If you’re like me, you can’t believe the end of 2019 is almost here. It sounds so cliche, but time really does fly, and so often I catch myself wondering where the time went.

As the year comes to an end, we’re all starting to think about 2020. As you begin to do so yourself, I want you to be very deliberate about how you structure your marketing strategy for the year. 

As a community college marketer, portions of your year are pretty easy to plan for. You know that three times a year, in the weeks leading up to each new semester, you’re going to implement a recruitment campaign. That’s a given.

But, what are you doing those other months?

As humans, we’re very susceptible to not being very productive when we don’t have an upcoming deadline. Promoting application and enrollment is simple, as every college has a registration deadline. But for those months in between, it can be easy to get sucked into the “grind” of our roles, and not be proactive and creative in still promoting our colleges, even without an imminent registration deadline.

So, today, I want to share a tip with you for scheduling your year right now; or at least before 2020 begins. This way, you have a clear understanding for each month of what you need to be doing to reach your large objectives for the year.

This tip is actually rather easy to implement, so let’s dive in.

I want you to get a calendar for 2020. This can be printed or digital, whichever you prefer and, more importantly, whichever you’ll be using next year. For each month, I want you to set a primary marketing objective; what your primary focus should be for that month. This is going to be your Marketing Focus Calendar.

Obviously, we all wear a lot of hats, and you can’t do just one thing for an entire month. But I want you to identify a single, clear objective for each month.

Some months are going to be obvious, such as August, when your main objective is fall recruitment. But other months, as I’ve alluded to, will be a bit trickier.

No two colleges are alike, so I can’t script this for you. However, here are a few places to start when thinking about those off months:

  • Promoting workforce development and/or non-credit programs
  • Target students of nearby four-year institutions, and promote your classes as a way for them to get extra credits, or retake courses, at a lower cost.
  • Increasing awareness. I’ve never met a community college marketer who is fully satisfied with their awareness level, so this is a great time to share success stories, new programs, transfer/partnership opportunities, and so much more. I consider this priming the pump, as it makes future recruitment campaigns much easier and fruitful.
  • Your objective doesn’t have to be a specific campaign; it could just be something like devoting a minimum number of hours to learning something new, such as landing page design and optimization.

As long as your monthly objectives align with your college’s overarching goals, there really aren’t wrong answers. Just be deliberate and thoughtful, and select one for every single month.

Each month, you’ll need to break this objective down into actionable tasks. We’ll discuss this in a future video. But the key is to get your monthly objectives in place now, before 2019 ends. 

Once 2020 starts, you’ll be a step ahead, as you’ll know in advance what you need to be thinking about and working on. This is such a simple task, but having a clear focus will truly make you more productive. Take a moment to think about how proud you’ll be of yourself at the end of 2020, when you can look back at your Marketing Focus Calendar, and know that you accomplished so much!

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