GPS Tracking

Hiring the Right Leaflet Distribution Company

When you have decided to use leaflet delivery and distribution as part of your marketing efforts there are many things that you should take into consideration before you hire a particular company.

Below are my top questions to ask your potential supplier before you hire them.

Do they cover the area you are targeting?

This sounds pretty obvious but it should be one of the first questions you ask as there is no point hiring a company if they don’t cover your area.

How many leaflets can they distribute and what is the cost?

You will want to know how much your marketing campaign is going to cost you. The company may even give extra discounts for bulk or repeat business from you. This is something that you should ask for as it benefits both parties. Business should always be a win-win situation for both parties involved.

Can they provide you with testimonials from satisfied customers?

This is something that will go a long way to building trust between you and the leaflet distribution company. If they have customers who are happy to recommend them, then you can be sure that they will do a great job in getting your leaflets to their intended destinations.

Do they carry insurance?

It is important that your distribution company has insurance. You can never be sure what may happen. If for example, due to an accident or fire, the company was to lose your flyers, then there would be a significant cost of replacing these with new ones. You want to be sure that you will not have to foot the bill for this

Can they prove delivery?

Several companies will provide you with emails and text messages to confirm that they have delivered to the buildings that you require. It is however harder to prove this. My advice on this if for you to check up on someone you may know in the buildings, or indeed ask for flyers to be delivered to your own building. Obviously do not tell the company where you live. This is an easy way of checking up and making sure you are getting what you paid for. Hallway Distribution use a highly sophisticated GPS tracking system.

Do they accept credit cards?

If a company accepts credit or debit cards then this allows you some piece of mind if things do go wrong and for whatever reason your leaflets do not get delivered. If you have paid by either credit debit card or even some of the online services you can claim for a chargeback which means the leaflet distribution company would have to provide proof of deliver and that they had undertaken the task at hand

Can they provide you with response rates?

Any good leaflet deliver firm will be able to provide you with response rates, which should give you an indication of how well your marketing campaign is likely to do. This will also enable you to calculate your return on investment which is also known as ROI

Do they offer a marketing consultation and mapping session to help you decide which are the best target areas for you to promote your business?

This is a great way to get a closer look at where your flyers are going to be delivered and should be part of the services of any reputable leaflet delivery company no matter how big or small.

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10 Leaflet Distribution Scams to Avoid

Every week businesses get duped into using leaflet distribution companies that quite literally fail to deliver. Below are 10 leaflet distribution scams to be aware of when selecting  your advertising door to door leaflet campaign company.

imagesDon’t forget that if you do your research properly and investigate a company thoroughly you should be able to avoid some of the more obvious pitfalls. However, here are 10 known scams to avoid.

The non-delivery leaflet distribution scams: Some unethical companies unfortunately have absolutely no intention of delivering your leaflets. They get away with it because in law you have to prove that they haven’t delivered them to get any recompense. Make sure you use a reputable company who has good code of practice terms and check their references prior to using them.

The postcode sector scam: It is critical to check how the distribution company has calculated the number of homes within a postcode sector. Many companies may sometimes overcharge as they use unadjusted generic Royal Mail postal code data which includes rural properties that are too costly for them to deliver to.

The low price scam: If it looks too good to be true it is too good to be true. If it takes a full day of walking to deliver 1000 leaflets and you are being offered a price of £20 per 1000 to have yours go out on their own then do the maths! Either the company is making a big loss, not delivering your leaflets or employing people well below the minimum wage (who will probably throw the leaflets away). Ultimately, you get what you pay for and any reputable company will charge you a fair price for a fair job.

The backchecking scam: Make sure the company you use has a genuine and reliable way of checking that the distribution has been carried out properly. We recommend you use a company who has invested in GPS tracking. It’s not necessarily cheap but it’s the best way of watching the distributors walk up and down the long driveways so you know they have delivered to specific addresses. The backchecking some less ethical companies say they will carry out can be in reality completely worthless… if it doesn’t seem convincing to you then stay well clear!

The targeting leaflet distribution scams: You may wish to target affluent areas or other demographic communities but how can you be sure that the distribution company will pick out the areas that will work for you? Some less ethical companies will promise demographic targeting of your leaflets but will have no means of doing so. Ask them what software they use to target areas and precisely how their targeting works.

The terms & conditions scam: Always read the terms and conditions of any leaflet distribution company. Some unethical companies will spend more money and time writing very one-sided terms and conditions to make it very difficult for you to proceed with action against them should they not deliver your leaflets. It’s sometimes a sign that something is perhaps not quite right so ask questions as to what their terms and conditions really mean.

The timescale leaflet distribution scams: Do you need your leaflets out really quick? If so, be wary of companies who offer unrealistic timescales to get leaflets out. If you need to get 20,000 leaflets out in one day then do they really have 20 willing distributors in that area available to carry the work out? Some companies may have but many will not. Some unethical companies may promise a speedy delivery service just to take your money so it is worth investigating what their true capacity really is and ask them what guarantees they give on any promised timescale.

The multi-drop scam: So you may have got a great price for your leaflet delivery going out on its own without any other items (referred to as solus delivery) but all may not be as it seems. Many less ethical companies often promise “solus” delivery but if given an opportunity will put the item out with other businesses without you knowing. That might be quicker and cheaper for them but not great for the visibility of your leaflets… We recommend that you always thoroughly check the references of your distribution company, we really can’t stress this enough!

The fake testimonial scam: With many review sites popping up all over the Internet watch out for companies that post their own reviews online. It can sometimes be quite easy to spot if the review site highlights the fact that the IP address of the company is the same as the person who submitted the review. Worth checking if the reviewer also gave a business name so that the review could be independently verified. Always corroborate the references of the distribution company you are using.

The Google complaint scam: There are disreputable companies out there who have so many catastrophic reviews online that it is amazing that they manage to stay in business. How do they do it? They create scores and scores of blog pages that rank highly for their company name combined with a word such as “complaint” or “review” so that genuine web forum reviews get pushed on to the second or third page of Google! Check for unusually irrelevant or contrived blog pages that rank for these keywords such as “Insert Company Name Here Reviews” it will be a sure sign that something is not right.

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Trust GPS Tracking

Here is a question to ponder for a moment, is GPS Tracking in leaflet distribution as effective as you might be led to think?

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based navigation system that provides location and time information in all weather conditions, anywhere on or near the Earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites.

The system provides critical capabilities to military, civil, and commercial users around the world. The United States government created the system, maintains it, and makes it freely accessible to anyone with a GPS receiver.

In addition the EU is at an advanced stage with an alternative system called Galileo. The €5 billion project is named after the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei. One of the aims of Galileo is to provide an indigenous alternative high-precision positioning system upon which European nations can rely, independently from the Russian GLONASS and US GPS systems, in case they were disabled by their operators. It is intended that the use of basic (low-precision) Galileo services will be free and open to everyone. The high-precision capabilities will be available for paying commercial users.

The current US system has made it possible for Satellite navigation in cars and is now becoming a popular method for companies to track their employees in various work situations and this now includes the tracking or logging of distributors carrying out Leaflet Distribution activities.

What are the main types of tracking device in use by distribution companies?

There are basically three types of GPS tracking devices

  1. A simple logging device that can be purchased for about £20-£30 on the internet. When switched on and logged onto the satellite system the device pings the satellites every 5 seconds or so and records in its memory the position of the individual at that point in time. When the device is plugged into a computer the positioning data can be downloaded and displayed on Google Maps or Google Earth to show a trail that the individual has walked whist the device was switched on.
  2. The second type of device can be more correctly called a GPS tracker. These are much more expensive than the simple logger and are about £90-£100 in addition they require a Sim card with data charges for connection to a mobile phone network. These work in a similar way to the GPS loggers but using a mobile phone network the positioning data can be transmitted to a computer server and via the internet a user can log onto the server and can view the distributors distribution track in real time. This makes the process of tracking distributors much less labour intensive but at much greater cost. In addition to the £90 for each device you have the cost of the mobile phone network connection at around £10 per month plus the cost of accessing the Server where the data is stored and this can be anything from £5-10 per month per distributor.
  3. There is also a 3rd option using a smartphone which has GPS capability. It is possible to use a a tracking app like Map My Walk or Strava. These are basically a fitness apps which are used by walkers, runners and bikers to track their activity and can be used effectively to provide a fairly accurate track of their distribution activity. The app has a free version but it will use the data allowance of the users mobile phone account. It is however possible to turn data off and then upload the track to Map My Walks servers when they get home via WiFi.

Pros & cons

Deliverers are unsupervised whilst they are doing their work and theoretically a track of where they have delivered to could be a definitive record of when and where the work was done.

Also by asking the deliverer to carry a tracker you are effectively telling them that less than 100% delivery in the drop area is not acceptable and that you are effectively watching them.

The technology works but it is far from fool proof. Loggers seem to be stable and produce the best track but downloading the data to a PC is a time consuming task. It can be made easier by an experienced operator but managing the data produced by the logger is still a job to be done which will not be paid for by the client. The logger need to be connected (logged on) to the satellites before it will start working and satellites signals can be hidden by buildings and trees. Even the very basic action of switching on the device needs to be done or remembered to be done by the deliverer. Similarly the deliverer needs to charge the device and remember to do this well before the planned delivery session. There are often incidents where the operative forgets to switch on the device and doesn’t realise this and completes the delivery. In these circumstances what is to be done? Would you make the deliverer do the job again?

Live trackers (loggers with a mobile phone data connection) have similar problems to loggers but as they are uploading the track to a server. It is possible minimise some of the problems of the logger. Firstly it will show you if the tracker is switched on and the deliverer delivering – or not. It will give you real time information about the deliverer’s activity – you don’t have to wait until the logger is back in the possession of the manager. The data does not need to be downloaded to a PC but the track displayed on the computer will still need to be managed.

Only a professional Leaflet distribution Co will properly use the tools

A track showing the paths to houses have been walked is not proof that a particular item was pushed through a letterbox so is never going to be proof of delivery and needs to be used in conjunction with effective management systems
The signal from the satellite can be lost and when this happens there will be no track of the deliverers activity – did they deliver to that area or not? And what do you do in these circumstances? Other back checking data will verify the true situation.
Loggers and trackers are expensive technology, they get lost, they become faulty or get damaged, batteries run out and wear out. If you have 50 delivery people in your team and they all have a tracker or logger, that’s a lot of equipment to purchase and maintain – only a professional company with good financial resources will be able to use these tools.
Despite the questions can GPS tracking make a difference?

GPS tracking should be seen only as a tool in the whole deliverer management system. A successful distribution company will have management systems in place to ensure that only the right people are employed to do the work. In this they will be motivated to do it for a number of reasons, for the exercise, or because they like working outside or because they can do it in their own time at their own pace (within clients time requirements of course) and not necessarily just for the money. However they will be paid a fair rate for the work they are being asked to carry out. The deliverer will be properly trained how to do the delivery. eg how to keep leaflet folding to a minimum, how to deliver properly in flats. How to deal with householders who don’t want the leaflets and importantly what they can do to show that the work has been properly done.


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