Most online conversations about marketing in the modern world focus largely on online advertising. Google ads, Youtube ads, Influencer marketing, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and more.
Online marketing is definitely a topic that is worth exploring, learning about and practicing. Most businesses can benefit from its use greatly.
However as a large proportion of the marketers out there focus on the online world there is a whole domain that one might overlook.
Real world or offline marketing is still effective and in some ways has become a secret weapon of many savvy marketers. Creating tangible connections with people still counts and can bring some great results.
Let’s have a look at this topic in more detail
The types of demographic groups you are going to be able to target with online and offline marketing techniques will vary.
The most obvious example of this are age groups that you won’t reach with online marketing as they do not use the internet much. The 65+ age group is not very active online but we shouldn’t overlook it if they are a part of our customer base.
However age is not the only way we break down demographics. Offline marketing techniques like flyer delivery can help you target groups based on other parameters.
A good example of this could be people that live in Victorian terraced houses in West Hampstead. This is not a demographic group that is easily selectable for social media campaigns.
People living near to parks in detached houses in Richmond, people with large gardens, occupants of council housing and other groups are easier to target with a method like flyer delivery compared to most online techniques.
Offline marketing techniques like print advertising can help you to target people based on their interest in a similar way to social media campaigns.
Building brand awareness
Building brand awareness in a local area is something that we can do very effectively with real world marketing.
Many of the techniques we will be describing below are at their most effective when your focus is brand awareness.
Outdoor and print marketing are clear examples of this. This will also apply to taking part in local events as no direct selling should ever take place in these situations.
Genuine interest in the life of the local community must be at the forefront when attending local events like park runs, farmers markets, charity events etc… Brand awareness might flow from these activities but you should alway approach these events only with genuine interest.
Even flyer delivery is at its best when the campaigns focus on repeated drops over a longer period of time. Brand recognition being the obvious outcome from repeated, long term campaigns targeting the same areas. (when done correctly)
For B2B marketers trade shows are still a very relevant real world marketing opportunity. While it might be tempting to go with the recent trend of moving even these events online it is a good idea to stick to the in person contact at trade shows where possible.
One should not underestimate networking in the B-to-B world and there are not many better opportunities for networking than trade shows.
It’s easy to overlook the value of networking that can naturally happen when attending local events like we mentioned above. The more of these events one attends in a local area avenues for both B-to-B as well as B-to-C networking offer themselves.
Reaching people where they live
Maybe the most valuable element of real world or offline marketing is the ability to reach people where they live.
Whether this means directly in their homes or in their local area. As most of us spend a large proportion of our day online we will see the same online ads whether we are at work, at home or commuting.
Flyer deliveries focus directly on people’s homes. Local marketing at events is obviously happening in the local area.
Flyer delivery can take many forms. Your flyers can get to your potential clients by making their way directly through the letterbox or by a distributor handing them out hand-to-hand. Other methods like leaving flyers on the windshields of parked cars are not generally recommended.
Hand to hand delivery is a commonly used method of delivering flyers. It relies on distributors positioning themselves in key areas at strategic times in a day.
This could mean that they are handing out your leaflets in front of a tube station at the end of a working day or outside of a shopping centre on a Saturday.
This might appear to be a good technique for getting flyers delivered but a further examination will reveal some issues with hand-to-hand deliveries that are impossible to get around.
Hand-to-hand flyer delivery is relatively expensive. The rate at which a distributor can hand out flyers is around 400-500 flyers per 4 hour shift. This is considerably lower than the main alternative which are door-to-door deliveries.
Since hand-to-hand flyer delivery is slower it also becomes considerably more expensive compared to door drops. A standard cost for a one distributor handing out flyers in hand-to-hand fashion for four hours will be around £100+VAT.
As we’ve established, you can expect some 400-500 flyers to make their way into people’s hands in this timeframe. On the other hand delivering 1000 flyers as a part of a door-to-door flyer delivery campaign will cost you around £40+VAT.
The costs and efficiency is just not there for hand-to-hand deliveries to be competitive. The only time we recommend using hand-to-hand flyer delivery is if this technique is particularly effective for a specific type of business. (handing out flyers for an office-lunch service in front of a large office building).
If door drops are so much more cost efficient and effective compared to other flyer delivery techniques, how do they work?
Your delivery company will discuss with you the type of client you are after, the geographic areas that you can conduct business in and your budget.
Based on this they will create a plan for your campaign. The budget will inform the amount of flyers that we should produce and deliver and in how many drops. (more on this later)
The cross section of your geographic area together with your target client will get you the exact place where you should deliver your flyers.
A good flyer delivery company will run an in-house mapping system that will segment each part of town into manageable demographically consistent chunks. At The Private Postman we call these ‘Groups’ and we keep them at approximately 5,000 flyers each.
If these are properly coded and presented with a good graphical mapping system you will have a very good idea of where the distributor will deliver your flyers to.
It is very important that your delivery company has removed all businesses, undeliverable addresses and local authority housing from this system. You can only do this if the company you are working with has an in-house system that is regularly updated.
At The Private Postman we simplify this process and focus only on privately owned residential households. You can target businesses and local authority housing with a separate system that doesn’t interfere with the larger numbers being put out in the traditional door drops.
Shared vs Solus
After you’ve established the areas you are going to be targeting with your flyers you will have to decide whether you are going to have your flyers delivered as a part of a shared campaign or on Solus basis.
A Solus delivery means that your flyer will be the only thing being delivered by the particular distributor. The distributor is delivering your flyer and your flyer only.
We base shared delivery on the fact that the distributor will deliver your flyer together with 1-2 other flyers from non-competing companies.
At The Private Postman we’ve measured this and over years of deliveries we have not found any difference in response rates between Solus and Shared delivery campaigns.
There is no advantage in response rates to using Solus drops if one has the option of using a Shared campaign.
Solus deliveries can be useful for campaigns in areas where other companies don’t regularly canvas or for very targeted campaigns done in small numbers. (An estate agent advertising a sale of a house in a single street)
Cost and scale
On top of this the cost of Shared campaigns is considerably lower compared to Solus drops. The reasons for this are obvious. As there is a single act of delivery happening at one time three clients can share the cost thus lowering the expense for each individual company.
As most established companies run Shared campaigns as the core of their system you will be able to run much larger campaigns on Shared basis. Delivering 100,000 flyers as a part of a Shared drop is a non-issue.
If you want 100,000 flyers delivered on Solus basis you might need to count on the deliveries taking a little longer.
B to B and Local Authority
If you want to target local businesses or local authority housing with your flyers you will be running your campaigns on a system that is separate from traditional door drops.
The numbers of business deliveries are going to be considerably smaller compared to residential drops. As such targeting businesses requires a slightly different skill set. Each distributor will have to do a bit more walking and commuting and less delivering in a B-to-B campaign.
On top of this to get the most from B-to-B flyer campaigns it is generally a good idea for the distributor to explain the point of the delivery to the business owner or receptionist.
Local Authority deliveries are also very specific and therefore separated to a completely different system from traditional drops focused on privately owned residential addresses.
Most Local Authority housing estates nowadays are impossible to access without a key card or a key. Some of these estates are also very large and difficult to navigate without a map.
As such it is almost impossible to conduct reliable Local Authority flyer deliveries without some form of assistance from local councils.
At The Private Postman we’ve therefore developed a system that is completely separated from all other delivery systems we run.
Our Local Authority deliveries run on a self contained system. If you want to target addresses in these areas let us know at the start of the campaign planning process.
Combining online and offline marketing
The fact that real world marketing works doesn’t mean that one should abandon all online efforts and focus everything only in the offline world.
By combining your real world marketing with your online efforts is where the most effective campaigns win.
If you are focusing on developing mind share in a specific area you can run your leaflet deliveries one week and facebook ads the next.
If you are a local restaurant and you are doing most of your business on the various delivery apps that are available you can still use flyers with well designed QR codes to advertise the fact.
After taking part in a local event you can follow up a couple of days after with a targeted localised social media campaign to maximise the effect.
Real world marketing works on its own but you can also combine it with some of the great online options we have and compound the effects of both.