6 steps to building a marketing calendar for your e-commerce business

One of the most powerful ways to achieve your e-commerce business goals is by strategic marketing planning in one place. Learn everything you need to know about creating your marketing calendar and making it act as a roadmap to your e-commerce business.

Ryan Yee
building the marketing calendar for your small business

Ryan Yee is an award-winning copywriter, with 20+ years of experience working alongside major US brands, emerging start-ups, and leading tech enterprises. His copy has helped companies in the B2B marketing, education, and software sectors reach new customer bases and enjoy improved results. Find out more on his LinkedIn profile.

Strategic planning in modern e-commerce

The world of e-commerce is very fast-paced and it can be easy to fall behind the curve if you become disorganized and unstructured.

Strategic planning for your marketing is key to staying ahead of the competition and achieving your business goals.

One of the most powerful ways in which strategic planning can achieve marketing success is through the use of an effective, well-structured marketing calendar, which acts as a roadmap for marketing campaigns and will contribute to an organized and focused business plan.

Strategic planning in modern small e-commerce shop

This is a strategic planning tool that helps businesses structure their marketing activities over a specific period, normally a year.

Marketing calendars can take a variety of forms but they usually include a visual and written representation of upcoming marketing events, including campaigns, product launches, or other marketing initiatives.

Whether you are a small business internet phone service provider or an international advertising company, marketing calendars are an essential tool for planning marketing projects because they ensure that all team members are on the same page and are accountable.

A marketing calendar proves especially useful to teams with multiple campaigns as it provides a centralized space to plan, track, and analyze progress.

Six steps in building your marketing calendar

You wouldn’t want to miss a golden opportunity to promote your brand throughout the year. Follow our step-by-step guide for creating a marketing calendar that will benefit the entire team and keep you ahead of the curve.

The 26th day on a calendar designed for your E-commerce business

Step 1: Define your marketing goals

The first step in creating an effective marketing calendar is to ensure you have set out some clear and specific goals. 

This means that you should understand what each marketing campaign wants to achieve and how this is relevant to your overall business strategy.

“Make sure that you have set out some clear and specific goals.”

Lay out all of your goals and objectives for each campaign and ask the following questions:

  • Is this goal easily measurable?
  • Is it realistically achievable?
  • Is it relevant to the needs of the business?
  • Is the goal time-bound?

Establishing watertight objectives that complement your business’s needs will give you a solid foundation for creating an effective marketing calendar.

Step 2: Choose the right time frame

Another important consideration that will determine the success of the calendar is the time frame over which your marketing activities will occur.

“Smaller calendar time frames, such as quarterly or monthly, are equally popular as they allow companies to be far more flexible in their responses to market changes.”

A lot of businesses like to adopt a yearly marketing calendar so that they have a lot of time to plan. This works well for larger campaigns that require a longer lead time, such as holiday marketing ideas.

That said, smaller calendar time frames, such as quarterly or monthly, are equally popular as they allow companies to be far more flexible in their responses to market changes.

Step 3: Select your marketing channels

There are many different platforms you can use to market your product or service, and choosing the right channel that will allow you to resonate with your target audience and your company’s identity is very important.

“Fewer channels sometimes provide better visibility.”

Options range from social media to email marketing, or from content marketing to paid advertising. Often, though, businesses will use a combination of all of these to yield the best results in their e-commerce sales.

If your business has the resources, then a multi-channel presence is usually recommended to improve customer reach. That said, fewer channels sometimes provide better visibility and allow your business to focus on delivering higher-quality content.

choose your marketing channels for your business

Step 4: Embrace flexibility

While one of the main benefits of a marketing calendar is the structure it provides, it is important to allow for flexibility.

In e-commerce especially, there are many unexpected changes and opportunities in the market that appear without much warning. Your calendar should thus be adaptable so that it is possible to accommodate any changes that might benefit the growth of your business.

Such modifications might include having a backup plan for any larger marketing campaigns or allowing for flexible deadlines to accommodate changes in strategy. An effective tactic is to prepare alternative or supplementary content that can be swapped in if needed.

“Your calendar should thus be adaptable so that it is possible to accommodate any changes that might benefit the growth of your business.”

Step 5: Identify your campaign types

It’s helpful to organize your marketing activities into campaign types based on the objectives detailed in Step 1 above.

Whatever these include, be they product launches, awareness campaigns, or promotions, each campaign type should revolve around a core theme. This will provide a consistent message across all types of marketing platforms and create a cohesive and engaging brand experience for your customers.

“Each campaign type should revolve around a core theme.”

Step 6: Prioritize and execute

Using a tier-based system, your business should assign levels of importance to each campaign so that you can prioritize resources accordingly.

For example, Tier 1 campaigns might be those that are critical to your brand and receive full team involvement, while Tier 2 and 3 campaigns may require fewer resources and team involvement.

Two marketing professionals, prioritizing marketing goals for the business

“Your business should assign levels of importance to each campaign so that you can prioritize resources accordingly.”

A tier-based system will ensure that your business focuses its efforts on the most impactful marketing activities.

Final thoughts

By following these six steps you will be able to construct a marketing calendar that elevates the marketing strategy of your e-commerce store.

From choosing clear marketing goals to prioritizing your resources and team involvement, the resulting marketing calendar will be a roadmap to success.

It will become an invaluable tool to ensure your team delivers targeted and impactful campaigns that will allow your brand to succeed amid intense competition.

*The purpose of this page is solely to provide information and should not be considered as financial advice.
**Melio does not provide legal, tax or accounting advice; you should consult a professional advisor before making any financial decisions.