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How To Create A Marketing Calendar for 2018

By Katie Nisbet

When people ask me when they should dust off their marketing calendar and start planning their Christmas campaign, I tell them “last month.” It’s not a joke.

It’s difficult to know when you should start planning and running your Facebook Ad campaigns for any big event, whether that’s Christmas, Valentine’s day, or even some obscure event like National Secretary’s Day (which is April 27th next year, for the record).

And yet planning, preparing, and being ready is an essential part of beating out your competitors and getting those sales.

Developing a marketing calendar guarantees that you don’t miss any important opportunities. We want to make sure that you’ll never miss your chance to crush a holiday sale ever again.

In this post, we’re going to go over when to start preparing your social media marketing calendar. Learn when to run your Facebook Ad campaign for every major holiday, and highlight some smaller holidays you can use to benefit your marketing campaigns.

You’ll know how and when to run your campaigns, and you can download our complete marketing calendar so you’ll always be ready.

Why Do I Need a Marketing Calendar?

So why do you need to plan for holidays so early? This is one of the first things that you’ll notice when you take a look at our marketing calendar, so let’s go ahead and address it now.

Campaign planning starts early. You should have a nearly-full social media calendar compiled in advance for big holidays. This way, nothing sneaks up on you, you know you have every base covered, and you can coordinate organic campaigns with Facebook Ads if you choose. This can give you more time to evaluate your audience and see what types of content they’re responding to, and which offers you think would be most interesting to them.

You should also have your campaigns planned, prepped, and ready to go. It’s no secret that planning Facebook Ads can take awhile. You need to choose your images, create your offer, and do all the copywriting. And then come up with additional variations for split testing.

Plugging the campaigns into software and double checking everything takes a bit of time (even withAdEspresso‘s exceptionally easy-to-use software), and if your ads get bounced back to you and rejected, you want time to fix them. The last thing you want is to start running your campaigns a few days before Black Friday only for them to be rejected by Facebook, and you’re losing crucial selling hours over something that could have been avoided.

Preparing a marketing calendar also gives you time to make sure that you have enough product in stock, that you’ve crunched the numbers on the discounts to make sure you’re still turning a profit, and that you’ve done your research about when the shipping will actually guarantee arrival.

You want to have everything in place, especially since during a big event, the last thing you want to do is try to scrounge together marketing materials that should have been done ages ago.

Key Shopping Dates & When to Prepare

This is what we really want to get to, right? We want to know what the biggest shopping days of the year are, and when we need to start to get ready so we can add them to our marketing calendar.

The biggest shopping events (for most industries) are:

  • New Years Eve
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Mother’s Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • 4th of July
  • Back to school sales (July/August)
  • Labor Day
  • Halloween
  • Black Friday
  • Cyber Monday
  • December 12th- December 24th (ramping up for Christmas and Hanukkah)

It’s easy to look at that list and think “well that’s manageable.” But then when you consider that you have to plan those campaigns at least one month in advance- and sometimes several- it becomes a lot more stressful.

This is particularly true around the end-of-year holiday season; 47% of users start thinking about holiday gifts before November, and social media usage will increase from early October to New Year’s, when it will finally peak.

We wanted to demystify the process.

Below, you’ll find our marketing calendar, which tells you when and how you need to start preparing for all the different major holiday sales events.

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