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Published December 15, 2022
A weekly look at issues facing Wyoming business owners and entrepreneurs from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Paul Johnson, associate state director, Wyoming SBDC Network
Small-business owners obviously wear many hats in their operations. In most cases, they likely wear all of the hats.
Creating and implementing a sustained strategic marketing effort are difficult tasks for any organization, but the tasks become nearly unapproachable for many small businesses. Social media posts and other promotional efforts are often done on the fly; when there is actually time available; or may simply be ignored for extended periods of time.
Small-business owners can up their marketing games significantly by adopting an approach most larger organizations employ: a marketing calendar. A marketing calendar can be used to plan in advance, and it contains all of the marketing approaches small-business owners plan to use over time. Small-business owners might put together a weekly, monthly or annual calendar to guide their activities.
A marketing calendar can be as simple as populating the online calendar with the marketing activities a small business plans to roll out over time. The plan can include making a social media post on the first and 15th of the month. Small businesses can plan their holiday promotions in July and have them in place when the season rolls around. In January, small businesses can preplan a new customer acquisition program for the spring so that all of the tasks needed to complete the program are in place when the time to launch comes around. A marketing calendar becomes a roadmap that helps small businesses avoid scrambling at the last minute to produce content.
Small businesses that use a calendar to plan their marketing activities have four key advantages. They are:
-- Strategic: Instead of small businesses making things up as they go along, small businesses can plan a time to map out a strategic plan of activities and efforts. Small businesses can place those all on the calendar and approach their marketing efforts as an ongoing story they can tell their customers.
-- Consistent: Stale web content and inconsistent social media posting are battles many small businesses face. When those tasks are on the calendar and small businesses can stick to doing them, their customers hear a consistent message.
-- Organized: Just like setting up an accounting system properly, planning marketing activities may not be the most glamorous task. But both pay off in the long run by keeping small businesses organized. Feeling disorganized can be a huge stress factor. Biting the bullet and planning marketing efforts are ways for small businesses to relieve that stress.
-- Flexible: Just because small businesses put it on a calendar doesn’t mean they are completely committed to a task. Opportunities change, things come up, and small-business owners may change their minds in May about something they planned to do in January. When small businesses have a calendar of activities set up, the pieces can always be moved, altered or deleted.
I’ve been talking in the abstract here about the concept of a marketing calendar. You’re probably asking questions like, “Well, what should a marketing calendar look like?,” and “What kinds of things should I consider including?”
Every person’s personal style and needs are different when it comes to building and implementing a marketing calendar. I would suggest firing up your favorite search engine and plugging in “marketing calendar” or “implementing a marketing calendar” into the search box. You’ll find more guidance than I could ever give on the subject and plenty of examples. As with most business-related efforts, the most difficult challenge is getting started. But, in this case, doing so will likely result in fewer headaches and greater profits.
For more marketing tips or advising on any business topic, small-business owners can contact their local Wyoming SBDC Network advisers at www.wyomingsbdc.org. All Wyoming SBDC Network services are completely confidential and offered at no cost to Wyoming residents.
The Wyoming SBDC Network offers no-cost advising and technical assistance to help Wyoming entrepreneurs think about, launch, grow, reinvent or exit their business. In 2021, the Wyoming SBDC Network helped Wyoming entrepreneurs start 80 new businesses; support 4,077 jobs; and bring a capital impact of $9.2 million to the state. The Wyoming SBDC Network is hosted by UW with state funds from the Wyoming Business Council and funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or write Dept. 3922, 1000 E. University Ave., Laramie, WY 82071-3922.