Let’s face it, if you own a small business, there’s probably more to do than time in the day, week or month, right?

Smart Time AppThe key is to get good at doing the high payoff items and planning for what needs to be done when. Prioritizing is how you make decision making easy and help everyone stay focused on the tasks that produce wins.

One of the foundational elements of the Duct Tape Marketing System is the idea of living by the marketing calendar. If you take the time to identify what it is you think you want to do with your marketing and then commit it to an annual calendar, it’s more likely that you will actually get to it on a consistent basis.

There’s something very powerful about the visual reminder that you’ve committed to producing a press release every month for example.

While many people are familiar with the idea of a marketing calendar, few actually live by it.

Over the years I’ve also trained business owners to use the marketing calendar in another very powerful way. Quite often there are projects that are identified during the planning process that simply can’t be accomplished with the resources available today.

One of the most powerful things you can add to your calendar routine is monthly themes around foundational marketing projects so you break them up and spread them out over the course of a year. So, February becomes “start a blog month” and March is “start an enewsletter” and so on. This way you don’t get overwhelmed and at the end of six months you look up and you’ve accomplished a great deal.

Here’s how the marketing calendar process works:

Step 1 – Create a monthly calendar in Excel or Google Docs. Break the columns into weeks so you can plan in that space. Down the left side add categories for all of the major chunks of your marketing. At the very least this would include Advertising, Public Relations, Referrals, Social Media, SEO, Content, Events and Your Monthly Theme.

Step 2 – Choose a monthly theme and put that across the top near the name of the month.

Step 3 – Fill in all of the planned activities that you can by either describing them or putting an X in for routine activity like a weekly blog post or Facebook update.

This is an example of how to set you calendar up

Download the Spreadsheet

Once you lay it all out on the calendar you’ve also got to break it down into weekly and daily action steps and assign tasks accordingly.

Sometimes that means assigning yourself a bunch of tasks. You can do this by creating different daily calendars in Outlook or Google Calendar and creating color coding that allows you to focus on assigning tasks for different topics and then having a visual display of your day’s focus on multiple areas of marketing.

Another innovate calendar tool for the iPhone and iPad actually looks at your day and helps you schedule activities as it learns what you need to do. – Smart Time

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • Hey John can u publish that google doc so we can see it please.

  • I actually use this method for planning by week and day but i like the idea of breaking it down further into time slots for when to publish blog post, when to tweet, when to check stats, crazy but i’m happier using an excel sheet than a calendar program!

    • Not so crazy – several hundred people downloaded my spreadsheet today

  • i like the concept of shattering it down farther into time slots for when to release blog mail, when to tweet,

  • Definitely helps me with my theme of 2011, taking CONTROL. Thanks so much John!

  • Proper planning and organizing always does the trick for me. I find that I am more motivated to accomplish tasks when I follow a schedule with clearly defined deadlines.

  • Getting stuff out of your head and on to paper or pixel is huge!!!

    It takes a tremendous amount of unnecessary pressure of your mind knowing that everything you’d like to do for your marketing is scripted and laid out and you don’t have to remember it because it’s already a prisoner to your calendar.

    This seems minor but it’s a HUGE benefit to free up your focus to be completely immersed in the activity you’re doing at the moment.

    Thank you so much John for posting this step by step guide to making this happen! I appreciate it. Also gotta give you props for jumping into the Quora pond. I’m hearing great things about it! 🙂

  • Suzanne

    An alternative is using Google’s free calendar that can be integrated with your Google documents. I have written about cleaning business planning on my blog – http://www.start-cleaning-business.com/business-plan-for-cleaning-business.html