More ways to Find Customers In Orange County

We have put articles on print advertising in Orange County and online advertising targeted at Orange County.  This article covers other ways to promote your business that you might not think of right away.  Sometimes you have to think outside the box, the key is to let potential customers know more than you exist.  Advertising expert Jay Walker-Smith estimated that people are exposed to 5,000 ads/day, (story) and this has dramatically increased from the 1970’s when that number was 500/day.   When you think about it, that seems like it might be about right.  How would you even start counting?  It’s great to get your name out there, exposure, but will your business be lost in this advertising blitz?  You need to convey the message that your business is special because _______ .  Fill in the blank with something that fits your business like: your product is unique, you really care about your customers, you care about the community, your product offers superior value, you located right next to them, you are more than a business, your are the customer’s friend. …

We brainstormed and came up with a short list of promotional  ideas that will help your business stand out more than if some one just saw an online ad.  If you have any other ideas, let us know.

Banners — announce something special  Hanging a banner on your building for a week or two is a great way to get attention, but you should use a banner to announce something special.  If you leave it up for longer than that, people will remember it being there and not pay much attention to is;  If it’s up too long they will know you are desperate for customers and wonder what’s wrong with that business.  For instance, why have they had a 6 month grand opening?  –Maybe they just cannot find customers.  Give people a reason to check you out like “big sale” “holiday sale” “now open” “under new management” …

Bus Bench Advertising.  This might be the only way to get your business some signage in a lot of areas.  The ironic thing about bus benches is that the ones that are best to advertise on–on a busy street in an upscale area–are the ones that nobody uses.   Because if people are sitting on the bench no one can see your sign.  What makes this special is their location.  You can let people know your business is just down the street and even include an arrow, or you can let people know you are an area expert for instance in real estate.  Most of the bus shelters and benches are ste up by private companies.  They are allowed to use public property–sidewalks and right of ways–in exchange for providing the benches.  They can afford to do this because they charge for advertising, but they opperate the old fashion way, they do not post prices on line, and often you have to go through a sales person.  Prices are negotiable.  CoastLine Advertising is a company that rents out space on benches around orange county.  Their phone number is 714 441-1300.  Other companies produce the ads and rent the space to get them up  is Atomic Outdoor Media http://www.atomicoutdoor.com.  On their website, they say that this will cost as little as $150/month.  Advertise in or on a Bus The OCTA has given a contract to Titan Advertising 714 522-2262.  They do not seem to have a website or any pricing info online, but they may just be working with Bigger Clients so it might not feasible for a small business to advertise in or on a OCTA bus.

Feather Flags and Arrows.  Sign shops like rockysigns.com provide feather signs and Arrows.  http://www.rockysigns.com/arrows.html.  These can be deployed occasionally to let people know where you are at.  In many cases, your business sign may not be very visible from the street, and cities have restrictions on installing larger signs.  So businesses use these types of signs to let people know were they are at.  This is good to announce you are opening or that there is a sale, but if you drivers see the same people waving the same signs everyday they will blend into the background.

Auto Advertising is Back in Orange County

Street Car Ads www.streetcredads.com  A local company has started advertising on cars.  The way it works, is that the car owner is paid a monthly fee to have advertising on their car.  This may help you get into a better car.  This concept was around in the 2000’s.  You need to be a decent driver, drive an appropriate amount of miles, and have a good looking ride.  This company hooks up people who want to advertise with those who would like extra money just for having an ad on their car.  Both parties benefit.  Drivers get paid; and advertisers get better visibility than if they had advertised on billboards, newspapers, or benches.  Those static ads tend to blend into the background.  Just like you  mentally block out ads on the top and sides of webpages–this is referred to as banner blindness in the industry–people also tend to block out ads in the same place once they have seen them once or twice.   Click here to learn how you can get your ads on private cars. 

Car Wrapping your own Vehicle  Turn your business and personal vehicles into moving signs for your business.  Companies like California Sign Company of Anaheim specialize in this form of advertising and has some nice photos here: http://www.californiasignad.com/430043.html  You can also opt to put less expensive vinyl letters and graphics on your ride.  A car wrap is a film with graphics that goes over the entire surface of the car while vinyl lettering/graphics is like that applied to store signs.   The film has to be made specific to your vehicle, and you don’t have to get the entire thing wrapped.  Who looks at the roof?  You need to call for a sign company for an estimate, but we have seen the costs go from $800-$2,500.  Vinyl can be a bit less.  In addition to exposure for your business, a well done wrap can make your business seem cool or technologically savvy.  For instance, radio stations and beverage makers often decorate their cars to convey the cool factor.  

Advertise on the Back of Receipts from McDonalds and your local Grocery Store Have you noticed those coupons on the back of your receipt from a store like Ralphs.  They are for local stores some even in the same shopping center or across the street.  Talk about target marketing!!!  The company that gets your ads on the back of receipts is Register Tapes Unlimited  http://www.rtui.com/how_it_works  They are in color, and great for coupons.  And they can get you on receipts from a specific store or fast food place.  This is a great way to offer a value proposition; and let people know your business is near their grocery store or favorite fast food place.

Door Hangers

Door hangers are not as hated as much as ads put on car windshields.  The problem is that in some areas people get tons of them, and some people even have put a trash near their front door and a sign with an arrow stating put ads here.  It’s a good idea to let people nearby know about your business.  And it’s a lot less expensive than sending direct mail to every house in a tract.

Mall Advertising/Indoor Billboards.  If you have been a mall lately, you have noticed those lit up advertising signs.  They are either on the wall, or in the middle of an walkway.  Unlike most signs, they are hard to overlook because they are at eye level.   See their Comercial on Youtube  And, you do not have to be a mall tenant to display advertising.  Malls rent out spaces to companies to install the advertising signs.  One company that specializes in this type of advertising is EyeCorp Media www.eyecorpmedia.com  They have hooked up with the big REITS that manages the malls such as Simon which owns/manages Westminister Mall.   Basically, they will find your potential customers and put an ad in their face.  Customers basically segment themselves by choosing which mall to shop at, and they can show you the demographics –Hispanic, Asian, Higher Income, Lower Income, Teens, Young Women… They refer to this as Hyper Target Marketing  And if you are looking for people who’s only form of media consumption is their smartphones, their new electronic mall signs have an app to reach them (video).

Website Article, radio, and video ads.  Have you ever clicked on a story opened up a window to hear your favorite radio program, or clicked on a video and discovered that you have to sit through an Ad.  (Yea, we also think they are annoying, but we end up watching them.)  Well, the company that puts these ads up is Newsinc http://www.newsinc.com/digitalmedia/index.html  The advantage of this type of advertising is that it’s super targeted.  You can target people who spend a lot of money on their cars, you want to hit people in OC reading Car and Driver articles–they can find that demographic.  You can also advertise on youtube.

Is it a good idea to Fliers and Cards on Cars in Parking Lots ?

No.  There are several reasons why ethical business people no longer do this.  (1) it gives their business a bad name.  Generally, the fliers end up all over the ground.  People feel that you are trashing their neighborhood.  This is especially true of ethnic areas.  You are sending the message “my business thinks you people don’t mind living in thrash.”  (2) it is illegal.  If you do it on a public street or public parking lot, you can get ticket for littering, and those tickets can add up.  If you do it on private property, you are probably trespassing.  Most lots now have a sign that says “lot is for customer parking only…”  The owner file a complaint and you could get a restraining order against you.  This will show up for years when people do background searches.  You can explain–it was only fliers…–but before you get a chance your resume and application will have gone to the round file.  (3) People love their cars in Southern California.  They get really upset when a business card goes inside the door or their windshield wiper gets messed up from a flyer, or a flyer’s ink imprints into paint.   You will be responsible for damages. (4) Liability.  And if you hire a kid/undocumented people to do this, you might as will just hand out blank checks.  When the kid gets hit by a car backing up, or trips you will have to pay the bill.  Because they were hurt at work, you the employer pays.  It’s expensive to get workers comp policy or disability policy at a reasonable cost to cover these expenses.  You are required to have workers comp, a city business license, pay into the state disability system …  And if you don’t, there is no excuse when a kid gets hurt passing these things out.

Youth Sports  Supporting a youth sports team will help them appreciate your business as a member of the  community .  You may be able to get a banner on the field, your ad in their programs, and possibly your business name on a uniform.  There seems to be less of this advertising than in the past as parents don’t want the sport to seem too commercial.  (Sports commercialized, who would have thunk?)  Your best bet would be to go with little league baseball.  Many leagues have outfields to hang banners on.  But with all sports, you will get your business ad in their programs, and a plaque to display in your business.  This type of advertising may may not pencil out on a cost/view basis, but it builds good will and helps the kids.  Just look for a league’s website in your area, and most of them will have a sponsor page.

Bathroom/Indoor Advertising and on the Gas Pump  If you have ever seen those poster in restrooms, you might wonder why people would advertise there.  Well, when you think about it it’s all about target marketing.  If you customers are the type of people–21-35 years old, high levels of disposable income, single, and socially active– you can put your ad right in front of them.  Talk about a captive audience.  And you can target by gender, location, and age groups.  If nothing else, this type of advertising gets your business noticed.  We found some companies that do this All Over Media  And, take it for what it’s worth, this website reported a study which “found as much as 98.9% of restroom indoor advertising viewers reacted positively or neutral to seeing advertising in restroom facilities. ”  They also put up signs on Gas Pumps.

Community Guide/Sponsoring Community Events  The fact is most coupon books that arrive in the mail go to the recycle can within a couple of days.  But had you ever thought about advertising in your city’s community service guide?  People hand on to it and read through it to see what the city’s rec programs–swimming classes, dance classes, senior activities, day camps –will be available for the next six months.  Most city’s publish two of these a year.  Many of them take advertising to help offset the printing/distribution costs, and with budget cuts in every city cities will be more interested in more revenue.  But cities usually do not hire sales people to market to businesses.  A few businesses “in the know” take advantage of advertising possibility–for instance we only saw two ads in the 2012 HB magazine.  Even though businesses could get much more exposure than in a newspaper or coupon mailer.  It goes to every house in the city, and residents actually read it.  You have to contact the Parks and Rec department of your city and insist on information about advertising.  You can also sponsor a city event such as the 4th of July celebration.
Booth at Community Festivals  Each most cities have at least one festival or fair.  Many of them will let you set up a booth to promote your product–you can give out samples, or just inform people about your business.  The best way to find them is to scan through this page set up for artists.

Joining a Community Group  Okay, the reason to join a community group is not for business promotion, but if you want to help the community and help your business consider it.  One advantage is that once you are in a group, you have a chance to speak to other city chapters of the group.  Also, you can build long term relationships with people who might need your services in the future.  Also they tend to dispense a lot of plaques, trophies and the like you can display in your business.  The three big community groups in Orange County are The Lions, The Rotary, and The Kiwanis.

In Home Marketing

If you visit a customer’s home make sure to leave behind some marketing materials.  Since the customer knows you, you will be the person they call when they need another job done.  They may also pass along the material to their friends and family.  If you sell something, be sure to leave some marketing material in the bag.  This is better than direct mail because you are getting your material into the home of your target customer without paying for postage.

Stickers The problem with business cards, invoices, and brochure is that they will be lost within about a week.  Stickers provide a way for you make sure that does not happen.  A few years from now your customer will be saying, “we got a good deal on _____ but I don’t remember the guy who sold it to us.”  A sticker on their A/C, window blinds, office equipment will help them remember.  Helpful Information Stickers.  These are stickers that the customer puts on the product herself because it has helpful information on it.  For instance, what to do when your water heater give you problems, how to unjam the copy machine.  And of coarse there will be your contact info, and a note to let them know how you can help them.

Give Aways and Chotskies

we are still working on good recommendations for give away’s.  Let us know if you have any suggestions.  It seems like the calendar and fridge magnate were good ideas a few years age, but now people in certain zip codes get so many of these things they are just trashed.  The idea is that you want something useful that won’t immediately go into the trash of be lost in the back of a drawer.  Pens, tape measure, …

We did come across one website for a screen printing company in Irvine.  http://www.socalscreenprinting.com  They can put your companies name on a lot more than t-shirts.  For instance if your company has anything to do with the outdoors consider, they can do Hats, Gloves, Scarves, Shopping tote bags, Beach Towels, those little golf towels, Aprons, and  Water Bottles, Baby Blankets …  They have asking prices listed on their website for most items, and you can get discounts for large orders.

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