Your guide to using the Promotions Calendar Template & Idea Banks
One of the greatest challenges that any promotions program faces is the planning process, from brainstorming to targeting the right audiences to aligning with holidays and existing programming or sales initiatives.
This is where our promotions calendar template comes in.
Our free Excel template is designed to make it easier for you to quickly develop a year-long promotions strategy that will generate revenue, build your audience, and grow your email database. Download the template (and the accompanying idea banks) to get inspired, get organized, and get on track for an entire year of promotions.
Here’s a look at all of the sections involved in the template so you can take advantage of its full planning potential.
STEP 1: BRAINSTORM
The Brainstorm Sheet includes columns for all of the various factors you should consider before you start planning. We have filled in some of the calendar with suggestions, but feel free to change it around to better suit your market.
Here’s a guide to what each of the columns on the brainstorm sheet refer to:
Seasons & Holidays: We have filled in this section with the major holidays, but you can add any additional holidays that are celebrated in your market.
Local Events: This section should include all of the special events that happen in your market, like outdoor festivals, sporting events, and state or county fairs.
Internal Initiatives: Fill in this column with any internal initiatives that your property runs, such as a print special section or issue, a marketing event like a Best Of awards ceremony, or special programming that you produce.
Sales – Categories: For this column, think about broad business categories that you want to grow, like Automotive, Financial, or Healthcare.
Sales – Advertisers: This should be a list of specific advertisers in your market that you would like to target.
Top Performers: We have filled in this section with the top promotion ideas you should seriously consider adding to your calendar, as they have been extremely popular with audiences in all markets.
STEP 2: CREATE YOUR CALENDAR
To create your promotions calendar, start by moving over the best ideas from each month from the brainstorm sheet, and then come up with promotion recommendations, goals that you hope to achieve, and revenue targets for each one. We have filled in some of the calendar with suggestions, but feel free to change it around to better suit your market.
Here’s a guide to what each of the columns on the calendar refer to:
Ideas: Pull out the best ideas from your brainstorm sheet and add them to this list. Realistically, there won’t be time to do everything, so focus on the ideas that will best help you achieve your goals and align well across departments.
Contest Recommendation: Come up with a contest that relates to an idea in the first column that will help you achieve at least one major goal.
Ballot Recommendation: Come up with a ballot that relates to an idea in the first column that will help you achieve at least one major goal.
Ecommerce Recommendation: Come up with an ecommerce promotion (think deals, cards, stores, and more) that relates to an idea in the first column that will help you achieve at least one major goal.
Goals: Once you have made your recommendations, list out the goals that the promotions will help you achieve, whether they be revenue growth, audience growth, or database growth. Be sure to vary your promotions mix in order to achieve as many of your goals as possible!
Revenue Target: In this column, list the amount of revenue you hope to generate with the promotions listed in that row. The numbers listed on our sample calendar are for a mid-size market, so be sure to scale up or down accordingly.
To help kickstart your brainstorming and get you started thinking about promotions you can use to fill in your own calendar, we have included sheets with plenty of ideas for both seasonal and evergreen contests, ballots, and deals.
Contest Idea Bank: You can find contest ideas in the evergreen, sweepstakes, sports, awards show, and holiday categories in this sheet, as well as links to additional resources.
Ballot Idea Bank: You can find both evergreen and seasonal niche ballot ideas in this sheet, as well as category templates for several ballot themes and links to additional resources.
Deals Idea Bank: You can find deals store, deal card, and promotional credit ideas in this sheet, as well as links to additional resources on the Promotions Lab.
Keep in mind that all of the blue text in this section is a link to additional resources and tips!
BLANK BRAINSTORM SHEET & PROMOTIONS CALENDAR
If you would prefer to work entirely from scratch rather than editing the samples to suit your needs, we have included a blank brainstorm sheet and calendar for your convenience.
Now that you have a sense of what you can do with the promotions calendar template, it’s time to try it out for yourself! The download also includes a Month-by-Month Planning Template to help you fill in the details and create a more detailed sales and promotional schedule for each promotion you add to your year-long calendar.