How to Build a 12-Month Marketing Calendar


By Stephen Gomez

Just the title can sound daunting to the most organized of souls. To a creative, right brained person, it can seem like a distant, hypothetical thing followed by a chuckle and a shoulder shrug, but we are here to tell you that it’s not as hard to create as it seems.

You actually have a harvest of potential themes to work with. When creating a marketing calendar as part of your salon business plan. Go off of the following themes: seasonal, monthly
holidays, community events, charities, manufacturer/distributor driven, new services and standard promotions. Let’s break each one down and in the order by which you should build your calendar.

Standard Promotions

It is smart business to have a referral promotion and a rebooking promotion in place on
an ongoing basis. You can always add a contest a few times a year at specific times to support peak months and periods where you need to drive client traffic.

Monthly Holidays

Go through the calendar and look for holidays you can create marketing themes around. Christmas, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day and so on.


As we move through spring, summer, fall and winter there are plenty of services and products designed to support your customers. The seasons provide a good period of time in your calendar where you can run promotions. For example, if you are a nail technician, during the winter you can focus on marketing winter nail art with a free paraffin hand or foot treatment. If you are a hairstylist you can drive your color business in the summer with a promotion that packages the service with color shampoo and conditioner. You get the jest. make a list of what services and accompanying products you could put together for each season. Next, position the promotion to start at the beginning of each season and have it run for eight weeks, which should cover a big chunk of that season.

Seasons will also include the following: wedding season, graduation season, back-to-school, proms, etc. Based on the services you provide, you can take advantage of any or all of these seasons to drive your business.

Community Events

Look at events or celebrations that happen local to your area that you may want to be a part of,
such as town fairs or parades.

Manufacturer/Distributor Driven

What are your manufacturers and distributors partners offering from a promotional standpoint that you can take advantage of? Usually these programs are turn-key, easy to use and provide a boost, not to mention the back-end support you can get from your consultants. You can also look to any new product launches they announce and put a promotion in your calendar to coincide with it.


Can you attach yourself to a walk-a-thon or launch a cut-a-thon? A popular charity every year is breast cancer awareness month in October. You can put a special together where a portion of sales proceeds go towards a charity.

New Services

Any time you make a choice to add a new service to your repertoire, you have an opportunity to put a promotion in place. As you can see, you have plenty to work with. Start at the top of the list and begin to fill your calendar for the year. as you do, here are a few important guidelines:

• Run promotions in six to eight week cycles. The longer they run the less impact they have. This is why you want to add some punch to your referral and rebooking promotions throughout the year.

• You can run more than one promotion at the same time as long as they differ. For example, if you are offering a retail-driven promotion for St. Patrick’s Day, it doesn’t make sense to offer another special that includes retail during the same time period.

• Meet with a distributor during your calendar building process to generate ideas.

• Don’t be attached! Your calendar is a starting point, if you need to move something around or come up with a more effective or exciting promotion, don’t be afraid to change things up. Remember, business fluctuates and you need to be prepared to move with it, not against it.

• Keep your budget in mind. As a rule, spend 2-4% of total sales each month on marketing efforts. This knowledge can help make decisions on what you offer and when. For example, marketing a customer event in your salon during a slow volume time of year may not help you financially due to a lower income stream during that period of the year. Use your budget percentage wisely and spread the monies out as you need.

• Get your team involved! Create a marketing committee that meets monthly to discuss existing promotions, troubleshoot issues and generate ideas for future programs. We hope this gives you just the direction and confidence you need to sit down and think 12 months ahead. Once complete, you will feel like a big weight has been lifted, you’ll have a clear path to walk down and you will see the type of results you deserve. Do yourself the favor and take the time to give yourself this peace of mind while giving your clients fun and creative incentives that keep them coming back for more.

Stephen Gomez appeared at the Art of Business event.

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