Leafleting has become more and more popular by local businesses as an alternative or something to complement their advertising. Like most marketing activities there are ways of getting the most from the investment made and pitfall, mistakes to avoid. The first lesson is manage your expectations.  Every few months I speak to an enthusiastic but disappointed start up business owner who dismisses the effectiveness of leaflets when he/she tells me “I hand delivered my leaflet to 500 houses in Chandlers Ford and got nothing. It doesn’t work.”  I have to explain that leaflets DO work but you need to deliver minimum of 5,000 to see results worth counting.

The advantages of leafleting:

  • A two sided A5 leaflet is the equivalent of two full pages of paid advertising. It can be better value to run a leaflet if the product you are selling warrants it.
  • If you have a product which benefits from a) displaying lots of choices (like a windows/doors business) or b) reassurance / credibility needed for action eg care home, solicitor c) something most houses could buy eg. New driveway, MOT, hairdressing.
  • It’s advertising that can be retained for a long time.  Leaflets can be kept for years, or passed on and convert to a sale months, years later.

When leafleting is not recommended

  • If the cost of the product is relatively low and a higher than average response rate is needed to break even eg. Zumba classes at £6 a person.  You need a lot of new customers to recover your investment!
  • Very niche product which excludes the majority of the recipients of the leaflet eg. I once had a yoga teacher who wanted to leaflet her classes (yes, enough people interested in yoga), aimed at men only (oops, that’s counts half the recipients out), who play golf (narrowing it down) who struggle with back problems (counting on one hand) who would be interested in a class designed for men who play golf who suffer back problems.

How to maximise return on investment with leaflet

  • Ideally, hit the same homes three times
  • Print all the leaflets you require in one go – avoid printing in small quantities
  • If testing the waters, do one area properly and prove what works then roll it out in other areas
  • Build leaflet distribution with other marketing activities; ideally not in isolation
  • Design a leaflet specifically as a leaflet; don’t assume a display advert used in a magazine can be re-used. It shouldn’t be.  The two are different.
  • Don’t skimp on the format; your product or service might translate well on a C6 postcard, or it might need to be a leaflet with a thin paper weight but if your business is selling quality then a higher weight paper may be required.  Equally, if you over specify the paper for a low cost product you are selling the wrong message resulting in disappointing results.