Flyer Distribution – Should You Use Flyers or Door Hangers?

Is flyer distribution a valid form of direct marketing for bigger companies, or is it just for small businesses reaching local areas? It’s a good question, because using a flyer distribution service can no doubt be quite effective at engaging potential customers in their daily lives. 

A good way to answer this question is to compare flyers to door hangers. How are they similar? How are they different? 

They’re related enough that you might think of them as a similar form of marketing, but the truth is that one is far superior to the other.

Let’s get our terms straight first.

What is flyer distribution?

Flyer distribution refers to any coordinated marketing campaign that includes delivering flyers on behalf of a business. A flyer is sometimes glossy, often flimsy, and always easily disposable. It’s a method for attracting customers from a local area, often in proximity to the business doing the flyer delivery.

They may be comparable to a brochure in appearance or size. But you distribute flyers externally with the purpose of inspiring an action, whereas you distribute brochures after a customer enters a business. 

We’ll look at some different flyer distribution strategies a bit later.

Are flyers and door hangers the same thing?

No, but there is some overlap. Either can be used to target residents at their home, though flyers may also be handed out at events or placed on cars. 

Door hangers are much more professional than flyers. They’re typically higher-quality in terms of sturdiness (weight and finish of the paper used), design, and even in the distribution practices. 

While anyone could place flyers on car windshields (typically disgruntling the car owner), door hanger campaigns are highly-targeted in their reach, distribution is more carefully monitored, and quality of the product delivered is far superior. 

National brands choose door hanger campaigns because they’re more precise in their reach, and improve their brand perception instead of detracting from it like can happen with flyer distribution. Plus, door hanger distribution costs can be highly efficient.

How flyers and door hangers are different

Let’s break down some of the distinctions between these forms of media.

Quality and durability 

Flyers are easily disposable and thus do not make as strong of an impression. A slight breeze or brief sprinkle could ruin them. Door hangers tend to have more permanence. They’re thicker, stronger, more colorful, and make a much better impression. 

Cost to produce 

Flyers cost less money to create, and most recipients treat them as such. Door hangers are still an efficient marketing medium, but do require a greater investment than flyers. 

Production process 

You can often print flyers using local print shops, and many smaller businesses do exactly this. 

Door hangers use more customized, higher-quality printing processes, and in Power Direct’s case, we use environmentally-friendly inks and employ sustainability practices that make recipients view your brand more favorably. 

Plus, Power Direct’s door hanger printing capabilities are nearly unlimited. From scratch-offs, to scented prints and custom die cuts, we’re doing incredible things with this hand-held marketing media. 

Targeting

Flyers get their name in part because they can ‘fly’ around. These are meant to be quick and easy to distribute, with relatively low stakes. But you don’t usually create targeted flyer distribution campaigns, especially factoring in things like demographics, past customer data, or behavioral data. 

Flyer distribution can certainly target geographically, but this will be general in nature, not specific to particular residences. Every door gets one in a flyer distribution marketing campaign.

With door hanger distribution, however, you can use more advanced targeting methods to create more effective and efficient direct marketing campaigns that bring in new customers.

Power Direct uses the world’s leading data sets paired with research from our in-house, California-based data team and your own data sets to identify the exact streets (or even specific addresses) where your top prospects live. Then, we reach them with a high-quality, professional message that they simply can’t-miss. 

What’s better — flyers or door hangers?

Door hangers are the better choice. That said, there can be some exceptions. 

Are you a single location restaurant just trying to get the word out in your nearby community? Do you have a limited budget but a strong work ethic? Flyers and flyer distribution might be a good choice to help provide a quick boost to your business. 

So if you’re able to invest time, but not much money, flyers can work for you. There’s nothing wrong with that. 

If you do have an even modest marketing budget and a brand reputation to protect, door hangers are the way to go.

If you’re a marketer for any business and you’re judged by the results and efficiency of your work, door hangers are your ideal choice. 

If you have strong competition in your market and lofty growth goals, door hangers are for you. 

Five common flyer distribution strategies

While professional door hanger distribution is certainly a better option than distributing flyers, you may still have reason to explore flyer distribution as your business gets off the ground. 

Here are some of the most common methods used to distribute flyers around a local area. 

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Doors

Though some may fly away or otherwise be lost, you can often slide flyers into the cracks of doors or under welcome mats. 

You’ll need to make sure someone trustworthy — like yourself — does this, because it’s physically demanding work. Delivering flyers requires a lot of walking. A less motivated employee will likely go distribute the first couple hundred, and then might ‘lose’ the rest in a nearby dumpster or recycling bin. 

This is impossible with professional door hanger distribution through Power Direct, because we visually verify delivery of all door hangers in each campaign and document this for our clients to review. We use GPS monitoring to ensure distributors actually go to the front door of every address on the list and our employee auditors oversee each distribution. 

Everything is monitored from our California-based distribution headquarters and anomalies are caught — and fixed — immediately. 

You can watch flyer or door hanger distributions happen in real time through your client portal or ride along with our auditing team during distribution.

Cars in parking lots

If your business or offer relates to a particular demographic, or has proximity, placing flyers under the windshield wipers of cars in a well-chosen parking lot is a quick way to conduct flyer distribution. 

Just remember that when using this strategy, weather may be a factor. Also, when using this approach, you can return to the same lot multiple days in a row, such as a grocery store lot that is usually crowded.

Established brands will want to avoid this as there’s a high level of liability tied to this kind of distribution, it may violate local ordinances, and it could annoy car owners and lower your brand perception. 

At events

You can also pass out flyers at local events like concerts, sports events (high school, college, or pro), and indoor events like conventions and conferences. 

Power Direct has a brand ambassador service where we send trained teams of professional, enthusiastic individuals to represent your company with an in-person experience. This can include flyer distribution, but it will be much more engaging than just handing out leaflets to passing strangers. Plus, you’ll benefit from superior printing quality that’s also sustainable (customers will thank you for this).

Street corners

Speaking of leaflets, you can also just stand in high traffic areas and distribute flyers to people as they walk by. Most people take it when someone offers something to them. Many will look at it as they walk. This is one of those time-tested types of offline marketing campaigns that simply get results.

At malls

Malls are like an indoor version of a street corner. Pick a high traffic area, on a day with lots of shoppers such as weekends or certain evenings, and distribute flyers. Especially if your business is also in the same mall, this flyer distribution strategy is a terrific way to get more people to find your store and pay you a visit.

This is another case where established brands will need to be more careful as there’s additional liability attached to this method and malls may take issue with distribution unless you go through lengthy, sometimes costly, approval processes. 

The best alternative to flyer advertising

You should now have a good understanding of the advantages of flyer advertising. And you also know what door hanger marketing can achieve that flyer distribution services can’t do as well. 

With door hangers through Power Direct, you’ll deliver a much more efficient campaign through targeting and personalization. You’ll also get better visibility and consideration, because nothing beats the front porch for attention and for lack of competition or distraction. With all that going for you, you’ll earn a stronger ROI and better value for your marketing investment. 

Want to see some door hanger recommendations and a project estimate?

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A free, national ad agency-level targeting analysis using 600+ demographic variables, the latest data sets, and human-based refinement (our in-house, California-based team has decades of experience)? 

That’s a very valuable asset to anyone looking at front door direct marketing or flyer distribution services.

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Flyer Distribution FAQs

Is flyer distribution cost effective?

Flyer distribution is a relatively low-cost form of advertising. Designing and printing a few hundred or couple thousand flyers and distributing them in a local area can be done for minimal expense. For small businesses, flyer advertising is lower risk than more expensive forms of media.

However, professional door hanger distribution is more cost effective for established brands as audience targeting is much better, the media itself is higher quality, and accurate distribution is guaranteed and verifiable. 

What’s the most effective way to distribute flyers?

This really depends on your campaign goals and the number of flyers you have to deliver. You could distribute flyers door to door, on cars at a parking lot, at or outside a live event, on the street, or in the mall.

Can you target specific demographics with flyer distribution?

Generally, no. Flyer distribution is a form of local mass marketing. You print the flyers. You deliver them to the places you want to deliver them until they’re gone, and then you’re done. There isn’t a lot of personalization or demographic targeting here. You can certainly target by geography, however, such as certain streets, zip codes, and neighborhoods.

If you partner with a professional or agency with targeting experience, you can more accurately plan distribution to reach people more likely to be interested in your offer. 

Do any flyer distribution services offer GPS tracking?

Yes, Power Direct offers door hanger distribution, which is a more effective, mature, and sophisticated version of flyer distribution. Power Direct uses GPS as one part of their system to verify and report accurate distribution of front door media. 

What are the main benefits of flyer distribution?

Flyer distribution directly engages people in person, and this can happen in or near a place they live or work. The personal nature of flyers makes them more appealing than most digital marketing, as well as direct mail. Flyers are also low-cost and relatively low-risk. 

And you can easily track the effectiveness of flyer distribution services and other front door marketing campaign using basic direct response techniques.