Year after year, photo calendars remain one of the most popular personalized gifts sold during the holiday season and beyond. When promoting calendar sales to consumers, don’t forget to reach out to your business clients, too. Personalized promotional calendars make a highly visible specialty gift that can keep a business on the minds of its clients throughout the year.
The marketing gurus at Vistaprint.com, an international fulfillment service specializing in promotional printing, suggest desk or wall calendars. They make an excellent thank-you to clients and employees for their business and dedication throughout the previous year. Moreover, businesses can incorporate their clients’ photos or promote new or popular products. They can also offer monthly specials to encourage new sales. In addition, they can even add special promotions and events to the text fields of the date blocks.
“Thank-You” Calendars: Great Promotional Calendars
Kaly White, owner of Puppy Style Treats in Akwesasne, New York, used pet pictures sent by her customers to illustrate her company’s first annual calendar in 2020. “Some of the pictures they sent were just outstanding,” she says. “So, I came up with the idea of giving them a 15% discount if they let me use their pictures on my website and social media.”
As a thank-you for sharing their photos, White made a personalized photo calendar through Vistaprint and sent participating doggie parents a free copy. “They were really happy,” she says. “One of them even wanted to buy them all! This year, I’m contacting my customers to see if they want to buy extra copies.”
White turned her passion for baking wholesome dog treats into a cottage industry in 2015; she lives in a rural area of upper New York State on a Navajo Reservation. As a small, independent business owner, she didn’t want any leftover calendars; consequently, she only ordered 25. Once published, she was surprised by their popularity.
“People went nuts for them,” she reflects. “Last year, while I was giving them away at vendor events, some of the attendees were ready to pay for them. I think in the future I’m going to sell the calendar and use it as a marketing tool.”
White was also pleasantly surprised when customers whose pets were featured in the calendar started sharing it on Instagram. This provided even more exposure for her company and products.
“In my first calendar, I didn’t highlight my products as much as I should,” she says. “However, this year, it’s going to be more of a marketing piece. I hope it will become an annual promotion.”
Personalized & Promotional Calendars Resource
Vistaprint.com offers dozens of photo gifts and business marketing materials, including hundreds of personalized calendar designs. Its intuitive drag-and-drop software creates wall calendars in three sizes—from 6.5×8.5 to 11.5×14.5 inches. It also produces desk calendars (8.27×3.74 inches) and poster calendars (11.25×17.30 inches). Wall calendars are printed on either standard satin paper or premium glossy card stock for a small additional fee.
Founded in 1999 as a fast and affordable resource for business cards, mailers and flyers, Vistaprint now has offices in 12 countries. Offices include a U.S. headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts. Its parent company, Cimpress, is based in Dundalk, Ireland.
Optimalprint.com is a global printing company that caters to consumer, business and creative markets. It distributes its products by contracting with local printers in 30 countries, including three in the United States. Its personalized photo merchandise ranges from anniversary cards to wall art. It offers multiple calendar formats, including small and large spiral-bound, flip-page wall calendars; framed and unframed posters; and in some locations, family planners.
Optimalprint’s parent company, Gelato API, is headquartered in Norway. Unlike other printing conglomerates, Gelato is strictly a software company. It has a large network of printing partners and logistics options positioned around the world. The company chooses its partners based on production quality and professionalism.
“Over the years of working closely with our print partners, we’ve delivered technology that makes them more efficient. They, in turn, have provided us with printing insights that fuel our technology,” the company notes.
Furthermore, the benefits of Gelato’s software technology are evident in Optimalprint’s simple calendar design function, which is capable of uploading batches of calendar images in seconds. Choosing the “Apply” option automatically places 13 pictures in the client’s chosen template.
Replacing and repositioning the images is simple and fast. If customers want to try a different template, they can easily change without starting a new layout. Finished calendars are printed on premium 250gsm (190 to 285 micron) coated silk card stock.
Gelato’s goal in partnering with so many suppliers is to deliver printing jobs as close to the delivery locations as possible. Subsequently, they reduce carbon emissions with shorter shipping distances and avoid border delays to save time. The company offers a variety of opportunities for other business owners to join its printing and distribution network.
Canva.com, headquartered in Sydney, Australia, is based on a completely different business model than conventional printing services. Established in 2013, Canva is a graphic design and print-on-demand platform. It was developed for independent and teams of professional artists to fulfill digital and print jobs from start to finish. The website provides templates to create everything from calendars and brochures to social media posts, videos and also websites.
The Canva design platform, which was named to the Forbes 2020 Cloud 100 ranking of the top 100 private cloud companies in the world, includes access to hundreds of layouts; millions of stock photos; fonts; vectors; as well as illustrations for creating one-of-kind calendars.
Moreover, a standard set of preset filters and photo-editing tools enables users to make adjustments to images provided by the website as well as those uploaded from the designer’s own albums and collections.
Canva’s predesigned templates are available for daily, weekly and monthly calendars, as well as personal and wall designs. The website also includes links to dozens of useful apps for designing, editing and creating special effects. In addition, professional designer tools—such as a color wheel, color palette generator, size guides and font selection tools—help refine the user’s professional graphic design.
Canva.com offers several membership plans: free access with limited templates; a small monthly fee for full access for up to four team members; and “Enterprise” level for large design companies. For information on Canva.com’s design, marketing and printing opportunities, visit the website at Canva.com.
Lulu.com is a self-publishing website with graphic design, printing and distribution services. It’s targeted at authors, publishers and businesses looking for professional creative resources to produce marketing and publishing materials. Originally established as a “creator controlled” book publishing service for independent authors, Lulu has evolved into a print-on-demand website. It provides online design software, printing services and sales support for books, magazines, yearbooks as well as calendars.
Lulu calendars are 11×8.5-inch horizontal, wire-bound flip format, with full-bleed photos—the kind typically sold at calendar gift shops. Four calendar date grids are available: Standard, Large Print, Stylish and Emphasis.
Users can choose from 12- or 24-month calendars and start their calendar on whatever month they choose. They can also download a calendar template bundle to create a unique design. Moreover, the website provides specifications and a layout guide to ensure all trim and cut lines are properly positioned for printing on 100-pound white paper stock with a glossy cover.
Services include a Lulu Gift Store, where authors/artists can sell copies of their projects. It also offers open API and Shopify apps, permitting users to build their own bookstores and retail pages linked through their websites.
In addition to making self-publishing simpler and more accessible to photographers, Lulu has set its corporate goals to serve social, environmental and community obligations. It consumes 100% renewable energy; offers paid days off for employees to volunteer; and also implements in-office composting and gardening.
Promotional calendars are an excellent alternative source of revenue. So, in addition to promoting personalized one-off calendars at this time of year, reach out to your business customers. They’re more likely to order a variety of calendars in multiples, which translates into more profits for you!