The best marketing campaigns are planned far in advance to coincide with specific dates or events. If you have not been planning ahead for your campaigns, you could be missing out on several ways to increase your sales.
If your business is seasonal, it is even more important to have a plan in place months before a scheduled holiday. However, even non-seasonal businesses can take advantage of specific dates to run sales or promote certain items.
Here is a checklist that will help you develop your own marketing calendar.
1. Analyze your inventory. Before beginning your plan, take a good look at all of the different products or services you provide. Are there any offerings that would be more useful at certain times of the year or around certain holidays? Organize all your products into specific groups according to their usefulness or tie-ins with specific dates.
For example, if you sell items that could be used as gifts for Christmas or other holidays, put them in a special category. If you have other items that are more useful in summer than in winter, put those in a separate category. Read more on the Psychology of Marketing.
2. Get a large annual calendar. Having a large-format calendar will allow you to plan out your campaigns visually. Put this calendar on the wall of your office so that it is easily visible and can serve as a helpful reminder.
3. Plan your attack. Instead of promoting your items a week before a certain holiday or event, start planning now. You can begin with a starter campaign two months before the event and escalate your efforts as the specific day draws closer.
4. Stick to your guns. Do not get discouraged if you are already running behind schedule. Do what you can to take advantage of the most imminent events, and start planning now for future events.
5. Plan your implementation. Do you want to send out postcards or e-mails to remind your existing customers of an upcoming event? How do you plan to spark interest in your products around certain holidays? Decide now how you want to promote your items, and build your campaigns around your decision. Check out our 60-Second Guide to Marketing on a Limited Budget
6. Make your own events. If your products just do not seem to fit in with any holidays or seasons, make your own event. You can create anniversary sales, specific days of the month sales, or even weekly sales. Be creative!
7. Keep a log. Track what is working for your business and what is not. If you had trouble garnering interest for your products for a Groundhog Day Sale, you will be able to try something else next year. Mistakes are valuable if you learn from them.
Every small business can benefit from careful planning and implementation of a marketing calendar. If you follow these steps, you will be on your way to finding your own ways to creatively and effectively market your products.