- Understand the growth stage of your business
- Develop clear, obtainable goals
Time is also something to take into consideration. If you have been running a website that is hard to find on a Google search, has never been optimized, and has had no new content since its inception, you need to budget for Search Engine Optimization. That being said, you must also have the realistic expectation that you may go the next twelve months and still not reach the search engine rankings you want. Some marketing strategies are built for the long term.
Short Term v Long Term
Short Term: “This weekend only” sales are meant to provide an immediate quantifiable response from consumers looking for your specific service or product in that moment.
Long Term: SEO, Reputation Marketing, Website Design, and Branding are marketing strategies that will work on a continual basis and establish authority and trust within the industry.
Reflect on previous successes and failures
If you have a current marketing strategy in place, now is the ideal time to analyze what has worked and what has not. “Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to life…”
Reflecting on the market trends over the past year can help when it comes to preparing for the next. This does not mean evaluating only your own efforts, but those of your competition as well. Have they done anything that you could integrate into your own strategy?
Understand what successful marketing takes and stay committed
Marketing is a whole world of its own and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Believing in the process is crucial to its success. Stopping part way is a waste of time and money. Start the new year off with a calendar you can maintain, a system you believe in, and a marketing agency that can help you achieve your goals. At Tree Ring Digital, we place priority on establishing a marketing strategy that is understandable, realistic and tailored to your business. Call us at 303-218-5287 and let us help you make 2018 your best year yet.