From National Avocado Day to Get to Know Your Customers Day, holidays are the perfect opportunity to have some fun and get creative with your marketing.
Before you bust out the decorations and discounts, consider which holidays best serve the interests of your business and the needs of your customers. For example, National IPA Day would be an awesome opportunity to drum up business for a brewery. National Nail Polish Day, not so much. A marketing calendar helps take the stress out of planning by easily identifying these dates and opportunities.
Below, you’ll find our 12-month marketing calendar (in monthly and list formats), which highlights the 2019 milestones to plan and prepare for. Download and save it to start your planning for next year.
When to Prepare for Holidays
Give yourself plenty of time to work holidays into your marketing schedule and calendar. Generally, you should have a strategy and plan in place at least one to two months before the holiday. For bigger shopping holidays, like Black Friday and Christmas, planning time can increase anywhere from six months to a year prior.
While the amount of time depends on your business size and marketing bandwidth, always err on the side of planning further in advance. This way, you have flexibility if something unexpected pops up.
It’s helpful to assess your sales, profitability, margins, and customer satisfaction after a holiday wraps. Evaluate what went well or what didn’t to gauge how you can excite and surprise your current and potential customers the next time around.
Key Shopping Dates to Keep in Mind
While there are many smaller, obscure events to celebrate, such as National Taco Day or National Selfie Day, major consumer shopping dates should be prioritized. Frame your campaigns around these dates first to capitalize on sales opportunities, then work the smaller dates in as you can.
January: New Year’s Eve
February: Valentine’s Day, Presidents Day
May: Mother’s Day, Memorial Day
June: Father’s Day
July: 4th of July
July/August: Back to School
September: Labor Day
November: Black Friday, Thanksgiving
December: Cyber Monday, Christmas, Hanukkah
How to Use a Marketing Calendar
Think of your marketing calendar as a road map to keep you on track over a 12-month period. It should spell out the specific promotions and events you are planning for each holiday. A marketing calendar can include:
Direct Mail Marketing
Displays or Signage
Social Media Campaigns
Spread your content across both digital and offline marketing channels. While there are many holidays listed in our calendar, include only what makes sense for your business. A marketing calendar gives you the flexibility and freedom to test and gauge your results throughout the campaign or season, so you can make changes as needed.
Tailor your participation in each holiday to benefit your current customers and draw in potential customers. A social media promotion is a great way to get involved in the more obscure events. Don’t be afraid to use humor and have fun, such as running a social media giveaway to your followers on National Give Something Away Day.
Use sentimental holidays such a Father’s Day as an opportunity to humanize your brand by sharing a story, helpful advice or even a memory with your customers.
Don’t Discount Your Slow Season
Regardless of what time of year your slow season lands, it’s a great opportunity to promote and keep your business in front of customers. This way, when it does come time to make a purchase, you’ll be fresh in their minds.
Slow months also give you a chance to play catch up, prep for peak seasons and look for ways to offer better value and improve your customer experience.
Create Your Own Holiday
While it’s important to tie your promotions to the major and minor holidays, keep in mind that you will be competing with every other business during this time. Instead, think outside the box and create your very own holiday.
American Express did this with Small Business Saturday®, which takes place the Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as a way to encourage consumers to shop locally. The global service company even delivers free branded marketing packages to small businesses to encourage participation.
Amazon.com boasts its own holiday too. The online retailer generates buzz every July with Prime Day, which offers Prime members great deals and discounts on both Amazon and merchant products.
Remember that your business is unique. Adapt your marketing calendar to fit your business needs so you can cater each promotion to your specific customer. The goal of crafting a marketing calendar is to create results. With a road map to planning, it takes away the guesswork and you will have better success in generating the results you want.