Create Your Annual Marketing Calendar

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It’s (almost) January, so it’s time to rev your marketing engines and plan out your year. As Ben Franklin said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Don’t let procrastination get the better of you and derail your efforts to keep in touch with your clients. Let’s get that marketing plan in place. Here are a few simple tips to get your marketing on track for the year!

  1. Create a separate Google Calendar (or whatever calendar system you use) just for your marketing. I like using Google Calendar because I can turn all other calendars off and just view my Marketing Calendar to keep me focused on this singular task. (It may also be useful if you’re a visual person like I am, to download and print monthly calendars for the entire year so you can map them all out before adding them to a digital calendar.)
  2. Choose a theme for each month. Organize each month by a theme to make it easier to choose and schedule website content, your monthly newsletter message, client events, and more. For example, our client theme for February will be “Spread the Love,” and we have planned our newsletter content around spreading the love to our clients; we’ve planned a blood drive for our clients and community, and we’re having a drawing for our clients for some fun giveaways to spread the love to them!
  3. Map out your client events for the year. Put dates on the calendar for everything from when you send the invitations to when you make your post-event follow-up phone calls.
  4. Reach out to your vendors and service providers now. It’s the beginning of the year, and your vendors and service providers likely still have marketing dollars to spend. If you want them to sponsor a client event or provide a giveaway for a monthly client drawing, ask now — plan out the year and get their commitment now before they’ve spent their whole marketing budget.
  5. Write ahead. Block out writing time in your calendar. As you get busier throughout the year, the time you have to spend on marketing will become more scarce. Take time now to write ahead — compose your monthly client message for your newsletter (you can always add to them later to add in more relevant details, but get them drafted now); if you send out farming postcards, get them designed, written, and proofed now, while you have the time; design and save e-vites to client events. Think ahead, write ahead, and check it off your list.
  6. Finally, make a wish list…and schedule time to explore your options. All of those cool marketing ideas you learned about at the conferences you attended in 2018 and all of the brilliant ideas you had for your clients and your marketing: make a wish list. Then block out time in your calendar to research those cool ideas and decide if they fit this year’s plan and budget or if they’re worth keeping on the back burner until next year.

BOTTOM LINE: If you don’t plan it, you won’t do it. Life will get in the way. Clients will get in the way. But ultimately, it should be a priority if keeping in touch with your clients and sphere is important to you. So make the time, plan it out, and put that plan into action — you’ll be glad you did!