Putting flyers on car windows...

by 123 replies
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...
#main internet marketing discussion forum #car #flyers #putting #windows
  • Profile picture of the author misterwrecker
    To be honest those fliers do annoy me, but there must be results because I think people would stop doing them after awhile.
    • Profile picture of the author Rich Struck
      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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  • Profile picture of the author Rezbi
    I personally don't even bother to look at it.

    I just screw it up and chuck it.
  • Profile picture of the author Rich Struck
    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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    • Profile picture of the author raywarrior1978
      Originally Posted by Rich Struck View Post

      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.

      If they are to stupid to remove it from their windshield, then I don't think they are smart enough to sue you, lol :p
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  • Profile picture of the author Angela V. Edwards
    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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  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    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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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Hackett
    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.
  • Profile picture of the author George Wright
    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.

    George Wright
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Silvester
    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
    • Profile picture of the author R Hagel
      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.
  • Profile picture of the author Gary McCaffrey
    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.
    • Profile picture of the author seasoned
      Originally Posted by Gary McCaffrey View Post

      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.
      The litterbug is the jerk that puts it on the car!

      Steve
  • Profile picture of the author ecoverartist
    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.
    • Profile picture of the author Killer Joe
      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...


      KJ
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  • Profile picture of the author MeCanX
    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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  • Profile picture of the author George Wright
    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.)

    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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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    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.]
  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    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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  • Profile picture of the author jalamo
    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....
  • Profile picture of the author Ricky Parker
    Done it several times with poor results. And have been trespassed and chased.

    Do something else IMO.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      Originally Posted by Ricky Parker View Post

      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.
    • Profile picture of the author RB Riddick
      Originally Posted by Ricky Parker View Post

      And have been ... chased.
      Hi Ricky,

      Did they catch you? ^

      I haven't been chased yet, but I have been barked at a few times.

      Riddick
  • Profile picture of the author Mark Riddle
    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.


    Mark Riddle
    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      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.
  • Profile picture of the author Dave777
    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
  • Profile picture of the author charlesburke
    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).

    Cheers from warm and smiling Thailand,
    Charles
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  • Profile picture of the author Joeman
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