OK, this one's been overdone, but not entirely. A calendar still makes a great marketing tool.
The reason is simple. It keeps your name in front of your customers all year long. So how do you ensure they use your calendar instead of someone else's? Make your unique.
Use an odd-shaped design. For instance, if you own an auto detailing shop you might design your calendar in the shape of a Ferrari. Or maybe, if you are a party supply retailer, you design your calendar in the shape of a balloon, with a string dropping down from the bottom of the calendar.
Another way to make your marketing calendar unique is to personalize it for each customer. Suppose you have a list of Grade A customers you want to reward for their business. So as a Christmas gift you give them a calendar with important dates on it. But the important dates are important to them. In other words, their wedding anniversary, childrens birthdays, graduations, etc. Of course, the implied task is that you keep a running file of all your customers with this information in it, but you should be doing that anyway.
Include photos of people in your community. Maybe they are prominent people or just regular people. Either way, you give your calendar a local, “down home" feel.
Another way you can add value and make your calendar different from your competition's is to have a contest - an art contest, photo contest, famous quote contest, whatever. It could be anything that will get your customers involved in designing the calendar with you and you have 12 winners. Each winner gets his or her name printed on the calendar to the corresponding month bearing the winning entry. Then you give them all away.
Of course, you don't want to leave out the most important thing. Your logo and business name should appear on every page, either on the photo or design page, or on the calendar page with all the dates.
Ask your customers to hang your calendar on their wall in their office building, retail shop, or other prominent location. The idea is to put it where their customers will see it and ask about it.
One final thing: A great way to get your customers to display their calendar in a location where their customers will see it is to personalize it for their business. Put your logo and business name all over it, but right beside theirs! They will be so taken with their business being on it that they won't care if yours is - and they will display it for sure.
Allen Taylor is an award-winning journalist, freelance writer and copywriter. He specializes in world-class marketing for small businesses. For more information about how to make your business shine visit http://www.taylor-and-associates.com Be sure to check out Allen's ghostwriting services and sign up for the free e-mail newsletter.