Front-Door Marketing Secrets to Getting and Keeping an Ever-Growing Market Share

Front-door marketing is quickly becoming the only place left you can command the full and uncluttered attention of your best customers.

It’s getting harder than ever to keep loyal customers and win new ones. And it’s not because of your customer service, online reviews, prices, products, or even your competition.

Yes, those things all matter – a lot. But there’s something else in today’s world that businesses too often overlook:

Your customers just forget about you.

There are too many distractions, making it much harder to keep your business on ‘top of mind’. So if you want to grow, you have two jobs:

  1. Make sure your existing customers remember you
  2. Make sure new customers keep trying you out

You’ve got to give them a reason why they must keep coming back, and price alone is not enough. The nine front-door marketing tools you’re about to see provide a competition-free means for doing this.

Why Use Front-Door Marketing

Front-door marketing is distraction-free, possibly the last form of marketing that can make that claim. Think about this:

People read newspapers for all kinds of reasons other than to look at your ads. You have to compete with the articles, opinions, and bad news, as well as other ads – just to be seen.

Plus, lots of people don’t read newspapers. But they do get mail. So you might send them direct mail. But now you’re competing against other mailers! And you have about 3 seconds to get their attention before they toss your mailer away.

TV and radio – changing the channel takes less effort than blinking. And they’re much more expensive. And today, many people pay money for the sole purpose of avoiding ALL ads on these media channels. So how do you reach those people? Online?

There isn’t a place on earth with more distractions than the Internet. And getting in front of the right people online is tricky, time-consuming, and usually pretty costly.

So what’s left?

Coupon books like a marriage mailer? These can be great, but again, you’re competing for attention with all the other businesses in the same book. How many people take the time to look through the whole book?

The front door is a special place. It’s the entry into the home. Anything sitting or hanging on the front door feels more like a gift than advertising. Front-door marketing is far more likely to be looked at, talked about, and acted on than any other form of advertising – especially for brick-and-mortar and local businesses.

Here are nine front door-marketing tools any business can use to welcome people home and stay front and center in their minds.

9 Ways to Say “Hello” As Your Target Customers Walk In THEIR Doors


1. The Most Efficient – 17 x 5.5 in. Door Hanger

front-door marketing tools like these creative doorhangers help your business be seen

This is the standard front-door marketing tool for a reason. It works! It gets attention and gets looked at for more than two seconds. And unlike most direct mail, your marketing message is immediately visible.

Door hangers are great tools for offering special deals, coupon cutouts and multi-tiered coupons. A multi-tiered coupon is a series of time-released offers that are only valid for certain dates, like offering four different deals, each redeemable for one week over a four-week period.

Just about any message you could cram into an envelope or postcard, or feature in a 30-second TV or radio spot, you can also fit onto a standard 17 x 5.5 inch door hanger. These have very strong historical response data. It’s like a targeted mini-billboard.


2. The ‘Catalog-On-A-Door’ – 4-Panel Door Hanger

front-door marketing tools like these catalogs help your business be seen

This special edition of the standard 17 x 5.5 inch door hanger is perfect for companies wanting to feature more than one product, or a mall that wants to feature multiple stores.

If you’re a restaurant, tell people about four different deals they can get, or four menu items, with at least one of them brand new, ideally.

The 4-panel hanger works really well at appealing to a broader audience, because just making one offer excludes people who aren’t interested in that one. This is like a mini-catalog hanging on their door.

3. The ‘Wow-Factor’ Door Hanger – Unique Shapes

A ‘Wow-Factor’ Door hanger is the kind no one can throw away without looking at it. We call them ‘die-cuts,’ because these are custom-made shapes only for your business. This is where you can get creative.

And the great thing is, die cuts don’t cost much more than standard door hangers. There’s just a one-time added fee to pay for the customized cutting. It’s not a per-unit cost.

In the past, we’ve cut specialized door hanger shapes like surfboards, remote controls, pancakes, and even toilets!

Some ‘Wow-Factor’ front-door marketing tools aren’t even door hangers. We’ve even been asked to create and distribute home-plate-shaped doormats to promote the grand opening of a new baseball stadium! Who’s going to just throw away a home plate doormat? (Okay, maybe it depends how bad the team is doing…)

‘Wow-Factors’ are guaranteed attention getters, and your message will be seen by a far greater percentage of recipients than would see it in direct mail, a coupon book, or another print ad.

4. Scratch Offs

Gamification is kind of the rage right now in marketing, and for good reason. Playing games and winning things is way more fun than “shopping.” But not much is more exciting than a scratch off.

Everyone instantly gets the point – I scratch this off, and I might win something. It’s simple, fast, and fun.

The simplest use of this is to put coupons underneath the scratch off. But you can do much better: Put free samples they must come into your store to claim. Very few people will come in and only take the free item. They’ll also buy other items, all of which becomes ROI for you – and just from that initial purchase.

If you’re doing a new customer acquisition campaign, every future purchase made by that person becomes ROI from this initial ad.

5. Scratch and Sniffs, Rub and Smells

An obvious tool for certain products like perfumes and lotions, these get people interacting with your product, which is the key to buying it.

But there’s some untapped creativity here that you might want to exploit. For instance, could a restaurant create a scratch and sniff smell for a burrito, a new sauce, or a burger? What about bacon?

Can you think of a marketing campaign for your business where you can incorporate smell into the messaging? It’s the least utilized of the five senses in marketing, but arguably the most powerful.

6. Overnight Package Look-a-Like – A Guaranteed Open

If you want a truly guaranteed opening of your marketing materials, make it look like a package delivery. Yes, the costs are higher here, so it’s not appropriate for every business or campaign. But when getting attention is the essential element, nothing beats a package.

This also depends on how large and how targeted your mailing is. Maybe you’re just mailing to repeat customers who spent over $2000 at your store the past year. Investing a bit more to keep them coming back for more is well worth the attention-getting expense of a real package.

7. Greeting Card Look-a-Like

Also not a door hanger, this kind of front-door marketing tool is placed against the door on the floor. It has the impression of being left there by a neighbor or friend.

No postage, no return address – it’s like a birthday or greeting card, but it’s from you.

Again, this is nearly guaranteed to get opened, and thus will earn a far greater ROI than a typical direct mail campaign.


8. Impossible to Turn Down Samples

front-door marketing tools making use of free samples

One of our most effective projects to date was for a major municipal power department. They sent out two LED light bulbs to thousands of customers, along with marketing materials and other energy saving resources. The campaign was enormously successful, because most houses have 1-2 dozen light bulb sockets. So once people see the quality and benefits of the LED bulbs, they’re likely to buy them up for the rest of their home.

Free samples on your doorstep are impossible to turn down.

There is a greater expense in this type of campaign too, of course. That’s why some businesses make the free sample available only to people who come in the store. You can do that using the scratch off game, typical door hangers, and ‘wow factor’ die cuts.

But samples aren’t limited only to physical products.

Your sample can be a catalog, or the same free standing insert (FSI) many businesses put in newspapers. Remember, a lot of people don’t get the newspaper. So your FSI campaigns miss them entirely.

You can send them via regular mail too, but then you’re still competing with everyone else who’s doing that. By putting your FSI in a bag hanging from the door, in raises the perceived value of your materials and gets you a moment of exclusive attention.

9. Yard Signs

Do people get upset if you put a yard sign on their yard without asking?

Then ask! We’ve had political campaigns hang yard signs on doors with directions for how to unfold it and put it in their yard. Some people won’t do it, of course, but some will. And ALL of them will see your message, which is the goal, right?

You can do the same thing with July 4th flags. We also have fun signs shaped like various animals and plants. These have fun and decorative value, in addition to being good ways to get your message out.

And remember, even if only a handful of people actually put the signs up, almost all of them will read them. So your brand authority gets renewed and enhanced.

Which Front Door Marketing Tools Are Right For You?

Do you see the common thread among all nine of these front door marketing tools?

They all get seen.

Effective marketing means ad expense translates to revenue, one way or another. And that depends on getting noticed. All the creative content and messaging means nothing if no one reads it, sees it, or hears it.

With these nine tools, you will get noticed, read, and seen by far greater percentages of people than respond to any of the other channels of marketing.