Calendar marketing is one of the best ways to simultaneously build brand recognition and gather leads or make sales. Distributing free calendars to your target audience not only makes you look like a Samaritan, it puts your company front and center 365 days a year. Although giving away calendars is altruistic at face value (since your prospects don't actually have to do anything to receive or use them), they're a highly cost-efficient way to market. Of course, just any calendar won't do — you have to know how to take advantage of calendar marketing to optimize your response.
The following calendar marketing essentials will put you on the right track:
Market to your audience
The best marketing practices dictate that you should put your calendar in front of a well-defined, highly targeted audience for best results. Let's say you're an insurance agency that sells policies for a number of things: house, car, boat, motorcycle, business, etc. It's tempting to print a 12-month calendar that focuses on one of these areas each month. You would be much better off to print calendars for specific sub-niches, however; a sailboat/island travel calendar for sailboat enthusiasts, a classic motorcycle calendar for bikers or a functional business marketing calendar for businesses.
You can also reach a broader audience by creating a calendar from a common theme such as a local sports team. The important thing to remember is that if you can engage your audience with your calendar, you'll double your efficiency without doubling your costs.
Some companies print calendars with nothing but their logo and bland rows of dated squares and call it branding; however, calendars offer the perfect opportunity to aggressively promote your products and services on a daily basis. Use icons and images to highlight special sales, discounts and events. If you sell seasonal products include seasonal checklists on the calendar. A hardware and home supply store, for example, might include a spring cleaning checklist in April and a winter preparation checklist in October.
The goal is to help your customers think about what they need and to tell them you can provide it. Include special offers, discounts and calls to action throughout your calendar; and give your audience a heads-up the month before with a small, yet prominent, upcoming events box.
An eye for ROI
Just because most businesses think that calendars are only good for branding doesn't mean you can't harness the power of a daily message as a direct-marketing piece. The bottom line is the return on investment, and though your calendar branding efforts aren't easily measured, direct-marketing methods are. Include cut-out coupons each week or month for your specials so you can track your returns on investment.
To increase returns on investment from the onset, you should also print your calendars in volume. Print as many as you'll distribute in one run to keep your cost per calendar low, thus increasing your profit per sale.
When it comes to calendar marketing, your job is to think outside the boxes. Give your audience an aesthetically pleasing and useful calendar that has value, and you'll boost brand recognition and your return on investment.