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Christmasjunkie

Getting Attention -- How Do You Publicize Your Display?

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Last year was my 3rd year with synchronization after lots of years of a static display. After investing lots of money and time I still get very little traffic. It is really disappointing. Any suggestions?

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Someone put in a letter to the editor of our local newspaper one year. It was a little 2 paragraph blurp and traffic was crazy after that. This year I plan to call them and suggest they run a full story with pictures.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Be careful what you wish for. Publicising brings more traffic and more crowds. Be sure your neighbors are comfortable with your display first.

You can look at any local news stations and newspapers. Some of them have a section on their website for you to upload your pictures of your display and give some information about it as well.

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We have our display on our web site and also have a Twitter account hooked to it with over 500 followers. Many of our followers are people from the press, T.V., Radio and newspapers so the word seems to get out that way.

As Paul said though, be careful what you wish for if your neighbors are no onboard with you about this. The traffic and crowds can become very large.

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Question, Why do you do a display? I build mine because: 1. I enjoy doing it. 2. I hope other people like seeing it, and 3. To draw attention to the Children's Hospital that I ask my visitors to donate toys to. The charity I support helps me get out the word of my display. I also have a Facebook Page for the display.

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Yes becareful what you wish for!!!!

A call to your local TV or newspaper works.

I am busy street and get lots of traffic.

This year there were a few people that thought it was OK to just stop in the middle of the street and watch the show!!!

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Your best way and free way is........facebook....once you get an account start growing membership every year..when one person talks about your display it goes to all the friends they have....then it is a snowball going down hill....best way is word of mouth...

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I'm also with the other members. Once you really push and promote your display via newspapers & news media, you really need to be geared up for a huge increase in visitors.

You'll have to make sure that most if not all of your neighbours are happy with the increase of visitors, whether that be by car or foot.

Switch On Night

We hold a switch on every year, and last year (2011) on opening night we had in excess of 1,000 people turn up. I had already informed the Police, who knew and supports our display, I didn't bother with local government (Town Council) as I'm already good friends with most of them.

Members of my family and friends had collection buckets which we used to collect for Make-A-Wish UK, and i had local carnival committee marshals to attend to the roads in my area. That's a must, otherwise it will cause chaos... and lose you support as fast as gaining it.

We had local pubs set up stands and give out free Mulled Wine, Local bakeries also set up and gave out mince pie's (British Christmas Cakes) and even had starbucks with a stand giving out free coffee. All of this takes time to organise and prepare.

Judy Pancoast sang for us, and i had invited a British TV star to come and switch the lights on, I have a friend who has a huge fleet of cars, and he brought our star to the switch on in a Rolls Royce Phantom, escorted by a real LAPD police car. So all in all, it's so much more than lighting, It was a show put on for the whole community, a Free show of course,with free entertainment and refreshments, but one where we hoped to raise some great money for charity.

After The Switch On

Once news is out, people WILL travel. The UK compared to the US is tiny I know, But once the display had been featured in a National documentary, we had people drive from Scotland and such come to visit the display, in a lot of cases this would have been a 800 miles round trip. I even had a text on Christmas morning from a lady who lived 200 miles from me to ask if i was running the show that evening, and she later turned up with her family.

Many nights i would personally have to be outside, talk with people and tend to the roads for traffic. (we live in a cul-de-sac) Once news is out, people like to see the person behind the display. So being a front of house person and good with people will help.

From past displays and getting the press involved along with TV News, I had some contacts with the 'Press Association' Who actually contacted me back in July of last year to ask if i was doing the same. You see once you get the press involved from the start, and if they like what they see and it makes a good story, they will be hungry to come back year on year. This is what will really make your display absolutely manic, and you really need to be prepared for such events.

It's true from the other posters, when they say 'Be care what you wish for' personally I'm really lucky to have all the neighbours and local authorities on board and support me and the display, but like I've said, it's taken a whole lot of planning to get things just right for everyone.

I really hope you can master some of the above, and see visitor numbers rise, there's nothing like seeing a huge crowd out front all enjoying your hard work and effort.

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our local city website has a place to post events on their calendar for free. That is another source.

our first year, our neighbor called the newspaper and they came out to do a story, then a friend ours is a newscaster on NBC and she told someone to go out and do a story and they did. Then the next year a competing TV station came out to do a story, then the following year the newspaper came out and did a feature story on us (some one called them but not us) and we made the front page headline story that day! we post it on FB, we have a christmas website, we are on Tacky light tour and a few other websites, and put ourselves on Google maps. Most people tell us they find out about it through a google search and the newspaper. Each year our nespaper puts out a listing of addresses where all the christmas lights are and we usually as to be put on that list as people bring that page with them when they go out looking at Christmas light decorations. It doesn't hurt to tell school teachers and anyone you know. I teach dog training and always invite my students to come by with their furkids --- and they do. Senior citizens really seem to enjoy it more than anyone, so getting a note in a newsletter for a senior center or work newsletter is also a good way. At halloween, we sometimes put flyers in the kids candy bags to remind them to come back for christmas, and when we forget that, we just tell everyone to come back for christmas. We have signs several coroplast signs that we put out by the intersecting street to remind people. I printed up busiiness card and hand them out when I'm waiting in line at the grocery store or any store. It has our address on it and showtimes. You can put flyers in mailboxes, you'd be surprised at how many neighbors in nearby streets that don't know you do a christmas light show. Friends tell friends and coworkers. We post videos on youtube, vimeo and photobucket and send friends those links. I think that is all we do, but there may be more! After having said all of that, last year we didn't have time to do much and I liked that crow level much better. My husband was disappointed because of all the hard work we put into it, he wanted more people to see it.

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Think carefully before advertising .

Does directing traffic and dealing with angry neighbors also sound appealing?

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I've had our Church put a notice in the bulletin. I hope they will do it again for me this year despite all that has happened.

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I agree. Directing traffice every night after work till 10:00 or later, 7 days a week, is really hard on me. We don't have time to have dinner, and we are out in the cold. We are fortunate enough to have very nice neighbors who don't complain. Like I said in my earlier post, I liked the smaller crowds better, so I can at least get dinner, and my husband likes the bigger crowds. So whatever your personality and situation is.

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craigslist under events _ i live on a cul de sac so people stopping in the middle of the street isnt such an issue and my neighbors love everything we do- WE ARE BLESSED!

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This year I planned ahead and set up a free Facebook business page (as another poster suggested). I then sent invitations to 300 of my FB frined, of which 70 signed up. During the intro, mid show voice over, and the ending sequence, I suggest people use their "smart phone" and "find us on FaceBook." As of today, there are 174 people. On an average weeknight, I got anywhere from 40-60 cars. On the weekends I saw close to 100 cars. My neighbors are cool with it, and the police love it as well.

I had maybe 20 diferent groups ask if I wanted to be on the news. I replied, "No, this is four our littl group. I only want it to spread by word of mouth. No media please." I can not be home every night to direct traffice. Now after the 2011 season, I have a feeling that 2012 will be even more busy. Still, I enjoy doing it for me. If other's enjoy it, then great. I hate to say this, but coming home from class at 7pm I usually sit outside and watch for 1/2 hour. I just enjoy it so much.

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