A step-by-step guide to promoting your business with a beautiful custom calendar
Do people still use printed calendars?
You might think that laptops, tablets, and smartphones — together with almost global access to the Internet — would have rendered the printed paper wall calendar obsolete by now. Certainly, the Internet has given us incredible tools for business, marketing, and customer care. And many once essential office items have been consigned to the museum. When did you last see a typewriter, carbon paper, or a Rolodex? But the printed custom wall calendar is still a mainstay of successful marketing and business promotion around the world.
Just think about it. Have you got one — or more than one — in your home or office? You almost certainly have. Check out the walls next time you take your automobile to the mechanic, visit the doctor for a checkup, go see your dentist, your hairstylist, barber, drop by the local 7/11 or call in at the hardware store. If you start looking, we can guarantee you’ll see them almost everywhere!
Research conducted by PPAI Media showed that over 45% of consumers surveyed picked up promotional items like wall calendars. The most popular reason given was that they’re useful. And the same study showed that almost 50% of people keep promotional products for up to five years. Another extensive survey specifically looking at printed calendar usage found that 76% of printed paper calendar users have promotional calendars and that 77% remember the logo, brand name, and marketing message on their custom wall calendar.
So, in short, yes, people do still use printed wall calendars — and they use them a lot in all kinds of places at home and at work. What’s more, most calendars have a marketing angle or promotional element. That’s because savvy businesses know that they’re a very powerful promotional tool.
Are promotional calendars effective?
We’ve established that calendars are popular and that people tend to use them and keep them in a variety of contexts. But are promotional calendars effective as marketing tools? The simple answer is yes, they are. And the evidence is clear enough. If they weren’t giving a good ROI (return on investment), then smart businesses would stop designing, printing, and distributing them.
Other than the fact they have can have a long-term impact — because each one lasts at least a year! — there are many other reasons why they work. Let’s take a quick look at a few of the most important.
- Printed promotional calendars are value for money. Just do the math. Even if you only order a short run of, say, 100 calendars which you give away to new customers as a ‘thank you’ gift, the average spend for each calendar we print for you — including covers, hole punching, binding, full color printing, and quality gloss art paper, would be $2.34. Divide that by 365 days that the calendar (effectively a permanent advertisement for your business) is visible, and you’re looking at a marketing spend of about 0.64¢ per day, which is far short of what you’d pay for that kind of targeted outreach via mainstream online promotion such as PPC (pay-per-click), buying advertising space on a website, or pushing a social media campaign.
- As the research cited earlier shows, because people see them repeatedly, printed wall calendars make your logo, brand, and marketing messages stick in prospects’ minds. Your business becomes familiar and trusted. The less-than-a-second glimpse most online ads get can’t compete.
- As marketing tools, they’re laser-targeted as they go out to customers who have already bought your goods and services, or prospects who have already made an inquiry, or self-selected pickups at a venue or event of interest to your target audience.
The research has been done and the results are in. Printed custom wall calendars work! And you have the evidence right in front of you every day, almost wherever you go. The question isn’t whether it’s a worthwhile investment, it’s how can you make the most of it?
How are calendars used in promotional planning?
Your printed promotional wall calendar giveaway is a perfect way to remind your current customers of your business and to introduce new prospects to your brand. You can also produce more than one, each targeted to a particular audience or market segment. Beautiful photography, funny cartoons, text, logos, and a variety of formats and bindings mean you can make your calendar stand out from the crowd.
And as it seems everyone loves a custom printed calendar, the opportunities to distribute them are almost endless. You can share them with your business partners, with your loyal customers, with new prospects, at trade fairs, conferences, recruitment events, open days and project presentations.
With your logo and business name on every page — along with your website address and contact details — your promotional calendars will work hard for you all year round and drive new traffic to your website, encourage repeat sales from customers, promote your brand to a wider audience, and build a strong, memorable, and positive association with your business in the minds of the public and your colleagues alike.
Top 10 reasons to promote your business with a custom wall calendar
- Boost your brand — custom printed wall calendars are ideal for boosting brand recognition. You could include high-quality photos of the workplace, your stores, key product lines, staff, and more to show your company in its best light and display a clear brand identity. Or you could use diagrams and infographics to explain your business philosophy, growth, success, and future. How about humorous cartoons that bring a smile to the customer’s face while conveying an important brand message at the same time? The possibilities are endless. And with your logo, branding, and contact details right under their noses every day, you’ll stay at the forefront of your customers’ minds.
- The feel-good factor — nobody resents a gift, especially one as useful as a calendar! Genuinely helpful giveaways provide your customers and prospects with that “feel-good factor” which builds trust and strengthens the emotional bond with your business and brand. And clients who have positive associations with you are more likely to recommend your products and services to others as they are to buy from you again.
- A helping hand — almost everyone in any walk of life uses a calendar to remind them of appointments, special days, public holidays and more. Calendars aren’t just advertisements. They’re genuinely useful tools that help people organize their daily lives. This means that they will be used and appreciated, and people are far more likely to feel responsive to your business if you help them rather than just make a sales pitch.
- The 365-day promo — your custom wall calendar will be on display 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for at least a year. It’s hard to think of any other marketing strategy which gives you that amount of continuous exposure for just a few dollars each. And it’s not just the person you gave the calendar to in the first place that will see it. Your message will be communicated to their friends, family, colleagues, and business partners, too.
- Multi-sensory, interactive advertising — it’s well known in education that learning and recall are best supported through multi-sensory, interactive engagement with the material. Because your printed calendars are physical objects that people actually use — they enjoy the images, read the words, touch and write on the pages — they work in the most powerful ways possible to reinforce your marketing messages. No other advertising can boast that kind of interactivity. And no batteries or a Wi-Fi signal required!
- Develop a sense of relationship — giving gifts is a powerful and time-honored way to build bonds and strengthen relationships. Even though a gift, by definition, asked nothing in return, it has a psychological effect. Anyone who receives a gift from you is more inclined to feel kindly disposed to you, open to listening, and willing to trust you. Promotional gifts work in the same way to develop a sense of relationship between your business and your customers.
- Low investment, high return — we’ve already looked at just how cost-effective it is to print calendars. We’ve also highlighted just how highly targeted promotional calendars are and the fact that they have incomparable longevity. Add to that the perceived value that customers give to them — because of their combined attractiveness and utility — and you have a marketing tool that gives such high returns for such low investment it’s hard to beat.
- Easy and universal — just think for a minute about all the other promotional items you might use in your campaigns: t-shirts, sweaters, baseball caps, pens, notepads, fridge magnets, balloons, key rings, mugs, and the rest. While they may all have a place in your marketing efforts, none compares to the ease and durability of a printed custom wall calendar. Unlike clothing, calendars are one-size-fits-all solutions; mugs and pens get lost and broken, whereas a calendar hangs safely on the wall; key rings stay mostly out of sight in someone’s pocket, while the wall calendar is visible all the time. They don’t need any special skills to set up and they work just the same for everyone.
- Versatility and customization — for such a simple object, few possible promotional tools offer the versatility and full customization options presented by the custom wall calendar. You can customize almost everything about a calendar: photographs, artwork, graphics, text, layout, colors, fonts, messaging, themes, sizes, and bindings. You can choose different kinds of paper and finish. And, of course, you can also add a QR code to link to your website and track customer engagement.
- Eco-friendly — in these days of biodiversity loss, environmental degradation, and accelerating climate change, more customers than ever before choose environmentally friendly products over other options, even if they’re more expensive. Your wall calendars can be made of certified recycled paper and printed with ecologically friendly soy-based inks. And then you can boast about your business’s green credentials right there on the calendar!
Once you start to look into it, it becomes clear why calendars are so popular with customers and why so many successful businesses invest in them as promotional tools. They’re inexpensive, useful, memorable, environmentally friendly, high return-on-investment, powerful 365-days-a-year advertising for your business brand. So, the only question now is how do you go about designing and printing your perfect custom wall calendar? We can answer that, too!
How do I create a promotional calendar?
Step-by-step instructions for designing a custom printed wall calendar
As you can imagine, we have plenty of experience in helping businesses just like yours to develop beautiful promotional wall calendars to use in effective and successful marketing campaigns. Now, let’s take you step-by-step through the five key stages of designing a calendar that will work for you and your brand.
Step one: define your goals
Before you can design an effective custom wall calendar, you must define your promotional goals as clearly as possible.
- Do you want to reach out to new customers?
- Is your aim to reward loyal customers?
- How about promoting new products scheduled for release during the year ahead?
- Perhaps your key objective is to drive traffic to your website?
- Would you like to boost brand recognition?
- Maybe your calendar will highlight milestones on your business’s commitment to going carbon neutral or some other socially responsible goal?
Whatever your goals are, it’s important to know in advance. Once you are clear about what you want your calendar to achieve, you’ll know to whom it should be targeted. Once you know that, you’ll have a good idea of the kind of messaging that will be most effective and where and how to distribute your calendars to reach the target audience.
Step two: choose your structure
There are many ways to structure your calendar and how you decide depends on who it’s for. For example, you may wish to follow the financial rather than solar year: so October 1st through September 30th in the USA, or July 1st through June 30th if you’re targeting non-profits in line with the grant cycle. Maybe you’ll divide the twelve months of the solar calendar into seasons — if the focus is on sports, agriculture, or gardening, say — or even follow a lunar calendar. Perhaps you’ll choose the academic year and build it around the Fall and Spring intakes. The structure could split the year into quarters or focus on the timing of key events of importance to a given industry, cultural group, or any other pattern which is most meaningful to your target audience.
You’ll want to think carefully, too, about which holidays and national or international celebrations to include. You can mark milestones in your own business history. Important anniversaries of key figures or historical events may be worth considering. The key is to build the calendar’s structure around your target demographic’s interests and needs.
Step three: develop your messaging
Your message and how you present it depends on your target audience. But whoever they are and whatever your product or service, the key to a successful marketing message is:
- to pinpoint a problem your prospects face
- show that you understand the challenges facing them
- offer your product or service as a solution
- and prove your case with testimonies from satisfied customers, facts and figures, money-back guarantees, or some other demonstration of sincerity to build trust
For example, your printed promotional wall calendar could depict people using your products to solve the problems that your targets face, or a series of mini-interviews with smiling, happy customers giving testimony to how your products or services have helped them, or a more subtle approach showing inspirational scenes in which your product is present. But whatever you choose, the most important factor is that your message is customer focused; that it’s not about your business and your products, but about understanding their problems and wanting to help.
Step four: create your artwork and layout
Now you’ll need to work with your content writer, graphic artist, photographer, and designer on the content, layout, and presentation of the wall calendar. It’s a good idea to involve your printer at this stage so that everyone understands the scope and practicalities of the project. Your printer can also provide you with templates and other help to support the design process.
Step five: choose your calendar type, materials, and features
Again, the decisions you make here are determined by your audience, your message, and your budget. Your printer will be more involved at this stage, helping you to choose the right mix of materials (gloss art paper, matte art paper, un-coated paper, and more) binding styles (saddle stitch, wire bound, etc.) and any added features such as embossing or foil stamping.
Step six: print your calendars
Once your marketing team, designers, and printer have agreed on the content, style and design of your custom wall calendar, it’s time to go to print. A good printer will create a prototype ‘proof’ for you to check before you commit to a full print run. How many units you print will depend on the size and scope of your campaign; it could be as few as 100 or as many as several thousands.
Step seven: distribution and promotion
The final step, of course, is to get your beautiful promotional custom printed wall calendars into the right hands and in front of your audience’s eyeballs. We’ve already discussed several options for targeted distribution. Which you choose will be guided by your business, your audience, and your budget. But as we’ve already seen, you can be confident about a good return on your investment.
Timing is everything
If your custom wall calendar follows the solar year and you put it out in January, you’ve already missed the boat. Timing is everything with calendars. Most stationers start stocking calendars for the following year in the Fall. But if you print an 18-month calendar, you can promote it as early as June. It’ll help the user segue their planning from one year to the next and still be on the wall at the end of December next year. But whatever timing you choose, the key is to get in early because the first calendar out is the one that gets on the wall, whether that’s in the office, the factory floor, the studio, or the home.
Ready to get started or still want more information about creating a custom wall calendar? Get in touch today for an informal chat with one of our experts, or ask for a no obligation quote on your chosen project. We look forward to helping you to create a beautiful, effective calendar and seeing your business grow.