What Response Can You Expect?
Yes, leaflets are ‘old school’, but that they have stood the test of time because they work! Almost all successful businesses use leaflets, and many smaller businesses rely on them for all their work. Leaflets are highly effective and cost-efficient because of the following unique features:
- Leaflets offer you complete freedom and control over the look and content of your ‘message’
- Leaflets are the most targeted form of advertising- Allowing you to target the specific areas and demographics of your best prospects, and only those areas (concentrating your spend where it works best, without wastage)
- Leaflets are the only sure way of getting your message to your prospects
- The physical nature of leaflets allows them to be saved until needed
It is important to be realistic about your results, and here are some typical response-rates to give you an idea of what to expect.
- Pizza companies: 2% response, or 20 per thousand leaflets (That’s why you get them all the time!)
- Indian / Chinese Take Aways: 0.4% or 4 per ‘000 (Markedly less than Pizza, but generally more expensive and less impulsive.)
- Trades such as Landscaping/ Roofing / Building: 0.2% or 2 per ‘000 (Naturally, response rates are far lower for significant and expensive work- but a single job could easily pay for the cost of delivering tens of thousands of leaflets!)
- Estate Agents: 0.15% or 1 or 2 enquiries per ‘000
Response-rates are notoriously unpredictable however- even when the key factors of leaflet design, offer, seasonality, and demographics stay the same- So treat these figures as a rule of thumb, and don’t be surprised if yours are very different. We have delivered 5000 leaflets for a roofing company, for example, without one single enquiry; yet ‘our’ landscaper’s have received a 3% response (15 times better than above!); estate agent’s receive 30 enquiries from 10,000 leaflets (>0.3%); and Pizza companies achieve 4%.
Another important point is that leaflets work best when delivered regularly, as this builds public-awareness, confidence and trust in your business. It is therefore, usually better to plan a series of regular leaflet deliveries to a smaller more local area, than for fewer deliveries to a larger area.
Second and subsequent deliveries to an area usually outperform the first- So don’t automatically give-up after a disappointing first delivery, and don’t only focus on the immediate work gained but remember the important longer-term benefits!
Designing A Leaflet That Works
Before you start writing, first consider your ‘message’. What is the purpose of your leaflet and how do you want people to respond? Is it to sell an existing service, promote a new offer, or tell people about a new product or service, for example; and do you want people to ring you now, visit your store, or check your website? Focus on one single goal and make your message as direct, clear and simple as possible.
Consider the style, size, and paper to use for your leaflet. Many options are available with varying prices, so it’s wise to first check what’s available with your local printer or the internet.
It’s a good idea to use both sides of the leaflet. Printing costs are only slightly higher for twice the advertising space, and printing on both sides prevents your prospects from seeing a blank piece of paper on their doormat (which will immediately be thrown away if not turned over).
Try to include an offer. An offer, such as a discount or free item/service, can really boost the response. And you can’t have an offer without a deadline- So don’t forget to include that too. Generally, the shorter the deadline the better, but make sure it allows enough time for your leaflets to be printed and delivered.
When writing your ‘copy’, consider the marketing mnemonic AIDA:
- Your leaflet must first grab the Attention. And it must work fast- because you only have 2 or 3 seconds until it’s too late and in the bin! Start with an attention-grabbing headline, which can be your offer or a key benefit of your service- but NOT your business name.
- You must then get their Interest. A good picture, such as a relevant before-and-after picture is a great way to create interest. Unless you are using a before-and-after picture, be aware that a single larger picture generally has more impact and effect than multiple smaller pictures.
- Create Desire. Tell them how your product or service will benefit them- Make them want it!
- Include a call to Action. Don’t forget to ‘Ask for Action- And Now! So, instead of just listing your telephone number, a carpet cleaning company might say ‘Call Us Now For New Looking Carpets At Half-Price!’
Printing Your leaflets
Check the cost of printing with your local printers, but make sure you check the internet printers too- Which are often half-price or less! Most internet companies also offer excellent quality with fast (even 24hr) delivery.
Another great way to save money on your printing (and delivery) is to share your leaflet- and use one side each- with another business, and split the cost. So why not suggest a shared leaflet with other local businesses, particularly those which complement yours (such as a carpet cleaner and a general cleaning service or oven cleaner, or a tree-surgeon and a gardener).
Delivering Your Leaflets
If you’re business is new, then you will probably start by delivering your own leaflets. Delivering your own leaflets offers the peace-of-mind that you know they have been delivered, and also allows you the opportunity to knock on some doors to introduce yourself and your business- Which can often lead to immediate work. Prepare yourself for some hard work however, as delivering is arduous and time-consuming, and bear in mind the following good practices which can significantly increase your response:
- Make sure you push the leaflets fully through the letterboxes, and don’t leave them hanging out (or they can fall out; get damaged; get wet if it rains; and is annoying for the recipient).
- Deliver to the homes with the long drives, and climb up the stairs in flats to post through the letterboxes instead of dumping a stack on the bottom stair. Most ‘professional’ companies don’t even deliver this way, so by doing this you will greatly increase your chances!)
- The golden rule is to always try to deliver your leaflet in as good a condition as possible to leave the best impression, and to give your leaflet the best chance. See if you can even get your leaflet landing best-side up!
- Remember that you are representing your business when you’re out delivering, and respect peoples properties by not walking over lawns etc, and be pleasant when you meet home-owners.
- As a general safety warning, watch out for dogs- especially the silent stealthy ones that sit by the door waiting for an unsuspecting finger to invade its territory!- and letterboxes with sharp internal hazards such as screw-ends and sharp wire! As a general rule, always try to send the front of the leaflet ahead of your hand, and favour the left side of letterboxes (as most sharp points tend to be on the right side).
- Always bear in mind that the better the job you do delivering your leaflets, the better the impression this gives for your business. (If your delivery is sloppy, people will- at least subconsciously- associate your business with a general lack of care and professionalism!)
For assistance in delivering your leaflets, family and friends that you trust will naturally be the first to call on. Another great way to reduce your workload- and save money- is to double-up with another business. Either you could offer to deliver another businesses leaflets along with yours, and vice versa, or you could even suggest sharing a leaflet by taking one side each and splitting the printing costs also (as suggested under Printing above). Whoever does help you, make sure that they also appreciate the importance of proper delivery, and that they also follow the above bullet-points wherever possible.
Delivering leaflets will probably not be the most cost-effective use of your and your staff’s time, and in order to deliver to a significant area you will probably need proper assistance. Professional leaflet delivery specialists, including the Royal Mail, generally charge in the range of £35-£55 per thousand leaflets; which, considering that it takes in the order of 6-9 hours for a quick and fit person to deliver a thousand leaflets, is affordable and cost-effective.
Unfortunately, the leaflet delivery ‘industry’ has a reputation for mistrust and dishonesty, but the following points and tips should help you find an honest and reliable a leaflet delivery company you can count on.
- If you are considering a ‘Solus’ delivery where your leaflet is delivered on its own, expect to be charged 2 or 3 times the above prices, and bear in mind that should another leaflet delivery company, including the Royal Mail (who now rely heavily on delivering leaflets), deliver on the same day, that the benefits of a solus delivery are likely to be lost! For this reason you will probably find that a shared-delivery is a better option.
- With a shared-delivery, ask how many other leaflets yours will be delivered with. The more leaflets delivered together, the lower the cost should be, but be aware that response rates typically reduce as the number of leaflets increases, and anything more than 3 or 4 leaflets will tend to have a noticeable detrimental affect on response and is likely to prove a false economy.
- Make sure that you also check that another leaflet from the same business category as yours- a competitors- is not delivered alongside yours, which would naturally harm your response rates. Even 2 dissimilar food take-away leaflets delivered together, such as a Pizza’s plus an Indian’s (as often happens), will harm both.
- Be wary of anyone asking for full payment up-front, especially the first time they work for you. They should be confident that you will be satisfied with their service, and happy to invoice you on completion.
- Try to carry out your own checks on their delivery where possible, such as asking friends, family or customers in the area to keep an eye out for your leaflet beforehand, and to let you know if and when they receive your leaflet. And keep an eye out yourself for any of your leaflets hanging out of people’s doors, or left on the stairs in flats etc (see the above bullet-points on good practices) which indicate poor service.
- Since many companies avoid delivering to isolated properties and those with long drives, if you see someone delivering to those kind of properties, why not have a word with them to see if they have the attitude to match- they could be the people you are looking for!
- Many companies use GPS trackers to allegedly ‘prove’ delivery, and some base their whole business around their use. It does require a bit of a leap-of-faith to trust a delivery company with your leaflets, and any evidence/proof is important, but do be aware that GPS trackers are not magic or infallible as some would have you believe- they show where someone has been, but did they deliver your leaflet (someone else’s or anyone’s) when there?
Once you have chosen a leaflet delivery company, it is wise- and fair to the company- to wait until a few thousand leaflets have been delivered before you make up your mind about the company. This quantity should be enough to give you some idea of how good a job they are doing, but be wary of jumping to conclusions- it will ultimately be down to your judgement of character as to whether you trust their service.