Starting a new business is a daunting task. This is especially true given the circumstances we find ourselves in 2021. The competition is tough, smart and whoever has made it through the last two years is also going to be adaptable.
If we are dealing with competition of this kind we have to make sure that our marketing is working properly. In the current climate no one can afford to spend money on marketing without getting good results.
When we discuss marketing strategies for startups or new businesses the first thing that we hear from our clients are questions about online strategies.
Whether we are talking about facebook ads, LinkedIn where appropriate, Google ads, influencer marketing or other options online marketing tends to be the focus.
These methods are effective and we will discuss them in more detail in this article. However online marketing is not the only way a startup can choose to advertise.
If we are talking about marketing in London we have to keep the character of each area in mind and reflected in each campaign.
This means that your campaigns should look different when you are running them in NW3 or NW10. If you are targeting both Hampstead and Willesden with your campaigns you are going to be tweaking elements of your message to each area.
You can do this in many different ways. Anything from the choice of picture on your ad to a completely different ad.
This concept applies even more if we start looking at offline marketing methods. Specifically leaflet distribution. The way we design your flyers and organise your distribution will vary based on which areas you are looking to target.
Keeping your message local is crucial. London is a varied place to advertise in and you won’t tap into its full potential until you segment it into more homogeneous areas and speak to them directly.
People in the UK capital receive, see and interact with a great amount of marketing everywhere. In order to get through to them we must respect where they live and connect our message to important elements that define their most immediate surroundings.
We started this article by briefly mentioning how focused most people are on online marketing. Especially in the startup world. We will look into this topic in more detail later in this blog, as it is so important. But now let’s talk about offline marketing techniques.
Flyer distribution is our main focus at The Private Postman so we’ll dedicate a large part of this article to this marketing technique.
People have used flyers to spread ideas and advertise businesses for hundreds of years. Right now there are tens of millions of flyers making their way through letterboxes in London every week.
Some of the largest and most successful companies in the world are using flyer delivery right now and in large numbers.
McDonalds, Virgin, Harrods, Uber and countless other multinational corporations with the best marketing brains in the world are delivering flyers in the UK capital directly into people’s homes every day.
These people and companies are not in the business of losing money. Flyer delivery can bring excellent results when one plans and executes each campaign properly and these companies know it.
On top of this there are countless small local businesses that are doing the same. Hairdressers, butchers, tutors, gyms, trainers, cleaners and builders are all using flyer distribution. Many of these are small businesses that might consist of a single person.
These businesses can’t be losing money as they have to be very effective. Flyer delivery works for them.
Door to door
The most common method of flyer distribution is Door to door. This simply means that we deliver your flyers through people’s letterboxes directly into their homes.
There are other ways of getting your flyers into people’s hands but door to door campaigns should form the backbone of your strategy unless your business is very specialised.
The reasons for this are simple.
door to door distribution is the most cost effective way for you to get your flyers out there. Costs start at £40 per 1000 flyers delivered +VAT. The minimum size of a door to door flyer distribution campaign tends to be around 5000 flyers.
As most established flyer companies will be distributing tens if not hundreds of thousands of flyers all over the capital every week you can choose the areas you want to target freely and jump on a rolling train immediately.
As you are going to be running flyer delivery in varied areas your flyers can be tweaked and slightly changed for different parts of the capital. You can include different discount codes for tracking, different addresses or even completely different designs.
- Thanks to modern delivery and stock control systems you can run repeated drop campaigns. These campaigns rely on the idea that you can deliver your flyers to the same households multiple times with carefully planned breaks between each delivery.
This can be especially effective if you tweak your designs slightly for each delivery round. The ultimate principle at play here is repeat exposure. Most marketing techniques use this.
Whether we are talking about TV ads, outdoor marketing or facebook ads the general approach considers the fact that people will see each ad multiple times.
Flyer delivery can use this idea even better than some of the above mentioned techniques as each impression/delivery can be different thanks to design tweaks and each impression/delivery is carefully controlled.
People will see your flyers only when you deliver them. Unlike a TV ad that can repeat too many times and create exposure fatigue in your potential client. Well-planned repeat delivery flyer campaign will not have this effect.
So which households are we going to deliver your flyers to? By default we always focus on privately owned residences. We can find these most often in terraced houses, small blocks of flats or detached houses.
We can deliver to these addresses reliably, cost-efficiently and in high numbers. A good flyer delivery company should exclude businesses, local authority housing, large inaccessible blocks of flats and industrial areas from their mapping system.
This is not to say that these addresses should not be a part of your campaigns no matter what but they mostly need to be handled separately as they each pose a different set of challenges for delivery.
Door to door campaigns in privately owned residences that have easily accessible letterboxes will form the absolutely majority of your deliveries.
These kinds of addresses also allow for some good targeting of demographics and types of households. Some areas will have a high proportion of young families with children, others of older couples and others of single professionals.
This kind of demographic information is more valuable than segmenting areas by supposed affluence based on a general understanding of property prices in a given postcode.
If you talk to an experienced flyer distributor they can tell you which areas are likely to have pets, large gardens, children and other very useful information.
B to B
As any good company will exclude business addresses from their standard delivery system businesses will not receive your flyers. However B to B flyer campaigns are also a possibility.
Some companies and startups might benefit from targeting businesses with their flyers. For these we can arrange a specialised B to B distribution. The costs for these will vary as these campaigns can take on many different forms.
The distributor might need to deliver a short line when delivering your flyers into a business and these addresses also tend to be more spread out.
As a general rule B to B campaigns will be more expensive compared to targeting privately owned residences. Even with that in mind they can be a good deal for the right kind of startup. You want to discuss whether B to B distribution campaigns are right for you with your flyer delivery company.
We will exclude local authority housing run by local councils from our standard flyer delivery as well. There are many reasons for this.
You will often find these households in complexes with locked gates, difficult to navigate estates and large blocks of flats.
These are generally not places that are ideal for flyer distribution. The same principle will apply as for B to B. There are some businesses and startups that will want to target local authority housing for various reasons.
We at The Private Postman run a specialised council housing distribution service. These deliveries will again be completely separate to our standard distribution systems.
As we do a lot of work with local councils and the Government we run a system of distribution specifically designed for council housing in various parts of the UK capital.
Handing out flyers
As we’ve covered door to door campaigns in a lot of detail we can briefly talk about its counterpart hand to hand deliveries.
The basic principle of this relies on a team of distributors standing at a strategic location and handing out flyers to people passing by. Companies often do this outside of tube stations, offices and other busy areas.
This flyer distribution technique is always going to be more expensive compared to standard door to door campaigns.
Some startups can however benefit from these tremendously. To show an obvious example.
A startup that focuses on healthy lunches and snacks can target Camden, Canary Wharf and Old Street with well-timed hand to hand campaigns to reach office workers on their way to work. This is a good strategy that will work for a very specific kind of startup. It would be completely ineffective for a startup with a slightly different focus.
The main disadvantages of using hand to hand flyer distribution are.
Difficulty targeting - you can only try to target demographics like office workers or people attending a specific event. Nothing more sophisticated is available with hand to hand distribution.
Cost - Hand to hand deliveries are costly and slow compared to the alternatives. You will pay three to five times more for each flyer delivered hand to hand compared to door to door.
If you are planning to run flyer deliveries you will need to produce your flyers first. The first step in this process is going to be the design of your flyers.
Many people in startups and new businesses nowadays have some basic photoshop skills and will often try to save some costs by downloading a template from the internet and designing their flyer themselves.
In general this is not the way to go. There are many elements to flyer design that might not be immediately obvious and only a professional will be able to consider all of these. This is especially true if the designer specialises in flyer design.
It is also a good idea to have someone else help you hone the message of your flyer. Having another experienced professional assess and think about how best to present your startup on a flyer is very important.
This is why at The Private Postman we offer free design consultation to all our clients. We can help our clients develop the ideas for their flyers or give them feedback on existing designs - free of charge.
If needed we can also use our inhouse design team and produce flyers for our clients from scratch.
Most importantly - you are going to be investing money in the printing, storage, transportation and delivery of your flyers. These costs are not negligible and the way your flyer looks will have a great impact on the effectiveness of your campaign. With that in mind you want to make sure that you approach this step in the process seriously and work with a professional.
Print and Storage
Now that you’ve finished the design of your flyers you have to physically print and store them. There are many decisions one will have to make in this process and it can be quite daunting especially for someone dealing with all the other challenges of running a startup business.
What format should you be printing on, what is the gsm you should choose and how about the finish?
With flyers the answer will generally tend to be - keep it simple. We recommend using standard A5 flyers with Matt finish on 200-300gsm paper.
GSM refers to the weight and thickness of the paper you are going to be using for your flyers. If the GSM is too low your flyers might be easily damaged and if you choose a GSM that is too high your flyer will be impractically heavy and have sharp edges.
If you are running larger flyer deliveries like many startups do you will find it very difficult to store tens and hundreds of thousands of flyers.
Many startups will aim to keep their overhead as low as possible to remain nimble. Hiring large spaces in the UK capital often does not fit this strategy.
For this reason we offer free storage services at The Private Postman for our clients. This is a great help specifically to startups due to the facts we’ve discussed above.
The full service
We understand that running a startup or a new business is a very challenging thing to do. The number of things one has to think about and handle is astronomical. The process will test the founder’s organisational skills, creative skills and perseverance.
Sometimes the last thing you want to be thinking about as a startup founder is flyer design and where exactly should your flyers be delivered and stored.
If you choose to work with The Private Postman for your flyer campaigns we can help you arrange design, print, storage and delivery all in-house. There is no need for you to devote too much energy to any of these steps.
We can create the concept for your flyers respecting the branding assets you’ve developed for your startup and produce them both in terms of design and print.
After this we can store your flyers and help you plan your whole campaign to help you get the results you want. That way your startup can focus on what it is meant to be doing and not devoting too much energy to dealing with flyers. We do that for you.
How does delivery work?
Our system runs on what we call ‘Groups’ and ‘Walks’. Each ‘Group’ is a small map that covers an area of approximately five thousand households. Each ‘Group’ then breaks down into five ‘Walks’ of one thousand households.
With this system we can select ‘Groups’ all over London that we’ve carefully created to remain demographically as well as geographically consistent very quickly.
This way we can help you plan your campaign efficiently and demonstrate via maps exactly where your flyers will be delivered to.
You will then receive updates every time a new ‘Walk’ is being delivered to. This means that you are going to be receiving updates on your deliveries every one thousand flyers in real time.
This allows you to come see your flyers being delivered unannounced at any time.
On top of this, we run a GPS tracking system on all deliveries. This means that when each segment of your campaign finishes you receive a high resolution GPS file superimposed over Google maps showing you each distribution walking up to each house and delivering your flyers.
This way we can quickly and efficiently plan and execute campaigns for any startup or a new business and keep the founders or marketing managers informed as we do.
Online marketing for startups
We’ve focused pretty heavily on flyer delivery and how it works in this article as it is the focus of what we do at The Private Postman.
Due to the fact that we work with startups on a daily basis we have to work in tandem with online campaigns all the time as well. Here are some examples of what these can look like.
every startup founder will be aware of the power of Facebook ads. Facebook is a huge company that runs many services and their marketing tools are hard to beat for some demographics.
What we are mostly focused on is making sure that the ads remain locally relevant. The creative used in these ads has to be contextual and synergise with other, preferably offline activities as well.
If you run a Facebook ad campaign in a specific geographical area at the same time as your flyer drops are happening you can compound the effects.
Which startup would not want to make every pound spent on marketing work twice as well by combining online and offline campaigns.
LinkedIn is an often overlooked platform when it comes to marketing. It can however be an incredibly effective tool for both BtoB and BtoC campaigns.
If your startup is in any way involved in BtoB you should have a planned and regularly updated LinkedIn strategy. Amazingly enough organic reach for high quality content is still possible on LinkedIn which can be very difficult on some of the other more saturated platforms.
Google ads and SEO
Google is incredibly influential on many businesses. Google ads can be a great tool but organic search results on relevant keywords are the king.
If you can rank high on a relevant term in an area that you are focusing on you can find yourself with daily incoming business without doing anything else.
The relevant part of SEO for us is again the effect the local areas have on results.
Due to the fact that more and more people are using mobile phones to search online, Google has emphasised the impact of your location on your results.
You might find that you are getting varying results on the same searches even in different parts of town.
If you are active in local communities with your marketing and efforts you can even gain valuable backlinks from local organisations, charities, councils and other businesses.
These can have a great impact on where you rank on Google and how much business organically flows to your startup from search results. Do not underestimate the impact of your local activities on your online efforts.
Other offline techniques
As we’ve mentioned there are other offline marketing strategies that you can employ as a startup. Let’s have a look at some of these in more detail here. This might not be an exhaustive list but hopefully it acts as a source of inspiration for you and your startup.
There are local events taking place all over London every day. Park runs, football games, study groups and community projects are taking place around every corner at all times in the capital.
If you can actively involve yourself in these your local marketing will end up having considerably more impact. Sponsoring a runner in a local 5k or helping out with a community project will make your startup much more connected to the people and areas you are looking to serve with your goods and services.
When people then receive your startup’s Facebook ads or flyers they will have your name and branding associated with something real. Something that they’ve seen in their own community.
This is especially important as many startups are operating with the goal of running an empire from a laptop somewhere in a tropical country. These startups are not going to be willing to put in the work on the local and ground level.
If you do, you will see results. A good on the ground strategy can be the dividing element between a successful startup and another failed idea.
Print and magazines
Marketing via ads in print might appear to be a thing of the past. This is true in many ways. The sales of magazines have fallen to a point where they are almost insignificant.
However local magazines and papers are still produced in high numbers. And local people do look at these. This is true about all demographics but especially in the 50+ demographics.
If the 50+ are a part of your client base local magazines and papers are a great way to reach them. As any startup will know, the 50+ are considerably less price sensitive to younger demographics and they make purchasing decisions for the under 18s as well.
You should be talking to them.
We hope that this article has been helpful. We’ve mostly focused on local marketing as it can be easy for a startup or a new business to overlook. Some of the most successful companies in the world use these techniques daily.
However there are still opportunities for a nimble startup to outmaneuver the larger competition while also using the commonly used channels parallel to the big players.
Running a successful startup or a new business is all about being nimble, smart and adaptive. And local marketing allows for this.
If you have any questions or if you’d like to discuss your options for flyer deliveries please feel free to get in touch with us here.