What is a pamphlet?
A pamphlet or a leaflet is a piece of paper that a distributor can deliver to people’s homes or hand out to potential customers on the street.
We will most commonly advise you to keep your pamphlets to an A5 or A6 format. There are exceptions to this but we generally tend to discourage larger or more complex formats.
A leaflet is a physical form of advertising that people have been using for centuries. It has held an important place in local marketing in the UK for decades.
Which companies use pamphlets?
Companies of all sizes use pamphlets.
Local tradesmen, self-employed individuals and small businesses run modest targeted campaigns of 5,000 - 50,000 pamphlets regularly.
In a place like London large multinational corporations and chains run large campaigns of 250,000+ leaflets every week.
Companies across many industries use pamphlets. The most common types of businesses include
- Restaurants and other food establishments
- Gyms and personal trainers
- Estate Agents
- Care homes
- Private Tutors
- Events and festivals
- Healthcare providers
- Veterinary clinics
- Plumbers and other tradesmen
- Painters and decorators
- Local councils
- B2C oriented startups
Are pamphlets still relevant?
Even through some dramatic technological changes in the advertising world (like the arrival of social media and online marketing) pamphleting has remained relevant.
Businesses have used pamphlets in their current form for many decades. In this period companies across industries have kept their canvassing efforts at a steady level.
Leaflets are as effective and commonly used now as they have ever been.
Let’s have a look at the advantages of pamphlets for local businesses.
Like we’ve already mentioned leaflets are a physical piece of advertising. The fact that your potential customers have to pick your pamphlet up and interact with it is a great advantage compared to some forms of online advertising which one can easily block out.
Even if in some households your pamphlets are thrown away a physical interaction is guaranteed. With smart repeated deliveries and design changes these impressions can add up and lead to positive results.
If the recipient is interested in your services they can keep your pamphlet physically in their home to reference later.
Local market penetration
Delivering pamphlets or canvassing guarantees that you are going to reach every single residential household in your selected area.
As every door and letterbox can be delivered through there are going to be no households left out of your campaigns.
This is especially powerful if you are running a local business like a restaurant. You can make sure that every household will receive your flyers. This is generally not possible using other marketing methods.
Can be combined with your online efforts
Online marketing is an incredibly powerful and capable way of building a customer base. You can combine your online marketing efforts like geographically targeted facebook campaigns with your pamphleting.
Targeting the same areas with canvassing and facebook ads at the same time can help you get some fantastic results.
You can also use QR codes to direct people from your pamphlets to your online presence. A good example of this working in the real world are delivery restaurants linking from their leaflets with QR codes to their delivery app profiles.
This way they sidestep their competition and bring their local customers to their delivery app profiles in a cost effective way.
In the UK there is no VAT chargeable on the printing of pamphlets and brochures. You can find a good explanation of the current UK VAT rules around the production of leaflets here.
Delivery companies in the UK have to charge VAT on deliveries but the savings on production and printing are real.
Targeting of specific demographics is possible with your canvassing efforts. The types of demographics you can focus on are a little different to what you can do online.
You are not going to be able to target 40-45yr old men that are interested in Formula 1. That is a type of demographic group you can find in your facebook ad dashboard.
The types of demographics you can focus on with your pamphlets will look more like this
- Households within a specific distance from your business’ location
- Homes with a large proportion of young families with children
- Houses with specific architectural features (Sash Windows, Victorian Terraced homes,...)
- Homes with gardens
- Households that are likely to have pets and are located close to a park
- Wealthy households
- Middle class households
Some demographic groups that you will be able to reach with canvassing are also difficult to reach through other means. A good example is the 70+ age group.
The general rule is that the larger your campaigns are the more cost effective they will be. If you are interested in larger campaigns you are likely to get a good deal.
This is especially true about the production process. You have to pay your graphic designer only once to get a great design. It is up to you whether you then print this design 5,000 times or 300,000 times. The cost of design remains the same but you get more value for larger campaigns.
When you are checking for prices with the various UK printing houses you will quickly see that the per pamphlet printing cost can drop as much as 50% for larger orders.
The larger your order is the more you are going to save on a per-unit basis.
Distribution itself tends to have set prices that don’t scale the same way. However for campaigns of over 100,000 pamphlets deals can be made and prices can be negotiated down.
On the other end of this conversation if you are not looking to spend a lot of money you can start with a small campaign of 5,000 pamphlets in your local area. The costs for these campaigns are not great and you can slowly scale up from there.
There is no reason why you shouldn’t try a few 10,000 pamphlet campaigns to see how the process works before jumping in with a large order.
You can manage the costs of your campaigns and scale up your efforts when you feel comfortable.
The great thing about modern distribution systems is that they give you the ability to repeat your campaigns very accurately.
This means that you can target the same homes repeatedly with very carefully planned rest periods between each drop.
This way you can bring the advantages of repeated exposure into your canvassing.
As these campaigns are so well repeatable you can even change your designs for each delivery round and minimise exposure fatigue.
Repeatedly delivering to households in your area with varying designs is one of the most powerful marketing strategies for a local business.
So far we’ve discussed only the advantages of pamphleting. Let’s have a look at some disadvantages compared to the other marketing methods out there.
Potential for failure
If your design and planning process are not executed properly it is possible that your campaign will fail.
Due to the logistics involved it is almost impossible to stop a distribution campaign once it’s happening. If you therefore find out that your design doesn’t work and you are not getting any responses you are likely going to have to eat the whole distribution cost.
This can be remedied by consulting professionals with a good track record during your design and planning process. To avoid the worst case scenario allow your distribution company to examine your designs and plans and to critique them before you make a commitment.
Some people dislike them
It is true that some people strongly dislike pamphlets. When they receive them they are likely to complain and get emotional. With large campaigns with hundreds of thousands of pamphlets this is going to happen sooner or later.
You need to make sure that your distribution company has a good system for dealing with this. At The Private Postman we automatically eliminate addresses that have registered a complaint from our system.
When our distributors receive their delivery mapps they will include exact addresses that they are to avoid. Once someone complains with us they are never delivered to again.
Thanks to this we have minimised the number of complaints over time. At this point complaints are a very rare thing in our system. They are however something one has to take seriously.
Permits and regulation
Door to door deliveries do not require any permits or adherence to complicated regulations. Delivering pieces of advertising through people’s letterboxes is a straightforward business.
Handing out pamphlets however is a bit different. If you want the distributor to stand in a public space and hand out your pamphlets to people passing by it is likely that some form of permit will be required.
This complicates these campaigns somewhat.
Cost of entry
Commonly 5,000 pamphlets is the smallest campaign any distribution company will be willing to deliver for you.
This means that there is a minimum cost of entry.
At a cost of £45/1000 pamphlets +VAT you are looking at £225+VAT minimum cost for delivery. On top of this you will need to pay for the printing of your pamphlets which could be around £75 at this volume.
This means that unlike some of the online advertising methods you can’t start with £20 and tinker. You will need to commit at least somewhere in the region of £300. The good news is that with larger campaigns the production costs go down drastically and delivery costs can be negotiated.
Many of the disadvantages mentioned here can be remedied through careful planning and consulting with professionals.
This highlights the importance of using a reputable distribution company with a good track record for your campaigns.
Even more importantly you want to make sure that you are working with a distribution company that is willing to discuss your plans and designs and share input. Automated systems and online-only services do not work in the world of pamphlet delivery campaigns.