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Hi everyone,

I'm a few weeks from opening my new business. I'm starting my advertising campaign with simply putting out flyers in targeted areas. I know I can flyer cars parked in streets and other public places, and I can put flyers on houses. What about businesses? I can't find a definitive answer on the web.

I've read a few things that say malls have replaced what was once the town square, so they're now considered public-ish property, even when they're privately owned. I've seen people say to flyer business parking lots, but leave peacefully if the manager comes out and tells you to stop. I've also called a few malls and grocery stores to ask permission, and they all have strict policies against flyering.

Is this one of those cases where it's best to just do it and apologize later?

Thanks,
PrrpleGrrl
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I've also called a few malls and grocery stores to ask permission, and they all have strict policies against flyering.

Is this one of those cases where it's best to just do it and apologize later?

PrrpleGrrl

It is said it is easier to get forgiveness than permission.

That being said, something else is also said (namely #^~@$^`+*%!) when people find unrequested pieces of paper on their windshields.

Unless you are offering a really big discount to overcome their resentment at having to remove YOUR trash from THEIR windshield you might do better just handing them out to people as they wait at the stop sign/light leaving the mall (or at any stop sign/light) so as not to incur their wrath.

You see when you put your paper on their windshield you are violating their space.
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You see when you put your paper on their windshield you are violating their space.

I agree. I think that someone looks at something like that more negatively than even junk mail. So if you are doing good getting 2 or 3% with a direct mail campaign, you are likely to have to break out the decimals to see what kind of response that you get from windshield flyers.

Of course, that all depends on what you're selling and what kind of special you offer. If you have no offer or a 10% off something, then forget about it.

Also, if I caught you in my parking lot, I would boot you off and pick up any flyers that I could while walking out to you and going back in.

Fred
who once had a COMPETITOR put his business cards on the cars in my parking lot!
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OK, so I'm sensing a lack of positive feeling toward flyering parking lots, is that correct? :)

I am, in fact, giving a 50% discount on my flyer, if that makes any difference. Gonna have to think this over some more.

Thanks!
PrrpleGrrl
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I am, in fact, giving a 50% discount on my flyer, if that makes any difference. Gonna have to think this over some more.

Again, it depends on what you are selling and if 50% is perceived as a good deal. Sometimes it's better to convert your savings into dollars saved.

It's not just that I personally dislike flyers. I am not really convinced of their effectiveness when compared to dollars and effort spent in distributing them. If they worked that well, it seems that you would see flyers on windshields all the time; I hardly see them at all.

Fred
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Fred who once had a COMPETITOR put his business cards on the cars in my parking lot!

My bookkeeper (a feisty old geezer) would probably suggest, that now that you have the front of his card you go to a nearby town where you aren't know and have "your" card reprinted with a super Super SUPER deal on the back and then place them on cars in your parking lot.

Of course I would never suggest such a thing. ☺
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I know I can flyer cars parked in streets and other public places, and I can put flyers on houses. What about businesses? I can't find a definitive answer on the web.

Just curious, you indicated you can't find a definitive answer on the web about putting flyers at busineses. Does that mean you did find a definitive answer about putting flyers on private vehicles parked on streets and about entering private property to put flyers on houses? If Yes, please post a link, I'd like to read how the advisor presented this information.

Are you prepared to handle the people who say you scratched their car while leaning over to put on the flyer or those who say you broke their windshield wiper?



I've read a few things that say malls have replaced what was once the town square, so they're now considered public-ish property, even when they're privately owned.

Regardless of how "public-ish" someone considers a mall, it is still private property. In general, life in the U.S. functions best when we all respect the private property of others.



I've seen people say to flyer business parking lots, but leave peacefully if the manager comes out and tells you to stop.

I would immediately cease to take business advice from these people. If they don't respect other people if they have a chance to make a dollar - do you think they will respect you when given the same opportunity?



I've also called a few malls and grocery stores to ask permission, and they all have strict policies against flyering.

For good reason.



Is this one of those cases where it's best to just do it and apologize later?

Many malls, stores, shopping centers, etc. now have video surveillance of their parking lots, which means you will likely be on tape - a permanent record - as you go around putting out your flyers. Is that how you want to start off your business?


May I offer a better suggestion?

How about sharing with the board exactly what you will be doing in this new business and ask for some marketing & promotion ideas? You'll likely get some good suggestions that will yield better results and don't involve issuing apologies later.

ShelbyBoy
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Well, I took your feedback on the idea of flyering cars, added a drop of gut instinct, and decided it was a bad idea. I am now looking into a targeted direct mail campaign. It'll be more expensive, of course, but I'll feel a lot better about.

Regading ShelbyBoy's comments about privacy and video surveillance and the like: No, I don't want to start off our business with _any_ problems caused by our marketing. I don't want ill will, lawsuits, or any other kind of negativity, of course, which is the reason I decided against flyering.

So, since you asked, ShelbyBoy, the business I'm starting is a weight loss support group for low-carb dieters. It's modeled much like Weight Watchers, where members pay to attend a weekly group meeting. Various books and low-carb products will be available for sale at each meeting, but I believe the bulk of our income will be from meeting fees.

Besides the current plans for a possible direct mail campaign, I've handed out several hundred flyers to friends and family, who have offered to give them out to their friends and coworkers who might be interested. I'm putting up flyers on the community bulletin boards around town. I will also be handing out discount referral cards to members, to give members a free week when a friend joins, and to give the friend 50% off membership fees.

My sister-in-law is a press secretary, so she's helping put together a press release and compiling for me a list of press contacts. We've just started on this, so I'm not sure exactly where it will lead. A news story would be wonderful, of course.

Do y'all have any other ideas? I'm trying to keep costs down as much as possible.

I apologize in advance for my clumsiness in all this, as I'm so very new to business ownership, but I appreciate your comments.

Thanks a lot,
PrrpleGrrl

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<<Do y'all have any other ideas? I'm trying to keep costs down as much as possible.
>>


Abandonning the idea of papering people's automobiles was good.


For your weight loss program though, you might want to consider handing out invitations to the program at the local Krispy Kreme donut outlet.



Seattle Pioneer
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I am now looking into a targeted direct mail campaign.

If you get a targeted mailing list, you can probably plan on a 1% response rate.

Suppose it costs you $0.50 per piece including postage, printing, envelope, etc. That means you'll spend $50 to get one new customer. Does that leave you an acceptable profit?



It's modeled much like Weight Watchers, where members pay to attend a weekly group meeting. Various books and low-carb products will be available for sale at each meeting, but I believe the bulk of our income will be from meeting fees...

...Do y'all have any other ideas? I'm trying to keep costs down as much as possible.


Will the members pay each week or pay a long-term fee up front?

If the members quit after a month, will they get a refund?

Will the meetings be in a private home, leased space, etc.?


ShelbyBoy
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For your weight loss program though, you might want to consider handing out invitations to the program at the local Krispy Kreme donut outlet.


Do you think Krispy Kreme would mind if I flyered their parking lot? :)

PrrpleGrrl
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Suppose it costs you $0.50 per piece including postage, printing, envelope, etc. That means you'll spend $50 to get one new customer. Does that leave you an acceptable profit?

If they become a regular member, yeah, it leaves an acceptable profit. Hopefully, although I don't know how to project this, the member referral program (refer a friend and get a free week if the friend joins, and the friend gets 50% off membership fees) will be fruitful, as well, and offset the cost of other advertising costs.

Will the members pay each week or pay a long-term fee up front?
If the members quit after a month, will they get a refund?
Will the meetings be in a private home, leased space, etc.?


Members pay each week, or they have the option of pre-paying for a discount.

If they quit after a month, and they pre-paid, they'll get reimbursed for the unused weeks.

The meetings will be held in 2 different locations, leased for a few hours each week. These locations - an activity center and a church - do have periodical newsletters for which they sell advertising space. I forgot to mention that.

PrrpleGrrl
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Do you think Krispy Kreme would mind if I flyered their parking lot? :)


The way I see it, every pound I lose makes room for more KK doughnuts. KK might actually encourage you to flyer their parking lot as it would be good for business.

(just kidding, don't flyer any parking lots)

ShelbyBoy
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go to newspaper stands, and stuff your flyers in newspapers.
you only gotta pay double the price to open the door, and for flyers.
some cheapskate advirtising
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go to newspaper stands, and stuff your flyers in newspapers.

We had a guy try that during the last election. Did it a day before voting started thinking even if the newspaper caught on to him they wouldn't be able to say anything until after the polls had closed.

He forgot the newspaper had "partnered up" with a local TV station which ran the story in all newscasts that day and the next.

He lost big time.

If your target audience is a bunch of crooks they might respect such a tactic, however most folks would probably think it shoddy.

Also, the newspaper is likely to call the cops.
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