By Erica Rodgers
Sometimes us professionals are really good at putting together a calendar of marketing ideas and ticking each item off as the days go by. Sometimes us professionals are not so good at this commerce building exercise. Often we blame it on the people who have the type A personality that gets “everything” done, but is that really it? Maybe it is more the fact that everyone needs to be taught how to organize, prioritize and execute the plan. Even more, we need to build our confidence in doing a large project like this, because planning out the whole year is a big project. Jean Prominski’s “Color to Declutter” coloring book is a great tool to help understand your personal organization process and help build that confidence, oh and to enjoy the art of coloring! Start to frame your marketing calendar with these following steps. Remember this is just a starting point. Get as creative and into it as you desire.
Schedule in preparation times and a starting date. This step is a doozy. Preparation is key though. How do I get started on things? Especially big things like planning a whole years worth of marketing strategies? Keep it in your mind as you go through a normal day, maybe take notes when you see a striking ad or jot down a venue you think of that might be fun to do a speaking engagement at. Getting started is half way preparing your mind for the big (or little) task at hand. Sometimes you need to psych yourself up for a week, a day or maybe an hour. Even schedule “Prepare to get started on…..” and in this case, “marketing calendar” would be the title. Scheduling in time to prepare helps take the pressure off of actually getting started before you are ready. It is also a great reminder to take notes of ideas when you are out and about. Leaving visual reminders in your work space is also a great way to be prepared. For instance, leave a blank calendar on your desk labeled “Marketing Calendar”. It doesn’t need to be done yet, but it is a reminder to be thinking about it. Again, that takes the pressure off of starting. It is also a great place for you to jot down ideas as they come to you. After setting your calendar for about 3 or 4 preparation times (and of course preparing at those specific times) be sure to add a reminder for a certain day to sit down and actually start the marketing calendar. Make it a point to schedule time, actually SCHEDULE uninterrupted time to start your project.
Compiling all ideas. You already have some ideas jotted down about how to get your product or service out there, but now is the time to really focus on what YOU want to do throughout the year. Just as this photo says, “Life is short do stuff that matters” that applies to a marketing calendar as well. If a technique doesn’t feel good then ditch it. Just start writing ideas down, and if you can’t think of any, do a quick Google search, browse on Pinterest or get some trusted people together to brainstorm.
Whatever you do, try to be so creative and outlandish that you don’t even know yourself anymore. Don’t worry if you are or aren’t going to do these marketing techniques, just write them down. You will always have the choice to either use these clever ideas later or build off of them to make it into something more realistic for you. Maybe you have an ice cream shop and you want to really put your name out there, so out of the blue you think: Ooo it would be fun to host an ice cream social at a preschool…. But you aren’t that much of an outgoing person and you don’t have a lot of capital to get the supplies needed to be a mobile ice cream dealer. BUT you have the choice to figure out a way to do this very fun and rewarding event, put it on the back burner for next year or pairing this idea down to inviting the preschool to come in for a field trip and give out tiny cones for the tiny hands that come to visit. There are always ways of morphing ideas into something more realistic and attainable for you. But start by getting creative and compiling your list of marketing strategies.
Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly marketing occurrences. Now is the hour to figure out what time you have to work with. Just as you scheduled the preparation for this marketing calendar puzzle, you should also determine the time it will take to fulfill your amazing marketing techniques. How much time do you have daily for marketing? Most people focus on social media on a daily basis: A few minutes to show the world what you do in a Facebook post to help get the word around about you. That takes us to weekly, every week can you go to the local retirement community and hand out bookmarks for your book store business? Or do an instructional video on how to paint on canvas. Quarterly is the next opportunity to plan. What are some events that happen quarterly: speaking engagements, booths at conventions, etc. How about yearly? A big annual party to promote your amazing services? What is practical? This is an important question because often times we have grand ideas and then get discouraged when we just don’t have enough time, money or energy to finish a plan. Don’t get confused with how in the second step you thought up creative and outlandish marketing ideas, the ideas you have created are amazing, but they still need to be something that works within your budget and your time. That step was there to help get the creative juices flowing, use your creative thoughts to make all those ideas into reality. As you become more comfortable with marketing, you will be able to carve out more time and most likely more money to make sure our business is in the minds of many. Take a while to actually write out what you want to do. For this step I usually write out on paper something like this:
First draft fill in and elaborate. Now you have the ideas and the time slots you are willing to work within. Next is to fill in the calendar. If you are a paper person, print out all the months of the year and fill in (staple them first or else papers will be flying). If you prefer an online calendar, do that. Just remember this is your FIRST DRAFT, and as you start filling things in, you will likely have to move marketing ideas around. It is important to realize that you will not get a calendar done the first pen to paper or tap of a key to your digital calendar. You will likely have to move many things around. Especially since events and speaking engagements are largely determined based on others schedules. Also, elaborate on what you are doing. What Facebook post will you do each day of the week? What will you be talking about at your 1st quarter speaking engagement. Get clear on what you will be doing. For every marketing technique answer the questions: who, what, when, why, where and how. Be sure to not put your first draft on your normal schedule. If you change things around and forget to delete or erase or cross off a marketing plan, you will be confused when you come to that day. Your first draft is what you WANT to do, and your second draft…..
Second draft fill in. Your second draft is almost the real deal. This is after you have secured your booth rental, determined what you will be writing about weekly or purchased the bounce house for your summertime ice cream social event. This draft takes time, you have to confirm the dates of the more time specific events. Once this is all nailed down, then…..
Third and final draft. Now, here you have it! The final draft. This is where you dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s. Writing it out, typing it out or reviewing your final draft is the key to success in being prepared for your marketing plan. Not only because going over it so many times helps to cement it in your brain, but also helps to confirm your timing is correct. Just as these steps need less and less time, because if you put in enough time preparing, the time and effort get less and less until you have in front of you a beautiful marketing plan for the following year that is ready and set to go. Once you get to step 6, all you have to do is put it in your go-to calendar.
Hire out. It has been said that if you just don’t find joy in it, then hire someone else to do it. That someone else who is offering to make a marketing calendar for you probably loves organizing schedules. Supporting and spending time on your biggest assets will only grow your business. Sometimes you just don’t want to stretch yourself so thin, so hiring someone to make a marketing calendar for you, is just the right thing. OR on the flip side, a coach might be the right fit as well. Hiring a coach may help you expand your organizational approach as well as let your creative juices flow in finding fun ways to market your business. Contact us, we know someone who might be able to help 🙂
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Seattle Sparkle, LLC
Digital Organizer, Virtual Organizer, Motivational Coach
Image credit: Marten Bjork