Low cost advertising to nab pedestrians

Advertising doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective.  A lot of in-store  book sales come from walk in traffic.   Even if you’re in a high traffic area getting people in the door isn’t always easy.  Just because they’re there doesn’t mean they notice your store.  To up the odds people do notice your store, or get them to travel the block over from the high traffic area to your quieter location, pull out the chalk.


Really, it CAN be that simple.  Draw them a little path to your door.  Make sure when you’re standing at an arrow, you can see the next one.

This probably isn’t something you want to do everyday since locals will quickly tune out your advertising if its ALWAYS there.  But if you’re having a special or there’s an event going on nearby generating lots of foot traffic, a little chalk may help bring people in.

A bucket of sidewalk chalk will cost around $2-$5 depending on the size of the bucket.  Chalking a block will take around 5-10 minutes depening on how spry you are and how quick you can get up and down.  You’ll use around a half stick per block. Remember, get the big sidewalk chalk, not the tiny little blackboard chalk!  . Keep your message simple!  No more than can be read at full stride as people step over it.  Keep it to one line.  Bigger letters are better. Chalk lettering will last anywhere between 1-3 days depending on the weather, so you can do this the night before an event so long as you’re not expecting rain or wind.

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  • Don’t know how the village officials would respond if I tried this, but the picture made me smile. A bookseller colleague way up in the U.P. (Michigan’s upper peninsula, north of the Mackinac Bridge) puts out a little sign by the highway, BOOKS, to lure book-lovers onto her side road. When I give directions to her place, I always tell people to look for the BOOKS sign.

    • When I first leased my shop I got in the biggest letters that I could fit
      in black on white painted across the facade
      unfortunately the railway carpark across the road had a screen of trees obscuring the sign. I am just off the third busiest road that is not a freeway in Melbourne carrying in excess of 60,000 vehicles a day.
      One benefit of the station redevelopment is that the carpark and the trees are gone and people can see my sign.
      am now getting a bit of southbound traffic detouring in.
      Don’t worry about getting your name in lights
      books, used books, secondhand books is what you need people to see

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  • I’ve visited this page a few times now when I see the pic or “low Cost Advertising” line. Never fails to elicit a smile and even audible chuckles. I know I would follow the arrows.

    Here is one cheap advertising bit I’ve stated on other post’s comments here at Bookshop Blog and I’ll state it again. To draw a bit of internet traffic to your website make sure when you comment on other peoples blogs, any new websites with stories that interest you or any other website be sure to put a link to your site if they have the spot for it. I get a few hits a day from this. I can’t point to any sales from it but who knows.

    Also trading links with friends will put your (and their) website higher in the search engine pecking order.

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  • I think people respond to simple advertising. You have to go with whatever works! 🙂

    Another great idea that would qualify for low cost advetising as well, is free radio advertising. Obtain more publicity by having your own free radio spot to seriously boost your book sales too. This happens on a regular basis if you know exactly how to persuade radio stations.

    One method might be to donate something that would promote your business such as a books, tickets, coupons, etc. Radio stations hold contests all the time and it is one method that would increase your chance of free radio advertising costs with that station.

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  • Hi Nora,

    Advertising is very important for any type and size of business. To stay on top of the competition you have to advertise yourself to get fruitful outcome.

    And as you said, Advertising doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective.

    Thanks for sharing some simple but definitely powerful advertising tips.

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