Create Your Marketing Calendar for 2011

Marketing Calendar

How structured are you when it comes to your e-commerce marketing plans? Sure, if you’re a bigger company, you probably have at least one employee dedicated to marketing, if not an entire department. But smaller companies often try to squeeze marketing in as an after-thought – after I package the orders, after I return phone calls, after I order new inventory, after my designer finishes the new promotional graphics for the homepage, after… You get the picture.

Make sure your New Year’s resolutions include “Improve my marketing efforts” by starting the year off on the right foot with a retail marketing calendar. Often used by brick-and-mortar stores to plan window designs, newspaper ads, and merchandise promotions, a marketing calendar is extremely effective for e-commerce too.

While it’s easy to say you’re going to do a better job at marketing, when your time gets short this year, you’re likely to forget about this. I’ve easily gone several months without doing so much as sending out an email to my subscribers, simply because I procrastinated and/or forgot, being busy with other tasks. Your boss or your vendors may bug you about certain tasks, but your customers aren’t likely to remind you to market to them! This is why a retail calendar comes in so handy for online merchants – it gives you a guideline for accountability, so you don’t forget or procrastinate.

Brandeo has a nice (and free!) Excel template marketing calendar to use, along with a one-month example to get your started. But it’s easy to create your own as well, whether it’s inside Excel, Word, or on your desk blotter calendar. Think of the categories of marketing you need to include: sales and promotions, online ads, social media, blogging, affiliate programs, etc. Then break the year down by weeks, and include tasks in each category that address your company needs. Also think about holidays, yearly events (back to school, the Superbowl, industry conferences) that affect your business. You might come up with something along the following lines:

Week of… Jan 3 Jan 10 Jan 17 Jan 24
Email Marketing Send email advertising new products for Valentine’s day Run popup-promotion (incl coupon) on website to grow subscriber list Send email with 10% coupon honoring Martin Luther King Day Set up A/B testing for subscriber form on homepage
Twitter Announce new Valentine’s products with link to special landing page Tweet about newsletter and offer a coupon for new subscribers Announce 10% coupon code for Martin Luther King Day Ask for opinions on opt-in forms
Facebook Create fan page, link from website, invite friends to subscribe. Post message to wall telling people who we are. Post Valentine’s landing page link and remind fans that they need to purchase gifts for their loved ones Announce 10% coupon code for Martin Luther King Day Add a tab for our newsletter so fans can sign up directly within Facebook

For a great list of holidays, special remembrance days (like “Grandparents’ Day”), and events (such “Super Bowl Sunday”) check out this holiday list provided by Kyle Design. It also includes special religious days for Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Islamic faiths.

With a marketing calendar in hand, it’s a lot easier to stay on task with your marketing efforts. Each week, when you set up your task list or assign responsibilities to staff, make sure to refer to the current and upcoming weeks on your marketing calendar to make sure all efforts are being planned and prepped for. Also, track when you do or don’t accomplish an entry on your calendar, and note special successes and failures for use next year.

Here’s to a wonderful marketing year for your business in 2011!

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  1. Hi Susan:
    Thanks for the brandeo shout out!

  2. Susan Petracco says:

    Sure thing, Anne, it’s a great resource for the community!

  3. Awesome job by Brandeo on the template! I really like how its easy to update, and as you scroll down the date stays put!


  4. I’ll need to look into the Brandeo template. I’ve made my own spreadsheet, but feel it’s missing some of these features. Great ideas.


  5. This is a great share Susan, thanks a ton. The free excel template will help me tremendously.

    – Robert

  6. Igor Buyseech says:

    A good solid template, but I preffer my plans to be on a daily basis. The latter is not true if I am working on a larger scale project that takes longer.

    Sincerely, Igor

  7. You are so right. Some people may think they don’t need to mark their plans on an actual calendar but as you pointed out, everyone needs to be held accountable even if it is to oneself. Thanks for the tips!

  8. thanks for sharing, marketing calendar was what I need to do.

  9. a great idea, a marketing calender, i have to say this blog has been very helpful to me as i have now found out new ways to be more intouch with my business and be on top of things regularly.

  10. kadin sagliginiz says:

    This is applied most of what she says. I hope that gives good results :)

  11. Hi there Susan:

    I came across this post because I was looking for Buddhist Calendars – then I your name and I thought to myself, “the name Susan Petracco sure sounds familiar… Where have I heard it before???”

    Then I realized it was Susan from NetBlazon fame. (Our ecommerce web sites use Miva Merchant).

    Anyway, thanks for the post.

    • Srisuda, what a small world! I love to hear NetBlazon and “fame” used in the same sentence LOL. Glad you found me here too…hope things are going well for you :)

  12. Pool Leak Detection says:

    It’s nice to do this.. But sometimes what we’re doing is we’re using spreadsheet to run through the data of what we’re doing everyday…

  13. This is the secret on how to make your income grow by leaps and bounds. Putting a simple system in place that organizes everything from your list-building, to your marketing and promotional activities can do wonders. It is critical to invest some time in managing these things. The size of your list as well as the quality of your marketing and its timeliness directly affect the amount of your income.