Door to Door Marketing – What Is It? Does It Work?

door to door ambassador at a front door

Everyone has heard of door to door marketing. But what comes to mind when you think about it in 2024? Do you picture the quaint sales rep in a striped suit knocking on doors and displaying his wares to suspicious homeowners, sweating it out for twelve hours a day? Well, to parrot a well-known phrase, that was then, and this is now. 

Door to door marketing in the digital age looks very different than what you might imagine. Today, we’ve got the benefits of demographic and psychographic audience targeting, multiple marketing strategies and tactics in play, and the ability to deploy teams of trained marketing reps to work one campaign at a time in carefully selected areas of particular cities. 

Door to door marketing is an under-utilized but highly effective strategy for companies looking to interact with potential customers and leads in a way that can’t be ignored, deleted, or scrolled past.

Door to door marketing has been re-imagined. Here’s how it looks in 2024 and beyond.

What is door to door marketing in the digital age?

Modern door to door marketing is usually less about selling products or services on the spot, and more about getting new leads or new data. Your reps might make a presentation that covers a product’s benefits, but the call to action may be something with a very low bar, like trying a free sample, taking a poll, or choosing features they’d like to learn more about. 

Particularly for brands whose customers have high average lifetime values but come with a long purchasing process and huge acquisition costs, deploying a brand team to simply pre-qualify prospects for future marketing spend can save a considerable amount of marketing waste.

Modern door to door sales also means having a follow up process that will connect potential customers to your digital marketing assets. You may just want the prospect’s contact details, such as an email address or phone number for SMS follow ups. They may sign up for a free trial, or register for a webinar. 

Door to door sales campaign tactics

Other than selling actual products with door to door selling like the old days, think about the types of marketing tactics in use today online and in other forms of media:

  • Lead generation
  • Free trials
  • First-time customer coupons
  • Surveys and data collection
  • Events and grand opening announcements
  • Product samples

You can create highly successful door to door marketing campaigns using tactics like these, and because the marketing happens at the front door, your engagement metrics will be far better than you’d ever achieve through most other forms of media. 

Optional representatives

You can do all of this with trained marketing representatives who engage people at home in person. They can talk about new products, offer free trials, conduct surveys, and offer coupons and free samples. 

We call these brand ambassadors, a modern replacement for the traditional ‘sales rep’ term. 

But door to door marketing doesn’t need to involve an actual door to door salesperson. You can market to targeted customers and leads using front door marketing that gets placed at their door by trained and monitored distribution teams. 

With smartly designed front door marketing managed by a company like Power Direct, you can deliver announcements about events, give coupons for free samples or discounts at a nearby brick and mortar store, offer signup opportunities for free trials, lead generation assets, and email and SMS lists, and so much more. 

You can use QR codes, coupons and landing page links with tracking codes, special phone numbers, and all the other tools available to digital marketers. But here, nearly everyone you reach out to will see your marketing content, as opposed to the sub-2% that’s typical on many digital and social media platforms.

Who conducts door to door marketing?

Door to door sales campaigns can work for a great variety of industries, especially when you expand your definition to include front door marketing. With that, you don’t need a sales script, sales techniques, a sales team, or anything of that sort. You just create the marketing collateral, have it printed, and have it distributed by a trained team that gets audited to ensure 100% delivery. 

At Power Direct, we’ve run door to door sales campaigns for industries as diverse as:

  • Huge national telecom companies
  • Internet search engines
  • Prepared food manufacturers
  • Restaurants — especially quick service and fast-casual
  • Healthcare companies
  • Local pool cleaners
  • Insurance companies

Door to door sales can work for just about any industry. You just need to commit to enough volume to generate a return, as with any marketing, and a targeted list of households or neighborhoods to visit. 

How to develop door to door sales teams

This is easily the greatest hindrance and most common question about door to door marketing. Who’s going to go out there and do it? The answer depends on which of the two main types of door to door selling you’re planning to use — brand ambassadors or front door marketing. 

Brand ambassadors are the modern version of the door to door marketing team, though they don’t necessarily have to go door to door. And, they don’t sell products or services… or carry around a Hoover. 

Front door marketing is marketing that gets distributed by hand to chosen addresses in your target market. 

It takes a team to conduct either approach, and both are best suited for particular sales situations. Let’s look at how to develop each type of team.

Develop brand ambassadors — selling door to door

If you’re planning a brand ambassador campaign conducted by actual reps who will visit potential customers door to door, you’ll need a team of trained sales reps who understand your products or services and your customer base on a basic level.

Even if they’re just conducting a survey, they need to be prepared to respond appropriately to any interested leads. 

What makes a great door to door sales rep? 

As Liam Neeson would say, it takes a particular set of skills. Great sales reps begin with a script, and this is true even if they just plan to gather information through a survey. They need a clear understanding of what to say, why it’s important, and how it works. They need to know the service or product’s features and benefits if your campaign features a product or service. They’ll need a plan for overcoming objections — like ‘I don’t have time.’ 

They need to be good at asking open ended questions, making eye contact, and relating to people on a personal level. They need to dress appropriately and be good at building trust. They need strong body language. They need to know how to build relationships, listen carefully, and maintain a positive attitude. 

And, they need a good grasp on your follow up process. What do they do with new prospect information? Depending on the campaign, will a sales rep be contacting every potential customer who fills out a form, signs up for a free trial, or takes the survey? The more follow ups you do, the more sales you’ll make — now or down the road. 

Often, the goal of a brand ambassador campaign is to collect valuable feedback related to what customers think about a brand, a product or service, an upcoming change, industry trends and questions, or other issues where you need to know what real people think. 

How to train a team of brand ambassadors

When you work with Power Direct, we handle all the hiring and training of your brand ambassadors, if that’s the type of door to door marketing campaign you’re interested in utilizing. 

We have connections with talent reps in cities across the country, and we have full-time in-house supervisors who will train and work with your brand ambassadors no matter the location. 

We hire people who exhibit the skills and abilities listed above, and who are teachable, outgoing, and enthusiastic. We establish expectations, train them to understand your target audience and marketing approach, and run through any necessary sales skills they may need.

We’ll make sure they know how to direct the people they meet to the next steps — no matter where a prospect lands on the spectrum of interest. 

Here’s more about how we staff brand ambassador teams for door to door sales campaigns across the United States.

Develop a team for front door marketing distribution

The other type of door to door sales campaign doesn’t require interaction with prospects. With this, you create a robust, sturdy door hanger or some other type of unique asset that’s impossible to ignore and that gets delivered to the front porch. 

For this type of campaign, you don’t need sales reps. You need distribution teams. And our process here is comparable to how we find brand ambassadors. The only difference is the skillset. 

For distribution campaigns, you need people who can hustle, who are responsible to deliver every item to the correct address, who will dress appropriately, and who understand that even though they aren’t going to interact with customers, they still represent your brand to anyone who might see them placing items on front porches, and must behave professionally. 

Again, we have full-time, W2 in-house supervisors who manage distribution campaigns and work with distributors in each city. 

What media can you use with door to door selling?

The media you can use through door to door sales depends on the type of campaign, your sales goals, your product’s benefits and features, your follow up process for new leads, and the other components of effective field marketing.

For brand ambassador campaigns

With a live marketing rep, the media can be anything that supports the presentation and pitch. If it’s a survey, using an iPad or similar device to record results is the fastest way to go. So your primary media would be your survey collection software and the content within.

But, you may also want brochures, flyers, or other physical media that explains more about the survey, its purpose, or whatever follow up materials you may be giving to each person who completes the survey such as:

  • Coupons
  • Free trials
  • Contest entries
  • Access to membership, rewards, or VIP club
  • Gift cards
  • Referral rewards marketing content
  • Affiliate marketing content

If it’s not a survey, the items in the above list could be the reason for your door to door sales campaign, and you would need whatever media is required to present and deliver them, as well as follow up materials for any new customers.

Supportive digital content

In addition to all these, you may have digital content just a few clicks away that supports your campaign and that’s accessible through the physical media you’ll be giving them.

Free trials and other items on this list will do well with landing pages if the person isn’t ready to decide what to do on the spot. Basically, anything you’re leaving with them should have a digital component that will help them follow through and convert on whatever action you want them to take. 

What does a campaign cost?

Get a custom-built sample campaign with real targeting data, ad creative, cost estimates, and distribution plans.

Use the Project Estimator

Remember — you might not be doing a survey or other type of data collection. The brand ambassador campaign may be designed with other goals in mind — like free trial signups or first-month free offers. 

Your digital media — accessible via QR code or a simple web address that should be easy to find in your physical media — may include landing pages, social media pages, blog posts, product pages, sales pages, opt-in forms, entry forms, videos, infographics, and all the other digital media in use today. 

For front door marketing campaigns

Here, the types of media are limited mostly by your creativity — other than it needing to be physical media. 

And as with the brand ambassador campaigns, any door to door sales campaign can also leverage the power of digital media. You just have to create the digital marketing content before finalizing and sending out the door to door sales campaign. Some physical media you can use with front door marketing includes:

doorhanger on a house

Door hangers

The Power Direct version of door hangers aren’t flimsy slips of paper that fly away in the breeze. Ours are large, sturdy, and durable. And, they’re made from environmentally friendly products — including the inks we use. 

Door hangers are large enough to communicate a complete marketing message. You have room for graphics, headlines, persuasive copy, testimonials, photos of happy customers, photos of the products, calls to action, contact information, URLs and QR codes for digital access — plus interactive elements like scratch-n-sniffs, free samples, and tearable coupons. 

Door hangers are so effective because you get nearly 100% impressions. They aren’t mail, and won’t get perceived as spam. It’s a unique creation that gets attention and will be looked at by almost everyone you deliver one to.

two people reviewing a green flyer

Flyers

Flyers are a version of door hangers, and for Power Direct, we use these terms relatively interchangeably. But, you can also get the traditional version of a flyer, which does tend to be flimsier and less versatile than a door hanger. 

dog doorhanger on a white background

Custom creations

You can also create marketing assets that are unique to your business or your offer. For example, we’ve done door to door marketing campaigns with door hangers shaped like toilets, dog bones, and pancakes. The more creative you get, the more attention will come your way. Who’s going to throw away a dog bone door hanger? Especially if they have a dog?? (which they will if you target your distribution properly).

IKEA booklet on a door

Catalogs

For businesses with lots of products, you can also leave catalogs on people’s front porches. Yes, you can send these through the traditional mail too, and some companies do. But on the front porch, the perception is different. It’s more positive. This feels like a package, a gift, rather than just ‘mail.’ 

And, back to brand ambassadors, catalogs are a great thing to leave behind after the brand ambassador has completed their presentation. 

packet with lightbulbs

Samples, kits, and other creations

Sometimes you just need to get your products into consumers’ hands for them to understand and become lifelong customers. In-store sampling is fine, but it’s sporadic, not very targeted, and inefficient. 

We can (and have) deliver nearly any kind of product sample or kit. It’s a faster, more efficient way to get samples directly into the hands of highly-targeted households. Less expensive than the mail (and better perceived, too!)

Can you do audience targeting with door to door sales?

Digital marketers like to talk about how well they can help you find your target audience. And they can — sort of. But it’s getting harder, with privacy concerns causing new regulations to sprout up that make it difficult to get the hyper-specific information online that used to be more commonplace. 

Targeting a front door campaign isn’t just drawing a radius around your store locations or entering a zip code. With hundreds of demographic variables, up-to-date consumer behavior information and an entire in-house data team with the most advanced tools available, we can pinpoint the exact streets where your best prospects live. 

You don’t just blanket whole swaths of a city with your door to door sales materials. You target house by house, or block group by block group. 

We have access to over 4000 factors you can use to narrow down your target audience. 

Door to door sales targeting examples

There are six categories of targeting you can use with door to door marketing. 

Want to find homeowners with pools who own at least one pickup truck and have kids in the home? You can create a door to door sales campaign for audiences that specific. In fact, you can go even further.

Here’s a couple of examples of real audience targeting projects we did with a big box grocer and a quick service restaurant. 

The idea is to narrow it down so well that your costs decrease while your response rates, revenue, and return on investment increase.

Custom ad targeting report

How would this work for you? 

Imagine having a customized audience targeting map with demographic profiles — before you even start your campaign.

You can get a Custom Ad Targeting Report from Power Direct — and you can keep it and use it over and over again even if you don’t end up working with us. It’s yours to keep as part of our project estimate process.

You’ll also be shown the types of media we recommend, a distribution timeline, budget estimates, and previous response data. 

Get a free project estimate and a Custom Ad Targeting Report

Auditing the distribution of your door to door sales 

Hiring the right team to distribute your door to door marketing materials is probably your biggest question mark, which is why we talked about that earlier. 

But a second question is, how do you know for sure they delivered your stuff to the right addresses? Or, worst case scenario, how do you know they didn’t just throw them all in a dumpster and get paid while hanging out at the bar? 

With typical door hanger distribution services, you don’t. You just have to hope they followed through.

But with Power Direct, we use a 6-point auditing process that you can follow in real-time on our iVerify platform. You can watch your marketing materials get delivered live as it happens. 

maps of neighborhoods

This is way beyond GPS. Here are the six ways we verify 100% distribution:

  • Delivery crews click a device every time they make a delivery before heading to the next house
  • The click gets time-stamped so you know when it happened
  • The click must take place within a small radius from a predetermined marker for each address (so they make it to the door… not the street)
  • GPS data from the crew member must align with the three previous data points
  • Our California-based monitoring center supervises every delivery in real-time and immediately calls out any anomalies to the on-the-ground supervision and auditing team
  • In-the field, employee auditors document distribution with pictures you can view from the customer portal, and address issues in real-time.

You’ll know who delivered each piece, to which addresses, at which time of day, and you’ll even know how fast the person was walking. 

Measuring door to door sales metrics

Lastly, you can measure door to door marketing effectiveness using many of the same strategies you’d use in direct mail, digital marketing, and even in most traditional media. 

Tracking phone numbers, dedicated landing pages with particular URLs, coupon codes, QR codes, customized and personalized marketing — these are a few ways you can track progress as part of an effective door to door sales campaign. 

As with any other marketing, all it takes is some planning on the front end, and you can sprinkle these elements into your door to door sales process. 

You know the cost of your campaign. With these tools working on your behalf, you’ll be able to record metrics like response rates, conversion rates, revenue, net profits, average transaction size, and whatever other ones you find useful. 

Try your next door to door marketing campaign

Ready to give this a go? Tired of competing against everyone else in the endless crazy world of digital marketing? 

With door to door sales campaigns — you have zero competition in the moment your marketing gets delivered and seen. No one else will be at the door waiting to make their pitch. 

You have their attention — alone — for much longer than a social media ad or the half-second it takes someone to sort their junk mail over the trash can.

Talk to a Power Direct consultant, and get your custom ad targeting report as part of your free project estimate.

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