We thought we’d do a little experiment to see how much promotional mail and flyers we received through the letterbox in a single month from our base in Westcliff-on-Sea, near Southend. Quite often these little pamphlets and leaflets can be useful, although to many people they see this kind of marketing as “junk mail”! We share some tips below to help your material get noticed through the letterbox…
In my view, done correctly and door drops can be a very effective marketing method. However, you have to target your material in the right way and, inevitably, not everyone of course will be interested in your product or service, so a large proportion of your flyers and leaflets will end up in the bin. To these people your marketing material will indeed probably be classed as “junk mail” and there’s not much you can do about that!
A successful return may actually involve quite a low percentage of leads from a large door drop. For example, people rarely sell a house, so an estate agent may only get a few customers from delivering leaflets to a large area, but they have a lot of money to gain from each sale, so it’s still worthwhile them doing this. The estate agent has to accept the fact that the majority of people won’t have any interest in their proposition.
An experiment in Westcliff-on-Sea
Over a month-long period, from our base in Essex, we received leaflets from a florist, petrol station, plastering and decorator service, taxi company, estate agent, the local NHS trust, a van hire company, a local pub in Westcliff, a vegetable delivery company, as well as marketing literature from British Gas, two adverts from Virgin Media, and also leaflets from the two rival train companies in Southend-on-Sea.
There were six separate supermarket-related promotions (four of which were from the Co-operative), four local free advertiser newspapers, a Thomson Local (does anyone still read these directories anymore?!) and a whopping ten pizza leaflets!
On top of that, we received a number of targeted promotional letters and flyers, which were delivered just to this address, and these have a much better chance of getting read seeing as they’re addressed to an individual and the person probably expressed an interest in the services on offer at some point in the past. However, to do this kind of marketing, you need to have a good database of contacts to start with.
Surprisingly, there was only one Valentine’s Day promotion, which seemed a bit low considering the amount of restaurant competition in the local area of Westcliff-on-Sea.
So, this is the kind of competition you need to think about when you’re designing your door drop campaign!
Five key tips for door drops & promotional mail:
1) Stand out from the competition. Use bright colours – the red of the Virgin Media pamphlet and the lime green of the Co-operative supermarket stand out to me, and therefore will get more of my attention.
2) Don’t conform – be unique and creative! Pizza leaflets from different takeaways quite often look the same as they think they need to copy the styles of the big high street names. Personally, I’d try having a leaflet in the shape of a pizza and do something that really stands out from the rest! Be creative and see what you come up with… (Also see our Restaurant Marketing Guide!).
3) Think about what time you’re delivering leaflets. When people get home from work, they tend to pick up everything from their doormat and chuck away the leaflets, since they’ve got more pressing matters to deal with. However, deliver on a Sunday and people are probably more relaxed and there won’t be other letters on their doormat. The trick here is getting noticed and not being in the door mat pile with everyone else’s marketing literature!
4) Have a “call to action” and a reason people should act immediately. Look at the British Gas leaflet – it says “Sale” and demands a quick response if people want to take advantage. The c2c railway leaflet has “Half Term” prominently displayed to remind you that the kids will need entertaining soon! Make your promotions timely and also people love a special deal or voucher!
5) Quality or mass market? If you’re selling a professional service, such as if you’re an estate agent, you probably want to use a slightly thicker style of paper to emphasis your professionalism. On the other hand, if you’re a fast food provider, you’ll want to produce as many flyers for as cheaply as possible, using thin paper. Match the quality of the paper and finish to your type of service.
Mike is the founding director of Primary Image. He specialises in the WordPress website platform and speaks regularly at national web design conferences. Mike became a member (MCIPR) of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in 2015. Outside of work, his interests include photography and politics.