I know from experience that they are definitely worth using -- particularly if you don't have much money to spend on promotional material. Creating a colour pull tab ad using basic desktop publishing software is very easy and it won't break the bank to have thirty or forty colour copies of it made down at Office Works. You can even make the original in black and white and have it copied on colour paper, which is even cheaper.
There's comparatively little waste with this method. That's because people will only take the tabs if they are interested in what you're offering. So you get a much higher return on investment (ROI) than, say, letterbox distribution.
That said, there's still quite a bit of attrition involved. Those who end up calling are clearly a small percentage of those who take them away in the first place.
I know this because I've put a lot of these up around Perth over the last several months. In the weeks after placing them I've gone back to those same boards to see how many have been taken. If the ad sheets are still up it's usually the case that most if not all the tabs have been removed. But I've only received a few calls from them. Not sure of the exact percentage but it looks like maybe only ten percent of those who take them eventually call!
That surprised me at first. But it makes perfect sense when you think about it. We're all so busy these days, with so many things competing for our attention. We're constantly intending to do things, but only rarely following through. Clearly a prospective lead has to have a persistent and strong desire to buy something before he or she will actually do something about it.
The challenge, then, is just to get your ad in front of as many people as possible so that some of them will be in that particular category. There's simply no other way.
Noticeboard advertising is definitely one of the most cost effective methods of doing this. But you still have to keep going back and replacing your ads regularly. This is because as well as the punters tearing off the tabs (which is of course the whole point!) store owners periodically remove all the ads to keep the boards fresh and uncluttered. And other advertisers selfishly cover your ads up -- sometimes even maliciously tearing them down if they are in the same niche!
So, it's a bit like painting the Sydney Harbour Bridge. By the time you've finished putting a whole lot of them up, you have to go back to the first noticeboard and start all over again.