Online retail sales have astoundingly topped $4.9 trillion within the United States alone. Additionally, it’s anticipated to develop by over 50% throughout the subsequent 4 years.
In quick, eCommerce businesses are booming. In addition, eCommerce is likely one of the simpler methods to break into the enterprise world for new entrepreneurs. Moreover, an eCommerce firm will be operated from house with a a lot decrease startup price and overhead.
But, to separate your self from the competitors and drive eCommerce progress, you want a advertising and marketing calendar stat.
What is a Marketing Calendar?
In easiest phrases, marketing calendars present what a enterprise plans to do over a set time frame. This may very well be 1 / 4, a half yr, or your entire calendar yr.
Your advertising and marketing calendar usually lists the campaigns you propose to run, promotions and gross sales you count on to have. You might additionally use it for product launches and holidays. Marketing calendars for giant corporations could embody social media, editorial, and merchandise. On the opposite hand, a advertising and marketing calendar for a small enterprise could mix all advertising and marketing actions.
Why is a Marketing Calendar Important?
Having a advertising and marketing calendar allows you to concentrate on the massive image points as a substitute of attempting to remedy them on the final minute. For instance, if a number of campaigns run concurrently, it might be straightforward to get disoriented. However, a advertising and marketing calendar ensures you’ve gotten an organized and cohesive marketing campaign.
Specifically, your advertising and marketing calendar will let when to publish on social, when to ship emails, and many others. In addition, it permits you to maintain monitor of when and the place you launch and run campaigns. And, you may have the option to coordinate your advertising and marketing methods with an outline of your marketing campaign.
Also, advertising and marketing calendars present extra artistic and strategic campaigns. This offers you time to rent, outsource, and ship merchandise to influencers. And it is potential to plan long-term collaborations.
You can even maintain your model constant through the use of a digital advertising and marketing calendar. Having a advertising and marketing calendar is a wonderful means to make sure you keep on high of each marketing campaign. And, by being constant together with your advertising and marketing, your model is simpler to bear in mind.
How to Plan a Marketing Calendar to Drive Sales for eCommerce
1. Decide the place your calendar shall be hosted.
The first step is deciding the place you’ll arrange your advertising and marketing calendar. You can use a paper calendar, however an internet calendar is healthier.
For one, you need to use a template to velocity up the creation of your advertising and marketing calendar. This is particularly true when you’re utilizing Excel or Google Sheets.
Additionally, it’s much less seemingly to be misplaced or destroyed.
And most significantly, it’s also possible to share your calendar with others. For occasion, to maintain your gross sales and advertising and marketing groups on the identical web page, you’ll share this calendar with them. In addition to this, sharing calendars makes collaboration seamless. And, whenever you want to meet for brainstorming classes or updates, on-line calendars could make scheduling a breeze.
2. Define your advertising and marketing calendar’s targets.
Once you’ve got acquired your calendar, you want to outline your advertising and marketing calendar’s aims.
According to eCommerce knowledgeable Alex Greifeld, who’s been within the trade since 2011, it is higher to begin massive slightly than small. To put that one other means, as a substitute of beginning on step three of the recipe, decide what sort of meal you need to make.
“A variety of digital entrepreneurs and eCom practitioners skip proper from a imprecise goal to techniques,” Alex writes within the No Best Practices publication. “We begin the yr with a gross sales goal after which write up a listing of optimizations or new expertise that we predict will get us there.”
“A normal rule of thumb—in case your technique may very well be utilized interchangeably to any enterprise, it isn’t truly a method,” Alex advises.
A well-designed advertising and marketing calendar primarily based in your targets will make it a lot much less seemingly that you’ll simply throw random stuff on the wall and hope it sticks. As a consequence, you possibly can allocate your time and money extra successfully to make massive strikes when it is time.
Consider these questions:
- Is there somebody I’m partnering with?
- Are there any occasions or promotions deliberate already?
- What campaigns will be moved round, and which of them are mounted?
- How can I make room for new alternatives that will come up?
- How ought to I repeat the central messaging?
Answering the questions above might help you outline your advertising and marketing calendar’s targets. And when you do, you possibly can even use your calendar to monitor the progress of those targets.
3. Identify your advertising and marketing methods.
Next, determine your advertising and marketing methods to enable you to create a advertising and marketing calendar. After all, it is important to know what methods you utilize to create a advertising and marketing calendar.
With that mentioned, eCommerce advertising and marketing calendars usually embody the next methods:
- Content advertising and marketing. Content advertising and marketing focuses on growing and sharing compelling content material together with your viewers. You can plan content material sorts and when to publish them with a digital advertising and marketing calendar.
- Email advertising and marketing. Marketing through electronic mail allows you to ship personalised emails to subscribers immediately. Sending emails on the proper time might help you attain your viewers, from new product releases to gross sales.
- Pay-per-click (PPC) promoting. An commercial that seems above natural listings in search outcomes is a PPC commercial. It’s a good suggestion to put this technique in your advertising and marketing calendar, so you possibly can plan when to run advertisements for particular providers or merchandise.
- Social media advertising and marketing. This is whenever you make content material and share it throughout your social channels. An on-line advertising and marketing calendar helps you schedule social media posts and coordinate them with different advertising and marketing efforts.
Your advertising and marketing calendar shall be clear whenever you determine your advertising and marketing methods. Moreover, your technique ought to concentrate on a sequence of messages round a single central theme. Not solely will this enhance consistency, however it’s going to additionally make planning the marketing campaign a complete lot smoother.
Some strategies could be:
- Content-driven campaigns. Focus your electronic mail and social content material on a central theme.
- Giveaways and contests. Make a giveaway or a contest to get extra emails or followers.
- Holiday campaigns. Send messages round a big, small, or obscure holiday.
- Product launches. Pre-launch content material, resembling emails and social media posts.
- Sales and promotions. Send potential clients an electronic mail when present stock is on sale, or provide a reduction code to encourage them to buy.
4. Establish your target market.
If you are still hung up on the above, simply know your target market will enable you to decide your methods. After all, to use your technique successfully, you want to know who your target market is. Your typical buyer is your target market if you do not have one but.
Consider who visits or buys out of your retailer. These clients most likely share the next traits:
- Socioeconomic standing
- Buying habits
- Hobbies and pursuits
You’ll have the option to decide who usually buys out of your firm when you outline these traits. You’ll then have the option to use methods that enable you to get in contact with them.
5. Determine how lengthy you may plan for.
Creating a marketing calendar a year in advance is smart for some eCommerce companies. For instance, you might want that a lot time when you coordinate with a number of distributors on a large-scale occasion. Additionally, you get a greater thought of what sort of campaigns you may be operating long-term. And this additionally ensures that you will at all times be stocked up.
For occasion, you would possibly run two massive promotions yearly. You might have one in the course of the holidays, particularly round Black Friday, and the opposite in the course of the Fourth of July. Yearlong planning offers you the longest lead time, nevertheless it additionally has probably the most flexibility. Planning for occasions worldwide and cultural shifts or traits is tough, so you may have to go away somewhat wiggle room when issues abruptly change.
However, you are not restricted to making a yearly advertising and marketing calendar. You can even create both a month-to-month or quarterly advertising and marketing calendar.
You have probably the most flexibility with planning one month at a time. This additionally permits you to create campaigns round trending matters or rising traits extra well timed.
Planning for the longer term every month is a draw back, as it will possibly change into cumbersome. Your most important threat right here is that you just pivot to a tactical method as a substitute of 1 that’s goal and strategic in nature.
In the center is quarter planning. It offers you strong lead time whereas additionally permitting you to plan for unexpected occasions.
The thought with such a plan is to optimize your calendar and take inventory 4 occasions a yr. As a consequence, you possibly can see how your campaigns carried out and make well timed changes.
Also, for my part, it’s pretty easy to map out and saves a ton of time.
- Quarter 1. Your calendar would for this quarter start on New Year’s Day. You might wrap this up on March 20 — the primary day of Spring. In-between, there are holidays like Valentine’s Day.
- Quarter 2. For this quarter, you can run spring campaigns from the tip of March to June.
- Quarter 3. Throughout this quarter, your efforts could be geared in the direction of summer season actions just like the 4th and pool events. In August, you can launch a back-to-school marketing campaign.
- Quarter 4. This quarter is a whooper because it consists of main holidays and occasions like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and, in fact, the holidays.
6. Identify important milestones.
If you need to know the way to plan a advertising and marketing calendar, you want to add necessary dates to the advertising and marketing calendar. Some of those necessary dates embody:
- Holidays and days of observance.
- Milestones, resembling new product launches, collections, or collaborations.
- Company occasions and particular events.
Take benefit of those alternatives to connect with your community. Don’t neglect to put one or all of those in your advertising and marketing calendar. Your buyer will admire a extra artistic marketing campaign when you launch that early on.
As an instance, if the anniversary of your eCommerce retailer is in September, you can launch a advertising and marketing marketing campaign giving your electronic mail subscribers a reduction as a thanks.
7. Build in flexibility.
“The objective of a advertising and marketing plan is not to create a step-by-step, never-fail guide,” writes Elise Dopson in a Shopify publish. “It’s to have a roadmap to enable you to accomplish the best-case situation, whereas additionally being lifelike together with your expectations and having backup plans if one thing would not work.”
“Consumer traits shift, circumstances change, and preliminary experiments do not at all times go as deliberate,” Elise provides.
A advertising and marketing calendar is not any totally different than a terrific roadmap.
A advertising and marketing calendar is not any totally different than a gross sales calendar. This is true when capitalizing on real-time occasions or having to pivot.
For instance, you had mapped out a social media calendar for the summer season quarter. In the center of July, although, the marketing campaign did not enhance the gross sales you anticipated. As such, you want to study from this and make the correct changes for future advertising and marketing calendars.
Image Credit: Karolina Grabowska; Pexels; Thank you!