In an age where everyone is obsessed with digital marketing, staring at metrics such as CPM, CPI or conversion rate, for many offline businesses, flyering dies hard

It is not hard to understand – flyering seems to cost very little (printing costs + manpower for distribution), and it can bring some customers to your store (or restaurant) in a more direct way. 

For many online businesses, flyering has become an option as well, in the past to convert people to install an app or like a Facebook/instagram account (otherwise where do you find them!!), and now more because online market costs have become quite expensive in many places, including China and Singapore. 

Compared to other offline marketing/acquisition activities, flyering is easier to track (CAC etc.), and you can make the same data-driven decisions as you do with online marketing. You can also easily A/B test and iterate (as a product). 

However, our experience told us that many offline marketers do not track things that way. They design the flyer the way they would like to see (or the way they have already been designing it), and also distribute that on locations with high traffic. Are these correct? Often not! Would improvement be necessary? Often yes!

Think about that, it costs you probably $100 to print 4000 vouchers, and about $8-10 per hour for a person to distribute them. Even though the conversion is supposed to be low (conventional wisdom) – as low as 0.1%, any small improvement in conversion would be 100% or even more. 

We do flyering a lot, (and we test a lot too). Some flyering campaigns work out much better than others. Here are a few tips: 

1 – Understand the persona of your intended audience 

Who are the intended consumers of your product/services? If you are doing a vanity service marketplace, you probably want to ignore all male customers in flyer design, places to distribute, and actual distribution itself.

2- Break down the flyer acceptance experience of consumers into a conversion funnel – pretty much as what you do with app UX (design thinking) 

See the flyer distributor > stop for the flyer distribution > take a copy of the flyer/listen to the distributor > keep the copy (i.e. not throw it away) > take an action based on flyer content > complete a purchase 

Your job therefore becomes that of a product manager and operations manager – a growth role to look at increasing conversion at each step. 

It will also make your life easier when things do not go as expected – you can easily dissect the problem, find out the real issue, and make adjustments

3 – Do not focus on high traffic area/hours, focus on places/timing with the right ‘mood’

People like to distribute at train stations, bus stops and office buildings/malls. There are a lot of people passing by for sure, but are they in the right mood to accept your flyer or listen to a pitch?

Not saying which is right which is wrong – as it also depends on what you are offering. The timing is also important – rush hour and weekend leisure hours are very different in this regard.

But this is a question you need to think about when planning your flyering activity;

4 – Design your flyer like you design your CV 

If you have even hired people before, remember what you hate the most about some CVs? Those which have too many words but do not tell you exactly why you will want to hire the person. The same applies here – customers do not care about your life story or  when you opened your new store.

If you push 500 different promotions on the flyer, you will not get conversion either. Because, remember, the next action in the conversion funnel is not purchase, it is them taking the flyer and acting on it. They only reach ‘purchase’ after a few steps specified above.

The shorter, the clear, the more impactful.

Another possibility which could help with flyer acceptance or retention is to design them into something useful: tissue packs, fridge magnets, small calendar etc. They will be much longer lasting, and will give you long tail conversion/branding.

5 – Spread out your distribution team

You often want your team to stick together so that you capture as many consumers as possible. But if you were a customer yourself, you would probably find this intimidating and even repulsive.

Spread your team out, do not dress up (or down) too much, and make sure everyone smiles. You want to create an atmosphere of trust in a very short period of time (a few seconds).

Also, choosing who to give it to first is also important. When a group approaches, if the first person rejects the flyer, the others are likely to follow. So the distributor needs to be smart here.

6 – The boss needs to be on the ground 

Flyering is not an activity you should fully outsource. People who are paid hourly rates do not have the same motivation for conversion as you do.

If you are not prepared to be on the ground – you would NOT know how customers respond, whether they stop at all, whether they ask questions/what questions they ask. And you will not be able to motivate your team which faces rejections day in day out.

7- A/B test on everything 

If you print 8000 flyers, make sure 4000 of them are of a design while the rest of a different design. Location, timing, costume (if that makes a difference), pitch etc. can all be (A/B) tested, tracked, and iterated.  

It is about continuous optimisation to increase your reach, conversation, and of course, ultimately revenue and valuation of your company 😉

22% conversion rate

In China, a flyering campaign once reached 22% conversion rate, the team claimed. We will write in detail about this in a next post, but this is how it looks like:

Only words on the flyers: “What is happiness that only costs ¥5? Scan QR with your Wechat to find the answer”.  

Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at [email protected].


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Prior to Momentum Works, Yorlin was in the financial sector in SIngapore and Hong Kong for 10 years - working with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, AXA and HSBC. She feels that corporate knowledge are undervalued in the start-up ecosystem and want to change this. At Momentum Works, she manages operations, overseeing joint venture operations with partners from all over the world. She always makes time to speak to people as you never know what’s the next game changer in the fickle world of fintech, e-commerce or mobile internet. In her free time, you can find her being the slave to her 5 cats.