It’s a question all small, local businesses ask in the age of digital marketing: are flyers still effective for local marketing? According to London Circular, flyers have been around since Renaissance Italy, when vital information was handwritten on paper and passed around. Of course, the process improved with the invention of the printing press, but the method worked: flyers are still making their way into mailboxes today as one of the most-used local marketing tactics.

But are they working as effectively as they used to? We’ve put together a list of pros and cons to help you decide if your business should consider adding (or keeping) a paper trail in its local marketing plan.

Pros Of Using Flyers For Local Marketing

One of the biggest pros of distributing flyers in today’s digital marketing age is that it’s much easier and cheaper to design and print your own. With tools like Canva and the rise of the gig economy, it’s easy for business owners to either create their flyers or hire a freelance graphic designer at an affordable price. Printing, even in large quantities, is also relatively inexpensive today.

But, then what do you do with them?

Door Drops (flyers put in mailboxes without being addressed to the home or business occupant) have an open rate of 5%. 16% of people put it aside for later, and 85% threw it away. If we take the 16% who set flyers aside for later and combine it with the 5% who opened it right away, we’re looking at a combined 21% open rate – considered a very good open rate for email marketing!

When flyers land at a specific address, the numbers increase dramatically. 57% open them the day they arrive (sky-high numbers in the digital world!), 5% glance at it right away, 24% put it aside to look at later, and only 26% threw the flyer away.

The key to any successful marketing campaign is to execute properly:

  • If you’re advertising your new restaurant, include pictures of best-selling menu items, your location and opening hours. Coupons go a long way, too!
  • Real Estate agents can advertise their newest or best listings.

Door-to-door marketing campaigns are all about location, location, location. You can choose neighbourhoods within walking distance of your new shop and put flyers in mailboxes of every home. Make sure they know you’re just around the corner!

Of course, instead of stuffing mailboxes, you can also wander around and hand out flyers to people you meet directly. Handing flyers directly to prospects gives you the bonus of talking to potential customers, answering questions, and sharing more information than what is on the flyer.

It takes roughly 1 hour to distribute 100 flyers.

Cons Of Using Flyers For Local Marketing

The biggest drawback of handing out flyers is that it’s almost impossible to measure your Return on Investment – or ROI – efforts. You have to rely on tactics like asking the consumer to bring in the flyer or mention it at the store (and seeing them follow through with that) to know if the flyer drove leads or sales.

How Likely Are People To Forget About A Flyer?

Flyers (albeit, like all ads) cut straight to the chase and don’t offer consumers the chance to build that relationship and trust with your business that is so valuable today. Because of this, you’re likely to convert anyone with an immediate need for your offer, but not others. Most people will likely recycle the flyer and forget about it by the time they need your services.  

While the use of flyers is becoming less and less popular, there is still evidence that people are, at the very least, still looking at what ends up in their mailbox. If you’re considering adding flyers to your marketing strategy, you may want to consider starting with a small sub-section of the area you want to target and track your sales following distribution to see if you notice an increase. You can then decide if the Return on Investment was worth it and build your campaign from there.

If you’re unsure about using flyers in your local marketing plan and are interested in learning more about driving qualified traffic to your location or website, there are many proven techniques to do so.