THE BLOG
01/08/2015 11:08 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

9 Steps to a Profit-Boosting Sales Calendar

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Write your 2015 sales calendar to head into the new year with clarity on when and how you'll increase sales. There are several considerations that go into creating your 2015 sales calendar for your business. These include nationally designated days and holidays, your business history, your customers and their financial behavior, and social media tie-ins.

Here's a step-by-step process you can follow to draft a sales calendar for 2015:

1. Compile a list of holidays and nationally recognized days (like National Puzzle Day on Feb. 29 and National Napping Day on Mar. 9). Pay specific attention to those days that apply to your industry. For example, National Puzzle Day is a perfect promotional opportunity for your business if you run Marbles: The Brain Store.

2. Add in days or anniversaries that are important to you and your business. This could include your birthday, particularly if you're the face of your business. Customers will enjoy celebrating with you, especially when you factor in a promotion.

3. Give some thought to the peaks and valleys of your business throughout the year. When are sales up? When are they down? It's awesome when your business is feasting but with some care in scheduling promotions, you can bring up those sales numbers during the traditionally slow periods.

4. Think about your customer base and if they have more disposable income at any specific time of the year. For instance, maybe your products appeal to college students and they have spending money when they get a refund from school (usually any money leftover after tuition is covered by financial aid and loans) at the start of the semester or trimester. At that time, with what dispensable income the students have, they may be weighing your product against your competitor's. At this time, a small discount or free shipping might nudge you ahead of the competition.

5. Considering your customers and their behaviors -- and go ahead and take a small survey at this point if you're truly not sure -- determine what kinds of promotions they would be most responsive to. Perhaps it's a 15 percent discount or free shipping, or maybe a free gift with purchase.

6. Review your competitors' sales over the past year. The best way to do this may be reviewing each competitor's Facebook timeline. Compare the promotions they offered and the timing of each with the dates and promotions ideas you've compiled.

If you see something they haven't taken action on, consider why they haven't. Is it an obscure nationally recognized day that they may have overlooked, such as National Nylon Stocking Day on May 15, and you see an opportunity to offer a free pair of stockings with shoe purchase that day? That's probably just because they lack the creativity to put the day and the promotion together. But maybe they don't do a Memorial Day sale because your specific customer base doesn't buy on that day.

(You might also consider, as a part of this sales strategy, the timing of your own forthcoming social media contests and promotions to grow your business's reach.)

7. Draft your sales calendar with the 4-6 days, weeks or weekends and the promotions you intend to offer. Begin brainstorming names for each promotion and social media-ready hashtags. Think of visuals you could create on Canva.com or send to your graphic designer.

8. Now's the time to get a second (or 13th) opinion on your 2015 sales calendar. Once you've drafted your sales calendar, I suggest you consult a marketing expert or business coach. A second pair of eyes and another sharp mind will help ensure that it's fresh and likely to grow your business. Review the planned promotions and compare again with customer behavior.

9. Once you and a coach, colleague or friend have reviewed your sales calendar and sees creative thinking, you've got a sales plan you can put into action by scheduling blog posts, newsletters and other coordinated assets to promote the sales. Hooray!

This post was originally published under the title 9 Steps to Creating a 2015 Sales Calendar at www.rosellalafevre.com.