PrintDecember is a comparatively quiet time for my business. When I’m not working “in” the business, I take the opportunity to work “on” the business. Business development is something I rarely get the time to do!

I started thinking about ways to promote my business… Hmmm… I’ve worked on a lot of promotions with various clients over the years; the stand out of which is the Gippsland Lakes Ministerial Advisory Committee’s bream-shaped USB (which have recently been recreated as a flathead). The client loves them, I love them and, most importantly, the target audience loves them.

I wanted to create something that ticked all the boxes of what an effective promotion should do:

  1. Be desirable
  2. Be unique
  3. Be share-worthy
  4. Be useful
  5. Represent the business it’s promoting

With promotions, it’s often difficult to strike the balance between usefulness, uniqueness, desirability and, of course, budget!

I have a lot of stress balls, pens and other random items that are useful but these things were well beyond my meagre (read: non-existent) budget.

So I created a calendar. Completely designed and created by Jane McKay Communications, this free 2014 calendar is available as an A4 PDF download.

How does this humble calendar fulfil the 5 key points I list above?

  1. It’s desirable. I’m certainly not one to blow my own horn but I think it’s beautifully-designed.
  2. It’s unique.100% designed and created by Jane McKay Communications – it doesn’t get any more unique than that!
  3. It’s share-worthy.When I sent the calendar directly to clients and distributed it on social media I encouraged them to share with colleagues, friends and family and looking at the stats, it’s been popular so far!
  4. It’s useful.This idea came from my own personal need for a calendar. I actually started designing it purely for my own personal use and realised this was something that other people could find useful. Although a lot of people rely on digital calendars, I really need something I can write on and stick on the wall/fridge/pinboard/bathroom mirror to remind me of appointments/birthdays/holidays.
  5. It represents the business it’s promoting.The inclusion of marketing-related quotes is something that I find inspiring in my business and helps to present marketing in a more creative and inspiring light. Some clients see marketing as something that “has to be done” and can be a chore; I’m always working to turn that attitude around to see marketing that is something fun. Not only representing the marketing strategy side of the business but also the design side, the calendar was really fun to create and allowed me to design without a style guide (as much as I love them).

So as you can see, the calendar design process fulfilled a need for me personally (in that, I needed a calendar!) but also fulfilled a need for my business – a promotional item over the quiet Christmas break and a year-long reminder of Jane McKay Communications! It’s  the gift that keeps on giving on social media, too, as I can share the images on Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter/Instagram and boost my audience.

If you’re planning a promotion for your small business, it doesn’t need to be budget-breaking but it does need to answer to the 5 points of effective marketing promotions.