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thebaronn

How do you get more traffic? (my pity party)

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I hope everyone is having a great Christmas Season!

This is probably going to end up sounding like a whinning session, and so be it, maybe it is.

I was wondering if anyone had any ideas on how to increase the traffic in front of your display? I literally have no traffic, and it is worse than last year! And I even built upon an huge Halloween!

I have done Christmas lights since I was a child with my father and just recently started going animated in 2007 when I lived in San Jose. My 2nd Christmas (and my last) in SJ was pretty good, about 100 cars a night (yes I am sick, I actually counted cars that stopped on the security footage). Any time during the night you could look outside and see a bunch of cars. People would knock on my door after hours and I would run the show for them. I have to admit, I liked it, kind like being a star.

Last year I moved to Lathrop, CA..........Last Christmas, I only saw a handful of cars. I chalked it up to being new in the area. Then this year rolled around. I have yet to see a car stopped outside. I know it may sound like I am stretching the truth, but seriously, not one car. The most interest I had was my new neighbor across the street said he was excited about hanging lights and asked for some advice (before thanksgiving when I was setting up). He did not put anything up. (I was disappointed, hoped I could get another person in on my madness and do a multiple house display!)

This year I pulled out my lightsaber Christmas tree and made a Galaxia tree......Apparently I was given the wrong PVC glue at home depot (I asked for help, I wanted quick drying, he gave me black cement.....for white PVC, and my brother inlaw (humungousaur in the halloween show) informed me of the mistake). And both trees have fallen apart and I am not going to fix them with so little time left, after all, my family has seen the display, no one else will even notice.

Does anyone else feel this way? Am I just being petty? I was ready to put out a donation box again, but doesn't seem necessary. What should I do? Mostly I do the display because I enjoy it, and for my kids. But when they say"we have seen the lights, lets go in the house." Is it worth the time and effort?

Sorry if I bored you.

Eric

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I get very Limited traffic also, I have over 35,000 lights and 100 light sculptures . A lot of it is location and you being new to the area . I live on a dead end street I don't get a lot of traffic but the people and kids on my street love my display and always say ohhh you live at the Christmas light house . I used to get more traffic 10 years ago with less lights but I was a main drag . At times I wish I had a few more people look at my lights . but i would never want to get to big and have neighbor problems that some people have . I do my display for myself ,family and friends anybody else that enjoys it is just a bonus . hope you have a great Christmas and don't let it get you down people will come , just give them time but be careful what you wish for

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Hi Eric

This is my first year and aside from a few friends, my lights were pretty much the enjoyment of my kids and the neighbors. Our house is not visible from the main road so unless you were looking for us, you probably would not find us. Word of mouth takes time to spread and I kept reminding myself that folks stopping at the house meant someone else thought it was worth mentioning. I also know what challenges others face with neighbors and although my neighbors are all great friends and fantastic people, I didn't want to push our friendships.

Someone liked our lights enough to let the local paper know who published our house in a list yesterday of area lights to check out. Last night, there was always a car out front and most of the time three or four during the entire 6 - 9 display hours. Almost every car that stopped, stayed for the entire 10 minute show.

Are computerized lights common in your area or are a lot of people thinking, "been there - seen it" ? Do you have any signs pointing your way? Web site listing?

Don't let it get to you. My feeling is:

- Did you have fun getting things ready, building, setting up and figuring things out?

- Did it make someone happy when they saw it?

- Is it your best work?

If you answer "yes" to all three, then you have been successful. After all, most of this hobby, in my opinion, is for my year around enjoyment. I hope others can spend a month enjoying it also which is an added bonus.

I would be interesting in seeing some pictures or video if you have some. Be proud Eric and Merry Christmas!

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Hi Eric,

Hang in there. For the past 2 years we only got maybe 2 or 3 cars a week. This year we are seeing 6 or 7 a night.

I also agree with this from neatfrek;

"Don't let it get to you. My feeling is:

- Did you have fun getting things ready, building, setting up and figuring things out?

- Did it make someone happy when they saw it?

- Is it your best work?

If you answer "yes" to all three, then you have been successful. After all, most of this hobby, in my opinion, is for my year around enjoyment. I hope others can spend a month enjoying it also which is an added bonus."

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I think it's just because you are new to the area.Once word gets around it snowballs and you will get a lot of traffic.

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I live in a small town so I normally get around 10 cars a night. Last night it jumped to well over 50. I lost count. Maybe closer to 100. All it took was a nice write up in the local paper.

So if you really want a lot of traffic, invite a news crew over to see it.

http://vimeo.com/user5430193

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TYM

In the very early days of my display there wasn't much traffic. Then I dropped a hint to my mother she come watch what I had done. Within a few days traffic really picked up.

Tell Your Mother. She'll inform everybody as she brags about her kids :o

Now that I thnk about it... the traffic picked up the closer it got to Christmas... no doubt just a coincidence :rolleyes:

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The first week of the first year in my display was pretty slow. (As one would expect.) Suddenly, traffic started to pickup, despite no media coverage. A random conversation with a visitor revealed one possible answer. Seems someone sent a mass e-mail to all employees of the local school district to check out my display.

The rest of the traffic is either word of mouth, or return traffic.

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Yes, traffic is way down this year. So low, I've only put my Santa suit on just once. After the long line of cars last year, I was real concerned about this year's traffic issues. There have been no traffic issues.

Difference I believe - Last year a reporter did a fantastic news article along with an extremely great video (he is now a full time videographer), early in the season. His story and video went viral in Cincinnati. This year a 2nd rate reporter did a phone interview and buried my info in a larger story she wrote. I did win a Cincinnati TV contest for my show, but it won't air until the 22nd?

Conclusion: Press, word of mouth, and a great video. Also the weather was bad last weekend.

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Thank all of you for the encouragement!

Here is a video i made for Lights of the Valley. It is a CA website that has snubbed me every since i went animated, 4 years so far!!

The video sucks (the lightsaber and Galaxia trees were already down by the time I took this video. I also had to use my phone as a video camera because my main camera was stolen on vacation 2 weeks ago with the correct video on it!!!)

It is not public because it is emarassing, and I forgot about the copyright thing on youtube. This Christmas is just a comedy of errors on my part. But it is the tail end of Wizards in Winter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pId4wwiIINY

Thank you all again.

Eric

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if you want media coverage, you have to contact them and let them know you exist. It may be too late to do so this year, but call the radio, local television and newspapers. If you have too much pride to call them, have a good "friend" or neighbor do so on your behalf.

And if you are so unfortunate to have them show up at your doorstep, you will have so much traffic that it may upset your neighbors to the point of them wanting to turn you off.

good luck and hope this helps

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Be carefull what you ask for. Traffic can make even great neighbors cranky if it gets to heavy.
Sorry to say this but do you actually sit at you front window and count cars that stop and watch? I could care less, cuz i do this for me & my family and anyone else who wants to enjoy it. Like mark said be careful what you ask for, Remember you could also be like Richard and Brad .........They did all that work and invested all that money just to have the neighbors or the local police put the KABOSH on their displays.........That would really upset me more than only a few cars stopping to watch. Just my 2 cents.

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If you have any local talk or chat forums post it there. Also Craigs list has events you can post.

Print business cards. I give them out all year long.

Churches, Limo services and retirement communities are always looking for your type of entertainment.

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In 1991 the city put traffic counters on the road in front of dads house just a little over 15,ooo cars in 2 days the Mayor lived about 12 houses away. Good thing he and dad were good friends.;)

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It doesn't hurt to tell the chruch groups. they often bring busloads and vanloads of kids and Senior citizens around town to look at the Christmas lights, and will probably come by if you let them know. They will especially like coming if you have candy or toys to hand out.

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Here are a couple of pointers:

-Create a website for your display. I tell just about everyone that I know about our display & tell them to go to www.livonialights.com

-Create a Facebook page & link it to your Christmas display website. If you are on Facebook, invite all your friends to join the Facebook page. This can really help you to build an "online community" around your local display.

-Encourage your friends to post it on their Facebook "wall"...that's a great way to get the word out

-Make sure that your website can be discovered in the search engines. When people search for Christmas lights in your area, make sure that your display is the first one that shows up.

-Tell the media - if a major newspaper has a Christmas light display "directory" or "contact" page, tell them about your display.

-Encourage your friends to get involved in the setup of the display. This year, we encouraged our friends from church to help setup, and they started spreading the word about the display a lot, since they had a sense of "ownership" of it

-Submit your display to major Christmas lighting display directories - e.g. ChristmasLightFinder.com, TackyLightTour.com, Christmas.bronners.com, and Christmasdisplays.net.

-Submit your display videos to Youtube - and put the location of your display in the description of the video.

I hope these ideas help you out. We get a significant amount of traffic coming to our display because of a lot of these methods that I use in promoting the display.

In one word, what it has boiled down to: marketing.

Edited by tkhowse

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IMO, I only use word of mouth for the majority of people. I do post of facebook alot about it, and several of my friends repost to their friends. i also drop a few flyers on the breakroom tables at work. I just let the christmas magic happen. I would say I probably get 10-20 vehicles a night. I don't sit and count, it's just a best guess as I can hear the vehicles park outside. I don't live on a busy street and I prefer to keep it that way.

Another thing to worry about with more traffic is the risk of vandalism. The more people that know about the display the higher a chance for vandalism.

I consider it a year long hobby. it keeps me occupied and creative. i don't care if not a single person comes to see it. I just have fun doing it.

just my two cents...

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My first year and we did not advertise at all. Only word of mouth. First week we saw 12 to 15 cars per show. I was expecting less than 10. I do 4 different 1/2 hour shows on the top of the hour with a total of 23 different songs on Fri., Sat., and Sun. There is a large open field opposite my house so cars line up in the field facing the house for each show. This weekend we had over 350 cars per night and I am nervous about next weekend. It has gotten much larger than I had anticipated so be careful what you wish for.

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Word of mouth is one of the best ways to spred the word. I only have a static display

but I have a big mouth too(lol) and toot my own horn at work in the hopes of getting a little traffic on my street. Also Chucks idea rocks. Tell your mom. I dident have to but she asked me if I would mind her calling the newspaper and telling them about the lights and cut outs. I dont know why, but I decided against it, maby Im still a little self consience, and worry about vandels.

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I have no one coming by most nights either.Its is a little disappointing, but it is my first year with a big display.The most traffic i saw was last weekend after the local news channel did a little piece on my house and then dead again.Im not letting it get me to down because i enjoy it and so do my neighbors. i think the thing that bums me the most is the people i work with , they tell you there coming by and never do.

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Local Media coverage really helps but the biggest factor in increasing the traffic is time. People discover the display and make it a part of their annual Christmas routine, and in doing so, they tell their friends and they tell their friends and so on, and so on and, well you get the idea..I've been doing mine at the same location for twenty years and I can't tell you how many times I have had people come up to me and tell me this is their 10th year, or 6th year. Hang in there and be patient, they will come.

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Be careful what you wish for...

This is my very first year, but word of mouth spread like fire. Saturday I heard it got really busy while I was out of town, so on Sunday I started watching the cars as soon as the show started, and sure enough, cars accumulated quickly. I ended up directing traffic all night on Sunday, and things did go quite well with the exception of a couple of people who live up the road who zoom through as if they think their house is going to leave them.

On that first Saturday that it got busy I was contacted late at night by a local radio station and I was asked to do an interview on Monday. I went in for the interview and it ended up lasting 25 minutes, but it was a lot of fun.

I decided to buy a boatload of candy canes to hand out Monday, and after that interview in the morning, Monday was definitely our busiest night yet. Yesterday (Tuesday) was about the same as Monday. I'm thinking about throwing on the Santa suit tonight, but I'm not certain yet.

The comments and reactions have been amazing, and everything is wonderful 99% of the time, but the 1% bad part is due to rude and inconsiderate people who zoom through there - and the worst silliest, rudest thing so far has been a lady that lives somewhere further up the road - cars were lined up on my side of the road (pulled into the ditch about half way), but there was 1 single car pulled off on the opposite side of the road (the same side this lady was driving on). This lady drove up behind this one car and instead of VERY EASILY going around it, she blared her horn at it. I quickly ran over to her and was extremely polite in asking her if I could help her and if there was anything I could do for her, and she replied, "I just want to get home." There was so much room to go between the cars on the sides of the road that it was silly! I politely pointed out that she could easily drive right around that one car. A few more words were exchanged (hers being rude, mine being very polite) and she finally started to go around and drive off. I said Merry Christmas as she was driving off, and she actually said Merry Christmas back.

It's amazing how for 99% of people this kind of thing brings out the best, but 1% of people just seem to be anti-good and anti-happiness. It sure is a shame. I try extremely hard to make it all good for everyone, but it really is so hard to please everyone.

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Print up some business cards and hand them out when you are waiting in line at Lowes, Home Depot, Grocery Store, Auto parts store, Daycare, Church, McDonalds, just any and everywhere. Hand them to everyone. It should have your address on it, a photo of the lights and your website for more information. I get lots of people interested that way. Dont forget, all media (TV, Radio, Newspaper stories) is very valuable and it is free. Even the gossip and alternative newspapers like to have an article on Christmas.

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