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Using a marketing calendar will help your business thrive

Marketing calendar helping small business with their customer commnication
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

This post will show you how a marketing calendar can help your small business and entrepreneurial side hustle organise and schedule activities. Your marketing calendar can help you organise your customer communication.

Why do you need a marketing calendar?

A marketing calendar helps you coordinate your marketing efforts across different digital media, physical media and other communication platforms.

For example, you could use your marketing calendar to schedule flyers, brochures and trade show networking alongside social media or YouTube brand building.

This helps you meet your marketing goals and business objectives by using a detailed task list of activities against specific dates. So, you can consistently message your customers by:

  • Measuring responses, leads and sales from your marketing campaign over a set period

  • Keeping a close watch over your marketing spending and related costs

  • Updating and improving how you communicate with your customers

  • Focusing on your goal and vision for your business

Measuring responses, leads and sales from your marketing campaign over a set period

You can use your marketing calendar to track and measure the performance of how you get your message out to your customers? This could be as simple as using the tools on social media platforms to track the likes, shares and comments on your posts. Or as complicated as using external tools for a deep dive into the marketing metrics for each post.

You can also track the leads and sales generated by specific campaigns. You could use voucher codes, special links or short term discounts. Helping you understand where your customers saw your message.

Any sales generated from the marketing campaign should be placed on your calendar, so you know when you received the income and the appropriate campaign.

Keeping a close watch over your marketing spending and related costs

The marketing calendar helps you test the real costs of your marketing activities. That’s why the marketing calendar is a great addition to your marketing strategy.

Closely watching your expenses is a fundamental part of running a business or setting up a new side hustle project. If you’re spending more than you make, you won’t be in business for a long time.

If you also include how much time you spend doing marketing it should give you a clear indication of where your money is really going.

Are you spending a small amount of money on marketing? Is it taking you multiple days to get a piece of content out to your audience? This might be fine on the odd occasion, but if you do this on a regular basis; you will know exactly how much precious time you're spending on marketing.

Updating and improving how you communicate with your customers

Nothing is 100% correct and perfect the first time, sometimes you will need to slightly modify what you do to improve how you present your business, products and services to your customers. This could be as simple as changing the colour of a button or updating phrases on your marketing collateral. Either way, gaining the feedback from your customers and slightly improving how you communicate will provide significant benefits over the long term.

Focusing on your goal and vision for your business

Keeping you focused and on track with your business is something you can’t buy. If you’re the only person responsible for working on the business, it means you need something to guide your actions towards your goals.

The marketing calendar is a way for you (and everyone you work with) to guide their actions towards a goal or objective. For example, you could focus on increasing the number of users on your website and provide content across different platforms aimed at moving your website visitor numbers. Everything would be focused on that goal and would naturally change how you create and design your marketing message.

As an entrepreneur there will always be many ideas, actions and other to-do’s running through your head. The marketing calendar will keep you honest and make sure you follow a set schedule, so you don’t have to think about what comes next. This means you can do things almost on autopilot and still move your small business or entrepreneurial side hustle forward.

Marketing calendars can help with your business questions

It may seem strange, but organising your marketing tasks will make you more likely to complete the actions. If you’re left to do what you think is important you may not be able to get the same level of dedication to a piece of work over the long-term.

Having a marketing calendar means you can customise you’re approach for different campaigns over time. Focusing on the calendar helps you get the most from your marketing tasks.

The who, what, where, when and how of your marketing campaign

The marketing calendar can help with knowing the fundamentals of your marketing campaign or longer term strategy. Taking the time to create a marketing calendar will force you to think about your marketing and your customers.

You need to identify the main target of your marketing. This could be based on demographics, interests groups or other factors used to differentiate between potential customers and existing customers.

Knowing when to release your marketing campaign and where to direct the messaging should all be part of your marketing calendar. Having the structure means you can get more detailed in how you approach your customers with your business or brand messaging.

Marketing is not free there is always a cost

Once you know the details of the marketing you can then consider the cost of each of the activities or tasks for your business.

If you’re just starting out and bootstrapping your business you may have limited access to marketing funds. However, even if you have some money behind your business, it’s still good practise to stick to your marketing budget.

Although there are several free options for marketing your products or services, there is always paid advertising, which can quickly reduce your marketing budget.

Content marketing (blogging, social media, video blogging and podcasting) are all potentially low cost. However, there is usually a much larger cost in terms of the time taken to plan, design and produce free content. The time taken to produce the materials can be significant and repetitive. The lost time can quickly remove time needed to complete other money generating activities. The calendar will highlight how you really spend your time.

You could potentially get hit twice by the cost of creating quality content. First, the time and resources consumed through content production and second, the opportunity cost, as you were concentrating on content production. Producing content is great, but remember you also have a business or side hustle to manage and run.

Collect your marketing results on your calendar entries

Tracking the total customers you reached across each of the different platforms or marketing channels means you can understand the results of each of your campaigns. Knowing the results will help you to update and improve your message, so you can improve your reach or improve the customer engagement and interest in your business, product or service.

How to design and create your marketing calendar template?

The internet will provide many marketing calendar templates. Most marketing calendars are electronic or printed within a spreadsheet. A digital version will make it easier to make updates based on colleague, team and marketing campaign feedback.

Breakdown your months into weeks and days

If you know how your sales vary throughout the year, you can break this cycle into days and weeks of each month. This means you can organise your marketing around your customers, so you’re promoting your product or services during the time your customers are interested in what your business or side project offers.

Track your marketing progress on a day-by-day basis

Having a daily and weekly breakdown helps you to test the best days and best duration for each activity and track the cost of each of these tasks across your entire marketing campaign.

The daily breakdown also means you can watch your marketing progress for each campaign. You will know the platforms working best for your business and communication, getting the most customer engagement. Having everything in one place will help you work out what needs to happen to improve different areas of your marketing strategy.

What should you include within the template?

You could include any of the following areas within your marketing calendar template. So, you can track everything used to communicate with your customers:

  • Trade shows, networking events and other in-person meetings

  • Newsletter publications, email subscription letters and email marketing

  • Flyers, brochures and other related physical marketing items

  • Content marketing calendar for content production

  • Social media posts across all of your social accounts

  • Paid for advertising (print and digital)

Final thoughts

Marketing can be complex. Fortunately, you don’t need to be the next marketing superstar to get your business or brand noticed by your prospective customers.

Using tools such as the marketing calendar can help you make those initial steps and real entrepreneurship and targeted communication with your customers.

There is not a right or wrong approach to marketing. You just need to find the right combination of scheduled and organised activities, so your business can start and grow to the next level.

Good luck!

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