In 2000 Rob Morris, president of Morris-Day Designers and Builders, in McLean, Va., had an idea for a marketing tool to commemorate the dawn of the new century: a calendar that would feature before-and-after pictures of the company’s projects, focusing on homes built at the turn of the last century but updated to meet the needs of the impending one. After 12 years, the calendar is still going strong because, as Morris says, “the reception was incredible.”
Actually, the idea — the ability to be on a client’s mind every single day of the year — is incredible. And it’s possible, too, because most people still have a wall or desk calendar, or both, despite living in an age of smartphones and iPads.
Morris says that the company sends out roughly 1,000 calendars to its core “fan base” — past, present, and future clients — and prints more to use as marketing tools at open houses. In fact, the calendars have become so popular that when a recipient moves, they make sure that the company has their new address — so not a month goes by without them seeing one of Morris-Day’s projects on their wall.
Thorson Restoration & Construction, in Bridgewater, Mass., recently took advantage of its 20-year anniversary and featured project photos in its calendar.
In past years, the company simply sent out a calendar with generic photos that it branded with its information — a more inexpensive proposition, but still an effective way to get the company’s name in front of people. “It’s a good way to stay on customers’ minds,” says company president Eric P. Thorson, “and it’s something that they look at every single day.” The Thorson Restoration & Construction calendar also includes hints throughout, for when it might be time for particular home improvements.
While Morris estimates the cost per calendar to be in the $10 range, he can’t pinpoint any leads that have come in solely because a new client saw the calendar somewhere. “If someone goes into a florist and they see our calendar hanging behind the counter, then they go to another shop and there’s another one, it resonates with them,” he says. “I don’t know if you can put a price on recognition.”
—Mark A. Newman, senior editor, REMODELING.
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