Leaflet distribution is a good alternative to digital marketing where a well-produced leaflet enables you to get your marketing messages directly in front of your target audience. In an increasingly saturated digital marketing space, sending direct mail is something that can give you a point of difference from your competitors.
But as with any marketing activity, there are costs involved and if you are not properly prepared you might find yourself overpaying and your campaigns won’t deliver an acceptable return on investment.
To help you make the most of this important direct marketing tactic, we’ve pulled together the information you need to understand what factors matter and how to choose the right options and partners for you.
Depending on the leaflet distribution business you choose, they will offer you the chance to send out your leaflet in a variety of ways that will enable you to save money if your budget is tight, but you’ll need to understand the effect it will have on campaign performance.
This method allows you to send your leaflets out alongside other businesses, normally up to another 3 different ones. It is important to ensure that none of those other businesses will be a competitor.
Having your leaflets delivered with others will save you money, so when it comes to cheap leaflet prices, this is the lowest of the four options we are talking about. However, with cost savings comes an impact on performance. When your leaflet lands through a letterbox alongside 3 other businesses, it is much harder to stand out.
You run the danger that happens with mass leaflet drops that the property owner will just see it all as spam and put It straight in the bin, thus your leaflet never gets seen. Even if they do look at the leaflet, you are competing with 3 other businesses and really have to work hard to stand out.
So, shared leaflet distribution will definitely help reduce the cost of printing leaflets but you have to balance that with the potential impact on performance.
The second most expensive option on our list for a reason, with a solus distribution your leaflet is going to be posted by itself and will not be competing with any other businesses for the household's attention.
As your leaflet is the only one that a business is delivering, you are incurring all the costs involved in the delivery but this will bring you a lot of benefits for that extra cost. For example, you’ll have more control over the location for your drop, when you choose one of the shared options you won’t be the only one deciding on locations.
Paired distribution sits in between the options we’ve already discussed. Simply put, your leaflets will be delivered with one other business’ leaflet. Paired will save you money compared to a solus delivery and whilst it will still be competing with one other business, the same concerns you have with shared distribution are not as big.
You will need to decide if the saving you make is worth competing with another leaflet for the owner's attention or conversely, if you are struggling with your budget, should you just select the shared option?
The most expensive option on our list and quite rarely used. This method uses technology to track exactly where the distributors are so you know they are going door to door in the required locations. This is an option usually reserved for larger businesses, for example, in the UK it is used by the NHS, but not all distribution businesses will offer this as a service.
It is much more expensive than even solus distribution (around 50% more) because of the technology involved and the amount of work in downloading and collecting data across multiple distributors at the same time.
The method of distribution is not the only thing that will affect the leaflets' cost, several other key factors can increase them.
The most common leaflet size is A5 and when we compare different prices later in the article, they will use A5 as the basis for looking at costs. However, it is possible to choose different sizes that will ultimately affect your end costs.
One example that some businesses like to choose is an A4 leaflet that is folded in different ways to make a leaflet that stands out. The gated leaflet is when a leaflet is folded on both sides to create a gate that opens to ‘reveal’ the middle part of the leaflet, where the sides are referred to as the gate.
This can have a unique impact but the costs will need to justify this complexity as delivering the heavier A4 will cost more. You also have potential issues with the larger / thicker leaflet struggling to get through some older, tighter letterboxes. If you want to try this approach, it is possible to create the same effect with an A5-sized leaflet.
Not all paper is made equally and the quality of the paper will impact how much it weighs, which with many distribution companies this will impact the cost of leaflets. As an example, an A5 leaflet could weigh between 100-300gms which might increase the cost by up to 20%, so you must find the balance between cost and quality.
Another way of standing out and for businesses to have the room to expand on their value proposition is a multi-page leaflet. The gated format we mentioned above is a version of that, but it’s possible to create a multiple-page version in different ways.
Again, you need to balance the increased leaflet distribution cost of this additional space with the likely return. As a general rule, most distribution businesses will say that the bigger leaflets do not return increased results compared to the higher leaflets prices you incur but it’s down to an individual business to test this out.
When planning your budget and considering leaflet distribution prices, it’s important not to forget one of the biggest costs you will incur, the cost of printing leaflets.
The better you can plan ahead with your printing, the more effective your overall leaflet cost will be. This is because printing larger volumes in one go will get you a cheaper flyer cost.
Whoever you use to print the leaflets (several distribution businesses will also print the leaflets, but that’s not always the cheapest route) will have a sliding scale. As an example, printing 5,000 leaflets might cost you around $149 but if you went with a run of 25,000 leaflets this could be less than $600, meaning the cost per leaflet is reduced by 20%.
So it would seem logical to go with much larger quantities. The problem is, will you actually use all of those additional leaflets? Over time, many businesses want to evolve the leaflet, meaning they only need an initial run, and then the second run will be for a different leaflet with updated messaging they believe will work.
For this reason, it might be a good idea to do a smaller initial run and once you are confident the leaflet is the right one for a longer period of time, then do a higher quantity print run. You’ll find that most good and cheap leaflet distribution businesses will store the excess volume for you until you are ready to use them.
One other tip if the distribution business doesn’t do the printing themselves, ask them for the introduction to a printing house. They will have greater buying power with these companies and will likely get you a better deal.
Whilst printing and distribution are the main costs associated with leaflet distribution, it is important that you don’t forget all the other costs that could come packaged with your campaign, some that your distribution company might charge you for and others that you will incur yourself.
It is also important to recognise those extras that you should expect to come as part of the service. If your distribution company tries to charge you for any of the following, you should push back or consider a different company – storage; GPS tracking; delivery updates.
The first and most important additional cost is design. It is a vital part of your campaign's success and overlooking it will affect your results.
Whilst it is tempting to keep the costs for this part as low as possible, you really should be investing in the design because it will be critical for getting the most customers and will also save you money over the medium to long term.
You could probably find a cheap designer on Fiverr or a similar site but you risk low quality and the end product not being what you need. It is worth investing just a little bit more to get a design that will both attract the prospect and give you something you can use on repeated campaigns, i.e. making it a one-off cost and not repeatable.
This might mean paying between $200-$400 for a good quality design but just one or two extra customers as a result of this quality design, means it will pay for itself. Look for someone with proven experience in leaflet design, as it is a specific skill.
Depending on the experience within your business, you might need assistance in planning your campaign. This can involve understanding what should be on your leaflet, the key drivers that will get the attention of your prospect when they read the leaflet and offers that will appeal to them.
It will also include understanding who your customer is and where to find them. If you can clearly articulate who your customer is, then you should be able to work closely with your distributor in understanding the areas where your leaflets should be delivered.
This leads us to another potential cost, although you should expect your chosen partner to deliver this as part of the service. They have done this many times before, so you should be leaning on them for expertise and industry knowledge. Get as much of this experience for free but be aware that you might be charged eventually, so ask this upfront.
As we mentioned previously, you might want to check if your chosen leaflet supplier will collect leaflets directly from you (assuming you have had them printed) but if they do, expect them to charge extra for this service and factor that into your budget. If you feel it is too expensive, then you can still deliver them to the distributor yourself.
If we look at a classic campaign, using A5-sized leaflets, a run of 25,000 leaflets and having a new design produced for the campaign – then your typical costs might look like this
Design - $300
Print - $575
Shared Delivery - $1,000
Total for the campaign - $1,875
To help you understand the success you can achieve if you plan your budget carefully and invest in the right partner, we thought we would show you some examples of other businesses that have done leaflet marketing and had great results with it.
Since 2015, Uber Eats has used Oppizi to deliver 45 million leaflets as part of its acquisition strategy across France, Australia and the UK. They needed to acquire customers in a fast and effective manner, competing in one of the most aggressive modern markets, food delivery.
Thanks to their leaflet strategy, they were able to achieve all of their targets and become market leaders.
They were planning a UK launch and wanted to combine an online campaign with an offline acquisition campaign. After a thorough analysis of their needs and online data, they implemented a campaign in London that targeted 200+ locations in 8 weeks.
As a result of the success, they scaled this offline strategy to campaigns in Paris and Brussels. Each quarter they have been replicating the campaigns with similar ones in the UK. To date, more than 3,000 first-time users have been acquired.
This is a great example of the value of spending in the right places and finding a good partner. Having previously attempted to run in-house campaign management they decided to switch to Oppizi, to remove the cumbersome nature of their previous attempt and become ultra-targeted, executing seamlessly and being able to quickly scalable.
The campaign enabled them to increase visibility, sales and the customer base. By outsourcing the campaign, they could save time and scale the campaign. Flyer campaigns are an ongoing part of the business acquisition strategy and are being extended to new countries as FoodCheri grows.
There are many different costs that come into any leaflet campaign that you do. Still, by being organised, understanding the different options and planning for the long term, you can get the best value and deliver a good return on investment.
These are not campaigns to quickly build and hope for the best, they need you to invest time and money to get the best results. This is why working with a quality partner will give you the greatest chance of success. Lean on their experience. A combination of your subject matter expertise and their domain knowledge will deliver the best results.