New businesses are often advised to start advertising actively and locally. One of the most effective ways of small scale advertising is leaflet marketing.

What is leaflet marketing?

Leaflet marketing is the act of giving out leaflets or flyers in public places. There is no true difference between them legally; flyers are usually single pieces of paper, and leaflets are usually folded and presented in a slightly more elaborate fashion.

In this article we will refer to flyers and leaflets under the term ‘leaflet’ as there is no true difference.

Leaflet marking can be broken down into active and passive distribution. The former involves handing out leaflets in person inside or outside and the latter involves posting leaflets through letterboxes or displaying them in another building.

Who uses leaflet marketing

Leaflet marketing is most effective for businesses wishing to prioritise their local area over anything else. This makes leaflet marketing perfect for businesses that are just starting out or established small businesses seeking to branch out and expand their customer base.

Leaflet marketing is generally not recommended for people trying to establish an online shop or non-location based service as it would restrict their potential audience, and may not appeal to the people in the immediate area. 

This is not to say that website-based companies should not use leaflet marketing at all, but they should carefully consider if their business is intended to serve the local area first and foremost.

For example, a food delivery service would be perfect for using leaflet marketing to gain attention for their website because the company only wishes to serve an area easily accessible by car.

Why use leaflet marketing for your business?

Leaflets are a cost effective way of advertising. At the absolute minimum, a leaflet can be designed using free software and printed on standard paper from any printer available and then giving the leaflets out yourself.

For the best results, it is best to hire a designer and employ a printing company to bulk print your leaflets at least once in order to give the most professional impression possible.

Hiring a few people to help hand out leaflets will increase the number of people you are able to reach in a short amount of time whilst still being financially careful. Other forms of advertising, especially online, may cost thousands of pounds to maintain whereas a single print run of two or three thousand leaflets could last for months or years.

Leaflet marketing has another big benefit over digital marketing and other forms of traditional marketing: it is cheaper by word than almost any other form of advertising out there.

Newspaper and radio advertising

 The cost of running adverts in local newspapers, radio stations or even a small digital advertising campaign that specifically targets IP addresses in your area will inevitably add up over time and become a drain on your income.

Advertising space in newspapers, radios and online enforces character limits or time limits on you restricting the amount of information you can give out to your potential customers. Comparatively, a leaflet is as large as you want it to be and hold all the information you want.

The cost for a single A6 leaflet could be as little as a few pence, and for that you can include the name and logo of your business, contact details, opening hours, service details and options, potential discounts, maps and a little elaboration on you and your company in order to humanise yourself. 

A6 Leaflets

Several hundred words and pictures for a few pence will go a long way towards making your business memorable.

The best leaflets will directly interact with the audience. They will provide ways to contact the business and specifically ask for feedback to be provide in written form. It is important that any promises you make regarding communicating with customers is carried through.

Leaflet marketing is only the start of establishing customer relationships, but the conduct of your business and quality of its service is what is essential to maintaining good relationships.

Leaflet Marketing

An excellent way of encouraging customer engagement is through giving special offers only available to people who use the leaflet. Ensure there is an expiration date set several months after handing out the leaflet to make sure that your customers have enough time to take part in the special offer.

They may not be able to take advantage of your offer within a few weeks, but if given two to three months, the chances of your offer being accepted is likely to increase.

Therefore, you must consider your distribution strategy before you embark upon your method of choice. You should assess your area for high traffic spots and places where your intended demographic is known to frequent.

leaflet marketing

Having leaflets displayed at a music shop advertising private tuition for certain instruments is a more effective use of resources than displaying them at a restaurant or bus station. One piece of advice would be to put yourself in your customers shoes and think about where they would go, and base your marketing campaign off of that initial brainstorm.

Hand out leaflets


We highly recommend handing out your leaflets in person as there is no better way to connect with your target demographic than in person, but we also acknowledge that posting leaflets is a very simple way to get your name known in the local area. If you are not able to do this yourself then our team of highly trained leaflet marketing specialists will be able to help. Just click here to send us a message and they'll help you from start to finish.

For this strategy, we advise distributing leaflets based around the area you know you will be able to service. If possible, you should consider which postcodes or estates would be best suited for your services.

While a beauty salon appeals to most ages and genders, the most likely demographic would be people from a higher income house, so you should bear this in mind before you begin posting leaflets.

leaflet sizez

Leaflets can come in a range of sizes and shapes, giving you plenty of options when it comes to your designs. Whether it be as a flyer, a menu-style folded leaflet, an accordion folded leaflet or any other design offered by your chosen design company, the presentation of your leaflet will depend on your chosen layout.

However, it can be difficult to encourage people to read your leaflet due to the preponderance of leaflets distributed. As such, the key to making the receivers of your leaflets is through a sharp, clean design with an attractive colour scheme.

At a minimum your leaflet should include your company’s name and logo, methods of contact, opening hours and information about the services you provide.

You should always prefer a leaflet with clean, empty space as it will make the information you do supply the customer with stand out more.

Leaflet marketing types

Leaflet marketing can be either passive or active. We will discuss four common marketing strategies below.

1. Door to door leaflet marketing

Door to door marketing is one of the archetypical marketing strategies, and for good reason. A single person can distribute well over three hundred leaflets in an hour in a suburban or urban area, and this increases exponentially if the distributor has their own method of transportation.

As such, it offers the maximum amount of exposure for the minimum effort and cost and guarantees that the name of your business will start to become known within the community.

It can be considered risky because of the chance that less than one percent of your drops will return into customers, let alone repeat customers. A well designed leaflet has the highest chance of ensuring customer follow through and retention after their initial experience.

Door to door marking is also one of the forms of leaflet marketing that does not require permits from the local authority, so it is a simpler method of advertising than ones which require paperwork and legal knowledge.

2. Hand to hand leaflet marketing

Hand to hand leafleting is one of the best ways to become a memorable business if you have the right distributors and the right presentation. Being represented in person by people who can respond intelligently and politely to your potential customers enquiries will go a long way towards establishing good customer relations and a solid reputation.

One concern for hand to hand leaflet marketing is that you will most likely require a permit from your local authority. As we have mentioned before, leaflets are designated throwaway material and are subject to littering laws.

Before you begin hand to hand advertising, you must contact your local authority and find out what is needed to legally distribute leaflets or you will risk being fined and gaining a criminal record.

3. Business to business leaflet marketing

Business to business (or B2B) marketing involves selling your product or service to other businesses, usually so that business can resell the service or product later on. An example of this would be a freelance hairdresser working out of an independent salon. 

The salon will pay the hairdresser for their services and take a cut of the profit for ‘chair rental’ in order to for both sides to profit from the venture.

Such a venture demands a respectful relationship and should always be negotiated on a unique basis. While some forms of B2B advertising might be as simple as paying window or counter rental to space to advertise your services, others such as the hairdressing example we gave, involve a two-way contract which is far more lucrative.

Common B2B services would be sourcing cleaners or caterers for events, but opportunities are endless if you can create the right pitch to the right local company. For B2B services, your sales pitch can be more focussed on profits and customer retention rather then persuading the business to employ you.

Focus less on the product and more on the business potential. Regardless of whether you choose the simple or more elaborate methods of B2B leafleting in order

4. Walking billboard leaflet marketing

Walking billboards may or may not fall under the local authority’s littering laws depending on the area in which you live as well as if the walking billboard is handing out leaflets as well as advertising on their own. 

If the employee is actively distributing leaflets the chances of your needing a permit are much higher.

Walking billboards are most effectively deployed in areas of high traffic, and should be considered as you would any other advertising space. It must draw attention, so it must be bold and/or colourful.

The advert must reflect your company’s desired image just as your actual leaflets should. A walking billboard should not be your normal leaflet made larger, but something more eye catching and bold.

Use fewer words and employ more colour and pictures. The employee can give the details, but first the potential customer needs to approach.

Walking billboards will be more expensive than hand to hand leafleting if only because there is additional physical labour involved and could potentially be dangerous if your employee were to fall over, but they are worth the effort.

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