A Big Mistake With Calendars You Won’t Make Twice

April 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

In my nearly 30 years in the calendar publishing world I’ve witnessed a lot of mistakes.   Some are rather innocent and have little lasting impact.   Others…well, let’s just say we’ve known about folks who will literally bet their house on marketing and using calendars.

What a shame and what a risk!   There’s a simple rule that must be adhered to no matter how you intend to use calendars as a marketing tool.   The rule is simply this:

Develop your marketing strategy first and then afterwards design and publish a calendar keeping those distribution plans in mind.

Quite often we get successful photographers who come to us wanting to print a calendar.    Usually what happens is they have been told repeatedly how good their photographs are and that they should be used on a calendar.   In due time, the photographer succumbs to this constant ego stroking.

Marketing strategy related wordsNow, that’s not to say they shouldn’t print a calendar.   The point is being told your work is good enough for a calendar and actually walking down that path is a big journey.   Moreover, a handful of clients who admire your work is great news, but it’s going to take hundreds if not thousands of people inspired to fork over money if the calendar is to succeed.

Several years back I had the unfortunate task of meeting with a calendar producer who was losing his shorts, so to speak, because he had invested foolishly.   He simply designed a pretty calendar and reasoned it would sell like hotcakes.   Guess what…it didn’t!   In fact, he had a garage full of nearly 25,000 calendars he had taken a loan out on with his house as collateral.   Think about it…you have to admire the moxy to be so confident in one’s sales effort to risk your home to print thousands of calendars.

Sadly, it failed miserably because he didn’t do his homework.   Long before ink ever finds its way to paper the savvy calendar marketer develops his/her target market to ensure success and to minimize financial risk.

When potential custom calendar producers start telling me about their project and what plans they have I often stop them and ask…”so, how do you plant to sell or distribute it?”   Usually there’s a slight pause as this is not the most appealing aspect of the project.   Yet, it is by far the most important element.

Typically, I tell a potential calendar client how important it is for the cart not to come before the horse on these matters.   In other words, we understand how the designing and printing of the calendar is the fun part.    Still, for a calendar project of any kind to succeed the bulk of the work must come before the fun.   In this case it means planning for success.

At CalendarsNow.com we don’t want to print and sell calendars that are destined for failure.   We also don’t like to see customers struggle financially because they made some poor planning decisions.   We’ve actually turned customers away because they didn’t heed our advice and we felt they were taking a path consisting of poor planning.

If you want to talk calendars with us we are only a phone call or an email away.   Best of all, talking to us about your next calendar project does not obligate you in any way to do business with us.   Each day we willingly share our calendar production knowledge with folks all over the world, and if they ultimately choose to do business with us that’s great.   If not…well, we hope to have served some value to the calendar printing industry.

Whether you’re thinking of producing your own calendar or perhaps just using one of our many stock calendars with your promotional message, I can guarantee you that just 5 minutes of your time spent on the phone with our knowledgeable staff will prove to be time well spent.   Give us a call.

Consider QR Codes When Advertising On Calendars

October 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

With the increasing use of smartphone technology comes both some conveniences and opportunities.   No longer is it necessary to remember long or complicated website addresses or URL’s…not with the advent of QR Codes (short for “quick response” codes).   Now, getting a customer or prospect to check out a new website is as easy as holding the phone in front of a square box of dots and dashes.

Yup, it’s really that simple.   With the correct app on your phone (and there are many of them for all smartphone platforms) QR reader apps will turn a confusing web address into a mobile friendly link easily explored from any handheld device with an optical reader.

So, why use QR Codes as an advertiser on a calendar imprint for business promotion?   Here are some quick thoughts you will want to consider:

  • Allows the advertiser to turn a complex web address into something requiring no thought by the customer or prospect.   In fact, a QR Code can direct folks to a specific landing page on your website which allows marketers to measure just how well the calendar is working as a promotional tool.
  • QR Codes can be accessed (scanned) and stored for later use in the smart device.   The traditional option is to hope calendar users remember the correct format for how the web address appeared.
  • Moreover, once a QR Code is scanned into a device it will be an additional reminder to check out the web address if they didn’t have time initially to do so.
  • QR Codes can be enabled so that when scanned the user is taken to a mobile friendly version of a company website where the online experience can be optimized.
  • Use of QR Codes give the public impression that a company is very technology oriented and savvy.
  • QR Codes allow a business to direct the user to specific sub-domains found on a corporate website where special offers can be targeting various customers and prospects.

Perhaps best of all, using QR Codes for an imprinted promotional advertising calendar order is available at no extra charge.   We do ask, however, that customers supply to us their camera-ready artwork for the code.

Have no idea how to generate a QR Code for your business?   No problem.   There are many free services to be found on the Internet to produce such graphics.   Just type in “QR Code Generator” in the search box of any search engine and you’ll likely be directed to several options.   Most are even free, but be careful they are not tracking you or the hits you hope to get with the QR Code.

In closing, if you are still having difficulty understanding what a QR Code can do for you think of it as working similar to a bar code found on nearly all products purchased in the store.   When you go to the check-out person they scan each bar code and can tally up what you want to purchase that day.   QR Codes work much the same way, although they appear and function much different.   Essentially when you have a QR Code for your business printed on a calendar it is a code for any smartphone user to find you and learn more about your company or products being offered.

Honestly, in this 21st Century why every business doesn’t have and use a QR Code is quite surprising.   Especially when we will include them on your next calendar at NO EXTRA COST.

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Choose A Calendar Style Your Customers Can’t Live Without!

October 15, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Did you realize how most of us are creatures of habit?   We get into a routine and suddenly something in life becomes comfortable, predictable, and very familiar.   We gravitate toward the things that provide those favorable emotions.   Some might say…we get stuck in a pattern and that suits many folks just fine.

Same holds true with calendars.   You would be surprised how many calls we get each fall from folks looking to buy just a single calendar.   Now, as explained in a previous post we can’t do that, but it reinforces the extent some folks will go to not to give up their favored calendar.   After all, they may have been using the same calendar for years and the prospect of going without or using something else is…well, let’s just say not acceptable.

One of the goals in marketing is to find that product that customers can’t live without.   Now, in this case it is a product that you give as a gift to the customer, but the same holds true.   When a customer or prospect uses an imprinted calendar you give out for promotional advertising purposes and they keep coming back for a replacement each year you have a good thing going.

So, what is the secret in finding just the right calendar to strike a chord with customers or prospects?   Consider these points:

  • Purchase calendars with a theme your customers like instead of yourself.   After all, they are the ones whose wall it will be hanging on.
  • Look for bright colors in the calendar images.   Color builds excitement whereas drab colors tend not to stir passions as much.
  • Determine if your prospects or customers have limited wall or desk space back in the office.   Or perhaps most work from an auto or travel a lot mostly using a briefcase.
  • Do your customers seek a specialty calendar?   For example, many accountants or banks will give pocket calendars away that essentially include an envelope to place and organize monthly receipts.
  • Some customers seek humor from their calendar.   We offer several calendars that are sure to tickle even the most stoic funny bone.   Humor, much like reading the comics for many people, is something people want to continue with year after year.
  • A favorite artist can also make a wonderful impression on calendar recipients where year after year they come back asking for more.

With just a little thought and perhaps some additional homework, it can pay big dividends to research what kind of calendars your business’ customers or prospects yearn for and desire to receive on an annual basis.   The test is always to get them coming back for more.   That’s when you know you have a customer-favorite calendar style on your hands.

Our customers are often surprised to learn that marketing with calendars and doing it properly requires some planning.   If you strive to maximize your promotional value gained by handing out or mailing calendars to folks it often requires some strategy.

As always, the customer service representatives at CalendarsNow.com are glad to assist with your planning.   We’ve sold millions of calendars over the past two decades which has afforded us to learn a thing or two about how our customers can succeed with calendars.   All it takes is just a no-obligation phone call to get the planning started to see if calendar marketing is right for you.

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Customers Get More Than Calendars When Buying From Us

October 10, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

When you go to the car wash you pretty much expect to get one thing from the experience–a clean car when you drive away.   When you go to the barbershop to get a haircut you step out the door feeling like a new person with stylized hair, but that’s about it.   Certainly when you go to the grocery store to pick up a gallon of milk you walk away perhaps with the milk and a few other “essentials” discovered along the way.

But when you purchase imprinted promotional advertising calendars from CalendarsNow.com we don’t just sell you the calendars.   We also offer friendly marketing advice and will even go so far as to put your calendars into your customer’s hands for you.   Let me explain.

We realize when it comes to calendar distribution not everyone is an expert on knowing how to properly get the calendars into the correct hands.   In other words, calendars need an appropriate strategy unique to your business to get the most bang for the buck marketing value.   A short five minutes speaking with our trained sales staff will offer you many practical ideas on how you can best use calendar advertising.

We understand how calendars that never leave a box will not result in a repeat sale next year.   Unfortunately, many printers only want to sell you the product, they don’t want to educate their customers on how they might use it to their best advantage.

If we don’t feel calendar advertising is right for your business we will tell you so.   One of the hardest tasks we often do is tell a customer who wants to produce a custom calendar how we don’t think it’s a good idea–at least not yet.   You see, especially with custom created calendars, a buyer must put together a marketing plan for using that calendar long before the calendar design gets assembled.   Unfortunately, too many customers produce the calendar first and then try to find a way to use it.   They have the process backwards.

On the same token, we often consult with our customers to ensure they are not overbuying.   Nothing sours a customer’s mood more than ending the year with too many calendars that did not somehow get distributed.

Allow our staff at CalendarsNow.com to not only sell you the calendars, but to provide the right advice on how best to use them.   Often times they will also provide suggestions on how one particular calendar style seems to work even better for a particular industry.   We know this information, we see it in action 365 days each year.

Oh yeah, earlier I said we will even put calendars into your customer or prospect’s hands for you.   Simply provide to us your mailing list and we take care of all the tasks of mailing.   How easy is that?

Of course, all these options that are available to you can be discussed with our friendly and helpful sales staff.   Keep in mind we are here to help you with your calendar marketing efforts by providing whatever information is necessary to accomplish that goal.   While some companies may only want to sell calendars and nothing else, we take great pride in our products and strive to see our customers succeed using them.

So, the next time you are in the market for imprinted promotional advertising calendars give us a call to discuss your business.   We want to learn about you.   We want to assist in tackling your unique marketing challenges.   And in the process don’t be surprised when we offer some advice you may want to consider.   After all, we sell calendars but we strive to deliver much, much more.

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The High Cost Of Using Cheap Promotional Calendars

September 24, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s one of the questions I hate to field most from a caller.   It goes something like this.   “I’ve been on ___________ ‘s website and they offer calendars for $ _________ (some ridiculously low price–you fill in the blank).   We’re wondering if you will match those prices.”

Usually my first response is…”Well, if you like their pricing why don’t you just purchase from them?”   I know that sounds sort of crass and borderline unprofessional, but I make that statement with a purpose in mind.   Typically their response goes something like (pick one or more excuses):

  • Dealing with their inexperienced people with an attitude sucks; or
  • I hate getting constantly hounded by them to reorder products; or
  • Their products are flimsy; or
  • Their images are not very appealing; or
  • The quality of their printing is not very good; or
  • My customers don’t care to use those calendars; or
  • I ordered last year and it took 3 months to get them; or
  • They messed up my order and never corrected it last year; or
  • They don’t have as wide a calendar selection (themes) as you do.

Well, the list could go on, but I think you get the picture.   The point is when we hear this sort of prospect query the customer knows in their hearts how an inexpensive calendar does not automatically mean they are getting value from the product or the company they are purchasing it from.

Look at it this way.   I tell our customers and prospects how if they buy a $0.69 calendar, hand it out, to only eventually get tossed into the trash what have they gained in promotional advertising.   First, the gift you gave them was so worthless they didn’t care to even use it.   Second, they now realize how you will place your company’s branded message on anything no matter what the quality.

Honestly, first impressions in life are everything.   When you meet a person for the first time you know whether or not your personalities will “click” within the first minute of talking to one another.   Same holds true for first impressions of a calendar.   When a customer or prospect picks up your calendar they are subconsciously and immediately processing several things:

  1. Does this calendar meet my minimum quality standards for use?
  2. Am I getting a gift of any real value?
  3. Could this company have offered something better (higher value)?
  4. Was this calendar offered only to special customers like me or indiscriminately provided to everyone?
  5. Will someone else back at the home or the office be excited about what I was given (envy factor)?
Pinching pennies has its place in life, but the practice can cost your business when purchasing promotional calendars.

Pinching pennies has its place in life, but the practice can cost your business when purchasing promotional calendars.

Let’s face it…handing out inexpensive promotional advertising calendars to your customers can end up costing you in many different ways.   Perhaps the biggest cost isn’t in the money you thought you were saving, but rather in the opportunity cost you were provided to give out a nicer, customer cherished calendar that gets used year after year.

The best litmus test we tell our customers to know if their calendars are used and appreciated is what happens next year.   Do you really think a customer will come back asking specifically for a replacement calendar you cut corners on and paid less for than a cup of coffee?   Or, do you think a customer is worth at least spending $3.00+ for an extremely nice product with a perceived value much higher?

Our experience has shown a calendar user likes to replace a calendar they appreciate and are familiar with in subsequent years with a similar calendar.   If that customer is not excited enough to come back for a new calendar it should be no surprise to anyone why that is the case.   In so doing, the business giving away cheap calendars just lost out on a marketing opportunity to draw that customer back next year.   That lost opportunity can be expensive.

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Ordered Too Many Calendars…Now What?

September 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Occasionally we get calls from customers who ordered too many imprinted promotional advertising calendars and they are still sitting in a box at the end of the distribution period.   Their question is now what?

Of course, we respond how this is a great opportunity to do something novel and very much appreciated.   Whenever a customer of ours has left-over calendars for the upcoming year we strongly encourage them to make contact with a local nursing home or convalescent care center.   You see, these residents often don’t get a calendar.   Some may not even have close family or friends.

A long time ago we discovered how many places in our society can make use of those “extra” calendars that a business may have.   And guess what?   Wherever a calendar hangs with your business message it will drive business to you.   Sure, the nursing home resident may not be a potential client of yours…but their visitors who come to see them most certainly could be.

Today, we have a small number of our calendar customers who actually order these “extra” calendars on purpose with intent on giving them away to schools, churches, nursing homes, etc.   They reason how having these mini billboards scattered in diverse locations throughout the community can only benefit their overall marketing efforts.

Honestly, we agree.   The strategy of distributing calendars for business marketing should not overlook any opportunity.   If you put your advertising message on a calendar the goal should be to put that calendar into the hands of the people most likely to need that information.   Next, the priority should be to at the very least get it hanging in high-traffic locations where it gets seen.

So, the problem of having calendars left over after the traditional distribution season shouldn’t really be a problem at all.   It should be viewed as an opportunity to reach potential new customers.   By opening your eyes and mind you will discover there are many appreciative outlets in most communities looking for your generous, caring gift that just so happens to promote your business.

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