The Marketing Calendar: A One Page Guide to Success

What type of marketing will you be doing a week or month from now? What about in six months? All too often, business owners can’t answer that simple question because they manage their marketing by the moment, with no long-term plan.   I am surprised how few have a marketing calendar.

Flexibility is great. However, last minute decisions make it difficult to manage a coordinated marketing effort. Without an overall plan, you miss opportunities to extend the reach individual elements by reinforcing the messages in other platforms. For example if you are planning a short radio ad campaign, you want to plan a blog post and several Facebook updates around the same theme.

This simple one page document is a great tool to help you stay on track with your marketing all year long. It doesn’t matter how you choose to promote your small business; a well-organized calendar will help you save time, lower costs, track progress and ultimately increase the effectiveness of all your marketing.

How to get started?

There are many ways to build your calendar: Post-It notes on a wall, a Word document or a simple spreadsheet. My preference is a spreadsheet which lists every marketing investment you will make over the course of a year. It also lists when, how much and why you are making the investment. These goals may be leads, trials, sales presentations, web traffic or sales. You decide what makes sense for each campaign. This calendar will become part of your planning cycle when you also track the results of each campaign on the same page.

Most businesses are not flat year round. There are peaks and, unfortunately, valleys. Your marketing calendar should reflect that, with more activity designed to generate leads in the slow times. The advantage of using a spreadsheet is the ability to calculate expenses by month and by type of expense. Spreadsheets also give you the ability to compare the results of different tactics over time so you can continue to refine your marketing, spending more of your budget on activities which drive results.

Below, you’ll find a sample marketing calendar. Interested in one of your own? To download a copy of the spreadsheet we use for ourselves and our clients, click here