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Leaflet Distribution Planning

One of the main challenges in advertising via door to door marketing for small businesses is leaflet distribution planning.


We discovered that time and time again a lot of businesses have thousands of leaflets still sat in boxes at the office which are either now out of date or have no action plan to be distributed to potential clients. Others have commented that their return and generated sales / enquiries from their leaflets has been little to none.

Understand your target audience

Know who your target audience are in regard to age, sex, and ethnicity. Learn where they socialise, work, shop, live, visit and what they read, watch and listen to. You can begin to concentrate distribution efforts from this information.

Hand out leaflets in the street

If your target audience are found out and about in the town consider handing leaflets to passers by. Check with local authorities first about any by-laws in place for the areas you wish to distribute. This method often receives avoidance by passers by, so consider screening the people you hand leaflets to first or talking to individuals one to one before handing them a leaflet to gauge interest. My top tip here is be prepared to pickup dropped leaflets, you’ll do more damage to your campaign and business by littering the streets with your company flyers.

Go small

If you are handing leaflets out in the street you may want to think about the size of your leaflets. Credit card size receive the lowest drop-rate (the amount of leaflets dropped on the floor by people) because they fit easily into pockets or wallets. Larger, thick leaflets can put people off even taking it from you.

Post or email your customers

An obvious method is to post or email your leaflet out to all your existing customers. This could be a one off occurrence or part of a regular newsletter, either way make sure you understand all your obligations in regard to the Data Protect Act and the EU Privacy Regulations.

Place inside packaged orders

If you run an online shop or post out goods to customers place a leaflet inside the packed order. You could apply this same method to customers shopping in store. You may want to produce specific leaflets for this purpose, such as latest sales / discount voucher towards next order or a leaflet to raise brand awareness further.

Be a leaflet insert

Have your leaflets inserted into an established publication that is already distributed across your target area. Newsletters, local magazines and directories may offer this service at a cost.

Collaborate with complimentary businesses

Find complimentary businesses to help distribute your leaflets either through their own distribution plans or if they have a high street shop, perhaps inside carrier bags or on the counter at the tills. Ask shop owners who your target audience often visit to display small stacks of leaflets at the tills or checkout. This is often a common place to find local advertising however many shops discourage this method and will either say no or take your flyers and recycle them soon after, a waste of resources. So build good relationships with shop owners, possibly with incentives.

Stock control your leaflets

It may sound odd or a chore but controlling the number of leaflets you give out can maximise your potential and minimise waste. Giving the local newsagents 200 leaflets when they realistically will only shift about 25 is over stocking. Make smaller bundles and restock if required.

Support / Sponsor an event

By sponsoring or supporting an event such as a village fete, fundraising ball, music event, charity dinner, school production, local football tournament, sporting event you might be able to negotiate the opportunity to distribute your leaflets to all those attending whether through hand to hand delivery or a display table.

Attend exhibitions & trades shows

Book a stall at a local exhibition or trade show and pass out leaflets to passers by as well as talk to them in more detail about what you have to offer. You may even be allowed to display your products / services. On the other hand you may be able to pay for the opportunity to pass out leaflets to all exhibition / trade show attendees or at least have them displayed on tables within the shows.

Leaflet dispensers

Agree with shops, business’ or establishments that you can erect a leaflet dispenser at their business location. There are more permanent leaflet distribution points than the ones at local shops where you have asked the owners to display leaflets near the tills. You could even have a custom designed leaflet dispenser to add more appeal and brand awareness. Obviously devise a way to keep these stocked with leaflets.

Plot the miles

If you need to drive around many locations to distribute your leaflets take time to plan your journey to save on fuel and time. Also be specific to which locations / shops / businesses you need to visit to avoid wasted time and effort. Your first trip might be less specific on where to visit but try to make a note of which shops / businesses / locations agreed to display your leaflets so that in the future you can be more direct.

Time it right

Timing the distribution of your leaflets in phases or to co-inside with the seasons is always worth considering if the circumstances dictate. Perhaps you’re advertising an event that requires promotion early on and then a refresh a week before. Or your opening a new nursery that would suit distribution close to school term holidays should you take on new placements around term times. Think about your business and industry and identify any time based requirements that could be utilised.

Door to door

If your leaflets suit the majority of house holds you could try door to door leaflet distribution. Simply travel to a local town and post your leaflets through letter boxes. Note you may need a large number of leaflets to do this adequately and may have to walk some distances. Also note that you could use the Royal Mail leaflet distribution service or another third party leaflet distribution company who charge a nominal fee for x-amount of leaflets. (Do a web search for ‘leaflet distribution services’ in your area).

Hold a promotional day

If suitable, hold a promotional day at your business premises / shop and hand leaflets to passers by and those who attend. Any attendee’s are prime candidates because they already show an interest in your business / products / services.

I hope this guide on leaflet marketing distribution tips has helped you in some way.
If you need further advice on leaflet design or distribution please contact Hallway Distribution now.

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