For most people the concept of creating a full year marketing calendar feels impossible.
But today, I’m going to make it easy for you as I share the seven questions I ask myself as I’m planning out a new year. September is a great time to think about the rest of your year and how things might be different in the following on!
Before we dive in, let me share something that might surprise you.
I keep my plan very sparse and simple…so don’t expect a ton of craziness.
I purposely don’t plan everything out so far in advance. While I do really like to keep a tight reign on what's happening when I’m working on specific projects, leaving room for changes is really important and has helped many a team I’ve worked on.
I’m all about white space – even when I’m planning.
With that said let’s dive in.
7 Questions To Consider When You Map Out Your Marketing Calendar
#1 What’s already scheduled?
Mark in what I know to be true, the knowns…what’s non-negotiable or already announced.
If there's certain things that I do every single year or I generally do every single year, I try to put those into the calendar right away.
In addition to planned business events, make sure to add your vacations and other known life events that will prevent you from launching or doing a ton of work. Your business doesn’t operate in a bubble. I discovered that this year when many life events like moving, buying a home, having my daughter home and with me for the entire summer made it imperative that I pull back on my “work” time.
#2 Who am I partnering with this year?
I’ll look at the year in advance and pop in the known partnerships first (see the above question)…like Marie Forleo’s B-School, like Todd Herman’s 90-Day Year launches…
I try not to do too many big ones for myself but, for me, it's easy to be a champion of amazing business owners and amazing teachers, people who have taught me, people who I respect and generally that's who you'll see me promote.
So support a few people who you truly believe in and then look for some smaller or less work intensive partnerships to add. For me – those include Leadpages, Infusionsoft, and some other companies I generally mention a lot!
Partnerships can help you fill in your calendar and give you a break from delivering.
#3 When will I promote my signature program or programs?
The easiest way to schedule out your signature program promos is to look at last year. If you generally launch in February and September – pop those into your calendar as tentative launch dates.
If you only did one launch last year, add another – make a guess as to when you’d like to launch. Simple as that.
Right now, we’re not looking to lock your calendar, we’re mapping out where you want to spend your main marketing efforts…locking the calendar down comes later.
In addition to the main launches you do to promote your signature programs and services, think of a few other “sale” type promotions you usually do or have wanted to do in the past — think Black Friday, Back To School, Labor Day…
I go into some of the ways I look at my own marketing calendar in the episode – right here.
Knowing when you’re going to promote your main or primary products/services will help you also figure out when you’ll create content with specific calls to actions! In fact, it gives you the ability to start leaking your launch, getting them to the right content, preparing them for the launch in a different, more intentional way.
#4 Will I have any other paid promotions or content that needs special scheduling?
Pop in those paid promos you might be doing — smaller ones that take a week or less. Think sales, one week promotions, maybe holiday related promos.
Then ask yourself, “What do people need to experience and understand before they get to whatever paid content you're going to be, or paid promotion you're going to be doing?”
And that can even include what you're going to be doing for partners, ask yourself, “What do people need to understand and learn?” Kind of how do you get things moving before you actually start promoting something? What do people need to know?
The answer to this question might help you outline or map out the content you’ll be releasing prior to one of your bigger launches or affiliate promotions…so don’t skip it.
Marketing is not necessarily about asking for the sale – but rather helping people answer certain questions and challenges. You want to prepare them for when you do ask for the sale…creating content that gives them some of their answers is essential.
#5 Where Can I Leave Space For New Possibilities?
I always like to leave space for new possibilities, new partnerships, new things that might come my way.
This year, I signed on to be a partner with some people I haven't partnered with yet and I haven't actually even promoted yet but I'm going to, you'll see them soon. I like to see what’s going to serve people who come to this blog…sometimes the crossover or alignment isn’t there, but I have to try to give new things…
There's a few amazing people that I'm excited to be shouting from the rooftops about because I just think they're so awesome. So stay tuned for those.
#6 How can I block out the next 6 months without it feeling too overwhelming? Is it too much?
Hopefully by seeing that there aren’t too many different types of marketing activities I put on my marketing calendar…you’ll get why this question is so important.
With all the things we do as business owners, it easy to get overwhelmed and lose the ability to prioritize.
When I create that launch calendar I'm not too specific beyond the six months mark – because things do change and it's hard to …I like to come up with 90 day launch plans that are super detailed.
I may have a rough idea when I want to do something in six months, but I do that on purpose so that ninety days is the clearest, up to six months or the second ninety days, is clear but not quite as clear.
Bottom line: Be clear on where you’re headed but don’t try to fill in all the unknowns too far in advance.
#7 How can I keep this plan or calendar simple?
Over the past year, I’ve discovered that I only LOVE my business when it’s simple.
This is why I’m constantly asking – is this simple enough? Simple doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll keep things at 1 main product…or one promotion a year.
Simplicity is me not complicating a promotion or a launch with too many new things…or adding in too many partners that don’t make sense…or feeling the need to do a Labor Day or birthday promotion if it causes too much stress.
I do have some programs that I'm creating right now, some new things, but you likely won't see those any time in the next few months. I have products that I've actually already created, that I created a while ago, that I want to update and actually launch for real.
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