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7 Reasons Why Leaflet Distribution Doesn’t Work

4min read

Leaflet Distribution - Works or not?

It has been proven by many successful businessmen that leaflet distribution campaigns do work and this is why businesses of all sizes use them time and time again.

Despite this success, there are still many people who believe door drop distribution is a waste of time and money; and this is because they have wasted their time and money on a distribution campaign that failed.

The problem is they never looked into the reason why their campaign failed.

To explain why a door drop can fail, outline below are 7 reasons why leaflet distribution may not work, resulting in leaflets being consigned to the recycle bin before they are read.

In short, this method of marketing can work well if done well. It relies on scale, frequency, great creative and reliable quality distribution. Sometimes the only way to deal with local is to go granular. It can be incredibly effective fighting off local competition in overlap battlegrounds.

This might be old school in terms of analogue distribution but you can get very creative bringing in digital channels the use of smart phone cameras, QR codes and more to bring interactivity, data capture into the mix.

Be creative! Test it!

1. Too much information (TMI)

Don’t let the message get buried in the copy.


Many people make the mistake of filling their leaflet with as much information as they think necessary to get their message across. They don’t realise this can overwhelm the reader and cause them to switch off and bin the leaflet.

Do not let the waffle bury the benefits your product can offer the reader. Keep it simple with a good, well thought out headline. The headline should not be the name of the business.

2. Poor design and copywriting

Good design and copy are essential to get a great response.

So many people believe designing a leaflet is just a matter of putting an image on a page with some coloured headlines and some hastily written copy. They have no idea of layout and typography and in some case only a limited knowledge of spelling.

Nothing will make leaflets look more shoddy than typos (incorrect spelling) poor images and a bad layout. It will look slapdash and be cast into the recycling bin without a second glance.

3. Poor quality

When we say poor quality we actually mean cheap.

If a leaflet is printed on poor quality paper, it will detract from the sales message it is carrying: no matter how good that message may be.

Printing on a superior paper stock will cost slightly more but will be money well spent. This is especially true if you are selling a high-value product such as; windows and doors or bathroom and kitchen replacement. Laminating, encapsulating and cutting to shape can also give a leaflet a feeling of value.

If the prospect feels that some serious thought and money has gone into producing your leaflet, they will treat it with respect and will be more inclined to read the message and keep it to read again later.

4. Clarity

What does this mean?

The dictionary definition is “To make or become clear or easy to understand”

So many people assume because they know and love their product everyone else will. Because of this their copy never actually explains what the product can do. They fill their copy with technical descriptions ignoring its benefits.

So keep it clear and simple. Don’t let your message get lost in a load of waffle. Tell people what it is you are offering them.

5. WIIFM: “What’s in it for me?”

Yes, we have all heard of that phrase but many people still fail to explain to their prospective customer what the product can do for them: the benefits. This really is an extension of reason number four.

People are very rarely interested in your product unless it can in some way benefit them. You may well make the best looking back scratcher in the world, made of solid gold or silver and beautiful to look at. All the customer is interested in is will it fix my itching back.

First, convince them your product will solve their problem. Then you can tell them how beautiful it is, first the benefits, then the features.

6. The missing CTA

The Call to Action (CTA) is one of the most important things that must be on a leaflet.

The call to action must tell the reader what to do next.

There is no point in writing and designing an excellent leaflet with a great sales message without telling them what to do once they have read your compelling sales message.

The call to action should encourage them quickly to contact you either by phone, e-mail and to visit your website.

Make sure all these contact numbers are clearly visible and your CTA explains the benefits of them contacting you at once.

7. The Wrong Leaflet Distributor

The wrong leaflet distributor comes in two guises.


The first one is the do-it-yourself one.

Because leaflet distribution looks easy many people decide to do it themselves, believing distribution is just a matter of pushing some leaflets through some letterboxes. 


The second wrong distributor is the “cowboy” company.

This company has been set up by someone who also believes leaflet distribution is just a matter of hiring some students or young people giving them a few hundred leaflets and telling them to deliver them.


They offer no way of checking if the leaflets are delivered, and no system of checking results. These companies are worse than the do-it-yourself brigades. They take people’s money and deliver nothing but disappointment.

And this all adds to the belief that leaflet distribution is a waste of time and money.

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