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We often get calls asking does letterbox advertising work? If you are new to letterbox advertising, you can be forgiven for being sceptical or not knowing the ins and outs of this long-standing marketing channel.

In this article, we will try to answer your biggest question ‘does letterbox advertising work?’ and go into a bit more details as to why this method of advertising can be so effective.

So does letterbox advertising work? The short answer is yes. According to the Advertising Association/WARC’s 2017 Expenditure Report, door drops had the fifth highest growth rate of 0.3% per year when you compare press, cinema, direct mail, outdoor, television, radio and the internet, which had a combined growth rate of 2.3%. The Joint Industry Committee, JICMAIL, reports that door drops have 48% read rate, while 9.1% of those who receive it, pass it on to someone else. This combined with the return rate of our clients, tells us that letterbox advertising does work and works really well when done properly.

Does Letterbox Advertising Work?

What is letterbox advertising?

To understand the question does letterbox advertising work, we need to understand what letterbox advertising is.

Firstly, a letterbox or mailbox is a receptacle for accepting incoming mail at private residences and businesses. In the UK, mail distributors drop addressed mail and letters through letterboxes for the attention of residents and businesses. 

Letterbox advertising is the delivery of printed papers containing information about a particular brand, products or services to a targeted audience to attract traffic and patronage.

Sharing leaflets through letterbox drop is a simple, inexpensive, and a proven way of targeting prospective clients, sending catalogues, adverts and product samples.

With a well-designed and attention-grabbing flyer, businesses can appeal to a broad audience. 

In the earlier days, businesses especially real estate agents, spent hours making hundreds of cold calls for new listings in a bid to complete letterbox drops & other promotional materials.

Today, many consumers are intolerant, as flyer end up in their bin unacknowledged. Letterbox drops can still be a powerful marketing channel that takes brands direct to the doorstep of prospective customers. 

Unlike other forms of advertising, your flyer does not need to stand out on a page full of other adverts but will stand out from the pile on the doormat.

Studies have shown that door to door distribution through the letterbox has maximum influence on prospective customers with as many as 79% either keeping, passing on to a friend or glancing over the content of leaflets posted through their letterbox.  

Interestingly, distributing free leaflets across the UK is a perfectly legal activity in a majority of cases; businesses do not need permission to distribute free printed materials into letterboxes, they only need approval when they hand out leaflets on the street.

Why are Letterbox Drops Amazingly Effective?

Very few marketing channels can guarantee targeted advertising and large-scale coverage like letterbox drop does.

Recently, businesses have neglected letterbox advertising because of the advent of emails, websites and social media channels, regarding the strategy as a traditional advertising strategy; this is misleading because letterbox advertising delivers some surprising results.

Whether you run a small business or a national company with multiple outlets and branches, but you are looking to reach a tightly defined territory, the letterbox marketing affords a geographic mapping and distribution in specific localities which will assist in maximising campaign response.

Recently, some businesses both small and large are frequently identifying advantages of leaflet distribution in letterboxes over media methods. Why is that so?

1. Leaflets delivered to a customer's letterbox is more personal than the mass messages received through email.

Businesses can tailor collateral to the demands of recipients in a particular demographic or area with the letterbox strategy and also short-run digital printing which will allow them to run small and highly targeted campaigns.

2. The letterbox approach allows for targeted marketing campaigns which centre on demographics for cold leads.

3. As a business, an uncluttered letterbox drop gets your message across to potential customers.

When customers pick your leaflets from their letterboxes and read them in a comfortable and private atmosphere, it gives them a chance to absorb the content of your flyer, as most consumers prefer to be contacted through letter drops than through other media methods, especially among the consumers who reside in local areas.

How Can I Make My Letterbox Campaign Appealing and Useful?

Although letterbox drops offer boundless opportunities for businesses, however, it can become ineffective if not executed thoroughly.

For this letterbox advertising to be productive, it is essential to pay attention to two key factors:

1. Material

2. The distribution of the campaign

1. The Material

Leaflets will be active, excite a response and boost success rate if kept;

Simple - Flyers should be kept simple both in design and content, by producing a clear objective and sticking to it. A piece of complicated and cluttered information will result in potential customers skimming through, but an eye-catching design with bold colours, quality piece of print, compelling headlines, attractive images and a well-written copy will keep readers interested. Simplicity is key: a punchy tag line, strong visuals, contact details and a few snappy lines of explanation will do. Avoid humour or brainteasers; aim for impact and keep flyer clear, direct and straightforward. Any business of any size can realise significant results with letterbox drops as long as materials for campaigns are well-designed and thoughtfully prepared.

 Highlight benefits - Leaflets should also broadcast and concentrate on the benefits of your products or service. Offers in the form of a contest, discount code, coupons and complimentary gift will prompt response. Offer an incentive that is aligned to your target market and offer genuine value which directly contributes to your goal.

Content - Words on leaflets are powerful and form an integral part of marketing; it keeps the reader engaged, maintains a logical and consistent flow and most importantly prompts action.

Call-to-action - Leaflets should include a strong, focused and irresistibly Call to Action; this will inspire consumers to come directly to your business and assist you to gauge how many persons read your flyer. Merely displaying your business details is not enough to make them act, offer products discounts or a small low-margin add-on product to clients who mention your business; this will encourage consumers to refer friends.

2. Distribution and Campaigns

Materials could be well-designed and attractive, but it will fail to draw details, as a poorly timed campaign sent to the wrong audience will not produce the desired result.

It is therefore essential to identify your target market and have a long-term mindset while executing campaigns. Some factors to put into consideration are:

a. Consistency: Design and prints are what ignite the spark in your customers, but it is consistency which will cement the fire. Not everyone will react to letterbox delivery the first time; sometimes it could take a couple of weeks.

Some recipients might need to receive correspondence multiple times before they act, it could take three-four letterbox drops to get real results.

b. Target your best customer leads and prospects: products and services should be directed to a specific demographic area and dropped in targeted letterbox. 

For example, if you operate business-to-business, you will get a higher response rate if you aim only commercial properties rather than residential.

Select a postcode range for distribution which matches the locations of your existing customers.

c. Regularly scrutinise your campaign to gauge its response rate; this will help you ensure that it is delivering a worthwhile ROI. Run several flyers in different areas with different offers to see which ones are raising profitability to your business.

d. Timing: Timing is everything. If you can understand habits relevant to your business, you can ensure that your campaigns hit when customers are in the right frame of mind.

Targeting specific times allows advertisers to appeal to an audience at a time they are paying the most attention; this will enhance engagement, leads and sale.

How Do Businesses Monitor the Effectiveness of Letterbox Advertising? 

Below are some marketing ideas which will help businesses monitor the effectiveness of letterbox advertising.

1. Businesses must compare sales and traffic before, during and after a letterbox campaign with client's relevant information.

Ensure that you do not wait until the end of a campaign to start monitoring data, track campaign from the onset so you can see its progress.

Testing regularly and keeping tabs on results makes future advertising campaigns much more comfortable to implement.

2. Analyse data, document and use findings to inform future marketing campaigns.

3. Ensure you not overlook this basic approach: Ask all new customers how they heard about your business.

Types of Letterbox Distribution

1. Solus leaflet distribution: Solus is a type of distribution where your leaflets are distributed on their own through a letterbox drop to all residences and buildings within a geographic area.

Recipients of flyers will only receive the Leaflets in their hand when they visit their letterboxes to see what distributors have popped through it.

Leaflets are independent of any other material and messages are passed effectively in a single point of contact throughout a whole campaign from inception to delivery.

For example, you could book a single item letterbox drop or hand out leaflets to a distributor who has not booked other advertisers.

2. Shared distribution: This approach allows a combination of non-competing flyers with other leaflets planned for letterbox distribution; it is a more flexible option for those on a budget. Leaflets delivered with local free newspaper is reliable and a regular delivery strategy.

3. Product sampling: Here, distributors share samples of products to letterboxes within a targeted range.

Targeted letterbox sampling drives sales in a way that street sampling (a system of handing free product samples to potential customers in busy areas) will not do.

When combined with creativity and tactility, letterbox marketing has the dynamism other media campaigns lack.

Distributing products with unique design and packaging into a letterbox will improve overall ROI and create an audience of loyal consumers.

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