Your Marketing Calendar That sound you hear is time passing. Whatever has happened during the year, you can make every month more productive by gearing up your a business plan. An important part of every business plan, and a good start at generating the appropriate mindset, is a marketing calendar. Too few travel consultants incorporate the use of a marketing calendar in their practice. Yet, without a marketing calendar, many opportunities for strong marketing efforts slip by either unnoticed or weakly implemented.
Effective marketing drives sales. Period. But to be effective over the long term, marketing cannot be haphazard or random. Planning a marketing strategy with a calendar in front of you will ensure firstly that you are incorporating a variety of marketing efforts into your plan and secondly that you are doing so in synch with your clients’ own planning.
Sit down with an annual calendar and mark these holidays and calendar events: Valentine’s Day, Spring Break, the beginning of Summer Vacation, Father’s Day, Canada Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and any other holidays or remembrances where the people of your community might have days off from work or might travel. Now, back up three months from each event and consider what marketing efforts you might initiate directed at those holiday opportunities.
Clients with children plan their spring and summer vacations several months in advance. Suggest a quick “get out of town” as a surprise Father’s Day trip for dad. What is the family doing for New Year’s this year? Consider how could you best time your marketing to take advantage of your clients’ own travel calendars.
Next, calendar the frequency of your most important client communications and begin to develop a calendar for the implementation of your tactics. When is your next newsletter going out? By when can you generate your next press release? When would be a good time to seek a speaking engagement? When is your next advertising campaign? Use your calendar to ensure that you have sufficient frequency and venues to stay top of mind and that your content for each is relevant to the seasonality. If you spend a couple of hours doing the exercise above, you will be on your way to a marketing plan for next year.
Exercise: Set aside time to sit down and begin to work on a marketing calendar, plotting when to market particular programs. If you have notes from years past, use them to gauge how well particular efforts might have worked and how well timed they were for the market. I like to work first with a paper calendar as it gives a good spatial sense of the elements of your marketing plan. Get yourself to Staples, buy a desk calendar and get to work (in pencil, because you will be erasing a lot)! Let’s begin with seasons and special holidays. For example, with July 4th vacation possibilities, you should begin marketing packages for the date in early March or April. Likewise, how will you market to clients with birthdays and anniversaries? When will you be marketing summer vacations, fall foilage and ski vacations?
Pencil in your SMART Goals now. If you have set 75 new clients as an objective, how many will you get in the first quarter? How many in the second, third and fourth?
Next, work through the tactics you have set out for yourself and pencil in the opportunities you can identify for each. If you do not have an opportunity readily apparent to assist in reaching your goals, start researching opportunites for each of your tactics and placing them on your marketing calendar.
Naturally, you will re-visit your calendar often in the year to make revisions for circumstances as they arise, but start thinking about your tactics and how you might schedule the following:
Group Leader Program
Calendars make your business plan real.
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