You’ve done the hard part… designed, created and printed a stunning set of rack cards to advertise your business. (See “Print Power: Six Tips for Creating Custom Rack Cards.”) You display them in your shop and use them in targeted mailings. But what other ways are there to put these branded, custom designed pieces to work for you? They need to be out working for you – available where the right people will see them.
Rack cards are perfect for targeting the traveller and the tourist industry. Displays are seen at welcome centers, convention and visitor bureaus, chambers of commerce, restaurants, tourist attractions and local businesses. Anywhere and everywhere the travelling public is likely to visit is a potential distribution point for your rack cards, but getting into all these places can be difficult and very time-consuming. Consider hiring a distribution service.
Tourist brochure distribution businesses serve exactly this need. They maintain and service rack card displays in a variety of venues where tourists and travellers frequent. You have seen these racks in hotels, restaurants, craft shops and attractions. Tourists have come to rely on these sites for information about local events, bargains, restaurants and entertainment. The distribution services refill and service the rack displays on a regular basis – weekly, and more frequently during peak tourist seasons. They also may offer advice on or even handle brochure printing, or special deals for Chamber of Commerce members. Locally (we are here in Asheville, North Carolina – a booming tourist area) two such services that offer great distribution schedules are Mountain Information Centers, Inc. and Brochure Advertising Services, Inc.
Welcome to N.C.!
If you choose not to use a distribution service, a great venue to get your rack cards or brochures into the hands of a large group of potential customers FOR FREE is through your state’s Welcome Centers. Travelers stop for a quick rest and to stock up on information about accommodations, tourist sites, events, restaurants, historical sites, and shopping. Each state operates differently and with varying guidelines, so the first step would be to contact your state tourism authority. In North Carolina your contact is the Director of Visitor Services at the NC Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development (4324 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699). You can find instructions at this link. Any tourism or tourism-related business is permitted to place its brochures in the North Carolina Welcome Centers, but you must first receive approval of your pieces, and then you will be provided a list of Welcome Centers and instructions on how to properly send your free materials for distribution.
Welcome Centers in NC will display your rack cards and brochures in their display units. If your pieces are larger than the standard 4″ x 9″ size, they can be displayed on tables nearby but this will be at the discretion of the Center director. Some brochures are not permitted – such as purely commercial or non-tourist related businesses, literature that rates travel attractions, political or religious tracts, etc. – but if your business is related in any way to the tourism trade in your area, check out the opportunities your state’s Welcome Centers hold.
Ask your printer to help you find out all the options that are open to you for rack card and brochure distribution sites. They can help you design, create and distribute your cards to all these places. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!