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Unread 20th July 2009, 06:12 PM   #1
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Default Putting flyers on car windows...

bad idea?

i know most people think it's annoying, but maybe that's cuz it's usually just an advertisement of some kind of promotion or discount or something.

what if i'm offering something for free, something that most people would like and use? would that make it "less" annoying?

i'm trying to think of ways to write off my gas mileage on taxes when i go to malls and such...

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Unread 20th July 2009, 06:18 PM   #2
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

To be honest those fliers do annoy me, but there must be results because I think people would stop doing them after awhile.
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Unread 20th July 2009, 06:18 PM   #3
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

I personally don't even bother to look at it.

I just screw it up and chuck it.
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Unread 20th July 2009, 06:19 PM   #4
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

I've been tempted to try it but it is just too annoying. Another problem is liability... If someone drives off and the paper obstructs their view and they crash, I bet they would want to sue you.

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Unread 20th July 2009, 06:20 PM   #5
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Quote:
Originally Posted by misterwrecker View Post
To be honest those fliers do annoy me, but there must be results because I think people would stop doing them after awhile.
People do all kinds of stupid crap, it doesn't mean that it works.

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Unread 20th July 2009, 06:26 PM   #6
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

I would strongly advise against this. I am also in the crowd that just crumples it up and throws it away without looking at it, but I agree it's a liability. Not only might it obstruct someone's vision if they drive away, but to do this, you (or the paper) would have to touch someone else's property. That is NOT a good idea, I don't think. Can you imagine all the things you might get blamed for if someone wanted to?

Bad idea...

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Unread 20th July 2009, 06:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

In some places this might be considered trespassing and get you into trouble.

Once in college the police were searching for some ... err, I'd better stop there before my wife kills me.

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Unread 20th July 2009, 06:37 PM   #8
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Using someone else's property as your personal ad space isn't a good idea and is unlikely to lead anywhere you'd want to go.

Do it where I live and many other towns, and store managers will turn them over to local police who will track you down through the flyer info and ticket you for littering or for solicitation.

If you want to advertise - get signs made and put them on your own car and drive around.
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Unread 20th July 2009, 06:39 PM   #9
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

As you can see by some of the responses in the thread, your conversion rate would probably be low, but the more you get your message out, the better your odds of success. So I wouldn't rule this out.

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Unread 20th July 2009, 06:40 PM   #10
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Strangely enough, we had a guy come into our print shop the other day that has one of those "cash for gold" businesses in a nearby town. He wanted to get prices on business cards, flyers, marketing materials, etc.

I asked him what had been his most successful marketing method over the years, and he said "flyers at the malls and parking lots - but it's just so hard to do anymore."

I'm one of those that would throw them away, but evidently, plenty of others aren't.

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Unread 20th July 2009, 06:47 PM   #11
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

They work and they work big time.

There are ways to do it with immunity from punishment and with great success. And with the blessing of the business owners. Malls? No experience there, however, they are managed by people and people can be persuaded if there is "something in it for them." Think about it.

Just think out of the box.

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Unread 20th July 2009, 06:53 PM   #12
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Hi MarketingMama,

Let me just say that putting flyers onto cars is such
a pain in the ass to do. The best way to leverage this
techinique is to hire a helicopter and throw a few thousand
out the window of the chopper as you fly over all the
carparks.

That way you can do your whole town in about 20 minutes
intead of doing 1/4 of 1 carpark in the same time period.

Take Care,

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Unread 20th July 2009, 06:57 PM   #13
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

I can't believe there are so many litter bugs here. I hope when you say 'throw away', you mean dispose of properly and not throw on the street!

Seriously though.

My previous apartment was on a street very near the city center so it was constantly used by drivers for free parking then they'd walk into the city, always packed with cars and it was very popular for people to slip business card underneath the drivers door handles.

I assume that it worked because they were back advertising the same thing again and again in all the streets around my area.
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Unread 20th July 2009, 07:26 PM   #14
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Depending on what the free thing is, you might consider taking out a classified ad (especially if you live in a small town) or maybe an ad in a relevant magazine. If you have community bulletin boards in your area you could put your flyer there too with some tear off tags.

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Unread 20th July 2009, 07:37 PM   #15
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Just be sure you check your local laws first. Even if they convert as well as other marketing tools facing stiff fines for violating a local ordinance can wipe out your profit.

It's not like they can't find you...

And if I catch you putting something on my car...


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Unread 20th July 2009, 07:44 PM   #16
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

50 years ago it would have worked. Today though the only people who do it are the ones who are clueless about how to market and they cant think of anything more creative to do.

I would imagine you might get a 1-3% response rate if your ad is apealing, but it's really not worth all the hassle.

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Unread 20th July 2009, 07:44 PM   #17
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Struck View Post
People do all kinds of stupid crap, it doesn't mean that it works.


I agree with George that they do work. If people are going to implement the same marketing tactic over and over, that usually means that it works. Either that or they like wasting time and money.
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Unread 20th July 2009, 07:57 PM   #18
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

you guys are funny!

there seems to be people on both sides of the fence for this one.

like i mentioned, i was thinking of a way to write off mileage to the malls. i probably wouldn't specifically go to a place to put flyers on the cars. i would already be there for another reason. (that's between me and you, though. if you work for the irs, then yeah, i'm going to the mall for the sole reason of advertising my business... :rolleyes

unless i've forgotten something i've read (it's possible with my short term memory) no one here has actually tried it. they've just seen other people try it or have heard of people who have had success (or not) with it. i suppose that's a start though...

i really doubt someone would "drive off" with an 8.5" x 11" bright pink piece of paper stuck to their windshield.... :p

but i suppose stranger things have happened.

and yeah, i suppose ultimately if i don't want to tick people off, then i shouldn't do it.

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Unread 20th July 2009, 08:10 PM   #19
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Our community around here get's fliers all the time and most of the time they end up on the ground. Now, I usually look at them but never respond unless it's a club or some crazy going out of business sale...then I might respond...

I personally think it would hurt your reputation vs help it.

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Unread 20th July 2009, 08:18 PM   #20
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Hi privateer,

Sorry to hear that. Would the $2k had you not had to pay the fine been worth your while?

I'm just wondering because as I eluded to above, Mall Management can allow you to pass out flyers if they want to. Also you might have needed a permit.

One more question if you don't mind. How many flyers did you pass out to make the $2,000.

(I'm assuming you made $2,000 because you said after a $2k fine you barely broke even.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by privateer View Post
I have done it, actually. I got a nice letter in the mail with a $2,000 fine and informing me I was no longer welcome at the two malls and three shopping center that management company ran. The fine knocked my profits down to about break even, I made like $60,

I've totally ignored not being allowed in the mall, but if I made a nuisance of myself and, got noticed, I would be trespassing and they could press charges.

Like I said, be careful.

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Unread 20th July 2009, 08:25 PM   #21
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketingMama View Post
i really doubt someone would "drive off" with an 8.5" x 11" bright pink piece of paper stuck to their windshield.... :p
I see people driving with stuff stuck to their windshield all the time. Imagine you have just gotten your kids and purchases in the car, started it up and then notice the flyer. Now you have to turn off the car, pull someone's crap off of your windshield and dispose of it. Many people don't get out of the car, they let it blow off. I've even seen people turn on the windshield wipers to get the flyer off as they drive. It's particularly unfair to the elderly or disabled that may have difficulty reaching the flyer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketingMama View Post

like i mentioned, i was thinking of a way to write off mileage to the malls. i probably wouldn't specifically go to a place to put flyers on the cars. i would already be there for another reason. (that's between me and you, though. if you work for the irs, then yeah, i'm going to the mall for the sole reason of advertising my business... :rolleyes
Is contemplating tax fraud and posting it on a public forum really how you want to represent your business?

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Unread 20th July 2009, 08:58 PM   #22
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketingMama View Post
bad idea?

i know most people think it's annoying, but maybe that's cuz it's usually just an advertisement of some kind of promotion or discount or something.

what if i'm offering something for free, something that most people would like and use? would that make it "less" annoying?

i'm trying to think of ways to write off my gas mileage on taxes when i go to malls and such...
I'm guessing here, but I'd bet that what you think people would like and use and what they think after finding your flier on their car, will be two different things.

I've seen people sweep through a lot, putting fliers on cars, and minutes later it looks like a blizzard hit a parking lot in Florida in high summer. Then the afternoon rain comes, and there's a real mess that the tenants of the shopping center have to pay real money to clean up.

Not to mention the innocent flier that gets soaked in the shower and baked onto the windshield, or the ink that runs and stains a paint job.

I've had fliers come off of cars and plaster themselves against my windshield at 60 mph - NOT fun.

Can you tell I don't think much of the idea?

If you want a mileage deduction, get a post office box and/or a bank account along your normal routes. When you stop to check the mail or do your business banking, the mileage is deductible. Just make sure you keep a log of your "business" trips.

[Standard CYA - the above is not to be taken as specific tax advice - check with a competent advisor before acting.]

Get this one thing right and it will be like you are the only one they are listening to. Probably because you will be the only one they are listening to.

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Unread 20th July 2009, 09:38 PM   #23
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmyBrown View Post
Is contemplating tax fraud and posting it on a public forum really how you want to represent your business?
no not really. i was trying to be funny but that doesn't always come across in writing to people who don't know you.

yeah, i'm probably going to drop the idea. it irritates most people obviously, and i don't really want my business associated with irritation! anyways, thanks everyone for your input!

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Unread 20th July 2009, 09:46 PM   #24
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Flyers have literally doubled my income for one of my online businesses. And guess what?

My CUSTOMERS distribute them! I do nothing!

On one of the pages of my site, a user has the ability to write an advertisement, print it off at home on their printer, then go about doing letter box drops or what have you in their area. This means, they are promoting something for themselves, along with my web address which is marked on the bottom.

Its a win win situation, which is constantly bringing me more and more business.

Offline marketing still has its place.
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Unread 20th July 2009, 09:47 PM   #25
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketingMama View Post
yeah, i'm probably going to drop the idea.
You give up too easily! Think about how you can implement this idea and have your customers distribute them for you!
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Unread 20th July 2009, 10:05 PM   #26
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Yes, flyers do work, but it can be very hard physical work. I use it mostly just to test new ads. For optimum results try using color and make it attractive to stand out from the others people typically see on their windshields. Don't use white paper, and don't go for the cheap or cheesie look. Try light-colored paper; yellow, green or blue preferably with a picture of your product. As I mentioned I use flyers to test new ads such as full-page magazine advertising. And quite often, the sales from flyers more than pay for my magazine ads. I never go to shopping malls or on private property to place flyers. They are on cars parked in public streets in business and residential areas.

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Unread 20th July 2009, 10:09 PM   #27
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

What is the fine for littering in your area?
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Unread 20th July 2009, 10:19 PM   #28
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

By 2 cents...they might work and if you get the business owners permission (also easier if you agree to come by after the day and pick up all of the ones disguarded on the property) BUT....many cities have ordinances about this and I have known night club promoters ect to get fined $100 per postcard/flyer found on the ground!!!! It's easy to find the person because their advertisment has name and number for contact...be careful, its a hefty fine in some cities....
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Unread 20th July 2009, 10:22 PM   #29
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Grable View Post
What is the fine for littering in your area?
It's $1,000 on freeways and highways; for first offense. That is the main reason why I only put flyers on cars that are parked in public streets. And it is done infrequently (every month or two) only to test ads.

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Unread 20th July 2009, 10:25 PM   #30
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Done it several times with poor results. And have been trespassed and chased.

Do something else IMO.

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Unread 20th July 2009, 10:42 PM   #31
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Quote:
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Done it several times with poor results. And have been trespassed and chased.

Do something else IMO.
The best times I have found to place flyers are weekends during predawn hours on public streets. And best results were actually from flyers folded up to look like parking tickets, million-dollar bills, "special delivery" letters, color graphics, etc. Plain white paper with black text will never get results.

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Unread 20th July 2009, 10:55 PM   #32
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Tisk Tisk Tisk,

I am guessing that very few here have actually tried this, but still have opinions of how effective it is because they would be offended.

There are several ways to make this MORE than worth while for you and your business.

First check with the parking lot owner (not always the same person that is the mall owner) before taking your fliers to the parking lots.

Get permission, and Paid permission is best...

While many people try the go for the windshield method, it is not the best method of placing fliers on vehicles.

Place the flier on the drivers door, either the slide it into the window, or in the crack around the door opening. There is a very high percentage that make it inside the vehicle with out the typical windshield wadding up.

Take a standard 8X11 sheet of paper and create 6 fliers per sheet, not only does this expand the number of impressions you get per page it also makes it more likely to be retained by the driver.

A strong call to action is a must.

OK here is the bonus round.

The sneaky method of getting the mall to say yes when they don't want to...

Find a merchant in the mall, and mention their store on your flier, even though it mainly is about you. The Shops that have the little kiosks in the aisles are looking for anything to attract attention are good prospects to use, also they will often also allow you to place your fliers on their kiosks.

It no longer is solicitation, its now a joint venture with a lease holder and malls are less likely to get upset.

You still want to get permission from the parking lot owner even with placing a mall lease holder on your flier.

Bonus Round Two.

If you have a business that would be something that travelers in the area would be interested in, also include cars in the parking lots of motels and hotels. Talk with the house keeping staff, (many work for tips) contact them to put the fliers on the cars for you everyday, and give them a bonus / commission for fliers that are used. Make sure the flier has to be presented for the special offer etc. You will be surprised how often these fliers will end up in the guests room right next to the envelope for the maid service's tips.


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Unread 20th July 2009, 11:36 PM   #33
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Twist the overall idea into Smarter marketing methods by focusing on particular specialty niche offerings! Joint Venture with a variety of relevant niche retailers and run a mix of win-win distribution campaigns personalized for each retailer, especially for their customers...

Don't call it a flyer! Develop it into a Hotsheet business model with an added spin on local email marketing by collecting email addresses and turn things into some Great fish bowl profits and money making opportunities for all parties involved...

Dave

Last edited by Dave777; 20th July 2009 at 11:39 PM. Reason: additional info
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Unread 20th July 2009, 11:48 PM   #34
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Mama, there are more effective ways to do this thing. Many years ago when I had newly arrived in a mid-sized southern town, I started a new business and within a month I had six or seven weeks of work backed up.

I see you don't have enough posts yet to PM me, but reply in this thread, and I'll be happy to email you the particulars at no charge (it's legal, cheap, non-littery, extremely simple, and you DO get calls).

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Unread 21st July 2009, 08:40 AM   #35
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Mark, my dislike for the method mostly stems from the results of poor execution, not from being offended.

The way you lay it out, I could see getting some positive results. Another possibility (which HAS worked on me) is to print the coupon on sticky notes and put them on the glass just above the door handle of the driver's door.

For some reason, the mind doesn't make the connection between sticky notes and advertising fliers.

I also like the idea of sticking to public places. Pre-9/11, one place fliers actually worked for me was the parking lot at the airport.

Get this one thing right and it will be like you are the only one they are listening to. Probably because you will be the only one they are listening to.

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Unread 21st July 2009, 08:52 AM   #36
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

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Originally Posted by Michael Silvester View Post
Hi MarketingMama,

Let me just say that putting flyers onto cars is such
a pain in the ass to do. The best way to leverage this
techinique is to hire a helicopter and throw a few thousand
out the window of the chopper as you fly over all the
carparks.

That way you can do your whole town in about 20 minutes
intead of doing 1/4 of 1 carpark in the same time period.

Take Care,

Michael Silvester
See, that's thinking out of the box.

Of course Michael's suggestion is REALLY expensive. That's why I JV with the military. When they drop flyers in foreign lands, I ask them if they'd sign up for my affiliate program and add their affiliate link to their flyers.

Cheers,
Becky

P.S. Oh yeah, on topic... you'd definitely have to get permission in order to do this, check your local laws, etc. Personally, for the reasons mentioned above, I wouldn't do it (liability, littering, solicitation, etc).

However, if you decide to proceed, then try to target your ads a bit. Don't just go paper everyone's car in a mall. Find gatherings that are related to what you're selling.
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Unread 21st July 2009, 09:12 AM   #37
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

You don't need a flyer to write that off. Just write the mileage and eat with someone and ask if they have any leads for you...and quite frankly, that's about all it takes...

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Unread 21st July 2009, 09:27 AM   #38
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

I hate this form of advertising. It wastes paper and people normally don't see the ad until they've sat inside the car. This immediately pisses them off because they need to get back out to remove it.

Instead, try the following:
Hire some local teenagers that can rollerblade.
Take your flyers and staple a rubber band to each of them.
Pay the teens to place the ads on door handles of homes.

There's a guy that does this locally and makes a killing.

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Unread 21st July 2009, 09:50 AM   #39
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

a flyer? i'd probably be annoyed. but what if you gave a little gift instead? Drivers dont need/want a flyer, but you could find something they do need and want, like light.

I've seen places like alibaba.com where you can contact worldwide manufacturers and get branded giveaway junk...like little led light keychains that anyone with a car (read: keys) would want for in the neighborhood of .02 to .25 per unit when bought in bulk

Everyone will throw away a piece of paper, would you throw away a lighted keychain?
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Unread 21st July 2009, 09:59 AM   #40
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

It's not very targeted. You would have to put out thousands of flyers to get any action. I laugh when I get a flyer on my BMW (wifes car of course ) looking for temp workers or "how to get your own website" .

Action is the foundational key to all success. - Pablo Picasso
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Unread 21st July 2009, 10:40 AM   #41
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Having spent 12 years in the Rent-to-Own business, I can say we used this method extensively. Not only parking lots, but apt. complexes and residential areas as well.

We would do our own parking lot (strip mall with large grocery store anchor) several times a day and make occassional flyer runs as time allowed.

In all of those years, we never had an issue with the police or received a ticket of any kind.

We did receive calls from apt managers asking us to come pick up the cast off flyers, which we did. This usually only happened when we used flyers instead of door hangers, didn't make that mistake too many times.

We did receive calls from property management companies asking us to come pick up our flyers from their parking lots and sometimes to even remove them from any vehicles in their lots.

We did receive the occassional call telling us that the flyers had ran ink onto their paint.

A large business can afford some of the trouble that comes along with that form of advertising, I don't know that I would want to go through some of those issues personally, as an individual business though.

I used to send a crew of 5 or six guys that could knock the job out fairly quickly. Who has time to go out and pick up a parking lot themselves? Not me.

Better ways to advertise in my opinion.

One really effective way of advertising for us was to negotiate deals with other vendors in our area.

Example: We would supply the pizza place with a tv for their breakroom and they would include our flyers on their take-out boxes.

Worked similar deals with movie rental places, apt. managers, etc..

The way to reach your customers is still there, just think about who is already reaching them and then figure out a way you can both benefit.

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Unread 21st July 2009, 10:44 AM   #42
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

I have another idea.....

instead of on cars make a deal with the local guy thats in charge of the free papers and because he makes cash in hand out of it, having your leaflet inside of all those local papers will be very cheap.

or find a couple of students to do it for you and outsource it. People expect things through their door and it doesnt feel as anooying as the card on the windscreen style and the results are so much better.

kind regards


sam
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Unread 21st July 2009, 12:32 PM   #43
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

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Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post
Mark, my dislike for the method mostly stems from the results of poor execution, not from being offended.

John, I have to agree with you, poor execution makes good methods seem like a waste of time.

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Unread 21st July 2009, 05:10 PM   #44
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

dang, lots of good stuff here!

yeah i do give up too easily sometimes, or start to second-guess myself. guess i'd better get a tougher skin and more out-of-the-box thinking if i'm going to succeed with my business!

part of the reason i was going to target mall parking lots is b/c my biz involves saving people money on their expenses: including retail purchases and eating out.

i don't think i'll be renting a helicopter anytime soon... LOL

i like the idea someone had about putting post-its on the driver side window! can you automatically print onto post-its, or do you have to handwrite on each of them? if it's the latter, it wouldn't be worth it. but if i could find a way to feed them through a printer....?? or if not, maybe invest in rubber stamps so I can just stamp the info on each post it? i could hire my daughter to do that...

however, maybe pressing a sticky note to someone's window would set off their car alarm if they had one?

i really need exercise, so i wouldn't mind walking a little bit myself to put flyers or post-its on cars.

the led light keychain thing is a cool idea too.

and partnering up with people in the mall... yeah...

i know there was other stuff mentioned, too. i'll have to go back and re-read.

hmmm, so many options now!

ultimately i want to minimize "the annoyance factor" but maximize the potential for cheap advertising. also, i don't want to be setting off everyone's car alarm!

has anyone else who has done this had that problem?

thanks for all your input everyone! you've given me a lot to think about...

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Unread 21st July 2009, 05:12 PM   #45
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Do people even do this any more? I haven't seen it since I was a kid.

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Unread 21st July 2009, 05:22 PM   #46
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

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Originally Posted by MarketingMama View Post
ultimately i want to minimize "the annoyance factor" but maximize the potential for cheap advertising. also, i don't want to be setting off everyone's car alarm!
That's why the internet rocks.

The effort put forth to canvass a parking lot coupled with printing and distribution costs only makes sense for a very localized potential.

If that's what your target is (example: a local carwash) then it may pan out.

Otherwise...

KJ

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Unread 21st July 2009, 05:29 PM   #47
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

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Originally Posted by MarketingMama View Post
thanks for all your input everyone! you've given me a lot to think about...
Your positive attitude and reaction to criticism will get you farther than any flyer. Guaranteed.

Good luck.

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Unread 21st July 2009, 10:59 PM   #48
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

A number of people have PMed me asking for details about my non-flyer method. Apparently there's enough interest in offline marketing, so I'll post it here.

- - - - - - - - -

Many years ago, I was out of work in a new city. I wasn't quite broke, but it was close, so I decided I'd start up a small part-time business while I looked around for something more substantial.

I decided on house painting. It's easy to get into because many people don't want to do their own, and some of the "professionals" in the business are not very professional. It's easy to compete and to stand out.

Art is not my strongest talent, but I spent about three hours drawing and re-drawing a simple, friendly little painter character as a logo mascot. It took me that long to get the figure looking good enough to use. Then I had an instant printer run me off a batch of business cards featuring that character as my logo. I handed those cards out to everybody I met. It said:

Charles Burke
The Careful Painter

And gave my address and phone number.

Note that catch phrase. A lot of people worry that when they hire a stranger, he'll come in, sling paint around, and make a mess. So I made a promise (literally, a guarantee) that resonated with most homeowners' concerns.

Whatever business you decide on, try to identify a fear that you can soothe, making you a hero to your potential customers.

Next, I pasted a dozen of my new cards onto a single 8.5x11 sheet of paper and had the same instant printer do up about 200 sheets, using sepia ink on buff paper - a little bit nicer and more "deluxe looking" than simple black on white. I asked him to cut the sheets back down into business card size stacks and them use printer's glue (padding compound) to make pads of the cards. I ended up with almost a hundred pads of these business cards printed on ordinary thin, buff-colored paper, with about 50 in each pad.

Next, I glued each pad onto a 3x5 index card and wrote "Take One" at the top. Dead simple concept.

About half of the grocery stores in my area had bulletin boards. I spent a few hours driving around to all those stores, and anywhere I saw a bulletin board I thumb-tacked up a pad of my cards. I figured it'd take months to get semi-busy.

I was wrong.

The phone started ringing within two days, and after one month, I was working seven days a week and had six weeks of work backed up.

People would peel off a card, take it home and hang on to it for months. In a few cases, I got calls for estimates a year or more after I stopped posting the cards. When people keep your ads that long, you know it's effective advertising.

It's interesting that my newspaper ads in the Business Services and classified sections pulled almost no responses.

Two years later, when I moved on, I sold the painting business to a friend for a nice little profit.

Moral of that story? If you want to reach real buyers with your offer, go where they go, place your ad where they actively look for ads, BUT make your ad stand out from everybody else's with original presentation and an offer that nobody else is making (I'll be careful with your home).

Don't schlock it up, though...

Some time back I told a friend about this and he thought he'd do a promotion for his own business. But he started cutting corners. Now, this is little technique is definitely not expensive, so spending less is hard to do. Instead, he cut his corners by ignoring style.

He made all his copies on an old copier. The image quality - well, everything looked like it was 10th generation. And rather than take the job down to a print shop where they could make neat, clean-cut pads, he just had his kids cut everything out with scissors and used ordinary glue to try and make his pads. It looked like crappy and cheap.

Then he came back afterwards and told me "your idea was for s**t... I got almost no calls, and no new business from it."

Gee - I wonder why.

With a little creative thinking, it doesn't take much more effort to look professional, but it's so worth that effort.

Anyway that's how I built a brand new business from zero to fully booked without ever spreading flyers in parking lots.

Oh, I forgot to mention, I had never painted a house nor hung wallpaper before in my life. I just went to the library and checked out how-to books. For other info, I asked advice at the paint stores where I bought supplies. They were happy to help me. And though I was slow at first, the work was good quality because I did take my time to do it right.

Another time, I was in a small city of about 150,000. This was well before the age of computers.

I looked around and saw that there were only two or three fairly large typewriter repair shops, and they were quite expensive, aimed at servicing the big companies. Nothing for the many typewriters sitting in people's homes. So I went to the library and looked up a supplier of typewriter parts and tools. They were only about 50 miles away in a nearby city.

The next day, I put a small classified ad in the newspaper, offering to repair typewriters.

Your Typewriter Repaired Fast
Satisfaction absolutely guaranteed
If it doesn't work right, you don't pay

That supplier gladly sold me parts in lots of one and two, and resurfaced the rubber plattens when they required it.

Again, I had never repaired a typewriter, but I managed to fix every machine, manual or electric, that came my way. My price was good, and I delivered fast.

Although I wasn't flooded with work, it paid the rent, put groceries on the table and left me with considerable free time to read and goof off.

The moral of these two stories? Finding customers has mostly to do with finding what people want and offering it to them in a way that resonates with what they're already thinking and feeling. You don't SELL them, you just tune into them and offer them what they're craving.

Cheers from warm and smiling Thailand,
Charles

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Unread 21st July 2009, 11:22 PM   #49
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

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Originally Posted by MarketingMama View Post
you guys are funny!

there seems to be people on both sides of the fence for this one.

like i mentioned, i was thinking of a way to write off mileage to the malls. i probably wouldn't specifically go to a place to put flyers on the cars. i would already be there for another reason. (that's between me and you, though. if you work for the irs, then yeah, i'm going to the mall for the sole reason of advertising my business... :rolleyes

unless i've forgotten something i've read (it's possible with my short term memory) no one here has actually tried it. they've just seen other people try it or have heard of people who have had success (or not) with it. i suppose that's a start though...

i really doubt someone would "drive off" with an 8.5" x 11" bright pink piece of paper stuck to their windshield.... :p

but i suppose stranger things have happened.

and yeah, i suppose ultimately if i don't want to tick people off, then i shouldn't do it.
I tried it several years ago... what I got out of it was an angry call
from the mall manager who told me the next time he'd send me a bill
for the clean up and file a formal complaint with the local police.

I also got a couple calls from people wanting to know what the hell
I was doing putting crap on their car.

I made a few sales but it wasn't anywhere near worth the time and trouble.

Tsnyder

If you knew what I know you'd be doing what I do

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Unread 21st July 2009, 11:24 PM   #50
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Default Re: Putting flyers on car windows...

Charles,

Your great illustration of getting at the heart of what people are really looking for is a powerful lesson for anyone wanting to expand their local business.

Its not everyday that someone can take a concept and develop it into something that not only is appealing, but is also affordable to get started.

Thanks for your example.

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