Setting up your content calendar for the year is an exciting task but can seem daunting. This is the time to get an overview of what your content will be and how it will push your company to meet its goals by the end of the year. A promotional calendar is perfect for keeping all of your promotions, holiday marketing and events, upcoming sales, company wide events, and product launches all organized.
Brandmovers has years of experience when it comes to designing, building, and executing promotion campaigns, and we've identified some tips for planning out a year of promotional activity. Here is a quick guide to help you get started on your own promotional calendar!
Define your goals
Before you can plan out your promotions you need to determine what you want your year-end results to be. Goals will differ depending on your industry and company size but your goals should have attainable progress points throughout the year. Some example goals could be:
- Increase customer engagement on social channels
- Reduce customer churn and grow customer retention
- Increase website traffic
- Acquire more high-quality customer leads
Once your team has established what your goals are, you can start determining which types of promotions are the best choice to run throughout the year to held you achieve the results you want.
Plan Out A Timeline
It’s important to plan out a timeline in advance detailing all the major promotions happening and when to give your team a sense of organization and structure for the year. If you're running a new type of promotion for the first time it can be difficult to know exactly how long each segment of the large project will take. The easiest thing is to start with a rough estimated time frame for each phase and then as you get more involved in the project you can break down exact deliverable dates more accordingly. Be sure to give yourself wiggle room where you think you'll need it, such as during the creative phase or getting legal approval!
Being able to see this timeline will also allow you to see where your budget is going and better allocate your marketing funds. This timeline is useful to see how you're spreading out your promotions month by month; you can ensure you give customers a breather in between rather than launching each one back-to-back which risks losing customer interest and lower participation.
Determine In Advance Which Holidays Or Seasons Are Most Relevant To Your Brand And Audience
Holidays are the perfect time to run a promotion. There are the major holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.) at the end of the calendar year that bring in an influx of revenue due to customers' online shopping and utilizing the deals that go along with that season. However, you don’t have to wait for EOY to run a promotion. Consider your brand, products, and customer base; what different holidays or times of the year could you build a promotion around? A key part of what makes a promotion strong and well-performing is connecting the theme and timeframe of a promotion to your brand and products in a way that makes sense: for example, it makes much more sense to run a promotion centered on outdoor grilling in the summer months than in the winter.
Look into unique holidays or large events that could target a large portion of your audience. Here are some ideas:
- Super Bowl - Sporting events are a fun and relatively easy way to connect with customers. For major events like the National Football Championship you can run a promotion where customers are entered to win when they submit a social post or a photo supporting the team they want to see take home the title!
- Arbor Day/ Earth Day - These "green" holidays are good opportunities for your brand to promote shared values such as environmental sustainability and renewable energy initiatives. You can host a sweepstakes or contest allowing customers sharing how they support the environment for a chance to win a prize!
- World Book Day - Reward your readers with a receipt validation promotion when they purchase a book! All they have to do is purchase a book on this day, snap a photo of their receipt and upload it for the chance to win a special prize!
Your brand doesn't even need to use mainstream holiday - you can create your own! World Nutella Day video contest was a promotion featuring a holiday created by the fans themselves. These types of UGC promotions are the perfect way to give fans a platform to share why they love and support their favorite brand!
These examples show why you don’t need to wait for a “major” holiday to run a promotion. There are dozens of opportunities to sprinkle in promotions throughout the year to keep your members engaged!
Consistently Monitor & Update Your Calendar As Needed
Once you put all of your planned content and promotions into the calendar, don't assume this means everything is set in stone and can’t be changed. Roadblocks happen and priorities change throughout the year, so it’s important to remember that this is just a guideline and it can be altered if need be. If one of your promotion campaigns performs poorly at the beginning of the year, you don't want to blindly run a similar promotion later just because it's on the schedule. Give yourself room to make adjustments or improvements based on factors such as performance data or customer/employee feedback. Consistently reviewing your calendar with your team is crucial in making sure that everything is executing smoothly. If it feels like a certain promotion should be bumped up or altered, having these reviews will allow your team to do that with minimal interruptions.
Whether your program is only running one promotion through the year or one every month, having a promotional calendar will help you stay on track of your goals and analytics. Start setting up your promotional calendar today and start seeing a change in your program!