When your firm invests time and resources into marketing, you should also invest time into creating a marketing calendar. The calendar is a document that maps out the dates (by calendar year) of when your firm's marketing efforts will be carried out. A well-defined marketing calendar will serve as a valuable tool to help your firm stay organized and consistent. It is a living document that you should revise and update as there are changes throughout the year.
Let's look at a few of the benefits to having a marketing calendar.
Who on your team is doing what?
Creating a marketing calendar allows everyone on your team to see how their individual marketing efforts work together. Your calendar should include content titles for guides or books you are publishing, blog titles, paid advertising, speaking events, email marketing efforts, and any other direct marketing efforts that will help to acquire new business.
Given all of the different pieces of marketing that are incorporated into the calendar, many people may be involved in providing information that goes into it. One person should own the marketing calendar and update it on a continual basis to prevent errors and keep it structured. Once assembled, your calendar will begin to show the big picture of all marketing efforts and how they support each other. Developing your calendar to align with all of your marketing efforts will also allow you to see when a particular blog post topic should be selected to help support an upcoming speaking engagement; or for example, it can help you determine when to schedule paid advertising around an upcoming event.
What message is going to your audience?
Your marketing calendar often includes topics or headlines of content, products being pushed out, and any new messaging or message testing. These aspects of your calendar are often not organized anywhere else except in the marketing calendar and this information is very important to keep track of. Knowing what message will be in the marketplace when and through what marketing channel will help keep your campaign cohesive and controlled.
Your calendar also allows your firm to plan according to seasonality. You understand your audience and when, during the year, a particular message may resonate better than others. Listing holidays on your calendar provides a visual opportunity for when you should structure any holiday promotions or messaging.
How are you budgeting your resources?
Your marketing budget is no doubt a set number. This number should be identified on the marketing calendar in a column away from the actual content details. While your marketing calendar is not a budget spreadsheet, listing overall costs allocated for each marketing effort will provide you a quick glance at the investment over the year for each marketing channel.
Seeing the numbers laid out in this fashion also allows for quick edits to be made as you start to see performance of each marketing tactic. For example, as your marketing campaign unfolds, you may find email is your best performing tactic and you might want to bump up your email marketing frequency. But how many? When should they run?
With a budget column, you can easily "play with numbers", increasing email frequency and decreasing other tactics to remain within your overall marketing budget. All the while, you can see on the calendar, in which month or week marketing efforts decrease or increase as you change tactics and frequency.
Set Deadlines and Expectations
One of the best parts about having a marketing calendar is being able to see what's coming up next week or next month. If kept up-to-date, there should be no surprises for when blog posts are due or what day an email is going out. Keeping track of these dates is important to make sure you don't have too many overlapping deadlines. Spacing out marketing efforts often means deadlines will be spaced out too and your team can plan in advance when new ads or travel to speaking engagements are happening.
Your marketing calendar doesn't have to be elaborate but you should definitely have one. Taking the time upfront to create it early on will save you money and frustration later once you're in the heart of implementing your marketing efforts.
- Download Hinge's Content Marketing Guide for Professional Services Firms for more tips on creating content that builds credibility and demonstrates expertise.
- Better understand today's buyers with our How Buyers Buy Professional Services research report.
- Get a copy of our Online Marketing for Professional Services book to learn techniques that will generate more leads and increase awareness of your firm.
How Hinge Can Help
Hinge has developed a comprehensive plan, The Visible Firm℠ to address these issues and more. It is the leading marketing program for delivering greater visibility, growth, and profits. This customized program will identify the most practical offline and online marketing tools your firm will need to gain new clients and reach new heights.