I love to sit down and plan things in my marketing calendar.

First, it really helps me to get a clear vision of what I have coming up.

Second, it gets me excited about how I can expand and grow my business.

And last but certainly not least, it makes me accountable to do the things I say I'm going to do!

Planning a marketing calendar takes no more than a pen and paper. Sure, you can get as fancy as you like and set it up online, or you can do it like me and just use post-it notes on your wall calendar.

Whatever you choose, you should be sure to detail out what you want to do so that you can see how that looks in terms of impacting your workload and the people you want to market to.

By putting it all in front of you, you can determine timing for your product/service launch as well as the marketing pieces that need to go with it.

Here are a few tips as you plan yours:

1. To start your calendar, put your regular marketing activities on it (ie if you have a weekly newsletter, put that on your calendar; if you do social media marketing, indicate that as well). It really gives you a good idea of what you are doing when you can look at it right in front of you.

2. For a new product or service promotion, pick a date for when you want to do your launch. Put that date on your calendar.

3. Working back from that date, start to fill in when and where you are going to do your promotion. If you are promoting in your newsletter, indicate which date(s). If you are promoting via social media, indicate those dates as well. Your calendar will soon start to fill up! If you are doing emails to your list, indicate when those need to take place.

4. You will start to see your calendar fill up as you add all of these pieces. Move things around as you need to, to be sure that you are not bombarding your followers with sales promotion. You want to be able to let them know about it a little at a time. You also want to be sure that you are giving yourself enough lead time with any promotion so that you are not missing out on promotion time - and you are also allowing yourself enough time to properly develop your product or service.

5. Finally, you want to be able to give your audience a 'rest' from your promotions. You don't want to be trying to sell them something every time they hear from you. Look at your marketing calendar to ensure that in your 'down' times you are providing them with really great content (which is why they want to stay connected with you!).

Once you get the hang of planning your marketing calendar, it will become an important part of your business planning.

You can make it fun by using color coded sticky notes, or markers and pens - but the idea is to get planning, and then hold yourself accountable to do what you say you are going to do.

Try it out, and let me know how yours looks!

Author's Bio: 

Tracey D'Aviero is a successful Virtual Assistant as well as a VA coach and mentor. She helps new and aspiring Virtual Assistants build solid foundations for their businesses by teaching them how to put procedures and plans in place for success and growth. Pick up a copy of Tracey's free ebook "How to Get Started as a Virtual Assistant" at http://www.yourvamentor.com.