Tips for Creating an Annual Promotional Calendar
The end of the year means many things to many people, but for marketing professionals, it often means looking to the year ahead. Laying the foundation for a successful year begins early, especially when it comes to the promotion calendar.
Promotion calendars vary in complexity from one organization to the next. Some of them rely on popular holidays and routine sales events, while others include a lot of creativity and innovation. The more thought you put into your promotion calendar, the more effective it will be. So, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you plan for the upcoming year.
Create a Calendar that Works
Start with the strengths of your business, when you decide what types of promotions you will fund throughout the year. If mainstream holidays and weekend sales are your bread and butter, you’re going to want to make sure these promotions are planned out. If new trends and opportunities arise with each disruption of the marketplace, it might also help to think outside of the box.
Instill each promotion with the seasonality of your local region, and factor in changes like the start and finish of the school year or the semester at local colleges and universities. Decide when it might be beneficial to market your business in conjunction with an upcoming event, especially if the city or state will be home to a major national attraction, like the Super Bowl. Even special interest conferences may have some sway with your customers.
Whatever works best for the calendar days of your year, be sure to think of opportunities to stand out from the crowd. It could mean launching a unique campaign in line with customer interests, such as #OptOutside, or engaging influencers at an annual industry event, like New York Fashion Week.
Balance Promotions with Content
Content is king, and it’s still one of the biggest buzzwords in the world of business. As you plan your promotional calendar for the coming year, think about how your content will support it. Consider ways to give customers more value through content, and balance the needs of advertising with the demands of blogging and social media.
Plot out what types of content you will post, and highlight the channels you want to focus on. Then think about the different types of media that could make this content pop. Adding GIFs, graphic illustrations or videos could make your content stand out, but it will likely take more time and planning too.
Leave plenty of lead time to prepare a variety of content for your audience, and include these projects in the calendar too.
Get Ahead of the Competition
Take extra steps this year to make your promotion calendar competitive. Study what other businesses in your industry are doing, and look at where these brands are getting traction. Get up to date on industry trends, then put it all together. Come up with a concept that will blow away the competition in the coming year.
One way to get the innovative ideas flowing is to think about some of the largest companies in the world and some of the most admired. Ask your team how they think those companies would create a promotional calendar and see what ideas arise.
With a little bit of teamwork, you’ll come away with a robust promotion calendar for the next 12 months. You may even end up creating a marketing strategy that surprises you.