Leaflet advertising can be very effective, though it shouldn't’t be seen as the holy-grail nor should it be shelved in favour of Internet based marketing methods.
It can prove to be cost effective for small businesses looking to use leaflet / flyer marketing as a promotional medium within their marketing campaigns. On the other hand it can be costly for small businesses if the context demands sizable leaflets / flyers in large quantities and the distribution is poor or non-targeted.
There are a few things to consider before starting the development of a new leaflet / flyer design and print which could help you produce a hard-working marketing tool for your small business. In this guide I will point out some of the main pitfalls in leaflet / flyer marketing and give guidance on how to get the most out of your efforts.
Because I am based in West Wales I will refer to leaflet marketing distribution in Carmarthenshire, leaflet marketing distribution in Pembrokeshire. But generally the same principles will apply to your area with some adaptations.
"Research And Planning Pay Off"
Before you start considering what your leaflet / flyer will look like and what pictures, styles and content will be added you need to do some planning and research;
- Who are your leaflets/ flyers targeted at?
Demographics of your target audience.
- Where will you find your target audience?
Where do your target audience socialise, work, live, visit, shop?
- What would your target audience expect?
A small leaflet / flyer with simple information or a lengthy brochure with detailed information and pictures? What do you need to present in order to achieve your primary goal?
Next think about;
- What do you want to achieve with your leaflet / flyer?
Your primary goal as mentioned above.
- Will your leaflet / flyer have a life expectancy?
Will you display prices and if so when will they go out of date. This will influence the number you print and your distribution time line.
By addressing the above specifics you will be able to answer the following questions and in turn have a clear action plan for your whole leaflet marketing campaign from design and print to distribution.
- What appeal your leaflet / flyer needs to have.
- What dimensions your leaflet / flyer needs to be.
- What your leaflet / flyer needs to include.
- Where and how you will distribute your leaflets / flyers.
- How many leaflets / flyers you need to print.
“Targeted, Intelligent Leaflet Marketing”
Understanding these criterions will enable you to refine your efforts, costs and return on investment before you call your designer, plus will hopefully help you avoid the boxes of redundant leaflets / flyers clogging up office space in later months / years.
Leaflet Distribution – The Key Is A Plan
One of the main challenges in leaflet marketing for small businesses is distribution.
I admit that I’ve done it myself, but time and time again I speak with people who have thousands of leaflets still sat in boxes at the office which are either now out of date or have no action plan to leave the dusty box they sit in. Others have commented that their return and generated sales / enquiries from their leaflets has been little to none.
You can avoid this waste of resources by firstly following the above steps and truly understanding your leaflet marketing specifics. From here you can address the next major phase that is Leaflet Distribution in West Wales.
To do this, consider the following points and begin to plan your leaflet distribution efforts in Pembrokeshire / Carmarthenshire West Wales.
- Understand your target audience
Know who your target audience are in regard to age, sex, and ethnicity. Learn where they socialise, work, shop, live, visit and what they read, watch and listen to. You can begin to concentrate distribution efforts from this information.
- Hand out leaflets in the street
If your target audience are found out and about in the town consider handing leaflets to passers by. Check with local authorities first about any by-laws in place for the areas you wish to distribute. This method often receives avoidance by passers by, so consider screening the people you hand leaflets to first or talking to individuals one to one before handing them a leaflet to gauge interest. My top tip here is be prepared to pickup dropped leaflets, you’ll do more damage to your campaign and business by littering the streets with your company flyers.
- Go small
If you are handing leaflets out in the street you may want to think about the size of your leaflets. Credit card size receive the lowest drop-rate (the amount of leaflets dropped on the floor by people) because they fit easily into pockets or wallets. Larger, thick leaflets can put people off even taking it from you.
- Post to your customers
An obvious method is to post your leaflet out to all your existing customers. This could be a one off occurrence or part of a regular newsletter, either way make sure you understand all your obligations in regard to the Data Protect Act and the EU Privacy Regulations.
- Place inside packaged orders
If you run an online shop or post out goods to customers place a leaflet inside the packed order. You could apply this same method to customers shopping in store. You may want to produce specific leaflets for this purpose, such as latest sales / discount voucher towards next order or a leaflet to raise brand awareness further.
- Be a leaflet insert
Have your leaflets inserted into an established publication that is already distributed across your target area, such as Pembrokeshire or Carmarthenshire. Newsletters, local magazines and directories may offer this service at a cost.
- Collaborate with complimentary businesses
Find complimentary businesses to help distribute your leaflets either through their own distribution plans or if they have a high street shop, perhaps inside carrier bags or on the counter at the tills.
- Ask shops to display at the tills
Ask shop owners who your target audience often visit to display small stacks of leaflets at the tills or checkout. This is often a common place to find local advertising however many shops discourage this method and will either say no or take your flyers and recycle them soon after, a waste of resources. So build good relationships with shop owners, possibly with incentives.
- Stock control your leaflets
It may sound odd or a chore but controlling the number of leaflets you give out can maximise your potential and minimise waste. Giving the local newsagents 200 leaflets when they realistically will only shift about 25 is over stocking. Make smaller bundles and restock if required.
- Support / Sponsor an event
By sponsoring or supporting an event such as a village fete, fundraising ball, music event, charity dinner, school production, local football tournament, sporting event you might be able to negotiate the opportunity to distribute your leaflets to all those attending whether through hand to hand delivery or a display table.
- Attend exhibitions & trades shows
Book a stall at a local exhibition or trade show and pass out leaflets to passers by as well as talk to them in more detail about what you have to offer. You may even be allowed to display your products / services.
On the other hand you may be able to pay for the opportunity to pass out leaflets to all exhibition / trade show attendees or at least have them displayed on tables within the shows.
- Visit county shows
Similar to the above, why not have a stall at one of our county shows? Pembrokeshire county show and Carmarthenshire county show both attract a huge number of visitors. As they are agricultural shows consider if this suits your target audience. You may be able to negotiate the rights to distribute leaflets around the show to passers by, contact show organisers for details.
- Leaflet dispensers
Agree with shops, business’ or establishments that you can erect a leaflet dispenser at their business location. There are more permanent leaflet distribution points than the ones at local shops where you have asked the owners to display leaflets near the tills. You could even have a custom designed leaflet dispenser to add more appeal and brand awareness. Obviously devise a way to keep these stocked with leaflets.
- Car window dispenser
Have you ever seen car window leaflet dispensers? They clip to the window on the outside of the car and allow you to display leaflets while the car is parked… obviously! This is commonly used in public car parks where numbers of passers by are present. The effectiveness of this method can seem a little weak, it may work better on sign-written vehicles that prominently promote brand awareness.
- Plot the miles
If you need to drive around many locations to distribute your leaflets take time to plan your journey to save on fuel and time. Also be specific to which locations / shops / businesses you need to visit to avoid wasted time and effort. Your first trip might be less specific on where to visit but try to make a note of which shops / businesses / locations agreed to display your leaflets so that in the future you can be more direct.
- Time it right
Timing the distribution of your leaflets in phases or to co-inside with the seasons is always worth considering if the circumstances dictate. Perhaps you’re advertising an event that requires promotion early on and then a refresh a week before. Or your opening a new nursery that would suit distribution close to school term holidays should you take on new placements around term times. Think about your business and industry and identify any time based requirements that could be utilised.
- Door to door
If your leaflets suit the majority of house holds you could try door to door leaflet distribution. Simply travel to a local town and post your leaflets through letter boxes. Note you may need a large number of leaflets to do this adequately and may have to walk some distances. Also note that you could use the Royal Mail leaflet distribution service or another third party leaflet distribution company who charge a nominal fee for x-amount of leaflets. (Do a web search for ‘leaflet distribution services’ in your area).
- Hold a promotional day
If suitable, hold a promotional day at your business premises / shop and hand leaflets to passers by and those who attend. Any attendee’s are prime candidates because they already show an interest in your business / products / services.
- Piggyback a postal mailing list
Find a local business who has an established postal mailing list, like The Queens Hall in Narberth and offer a donation in return for your leaflets being inserted into their postal mail-out. Companies are always looking to reduce the cost of postage, so this can be a win win situation for everyone. Note that you will need to consider the target audience of the mail-out and if they co-inside with your own desired target audience.
- Place on car windscreens
Note I don’t personally recommend this method, I’m mentioning it here to point out that I don’t recommend it and hope that you will perhaps share my opinion.
Place leaflets under car windscreens in car parks or on road sides. Note you may have to address rights with the car park owners / authorities and the potential for complaints against vehicle damage is open to anyone.
- Follow them into the night
This is an example for a specific business but the principle is that you go out of your way or break ‘the norm’ to go where your target audience are. If that means outside normal workings hours then so be it. See example below;
Lets say you run a nightclub or bar, you may want to visit other local nightclubs/ bars to hand out your leaflets in the street to people leaving that premises. This will often mean late nights, cold, probably wet conditions and the inevitable random questions from people who have drunk a little too much. Most security staff and establishment owners dislike this in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire so be prepared for conflict. Again contact your local authority for clarification on by-laws and pickup any dropped leaflets you find.
- Send a postcard
A slightly different idea would be to produce a postcard that advertises your business, like Jabajak did. Jabajak is a restaurant with rooms in Wales, they produced a postcard for guests to buy and either keep as a memento or send on to their friends, which in all raises brand awareness. Ideal for holiday cottages in Newport for example, or other accommodation based business' like bed & breakfast Carmarthenshire.
- Distribute to influencers
Send bundles of leaflets to people who are influential or have a status within a group or network of people that are in your target audience. Build a relationship with these influencers, as their network of friends / members could be an avenue you’d find hard to tap into by yourself. Consider offering incentives and monitor what type of responses achieve.
- Drop leaflets from a plane
No I’m joking, I don’t believe this is legal in the UK, so don’t do this!
- The NHS
Strange as it sounds consider asking your local GP surgery or hospital if you can display leaflets in waiting areas. We’ve all had to sit in the waiting area and picked up the first copy of OK magazine or National Geographic to pass the time. This could be a great opportunity to gain a readers attention. Other waiting areas could be approached such as dentists, vets etc. Note I have not tried this method myself and therefore cannot verify if any of the above establishments would be willing to participate, I will look to investigate and post my results.
- When getting a MOT & new tyres
Same principle as the NHS method, but ask your local motoring garage to stock your leaflets in their waiting area if they have one. We often hang around waiting for our MOT to finish or a set of new tyres from the best tyre dealers in Carmarthen. Often enough we have a selection of car magazines to drool over, but again this could be an interesting opportunity for leaflet distribution.
- Kids love balloons
If your business is aimed at children then you must give this a try. A company I work with offers children’s parachute parties in Pembrokeshire (definitely worth a try for your child’s birthday). At the end of the parties children are given a helium balloon, which obviously they love and hang on to for dear life. Attached to the balloon is a business card sized balloon tag, that has the parachute parties logo and details on. It’s a great way to promote their business to 20+ more parents who will inevitably read the tag on their child’s balloon. Another method is to print onto the actual balloons but this can become costly and once the balloon pops or deflates its gone in the bin.