Fall is well under way and that means budget planning and sales projections for 2017 is likely right at the top of your agenda. Marketing can be one of the most difficult segments of your budget to plan because it’s critical to business growth, yet it’s difficult to anticipate what your ROI will be. Plan your budget more accurately and nail your 2017 sales goals by investing a little time into creating a marketing calendar.

Improve your Focus and Maximize Success with a Marketing Calendar

While it may seem like you don’t have the time to work on creating a calendar for marketing for the whole year ahead, it takes less time than you would think and sets the course to save you significant time and money later.

A well-planned calendar is like a marketing road map that will guide you through 2017! Keeping your business in front of your target audience is how you generate new sales, so with your business goals in mind and a solid marketing strategy in place, you can focus on implementing your plan and maximizing your success. If you have not previously developed a calendar for your marketing strategy, here are some great tips to get you started:

1. Review analytics from previous years.

Your analytics are an extremely valuable resource in helping plan your marketing strategy for 2017. You’ll want to look at which months or seasons perform best for your business and which are your slower periods. Review what marketing efforts met or exceeded your set goals as well as when the efforts were put forth for your more successful campaigns. Using all of this data, you can determine when in 2017 you will have to allow for more aggressive marketing and when regular updates to your online platforms are all that’s required.

2. Set SMART goals for the periods you identified in step one.

For the times you identified as needing a bigger marketing push, set SMART goals that you will strive to achieve through your efforts. Through establishing your goals, you will be able to estimate your marketing budget as well as plan ahead for all the moving parts you need for your campaigns to be a great success.

3. Do some basic content planning.

We say basic here because, at this point, it is not necessary to determine exact titles, the frequency of your posts or exactly what form of content you will use, but the more detail you can put together, the more accurate your calendar and budget will be. Try to include a good guesstimate of how many landing pages each campaign will need, how many blog posts and a targeted amount you will be willing to pay for paid ads. For your periods that you feel do not need aggressive marketing, you should still estimate regular blog posts and social media updates, so you are providing fresh content on a consistent basis.

4. Collate all of your findings.

In the first three steps, you gathered all of the information you need to create a results-oriented marketing calendar that will help you budget more accurately and nail your sales goals! Whether you use a calendar that you are currently comfortable with or a template provided by our HubSpot partners, now you just simply plug in your campaigns, goals, and content ideas so you can review them quickly and easily. You may find a monthly calendar format works best if you plan on running campaigns regularly, or if your business is highly seasonal, break it down to best suit your needs.