Are you feeling buzzed about planners this year? Are you feeling EXTRA buzzed because not only did you get an amazing planner for 2019 but you’ve also got something else in mind – creating and launching your OWN planner for 2020?
January is a great month for new beginnings, goal-setting and resolutions, and one thing that lots of us love to help us stay on track is a great planner. The Day Designer is the probably the best known name in this field, but every year more and more amazing designs with inspired guidance crop up, because the market is seemingly insatiable!
So now that you have decided to throw your own hat into the ring, what should you be doing first?
Straight up, I can tell you that the work starts NOW. This is not something that you can ponder for the next six months, go on vacation in August and start putting together in September (if you’re reading this in September, you could still make a push for it though!). You need to get cracking on creating your own 2020 planner TODAY, and here’s what you can do:
1. Start Working On Your Visibility
The quickest thing that you can start with right this minute is your social media visibility. For this particular market, Instagram and Pinterest are the best places to start. Check out the people already in your niche and look at the kinds of images that they are posting and getting engagement on. Pins can link to your website or Etsy.
Keep your look consistent and professional and use Photoshop or Canva to build picture-perfect images and posts.
2. Test Your Idea Digitally
Investing in a printed planner is going to be expensive, so you want to test your layouts and ideas first.
The quickest way of doing this is Etsy and digital downloads. You can create your planner layouts and designs and sell them on Etsy as digital downloads to see what people are drawn to and get feedback on your work. You’re also prepping an audience for when the real deal drops in the fall…
3. Start A Blog
If you can sit down and write a relevant, keyword-rich blog post twice a week and get it out there on your own website, social media and GOOGLE, you will start attracting people to your brand.
All those pins on Pinterest can start linking back to your website, where readers will be bowled over by your fabulous content (naturally!).
4. Build A Funnel
The minute you have even a single page on your website, you can start creating your first funnel. A funnel is what transforms someone from a casual passer-by into a paying customer.
Your first funnel starts with a pin on Pinterest or the link in your Insta profile. When someone clicks, they brought to your website where they are invited to sign up to your mailing list in return for something relevant that brings them delight – an unmissable downloadable from your planner, for instance. Now you have their email address and you can start nurturing them.
Wait! When are we getting to the planner itself??
Don’t worry! We haven’t forgotten what the point of all this was! I just want to make sure you don’t leave the marketing til last, because you want to start getting those customers warmed up NOW, not when all your competition suddenly wakes up next October! Scroll on down and don’t forget to pin the images on this page to Pinterest so you don’t forget where you found all this!
5. Finding And Working With A Printer
There are two ways of doing this – print on demand/dropshipping or printing a bunch of planners at your own cost up front and shipping them yourself. Print on demand is less risky, but also less profitable. You have more control over the action – and more profit – if you print them yourself up front.
To find a printer, your first step is Google. There are other ways too though – if you happen to be connected to other planner creators on LinkedIn, for instance, I bet you’ll find their printer in their connections.
If you search planner printer US (or UK or wherever you are) you will get plenty of hits. If you have the budget to order more than 1000 copies, then I would think that Alibaba might be a good place to look as well, because you’re going to find that for bulk, China will give you the best rates.
For print runs between 1 and 1000, staying national is probably your best bet.
6. The Actual Design Itself
This depends largely on your InDesign skills. If you’re feeling pretty sure of yourself with InDesign – and there are several youtube tutorials on creating planner layouts in InDesign – you can do this yourself. You probably started all this because you have a pretty clear idea of what you want included in your planner, so start bringing it to life and testing out different ideas on your Etsy store and as lead magnets (the freebies that make people want to sign up to your list).
On the other hand, you might be looking at me in horror right now! InDesign? InDeWHAT?
That’s okay too! Again, you probably have a clear idea of what you want your planner to contain and how it will be different, so bring those ideas to a graphic designer and work together to bring it to life.
Take a look on Fiverr or your favourite Facebook groups and look for designers who have created planner layouts before, and work with her to create something that really makes your heart sing – the planner layout that you know you would want to buy yourself.
Your graphic designer will be able to provide you with the InDesign files that your printer needs (check out my two blog posts on working with contractors here and here!) and together you can hone your design to perfection before you click ORDER with your printer!
7. Allow at least FOUR WEEKS for the printer to turn around your order. These things take time! And keep in mind whether or not your printer will be able to do a reprint for you closer to the holidays in case – oh joy! – you sell out and want to order more.
Start reaching out to your mailing list and Instagram audience HARD. Plan out your emails and content in advance so that you can have it all scheduled and ticking over nicely while you sleep, and focus on customer service and making sure that all your customers are so stoked that they come back to you for their 2021 planners!
Questions? Ask in the comments below or join me over on the Flourish community to have me support your planner journey from from the very start!