Leaflet drop & direct mail - Getting the best out of your budget

Leaflet drop and direct mail. Getting the best out of your budget.

Col Graphic Design 1 Comment

Quite often a client will come to me looking to have a flyer or a leaflet designed to advertise their services with the purpose of dropping through letterboxes. It is my job to advise my client on the best way to utilise their budget to get the best impact and engagement possible with their target audience and I would like to share that advice with you.

Direct mail is still one of the most effective ways to communicate with your audience and is proven time and again to give you the best return on investment. The following 2 minute video by direct mail specialists, Baker Goodchild is well worth watching. You can also check out some fantastic infographics as well by clicking on the button below the video.

The big leaflet drop

Let me use an example where a client has come to me requesting the design of a flyer/leaflet with the intention of having 5000 printed and dropping them through people’s doors.

Many people believe that by carrying out one large blanket drop of a flyer or a leaflet is a good way to get the word out there about your business. In my opinion, this just doesn’t work. Think about it, how many pieces of mail do you receive through your letterbox in any given week that is unsolicited mail / advertising leaflets? Probably quite a few. Of those, how many do you actually read? If you are like me, you’ll probably just put it directly into the bin and treat it as junk.

On the odd occasion where I do keep or read something it is usually from a brand that I recognise, a pizza place or a local shop. Why is that, though? For me, it is the familiarity of it, of seeing what may have changed and what they are offering this week / month.

If you imagine that you are a new business, or are taking your first foray into leaflet dropping as an advertising tool you also need to build up that familiarity with your target audience. That isn’t going to happen by dropping one leaflet through someone’s door and then sitting back and waiting on the phone to ring or e-mails to come through. This is why I believe blowing a budget, especially a small one on one leaflet is a bad idea. You might hit someone who is ready to buy there and then, but the chances of that are very small.

Smaller leaflet drops – but more of them!

Here is my advice to you when looking to do a leaflet drop, don’t make it one large drop but turn it into a campaign.

Instead of printing 5000 leaflets of just 1 design, have 4 different leaflet designs and print 1000 of each. This may cost a bit more in terms of budget and the total leaflet count is less, but the value you receive from this method will be much better than from the blanket drop method I​ talked about above.

One other thing to mention, always go for double sided printing. if your leaflet is single sided and it lands face down you present a blank face to the recipient and this is never good.

If your budget is very restrictive, you could pay to have the leaflets designed in the first instance and then, later on, when you have had the opportunity to set more money aside you can have the leaflets printed and delivered.

Leaflet design

For the leaflet design, you can create a template where each leaflet has the same brand elements placed in the same areas: logo, contact details etc but you change the content on each one. For example, You can break each leaflet down into a specific service or product, let us take a dog walking business for example.

⦁ Leaflet 1: Introduces the dog walking business with bullet points of benefits/services.

⦁ Leaflet 2: Focus on one of those benefits/services.

⦁ Leaflet 3: Focus on another benefit/service with possible testimonials.

⦁ Leaflet 4: Back to bullet points with an introductory special offer.

By doing this, the household will receive 4 leaflets over a period of your choosing although I would recommend this to be over a 4 week period. Over this time, it will build up brand recognition with the householder. By the time they receive your 4th leaflet they will be very aware of your brand and are more likely to read your leaflet to see what the fuss is all about.

The leaflet delivery

You will want to target the exact same households each time you carry out your leaflet drop, otherwise, this method won’t work. This enables you to focus on an area or specific addresses from your mailing list that are prime targets for you. You’ll build up your brand’s awareness and your name will be first to mind when the addressee needs your service or product.

By following this method, when that moment to buy pops up, even though you may not have posted a leaflet in a few months the chances are they will Google your business name and contact you rather than one of your competitors.

Leaflet drops are time-consuming!

If you are going to be carrying out a leaflet drop on foot rather than by postal delivery then be prepared as it is a time-consuming task. In an area of dense housing, it can take about 8 hours to drop 1000 items, longer if the area is more rural with residences further apart.

When comparing different leaflet distribution companies, if the price looks too cheap then the chances are they are using ad hoc staff to do the drops and not full-time employees. In those cases, you may well find that a large portion of your leaflets end up in bins as the delivery person is earning pennies and under no motivation to do a thorough job. I will always recommend using a company that has full-time staff that is invested in the business that they work for. The drop will cost a bit more but for that, you will have peace of mind that your leaflets were delivered and your money was not wasted.

For anyone looking​ to target addresses in East or Central Scotland I can highly recommend Drop 2 Door. They utilise full-time staff and will work closely with you to build up mapped areas that you want your leaflets delivered. After the drop, you will then have a record of all the properties that have received your marketing so that if you wanted to you can do spot checks.

I’d also recommend reading the Drop 2 Door blog as they have a lot of really useful advice on planning and carrying out leaflet distribution. Good information for early planning stages.

Click here for more Direct Mail statistic infographics

In summary

• Carry out a minimum of 4 leaflet drops to the same addresses over a set period of time to engage brand awareness.

• Vary the content on each leaflet but keep your main brand elements in the same position.

• If your budget is limited, lower the print quantity rather than skimp on the design fees. You need your message to be well presented and clear and a good graphic designer will accomplish that for you. Doing it yourself will usually result in something that nobody wants to read.

• Use a respectable distribution company if you are not going to be delivering the leaflets yourself. Ask to speak to current and past clients to see what they think of the service that company provides. Any business should be willing to provide this if they are confident in their service.

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