“Dave Nofs: Unusual Advertising His Specialty”
by Megan H. Wagner
“Getting your name in front of the people is the name of the game,” says Dave Nofs of Nofs Carpet Care in St. Petersburg, FL. Nofs has been experimenting with various methods of getting, and keeping, his name in front of consumers.
“Promotional items and ‘giveaways’ are amazing things to get into,” Nofs believes, and he has reason to think so. “I got to talking with a friend in specialty advertising, and started picking through his catalogs, picking out different things and attention getters.” Nofs found many, many unique items sure to attract attention through their novelty.
But Nofs realized the importance of keeping track of the effectiveness of the promotional items he experiments with. He keeps records of the cost, distribution, and return on all novelties he uses for advertising purposes.
“Many of these items are very reasonable,” he says, “costing around ten to thirteen cents a piece. They go all the way up to five to eight dollars each, too. There’s a wide variety and I’ve found it’s helpful to discuss what might be beneficial for your area, your business, and your objectives,” he relates.
The most effective items Nofs has used are, he informs us, small magnets designed to be placed on refrigerators and cabinets in the home. Printed with his name and phone number, these magnets are, he explains, “always there in front of the customer.” The magnets have proven to be extremely popular, and Nofs reports seeing them all over town.
“The magnets really have helped my business tremendously,” Nofs emphasizes. “Also, small wallet-sized calendars have been effective.” Nofs distributes these calendars to customers and to realtors in the area, who provide a good source of referrals. “My wife is in real estate,” he notes, “and that helps give me an ‘in’ with her company and others.”
Most important, the magnets and calendars are used by customers and are kept handy. This means that Nofs’ name is always at hand. “We do a lot of work in condominiums here in Florida, and often a neighbor will visit a friend and say, ‘Your carpets look so terrific, where did you get them cleaned?’ and our customer doesn’t have to search for our name. It’s right there on her refrigerator door.” Also, in the condominiums, Nofs has found that his giveaways, particularly the magnets, “mushroomed.” He finds them in places he has never distributed them, and in the condominiums, “our business just spreads,” he says.
Coupon keepers, checkbook-size holders that fold over with two pockets and designed to keep coupons handy, were not popular says Nofs, and he had only minimal success with them in his area. Phone directories have had a mixed response, on the other hand.
“In one condominium that I distributed phone directories, I haven’t received one call. In another, where the directories have been out since last September, I’ve received three calls in the past week, and closed all the jobs,” Nofs relates. “Those three jobs paid for the cost of using that form of advertising.”
Aside from the promotional items that Nofs uses to advertise his business, he also distributes flyers around town, making a mailing list from the engagement and wedding announcements in the Sunday section of the local newspaper. “The announcements give you names and addresses of potential new customers who will be establishing homes,” says Nofs.
For the professional cleaner who wants to develop unique methods of advertising, Nofs suggests consulting with specialty advertising companies. A look through the catalogs will introduce you to many novel items, and a discussion with the specialty advertiser should help to formulate ideas of which items might be effective for your needs and customers.