Running your own ecommerce business is hardly a walk in the park. Between balancing books and shipping stock, you probably don’t have a lot of time for much else.
As important as it is, smaller or new businesses can find that their lack of time makes for some pretty sporadic marketing. An email campaign here, a social post there – you’re far too busy for much else. But you know the value that marketing has for your business. Ecommerce runs on audiences and eyes. So how best to make time for marketing?
If you’re hoping to boost your marketing efforts, the first step is to get organised. Like a clean desk can pave the way for a productive day, a well planned marketing strategy is your surefire route to success. The best way to start? Create a marketing calendar.
The marketing calendar
Calendars are incredible tools. You probably have a Google or Microsoft one with all your important meetings and deadlines. You probably have one at home on the fridge with all the extended family’s birthdays. And you probably even have one on the back of the bathroom door so you at least have some kittens to look at when you forget to bring your phone.
So why not bring the magic of calendars to your marketing?
Marketing calendars don’t have to be complicated. You just need to mark down the dates on your calendar that you want to target with sales or promotions (Christmas, Black Friday, Easter, etc), and then fill out the gaps in between with some regular, branded content. It’s a simple idea – but by keeping this record, you’ll notice a few great advantages:
- It keeps your marketing organised – ergo; easier to manage
- It helps you remain consistent (creating a schedule helps keep your posts and touchpoints regular)
- It ensures you never miss an important event or sales opportunity
- It gives you a better vantage point from which to evaluate your marketing from
So what should you include in yours? How do you map out a winning calendar?
Step 1: the big dates
Start by mapping out all of your biggest sales events.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two particularly big dates for ecommerce that you’ll definitely want to make the most out of. Then there’s Christmas, End of Financial Year, Easter, Halloween, New Year, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s and Father’s Day – a veritable smorgasbord of commercial opportunities to take advantage of.
Mark these down on your calendar, and jot down a rough plan of attack. You don’t have to plan your campaign completely – save the majority of the work for closer to the date. Your marketing calendar is a schedule more than anything else.
Step 2: your sales opportunities
Depending on what market you’re in, you’re going to have a lot of industry-specific opportunities you‘ll want to include in your calendar too.
Wedding season? Back to school sales? If your market booms at certain times of the year, make sure you have a few marketing campaigns planned to get the most out of that increased activity!
Step 3: the inbetweens
Now that you have your big dates marked and ready, it’s time fill in the gaps. You don’t want huge valleys of silence – but you don’t want too much content either. Find a nice middle ground (say, a social post every other day and an email campaign once a week), and set yourself some reminders. We wouldn’t recommend trying to plan these in advance, as they should remain relevant and up to date.
Consider posting your latest blog, a nice photo from around the office, or a exciting new product you’ve just had arrive at your warehouse.
Step 4: deadlines, estimates and assigning tasks
Last but not least; the fun stuff… Admin!
Now that you have a nice, well populated marketing calendar ready to go, it’s time to start dishing out responsibility. If you’re a one-person show, this shouldn’t be too difficult – unless you decide to outsource to an agency, it’s all on you unfortunately. If you have a larger team, decide who should look after what, and let them know what the expectations are.
Deadlines and estimates are also extremely handy. These will help give you a better understanding of how long each task should take, when you can expect them to be finished, and who has how much work on at any given time.
When all that is finished, congratulations! You’ve got yourself a marketing calendar. You should find it far easier to keep on top of your marketing efforts, and your output will be far less sporadic.
Author: Simon Byrne