Category: Blog (Page 3 of 3)

On Coming Up With a Counter Top Display

During the first year, I had several retail outlets offering the calendar.  As the second year started to roll around, I spoke to all of them.  It appeared that those who best displayed the calendar sold them the fastest.  Most of them agreed that if they could stand up the calendar rather than laying it flat, more people would see it and possibly buy it.  Thus I was launched into the enormous world of “point of purchase” countertop displays.  After this experience, I will never look at product displays in the same way.  

After hours of store visits and online research, I narrowed down the options to two methods.  One was a fold up display made of white cardboard that could hold about 10 calendars.  The other option was a clear heavy plastic stand that would hold 3 calendars at a time.  Each had their advantages and disadvantages.

The cardboard ones were cheaper but when shipped were quite large.  Meaning they would not fit into the carton with the calendars.  This meant both additional shipping cost, hassle and the store had to do some assembly to set them  up.  Although the  acrylic display was more expensive, it  would fit in the carton with the calendars.  Lastly, I had to come up with a way to decide on  the text that should go on the display and how to get it on either display without costing an arm and a leg or looking like a middle school art project.

So much effort exerted to encourage a few additional sales.  But I choose not to look at it that way.  If my goal was and still is to get these weekly planners into the hands of people who need them, then I need to do what I can to support these retailers.  I chose the acrylic displays.  I used the computer to print out another slogan, “Finally a calendar you can see”.  My wife is far better with scissors and tape.  She affixed it to the small panel across the bottom and taped it so it almost looked professional.  Now we’ll just sit back and hear if it was worth all the effort.

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What’s in a slogan?

Why did I add the slogan to the cover, “The calendar with the edge”?  

Actually it started out, “The calendar with an edge”?   Was it too “gimmicky”?  

I kept hearing positive things about the benefit of the black edge around the weekly pages.  That simple feature really helps those who share the same challenge that I have.  I do not clearly see the edge of the page, especially  when it rests on a white work surface or on top of other papers.  So I decided to trademark this slogan and put it on the cover.  I’m proud to let people know that this calendar might help those who could use an “edge”.

Thoughts on improving the product after producing the 2016 edition

After the first year, it was time to consider what improvements were in order. For example, what about the location of the monthly pages; keep them up front, or slip them within the appropriate weeks?  The cover raised several questions:  alter the design, make it more durable, should it be a dark color?  What about the holidays?  Who knew there were that many to choose from?  Because  the design-print-sell cycle is so demanding, there was only a few months to make all of these decisions.  

With the help of a new graphics person, I updated the appearance of the cover.  Working with the printer, we found a way to both stiffen the cover and make it moisture-resistant and yet keep the cost down.  For now, I decided that a white cover is fine and we’ll keep the monthly pages up front where they are.

All of these plans and decisions took much discussion, research and some agonizing.  I  listen closely to the feedback I get and continue to try to make this the most usable and accessible product of its kind.  

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Thoughts on setting the price as a whole dollar rather than a few cents less

I don’t know about you, but I am not fooled when something is priced at $9.95.  That always means it costs $10 to me.  Frankly I wonder how many people are fooled by such psychological manipulation. Why did businesses first begin doing this?  I’m sure some very serious market research went into what seems a nearly universal practice.

So how do I price my product?

I’ve run this question past both friends, family and business professionals.  Based on what I heard, here’s what I’ve decided to do at least for now.  For the full-box order, don’t mess with the few cents less.   But for individual buyers the “few pennies less” price.

I guess old habits die hard.

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Every Year, I Print More EZ2See® Calendars

I had to come up with a way to know how many EZ2See® Calendars the resellers would want before telling the printer how many to print.  It is vital to know this number.  While I hoped that individuals would find and buy my calendar, I was more worried that I’d print too many than too few.

I’m told that’s why we put the “reorder reminder” page in late summer or early fall in calendars.

How do I incentivize individuals and large companies to commit in time?   Obviously it is by offering a price discount.  What I’ve struggled with is how much of a discount to offer.  Then there is the fact that the discount to a person who buys one planner and pays shipping needs to be a different discount than the one to a company who buys them by the box load and I pay for the shipping. These are things I have to consider.

Sadly, I’m still not on the radar by many past buyers or being found on the internet.  No big deal, it is really the big orders that will guide my print decision. Each year, in order to encourage those early resellers to  submit a purchase order in the summer, I offered “early bird” pricing.  Then I work the phones and reach out to dozens of both old and potential new resellers, and I get a good number ordered in that window.  But that last week in July really had my attention.

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The Reluctant Blogger

Image of Edward, owner of EZ2See

Why would I want to write for a blog? Who would even read it?

My web person tells me that having a blog raises my webpage ranking.  When that happens, possibly more people will discover my calendar.  So yes, I do want more people to learn of this calendar.  Yet, doing a blog would mean I have to get comfortable inviting strangers into my “world”.  It begs the question, why would anyone be interested in what I’m doing to make and market these calendars, let alone anything else going on in my life.  

Then there is the very real fact that I barely can get done each day what needs to be done.  Now I’m supposed to write about it as well?  If I do this, I should sign it, “The Reluctant Blogger” So how do people who Blog find the time?  I suppose it comes down to the old adage, you make time for what you want to get done.  I will think seriously about this, especially if the posts can be short.

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