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First Year Display - How did you draw the "Masses?"


ThatDJTroy
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Hi All!

I've made a few postings in the Newbies section. But now I'm hoping to get some advice from those who have been doing this for years.

How did you draw the crowds, or at least a relatively decent turnout in your first year?

I know it's still "early" yet, and the holiday spirit may not have yet struck many. But after months of promoting this to friends, a Facebook website, and banners outside of our neighborhood, I'm a little disappointed with the lack of 'traffic' my display has (not) generated so far. :(

Any advice is appreciated.

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I been at it for 3 years now and still get light traffic. Everyone has different issues when they first start. Word of mouth is your best friend. I live in a small village of @ 1200 people. And I swear they all were grinches til i moved here... :lol: Now we see more and more putting lights up. Nothing on a grand scale but a big improvement from when we first started. Just keep hoping the spirit will spread and they will eventually show up. :D

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My advice will be controversial, but its been proven to be true.....careful what you wish for. "Masses" tend to annoy neighbors. If you live in an hoa, you could catch some hell....it happened to, in my opinion, one of the best there ever was this year. I do not allow tv crews, newspapers or any media outlets into my show. If they come, i shut the show down. This will fbe argued by some on this forum, but I just know that if the masses come, my usually tolerant neighbors will revolt and ill be shut down faster than a strip club next to a pre school.

Grow your crowd organically and avoid the temptation to blow it open. Just my advice.

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I been at it for 3 years now and still get light traffic. Everyone has different issues when they first start. Word of mouth is your best friend. I live in a small village of @ 1200 people. And I swear they all were grinches til i moved here... :lol: Now we see more and more putting lights up. Nothing on a grand scale but a big improvement from when we first started. Just keep hoping the spirit will spread and they will eventually show up. :D

Same here! We moved to our home 9 years ago, I was only 8, and I always looked around and wondered why so little people hung Christmas lights. Ever since we started going at it on a larger scale for the last 5 years or so, the amount of homes decorating or putting up at-least SOME lights has easily quadrupled... This year I can feel anticipation as whenever I'm outside working on the landscape or raking the leaves people always stop by and ask when am I going to start putting up lights and or I'm gonna "get all festive for the holidays again"... Also I usually lightly decorated the day before thanksgiving, and I noticed neighbors did that too, this year i decorated after wards on the 23rd, and in around two days after me putting up lights (the streets were still dark) everyone busted out the ladders and started to get festive, coincidence most likely but fun none the less ;)

Its a great time of year, however they must wait for December 8th that's when the entire display is going to get plugged in this year.

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Hi All!

I've made a few postings in the Newbies section. But now I'm hoping to get some advice from those who have been doing this for years.

How did you draw the crowds, or at least a relatively decent turnout in your first year?

I know it's still "early" yet, and the holiday spirit may not have yet struck many. But after months of promoting this to friends, a Facebook website, and banners outside of our neighborhood, I'm a little disappointed with the lack of 'traffic' my display has (not) generated so far. :(

Any advice is appreciated.

This presentation from 'The Academy 2012' by Michael Simmons is a good read if you're interested in display publicity.

You can find it here

Edited by spomalley
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I started doing this last year because I needed a hobby. I work on it all year long. I'm always in the drive way getting something ready. folks stop from time to time to talk to me about my display and tell me that they can't wait to see it again. I let word of mouth be my advertising.

I live on a very small street and can not handle the traffice that the veterans get. If I had cars wrapped around the block to see my display, my neighbors would hate me. Fame and fortune is not necessarily your friend in this hobby.

I might have had 200 cars total all season last year and that's fine by me. I had a few folks that returned every night. The best part was one particular mini van came back every night. They would slide the door open and the kids would sit there eating popcorn and watch. Just sitting back and watching the cars stop and enjoy the show, go outside from time to time and talk with them. That's all I need to keep doing this.

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We started last year. Very light crowds at first. Organic, word-of-mouth advertising only. Within about 2 weeks, crowds grew. Probably had around 500 cars visit over the course of the season. Probably 300 in the last week.

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This will be my fifth year and it always seems it starts out slow and progressively picks up more and more until Christmas and then drops off significantly after Christmas.The weekend before Christmas always seems to be the busiest. I only advertised it at my work place and with my car club. Word of mouth seems to work best. Hang in there, they will come.

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If you build it, they will come.....

If that doesn't work, build it bigger next year! :)

What he said!! Seriously though unless you go really big you won't be a "first year sensation", my first year I didn't have much traffic until the week before Christmas. This year we had people stopping by as we were taking down the Halloween display asking when Christmas would be up. have averaged 1 car every 5 minutes or so since we plugged in the first controller this year.

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Build a website, build facebook. If your local paper/TV website has a display finder listing, go get listed. Avoid publicity that would cause a massive influx of traffic all at one time, as those are the sorts of things that bring you negative attention.

Word of mouth is best. Print up some cheap business cards, and hand them out to folks you know. My wife has been doing this for years - she's in several "mother's" type groups which is our target audience (families with young kids). They come and bring their friends...

Edited by Tim Fischer
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The honest question you have to ask, "is your display worthy of a crowd"? Having not seen it, only you can aswer that.

Do you have a sign? Is it visible from the street? Does it flash at the beginning of a song? Do you have the standard "don't annoy the neighbors" warnings? Are you willing to pay off-duty police officers to direct traffic for you?

If you can answer yes to all, and you deem it worthy (as compared to others near you or even seen here), then call the paper or your local tv show. If you aren't willing to do this, then rely on word of mouth.

WARNING: If you get in the paper or on television then you need to expect rowdy people blocking traffic, turning around in your neighbors yards, running over mailboxes, urinating in public, littering, throwing beer cans, walking into your yard for pictures, turning the radio up loud enough that the people 4 homes down will hear them, opening and slamming car doors at late hours, and worse.

Do you want to do this to your neighbors for your personal vanity? I would not suggest it. You could end up with $$$$ of equipment and no place to use it next year if things get out of control.

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The honest question you have to ask, "is your display worthy of a crowd"? Having not seen it, only you can aswer that.

This is my 3rd year and the first year that I can answer yes to that question.

Word of mouth so far but I put up a sign on the busier streets pointing in my direction and I will hand out flyers this weekend at a citywide Christmas event.

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