Companies based in London that are looking to service their local market have been using leaflet distribution with great success rates for decades. In our previous blogs we’ve talked about how people have used leaflets to spread ideas for centuries.
From our other writings it is clear that leaflet distribution is an effective tool to share ideas and to gain new customers. Leaflets have stood the test of times and their effectiveness and successful use has not waned with new technologies being introduced.
This includes the latest monumental technological shift in marketing that is the social media and internet marketing revolution. Large multinational companies as well as small local tradesmen are still using leaflet distribution at high rates.
But how do we make sure that our leaflet distribution campaigns are as successful as possible? What are the principles one must adhere to when planning and executing a leaflet campaign and what should one avoid?
We are going to have a look at this in this article today.
1. High Quality Design
What your leaflets look like will play a very important role in the success of your leaflet distribution campaign.
You are going to be investing in the printing of your flyers, storage, delivery and the planning of your campaign. With all this time and resources invested into your campaign we can’t afford to stifle our success with bad design.
The fundamental principle we always repeat when speaking to our clients or in our design consultations is simple - Work with a professional when designing your leaflet.
There are many small details that one has to keep in mind when working on a flyer design. Even if you have decent photoshop skills you are not likely to have the experience and sensitivity built through making hundreds of designs in this field to make a great leaflet.
The advantage of using a professional designer is the fact that you can reuse your leaflet for other campaigns. Just change the date on the flyer for each campaign and if your leaflet is still relevant you can get multiple successful campaigns from a single design.
Having a professional design created is not an investment that goes away after the first drop. Just ask your designer to supply you with a file that doesn’t include dates and other information you might want to change for your future drops and you are good to go.
The quality of photos used on your flyer will have a big impact on how successful your design is. As leaflets have become simpler in design and message over the last decade, photography has become a more important element in the game of leaflet design.
The success rates of your distribution campaign largely relies on the quality of photos used in your design.
Thankfully you have multiple options for getting high quality images. Depending on the type of business you are advertising and your budget you can either work with a professional photographer to create custom images or use one of the many stock photo databases to find a suitable image for your distribution campaign.
There are many stock images available to purchase or even use for free nowadays and if your leaflet allows for this you can keep your budget lower by using these databases.
On the other hand if you are looking to run a distribution campaign for a very exclusive service or a local restaurant you might want to think about hiring a professional photographer to take images of your work specifically.
2. Keep your format simple
Simplicity is the name of the game in leaflet distribution. This applies to design as we mentioned above as well as the formats you are printing your flyers on.
When you go to a printer’s website you will inevitably run into many options for formats, paper weight and thickness, paper finish and more.
You will run into a good amount of technical terms that might not have a lot of meaning to you when you first encounter them. Here is a short guide through some of these
- gsm refers to the weight of the paper you are going to be printing on. As most places will use the same fundamental material for all leaflets we can successfully use the GSM number as a proxy for the thickness of your flyers.
In general you want to keep your flyers between 200-300gsm. Thinner leaflets are more prone to being damaged in transport and during delivery. Just think about a thin sheet of paper being handled by hand outside and moved across the country in a box.
On the other hand, if we go significantly over 300gsm we end up with very heavy leaflets that might have sharp edges and are quite unpleasant to handle. Somewhere between 200-300gsm is where you want to be.
- The terms here are fairly unambiguous but the choice between them might not be. In general we recommend our clients use Matt finish for their leaflet distribution campaigns as it is more resilient and looks better for longer.
- You have many options in the world of leaflet printing. A4 folded flyers, A5, DL size, Gatefold, Z-Fold and many more.
In general we prefer for our clients to stick to A5 leaflets as these are the most cost-effective flyers to print for leaflet distribution and stand up to the challenges of distribution well.
Based on our experience and research there tends to be pretty much no advantage in success rates to using more complicated folded leaflets for most distribution campaigns.
3. Consult your leaflet distribution company
Since you are using a professional leaflet distribution company it is a good idea for you to use their knowhow and discuss all the elements of your distribution campaign with them.
This should include your design, where and how many leaflets you are printing, the timing of your distribution and also which areas of London you are going to be targeting.
Data you might not have an easy access to or considerations that are not immediately obvious might influence these decisions.
Your leaflet distribution company should share this information with you and explain to you why they believe that you should print an X amount of leaflets and deliver them only in Y area at a specific time.
A good professional distribution company is going to have a proprietary mapping system that will give them a good idea of the numbers of households that they can deliver to in each area.
They will know how to time your distribution to hit the highest number of people at the right moment in your local area and how to get them to act after receiving your leaflets.
The input a good leaflet distribution company can give you on your flyer design is also indispensable. Anyone working at a high enough position in a distribution company will have seen thousands of different designs being delivered and will have a very good idea about what works in terms of design.
This is especially true about companies that have an in-house design team and offer design consultations to their clients regularly. Like we do at The Private Postman.
4. Think locally
Your designs, frequency and timing of your distribution should reflect the character of each local area you are delivering in.
This means that your distribution might run on a slightly different schedule in different parts of London. Ideally you might even consider using multiple designs slightly tweaked for each area.
Modern distribution techniques allow for these sophisticated campaigns and you should be taking advantage of that fact.
When you consider how often the households in your target area receive flyers, what are the demographics and what other marketing materials they are likely to interact with on a daily basis in your campaign your chances for success inevitably go up.
By its nature leaflet distribution can’t get as targeted as some of the more sophisticated tools on various online marketing platforms. It however doesn’t need to.
The targeting of leaflet distribution campaigns has gotten fairly sophisticated now but the methods are different. One of the best ways of ensuring that your campaign is a success is to respect the character of each local area you are targeting in your approach.
Leaflet distribution works the best when it focuses on local markets.
5. Deliver more than once
Repeated exposure is an important concept in successful marketing campaigns across domains. It is by design that you as a customer are seeing a TV ad more than once. The same applies to social media advertising, outdoor advertising, print and more.
Leaflet distribution is no different. Historically it has however been fairly difficult to arrange.
Delivering to the same households repeatedly can be a sensitive topic and should be done only when one knows that the intervals between deliveries can be carefully controlled.
Thanks to modern flyer distribution techniques, stock control systems and tracking we can now deliver your flyers to the same households repeatedly with very carefully curated rest periods between drops.
Having this ability gives us a great advantage even over some other marketing methods.
Even though the creators of TV ads understand that you will see each ad more than once, the technology can’t limit the number of impressions by each individual.
This means that you might end up seeing the same ad over and over again yielding the opposite result the creator of the ad had in mind. Exposure fatigue is a real thing and seeing the same ad too many times becomes disruptive and upsetting.
In leaflet distribution
With leaflet distribution we can carefully curate the number of impressions by limiting the number of times we deliver to each household.
This means that we are fully in control of how many times your target customers see your leaflets and when. This is very different to some of the above mentioned methods that do run a risk of exposure fatigue.
On top of this we can tweak the design of your flyers for each delivery by changing the photo used on the leaflet or some other important element. This allows us to further avoid the risk of over exposing your potential clients to the same piece of advertising.
It’s more effective
When we do repeated drops in the way we’ve outlined above the results tend to be considerably better than single deliveries.
As such we often recommend that our clients structure their distribution campaigns on repeated deliveries. This could mean that you might want to choose to deliver your leaflets to 20,000 households twice rather than to 40,000 households once.
6. Combine your leaflets with your online marketing/presence
Leaflet distribution is a purely offline method of advertising. By their nature flyers have some specific advantages and disadvantages when compared to the world of online marketing.
The way we target demographics with flyers is different, distribution schedules are different to online ads and the physical nature of the flyer brings some logistical challenges as well.
The fact that a flyer itself is a purely physical and offline medium doesn’t mean that you can’t tie it into your online presence.
If you are running a flyer distribution round in a given area of London you can follow up this drop with a targeted facebook ad campaign. This way you end up reaching your potential customers repeatedly via different angles.
On the other end of this spectrum you can use your flyers to advertise your online presence.
For example if you are running a restaurant that is largely focusing on deliveries and you are using one of the many food delivery apps you can use flyer distribution to drive traffic to your food delivery app profile.
Rather than fighting for higher search results on these apps and being fully under the control of a single entity you can side-step your competition and get your flyers into every household in your delivery radius.
If you include a QR code on your flyers it becomes incredibly easy for people to visit your profile and order food.
Online and Offline methods of advertising both have specific advantages. Any sophisticated marketing campaign that is looking for the best results possible will include elements of both.
7. Pick a company with good tracking
So how do you know that your leaflet distribution campaign has been executed properly? How do you know that your distributor has delivered all your leaflets as agreed and in a good condition? Tracking is the answer.
Any established and reputable company in the leaflet distribution business is going to have some form of tracking in place.
Here we are going to go through the system we use at The Private Postman as we believe that our tracking is the most comprehensive in the industry.
All our distributors carry a GPS device on their person when delivering. The data from these devices is later collected and superimposed over a google maps style layout.
These files are double checked by our tracking team after each delivery round as well as shared with you.
The data is in high enough resolution that you can see the distributor walking up to each individual door and/or letterbox taking away any doubt about whether they have delivered your leaflets.
These files act as proof of delivery at the end of each campaign.
On top of this every time one of our distributors starts a delivery round we inform you in real time about their location and immediate delivery plans.
You will get a new message every approximately 800 deliveries. This way you know in real time exactly which parts of your distribution campaign we’ve finished and where the distributors are currently delivering your leaflets.
As this is all done automatically and in real time you can come see your leaflets being delivered at any time anywhere in London. And most importantly you can do so unannounced.
Many other companies allow you to come see your leaflets being delivered in person but as you do so everyone involved will know of your presence. With our system you can come unannounced and see the work being done without anyone knowing about your presence.
This brings a high level of transparency and forces us to perform at a high level at all times. Any of our many dozens of clients can show up at any time to see their flyers being delivered by us anywhere in London.
As our GPS tracking systems are working and our clients are getting regular updates in real time about the progress of their campaigns we have supervisors checking deliveries in real time.
Our supervisors move around on scooters and double check on the quality of deliveries as they are happening all over London.
They look at the shape of the leaflets delivered to look for damage, they check whether the distributors have missed any houses and whether the deliveries are happening at a reasonable speed.
They act as another quality control measure ensuring that your leaflets are making their way through the letterbox in the best shape possible. The success rates of all campaigns do rely at least to some extent on proper checks being conducted.
8. Plan ahead (events etc...)
Leaflet distribution campaigns have the highest success rates when they are well planned and prepared ahead of time. The distribution schedule shouldn’t be too packed and your design and print process should be done properly with enough time to consider all details.
Even though at The Private Postman we can deliver hundreds of thousands of leaflets for any of our clients in a week it is still best to spread your distribution out a bit more.
A week at a time
Leaving at least a full working week to get your design right is good practice. Your designer of choice might have other projects going and it might take them a day before they get to your design.
Even if they do a great job the first time you will be going back and forth with small changes and this can take a few days even if everything is going smoothly.
You also want to leave another working week for your printing and delivery process. Many larger printers will have a 24hr turnaround service available. The world can be an unpredictable place and driver shortages and other disruptions can change this schedule.
Having a whole week set aside for the printing process to go through and for your leaflets to make their way to your distributor’s warehouse is the way to go.
Your distributor will also run a weekly leaflet distribution system. This means that they will most likely be working with at least 7 days of deliveries planned ahead of time.
This means that if the distribution schedule your distribution company is operating is from Tuesday to Tuesday and they receive your leaflets on a Wednesday morning you will have to wait till next Tuesday for your first deliveries.
Keep this in mind and plan ahead to avoid disappointment. Once the distribution machine is moving, the number of leaflets that a good company can deliver every day is huge. Keep in mind however that the steps described above might take a while.
9. Select the right households
One of the most important steps in the planning process for your campaign is deciding exactly where you should target your leaflet distribution efforts.
Deciding on which parts of London and households should receive your leaflets will have a great impact on the success of your campaign.
You should consult on this closely with the distribution company you are choosing to work with.
An experienced distribution company will have a good sense of where to find specific demographics, which areas might look better on a map than in reality and where it makes sense for you to keep some leaflets for repeated distribution.
When you are going through this step in the planning of your campaign ask your distribution company to share their mapping system with you and let them walk you through the process.
10. Stick to Door to Door
There are many forms of leaflet distribution. Hand to hand which relies on handing out leaflets in busy areas at strategic times, leaving leaflets on car windows, b-to-b leaflet distribution and others.
The one method of leaflet distribution that you should be focusing on is door to door. This is simply a technique that relies on your leaflets being put through letterboxes and doors of privately owned residential addresses in areas that are important for your business.
It is the most effective and efficient form of leaflet distribution that brings the highest success rates.
The other methods mentioned here can work for very specific kinds of business. However 99% of the time door to door leaflet distribution targeting privately owned residences is going to be cheaper and more effective.
The number of leaflets you will be able to deliver using door to door is going to be orders of magnitude higher compared to hand to hand or other methods.
On top of that door to door leaflet distribution gives you a great ability to target demographics, to focus on specific local areas, run carefully curated repeated deliveries and operate in a system that is very streamlined and cost efficient.
We hope that the ten points we’ve elaborated on in this article have been helpful to you. Leaflet distribution is a very effective method of marketing in your local area when done right and you now have the information needed to make your leaflet campaign a success.
If you have any further questions please feel free to get in touch with us here .