Recently I stepped into my car and noticed a note slipped into the weather stripping of my passenger side window. It was a business card for A Good Handyman, Inc. In my book “Turn Your Business Card Into Business” I write about various business card distribution methods including posting on cars, so of course I was intrigued.
The business card I got on my car is a professionally printed full color card with a graphic of an array of handyman tools including a hammer, level, and screwdriver which definitely tells the story. This pictorial suggests that this handyman has the tools for the job and it quickly gives you an idea of the subject matter. The card further displays the owner’s name, George Emerick, phone number and web address as well as the words: licensed, bonded, insured. Additionally there is a small white box indicating that this company received a 2006, 2007 and 2008 Angie’s List Super Service Award. All of this information is important and effective in building confidence in this company and their service. The owner also elected to imprint the name of the person who distributed the card at the bottom. It was explained to me that he felt this was helpful in the potentiality that someone ask whether the distributor had authority to do what he was doing. I am not sure it is necessary but it does show the sensitivity of the owner in regard to being viewed as open and above board. After all he is only trying to utilize a low cost strategy for stimulating business opportunities.
First, a word of caution. “Leafleting” cars can be an effective marketing approach for certain types of businesses but has a few perils to be aware of. If you decide to employ this tactic understand that some people do not like to have anyone come near their cars. As a rule of thumb this applies particularly to newer models and fancier vehicles, clearly not an issue in the case of my “vintage” mini-van related to this encounter. I would suggest staying away from luxury cars that are likely to have sensitive alarms and owners. Be aware that leafleting vehicles in private parking lots such as Wal-Mart or area shopping malls can also result in having you or your helper detained, arrested, fined or at least severely reprimanded. Be sure you understand the laws in your municipality. Lastly, when cars are parallel parked it may seem practical to walk down the middle of the street so that you can leaflet both sides in one pass. Understand that doing this carries the hazard of your being hit by a passing vehicle. Handyman George tells me he is getting a florescent vest for his collector’s “street walking duties.” This technique also means that the business card you distribute will be on the passenger side resulting in an inconvenience to the driver and increasing the possibility that your message is ignored altogether. It is a little more work but advisable to walk along the curb and get all the cars on one side of the street; then walk back down the opposite side of the street again, on the curb side, placing your cards on the driver side windows.
As to the effectiveness of this strategy, Handyman George tells me that the cards generate a little immediate business but probably more important, are the cards that get thrown in the kitchen drawer, or put up on the refrigerator or household bulletin board. “We’ve had calls from these as long as 2 years after they are distributed,” Says George. “I suspect people tend to hang onto a handyman’s card more so than the usual pizza & pub or drain cleaning cards and flyers that we all get. A highly rated handyman is a more rare, and precious find we think.”
George was generous enough to share these statistics with us for his efforts over the last few months. Distribution about 10,000, card cost about $200 (VistaPrint), labor about $700, respondents 6, jobs won 5, gross income about $550. Obviously not profitable in the short run, but we’re “betting on the come” said George.
I really appreciate that George views this as a long term strategy. He understands that you cannot always judge the success of an advertising campaign right away. Generally speaking if you break even immediately you’re doing well. Business acquisition is expensive and the return on investment (ROI) should be viewed over the life of the client not simply their initial purchase.
We both agreed that it was not important how big the jobs were but rather that the business card distribution effort resulted in new customers who were willing to sample his service. These small jobs typically result in good long term relationships and that is the ultimate goal. I have not had an opportunity to use “A Good Handyman” but if you’re on the north side of Chicago, you can get information at www.4agh.com .
To learn more about business card marketing techniques visit www.businesscardtobusiness.com .