Topic overview


A letterbox in a pale blue front door

Leafleting is a popular marketing method for small businesses - and for good reason. Door-to-door marketing is simple and affordable, and can bring in new customers and boost sales.

Also known as door-drop marketing, leafleting involves delivering unaddressed flyers to homes in your area.

Why should I try leafleting?

If you offer local services, such as takeaways, taxi services or gardening, then leaflet distribution is an ideal way to spread the word about your business. When it comes to launching a new venture, such as a shop or restaurant, door drops are especially effective.

Leafleting is essentially about mass marketing on a local scale. You are telling everyone in your area about your product or service. What's more, you can identify particular catchment areas to ensure you are reaching your target market, such as families or affluent consumers.

Flyers can be used to achieve a number of business goals: acquiring new customers, increasing sales, highlighting a special event or promotion and delivering money-off coupons. You can even distribute catalogues or samples of your products to boost sales.

Leafleting is often seen as an affordable alternative to direct mail. The two marketing methods have their own pros and cons. Both techniques deliver your marketing message directly into the homes of potential customers.

Direct mail, which is more personalised and targeted than leafleting, does get higher response rates. However, leaflet delivery is significantly cheaper and the actual cost per response for door drops is often lower, making leafleting more cost-effective.

Creating and printing marketing leaflets

Poor-quality door drops have given leafleting a bad name in the past. To make your flyer stand out, it must be well designed and professionally printed. The creative look and feel of your materials will have a significant impact on response levels.

Your marketing message should be clear, with a well-signposted call to action. Offers and coupons work well as an incentive, and are likely to be kept and used. On the doormat, your leaflet will be competing with other door drops as well as addressed post.

Your challenge is to create a flyer that captures the attention of the recipient and does not go straight into the recycling box.

The good news is that door drops offer a great deal of creative freedom. Your only restriction is the size of the letterbox. Shape, weight and look are all up for grabs. You can use more than one creative design, or have different versions of the same leaflet if you are targeting different groups of people.

Getting your flyers delivered

Distribution is a vital part of the whole campaign and there are several ways to deliver your flyers. Many small business owners pound the pavements themselves, or pay casual staff to do the delivery.

If you use leaflet distributors, ensure you employ trustworthy people who will deliver every leaflet to every house in a way that reflects well on your business.

If you are sending out large numbers of leaflets, there are specialist door-drop delivery companies that provide a professional service. The Royal Mail also offers a service whereby it delivers flyers with the post to specific postcode areas.

Leafleting is generally seen as a blanket-marketing method. However, you can take a targeted approach to your door drops and improve response levels. Study your local area, and assess which streets are most likely to have residents that fit your target market.

Measuring response to your leaflet

It's a good idea to use a promotion or coupon to help you track response to your leafleting activity. Give different campaigns or delivery areas unique promotional codes or coupons so you can compare and measure the results.

Like other direct marketing techniques, leafleting is a numbers game, and the bottom line is cost per response. Once you have calculated this, you can roll out the most successful creative approaches to the most responsive areas.

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