There are two kinds of advertisements we see. Product advertisements and legal advertisements. If I form the company, National Widgets, I need to file papers with the County Clerk and take out a legal advertisement saying what my real name and my "doing business as" name are. Somebody extends credit to National Widgets and finds out that the only assets backing it are my slight ones, I say:
"Tough luck, I took out a legal advertisement. If you don't read the back pages of News-Star, that's your fault."
When I take out product advertising, I behave quite differently.. I put up large signs saying: "You need National Widgets" and TV spots saying: "National Widgets are the best widgets." I don't assume that just 'cause people could see one, that one is all I need.
When we advertise for a non-profit or a political group, we need to follow the pattern of product advertising. Too often, some of the group fall into the pattern of legal advertising: "We told them the event was happening. It's there fault that they didn't attend.
Well, it's the responsibility of the group's membership -- usually a certain subgroup of the membership -- to bring people to their events. One way to do this is window signs.
I figure that each 100 window signs I put into stores increases attendance by one. Our group has a pattern of asking attendees what brought them to the event; usually, their answers support this ratio. Occasionally, we've had better results, but that is luck. You should never expect that a couple of hundred window signs will fill a hall, much less that a couple of them will.
Window signs are one tactic among several that you use for gaining attendance. They have the advantage that they reach a fair number of your neighbors which more targetted promotion activities do not.
But they must be used plentifully to be any use at all.
The necessity is to cover an area so that all people walking down a shopping street pass many copies of the sign. If all pass many copies, some will see one.
The procedure I use is to choose a street direction -- usually north-south in my neighborhood -- and walk along one side of the street in that direction, carrying many copies of the sign and some cellophane tape. I go into every store and ask the person behind the counter for permission to put a sign in his window. If he says "yes," I put up the sign and thank him. If he says "no," I nod and go on to the next store. There, I ask again. When I get to a cross street, I turn the corner if businesses are on that street. I go down to the next north-south street -- or to the last business -- and then cross the street and go up the other side asking at each business.
Things to remember:
Business proprietors aren't there to make enemies. Almost all the people who say "no" are pleasant, often apologetic, about it.
Cellophane, "Scotch," tape is for glass. Masking tape is for wood. Don't put masking tape on a window; you're making an enemy.
Don't argue or tell the proprietor how important this particular event is; they have a policy.
Putting up these signs is a labor-intensive process. A friend estimates that he can turn out 100 signs in an hour off the computer -- using a print shop, of course, is faster if more expensive. I'd be happy to hang 100 signs in six hours. Don't increase the labor by being selective about whom you ask. You don't need to go to places you shop. Either they'll take them or they won't.