The idea of door dropping leaflets flyers and the like is not something I had ever considered for myself of my clients as part of a marketing campaign. I, like others before me believed they were the stuff of landscape gardeners and local paving companies. We work with a local BID (business improvement district) in our town, marketing and promoting their larger events we designed and maintained their website and working with them on a marketing campaign to get a good return on investment. It's a great opportunity to work with local businesses and in particular to work with retailers. A group that I rarely cross paths with. Not for any other reason than we just don't seem to get enquiries from them, mainly due to the fact that most of our marketing is aimed at business minds and not the retail arena. I digress.
On the occasion that I have worked with retailers and those who are working at the sharp end of the business world, we have used the medium of leaflet distribution. Not stuff it in a newspaper, not delivered by the Royal Mail, but actual real leaflet drops. I wondered who might offer a leaflet distribution service near me. Through networking, I met the owner of a leaflet distribution business in Cambridge, who assured me that popping leaflets through letterboxes was alive and well and that people "did quite well out of it". For local distribution service, the distribution prices were very reasonable. I must admit however, I was pretty sceptical as I like many of you will think that most leaflets are scooped up and dropped into the bin without further thought. His point was, that whilst it is true to stay that many leaflets DO end up in the bin, most households have leaflets stuck to their refrigerators or stuck to a pinboard that may be of interest to them.
I remember being told about a type of delivery I should ask about. "What is solus distribution," I asked. I was informed that it meant the delivery company would only deliver a single leaflet. I was also told that it was a bit of nonsense as one thing you cannot control is whether someone else delivers a leaflet 5 seconds after you do, therefore rendering the concept null and void. Plus it had quite a large bearing on delivery prices.
The reason I decided to use the leaflet drop company I talked to was their live GPS tracking and their guarantee. I was given a login and could actually watch my leaflets being delivered! No worries about my leaflets being dumped in a bin - I could actually see a little trail being drawn on a map to show the tracks of the delivery agents. James - the owner also promised that should the leaflets do happen to get dumped - he would personally ensure that they are re-printed and delivered by a competitor for free. What's not to love? Total peace of mind. The fact that they had live gps route logging devices meant that I could watch in a sad voyeuristic way the delivery as it happened. More importantly, so could my client.
I pondered upon this notion and when I could I tried at a low level the flyer delivery service for a local client in the retail sector for an event. It seemed to work pretty well. Although from the information I gained, I considered that should the opportunity come again, a compelling offer was the order of the day - to quantify the success (or failure) of the concept as a true marketing option.
The opportunity arose, this time for our local BID. We were contacted by a new fish and chip shop - asking how they could get involved. I mentioned how we were going to run a leaflet distribution campaign and that we were seeking a compelling offer to go onto the leaflet. James - the owner of the business clearly knew what he was talking about. He had a list of tips and tricks to ensure the leaflet would stand the best chance of being read and reacted to. By the way, if you need some advice on how to create the perfect leaflet - check out this guide on leaflet distribution mastery.
The owner said the magic words: "We could offer a free cone of chips with each leaflet brought into our shop". This was a golden opportunity to properly soak-test my theories on leaflet distribution. It was a proper compelling offer, it could be quantified and analysed and we could control the timescale.
The first time we ran the door drop incentive, for a mid-summer event, after careful monitoring the shop received back 250 leaflets (from a door to door distribution service of 5000). That was pretty epic - 5%. It was, quite rightly, considered a success. However, the next time the campaign was run, the offer was less compelling, (a 5% discount). This was immediately reflected in only 20 responses, run for a similar event at a similar time of year. The offer wasn't compelling enough.
It led me to conclude that for marketing to work, EVERYTHING must align. The idea might be good, the delivery of the idea might be great, it may look good, the offer might be fine and the event might be good enough to visit. But it has to be better than that. It has to be on point. For this to work, there has to be a draw, the event needs to have sufficient gravitas to pull people towards it. The leaflet will stay on the fridge if the offer is compelling and will be used at the right time. Keeping your product, service and event in the mind's eye of your potential customer is key and having that offer that for you has a high potential worth to a customer is really important.
The outcome of this? We ran another campaign using the chip shop offer for the town's Christmas light switch on. We produced 6000 leaflets. 5000 delivered through letterboxes, 1000 given to shops and businesses to distribute in the days running up to the event. The results? Over 10,000 people visited the town on that day and over 1500 leaflets were collected by the shop! They had their best trading day in the history of the business. In summary if you're looking to advertise your business - consider a leaflet drop or two. But whatever you decide to do, make sure your offer is compelling.