[Updated: December 28, 2016]
Have you ever fallen for the advertising sales pitch that promises to reach your target audience for pennies on the dollar? Of course, it comes at a time when you’re feeling pressure to drive results and all too often, you haven’t factored this expenditure into your existing budget. So even though the hype sounds a little too good to be true, you take a chance. Sometimes it’s worth it, and many times, not so much. If you had a marketing calendar, however, with a well laid out strategy for success, you would have avoided this pitfall that ended up costing even more than the actual dollars spent.
Taking it From Head to Pen
When all is said and done, you can never be too early when preparing your marketing campaigns. We’ve been there… A crucial step is forgotten in a strategy that’s been laid out in your head, and it’s too late to go back and fix it. Maybe you forgot to set up a lead nurturing campaign for registrants to an event. Maybe you didn’t properly calculate the time it would take to drive engagement through social media. Or maybe you missed an insertion deadline for an advertisement. If you’re willing to commit to keeping a marketing and editorial calendar, you’ll avoid these costly mistakes and have a strategy that drives results every step of the way; from head to pen and concept to completion.
Your Marketing Calendar is the Backbone of all Your Efforts
Your marketing calendar contains the complete breakdown of marketing activities you plan to undertake for your campaigns, therefore, this is, essentially, the core of your marketing plan. Plan to work backwards. That is, after you’ve mapped out the events that affect your business, you’ll be able to effectively gauge the time needed to execute the various activities that will drive the desired results. Because we’re inbound marketing specialists, our primary objective is to utilize inbound marketing methods that drive results. The beauty here, is that when done right, the results will rival any outbound campaign you’ve ever undertaken. Here’s how we do this for ourselves and our clients, and we’re certain it will work for you too.
- Begin by mapping out key dates and events that drive your business. List all online and off-line events you’d like to capitalize on that could potentially affect your business as well as dates and duration. Include holidays, anniversaries, special sales, promotions, special events, webinars, trade-shows, etc.
- Clarify your goals by #1) determining the outcome you’d like to achieve and #2) what the potential benefit to your customer is.
- Determine which communication platforms you’ll use to convey your message as well as the rationale behind this. Think: blogging, guest blogging, forums, press releases, social media, email marketing, pay-per-click, offline advertising, etc. This will give you a solid framework from which to schedule and execute your delivery.
- Decide how you will gauge your progress and success. Whether you’re looking for sales or registrants to an event, you’ll need a way to track your progress before, during and after. We use Hubspot to track our online efforts, however, there are many tools online and off for gauging your efforts depending on the mediums you use. After your event, consider following up with a survey, coupons, or other offers to maintain engagement.
With your planning complete, you’ll want to set deadlines for executing the steps you’ll be taking, being sure to allot time for lead generation, meaning that you’ll need to give your audience time to consider your offer.
When it comes to marketing, nothing beats having a map from which to navigate your next move. If you want to be pro-active and effective, a marketing calendar is the smartest tool you can have in your toolkit. It takes the guess-work out of your day and what a pleasure it is; to come in every day and already KNOW what’s on the agenda. Your strategy takes form and now you can see, there really is a method to your madness and there’s proof right before your eyes. Whether you’re systematically following the map single-handedly or delegating the various steps along the way, your marketing calendar can really be the right-hand that leads you (and/or your team) to success.
Do you need a calendar? Download our Excel Marketing and Editorial calendar and you’ll be well on your way to taking your marketing campaigns from concept to completion.
2017 Marketing and Editorial Calendar
Successful marketing begins with a plan. Keep track of all your marketing efforts in one customizable marketing & editorial calendar.