A Marketer’s Guide to Building Effective Promotional Calendars

Majority of businesses rely on observances for their promotional activities. Yet, we’ve all seen an event or holiday pass by or not utilized to its full potential due to lack of preparation. These missed observances were opportunities that could have been used to give a boost to your sales.

That’s why every business needs a promotional calendar. They help you:

  • Plan event and season-related promotions well in advance.
  • Prepare a detailed sales budget.
  • Keep promotions on different channels in sync with each other.
  • Remember to send out marketing communications to customers.

What Exactly is a Promotional Calendar?

As the name suggests, a promotional calendar is an organized record of every holiday or event that your promotions are tied to. It will help you run successful promotions by helping you plan, summarize, and coordinate your promotional activities over the year in a timely manner. Moreover, it’s a remarkably convenient way to glance through your entire promotional plan.

Things to Include in Your Promotional Calendar

There’s no end to the things you can include in your promotional calendar — past performance, backup plans, social media activities, and so on. However, there are some elements that you simply cannot do without.

We consider the following as must-haves on our promotional calendar:

1. Holidays and Events

There are plenty of holidays and events every year but not every one of them will be relevant to your business. You can categorize holidays as major, minor, and seasons. Offer appropriate discounts, perks, or free giveaways for these holidays and events.

  • Major Holidays

Festivities like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and New Year’s fall into this category. These are a given for every business as they are some of the biggest holidays in America.  In 2013, the retail industry generated over $3 trillion over the Christmas holidays! So, make sure to keep a lion’s share of your budget for promotions around these holidays.

  • Minor or Local Holidays/Events

This category features holidays and events like Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, Mother’s/Father’s Day, and World Coffee Day. These themed holidays may not be celebrated on a large scale but they can be used for promotions if they are relevant to your business. If the event is not directly related to your product or service, you can still use it to generate goodwill and increase brand awareness. Appreciation months and awareness days/weeks are the best observances for these purposes.

  • Seasons

Seasons offer lucrative promotional event opportunities, especially for B2C e-commerce and apparel businesses. For example, running a sale on warm clothing for winter would help you attract more customers. Similarly, end of summer is a great time for back-to-school products.

2. New Product Releases

If you’re planning to release a new product, make sure that the day of launch is marked on your promotional calendar. This will remind you to build hype around the launch and generate interest for your new offering.

3. Promotions

Once you’re done incorporating all the events that would impact your promotions, start noting down the start and end dates for your campaigns. You can also include the number of days your social media ads will be running. This will help you cross-check with sales data to keep a record of the efficacy of your promotions.

With these tips, you can create a promotional calendar that will help you amplify your promotional efforts and ensure that you are always prepared for an event or holiday.

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