If you are relatively new in the world of ecommerce then there is a good chance that your marketing is sporadic at best and completely neglected at worst. Most companies can definitely see the value in investing in marketing, but due to time and personnel constraints it can be challenging to make an effective start. One of the simplest ways to kickstart your marketing endeavours is to create a basic marketing calendar.
What Is A Marketing Calendar?
In their simplest form, marketing calendars help to outline the overall strategy that will be undertaken by a business. Most of them run on a year by year basis and they can be as simple or as detailed as you need them to be. Their main aim is to help you to focus your business efforts internally according to what’s going on in your industry and within your company, but they also have a wider application.
For example, if you work alongside an agency which takes care of your web design and development then the calendar can be shared across the internal and external teams. This in turn helps to ensure everyone is kept on track and there is a consistent point of reference from which to plan tasks. This facilitates closer working relationships across the board which can help streamline your operations.
One of the great things about marketing calendars is that when you land on a strategy that works particularly well for you it will already be planned out and ready to update and use again next year. With each year that passes your calendar will become more refined and can provide you with invaluable insights.
How Can I Make A Marketing Calendar For My Business?
The recipe for a successful marketing calendar is pretty straightforward. Firstly you will need to decide which system you will use to create your calendar. The most basic ones can be created easily using Google Sheets, and the handy sharing features can make them super convenient and easy to distribute among teams. If you need more complex functionality then you might like to take a look into using something like Asana, TeamGantt or Monday.com.
When choosing how you would like to proceed, bear the following in mind:
- Is your chosen calendar easy to use and easily visible?
- Can it be shared externally?
- Does it allow you to create a roadmap with workflow visibility?
- Can it be integrated with your project management software?
- Does it allow the necessary level of customisation for your needs?
Once you have chosen how to create your calendar you can move on to the planning phase. Split the year ahead into sections on a month by month, season by season, or quarter by quarter basis (depending on your preferences) and think about what your primary focus will be for each section. For instance, if you are in the gifts or luxury goods industry then you may want to focus on yearly calendar events like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter early on in the year, and events like Black Friday sales and Christmas towards the end of the year.
Once you have mapped out your time critical events you can then think about other areas of focus that you can undertake throughout the year such as birthdays. This is also a good place to lay out your content strategy, so include details of your blog or outreach plans here. Don’t forget to add your business milestones too – for example you may have an anniversary, expansion, new product launch or rebrand coming up which you will want to keep in mind and plan for.
The plan can be as detailed or as simple as you need, but it is good practise to include the following as a minimum:
- Project name
- Time frame from start to finish
- Who is leading the project and will therefore be a point of contact across teams
- The roles and responsibilities of others involved in the project such as agencies
- A way to record notes, reports, results and any associated budget details
Once you have gotten into the habit of using a calendar in this way you will wonder how you ever got on without one – they are a simple tool which can have a huge impact!