Learning Center

Using our free 2017 marketing calendar

In late 2015, we created a free marketing calendar to help small businesses plan their upcoming marketing year more effectively. That page became one of the most popular on our entire site – clearly, the calendar filled a need! As 2016 draws to a close, we’re delighted to provide an update to this useful tool.


Download the marketing calendar.

First, the basics — here’s why using a calendar can be useful.

  • Benefits of scheduling – Having a calendar helps keep your team on-track, and anticipate where assistance might be needed.
  • Historical data – the calendar will preserve a record of your marketing for future use. You may think you’ll remember, but often you don’t – or at least, not in detail.
  • Major areas of impact — these include social media planning, content marketing, and working with your team. It’s much easier to comprehensively plan and execute your marketing if it’s planned.

podcast-graphic-marketing-calendar

Things to consider as you embark on the project

  • What is your 2017 marketing budget, and how are you going to utilize it? What do you anticipate? What does your marketing plan indicate? What priorities do you have?
  • Have you consulted our list of marketing outlets to brainstorm new ideas? Take a look through our list of marketing channels. Is there anything new you’d like to consider?
  • If a major marketing project is on your list (such as a new website, updated collateral, etc.), what kind of timeline do you anticipate for getting it done? Start from when you want it finished, and work backwards from there. Do you need a consultant, marketing agency or freelancer for this project? Do you know who you’ll use? If so, perhaps you should call that person soon to get your project on their calendar, too – if not, maybe it’s time to start doing research now.

How to use the calendar

  • What can you learn from your 2016 marketing year? If you don’t have a marketing calendar from last year to consult, create a page of notes from what you remember from your marketing in 2016. What worked and what didn’t?
  • Do you have a marketing plan? If not, take a step back and consult an earlier podcast, 5 steps to a simple marketing plan.
  • A good way to start is to have a meeting with all staff involved in marketing to gather input and brainstorm, and get people bought into the calendar idea. Continue to meet throughout the year to track your progress and assign tasks as needed.
  • Fill in a whole year of key dates for things you know for sure will happen – such as seasonal promotions and other major yearly events specific to your business.
  • Don’t work too far ahead for minor stuff, as plans can and do change frequently. Aim for details in the next three or four months; beyond that, keep the outline broad.
  • Revisit the calendar each month to add detail. Meet with your team from time to time to make sure you stay on track, and to make sure everything that should be on the calendar is added.
  • Track your goals! Take the time to jot in a few notes about results from initiatives, key things you’ve learned – what worked and what didn’t. Remember, you’re also creating a historical record of your marketing.
  • Balance across active media. In other words, make sure you let your key customers know via email or social media about special promotions, before the ad campaign runs.

What’s new in this year’s edition

We tweaked the 2016 calendar slightly in an effort to make it easier to use. Changes are:

  • The calendar is adjusted to print more easily. One page will be your calendar grid, with a list of deadlines and important notes on the following page.
  • Note-taking areas are simplified. Simpler is better!
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