When you’re handing out flyers, you might feel like you’re wasting your time. Is it even going to make a difference? Maybe you’re looking for local support, promoting an event, or starting a business. In any case, flyer-wranglers know that awful feeling – the sense that what you’re doing isn’t working. When someone takes a flyer only to throw it in the trash down the block, it’s frustrating.

It’s said that in the out-of-home marketing scene, the average response rate to handing out flyers is only 3%. While that may seem like a low number, there are strategies to reach your target customers more effectively. When promoting your business on the streets, it is crucial to be aware of the most common pitfalls.

Here are 10 examples of what not to do when handing out flyers.

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1. Forgetting To Research Laws In Your Area

In the United States, handing out leaflets and flyers to people is a form of speech. This is protected by the First Amendment. Commercial speech, however, is classified differently than regular speech. In the case of targeted ads, the government has the right to limit and regulate how you hand out flyers.

Generally speaking, it is always best to do your homework on the law. You may want to advertise near a busy building only to find that it is a private property at certain times of the day. Flyers effectively help your relationship with customers with correct customer service.

Additionally, how you conduct yourself is also critical. When handing out flyers in public spaces, you are not allowed to incite riots or any other form of violence. The best way to do this, especially in big cities, is to avoid swearing and offensive communication. This could not only escalate certain situations, but it can get you in trouble for harassment.

In most cases, an advertiser must simply use common sense. The laws are quite easy to follow. An important element of service for hand to hand advertising is awareness and people skills.

2. Forgetting Your Target Audience

man handing out a flyer to a person on the street

We couldn’t stress enough how crucial it is to identify your target audience. This goes for all areas of advertisement, but especially for outdoor marketing. If you are handing out flyers in an outdoor area, it is best to do so in a place where pedestrians are more likely to use your product or service.

One of the best ways to gain customers is to create advertisements that appeal to them in a personal way. You’ll need to research or observe the demographics in your chosen area.

If a given street is home to a mostly elderly population, for example, it wouldn’t be beneficial to pass out flyers for a college program.

3. Ordering/Printing The Wrong Amount Of Flyers

printing flyers to hand out

This is a very important aspect of distributing flyers that are often overlooked. Most people would advise you to always carry extras, just in case.

While this is a solid suggestion, you do not want to end up overspending on leaflets. Besides, you always want to leave room to experiment. If one flyer design isn’t selling well, you’ll want the ability to buy another, updated batch.

As mentioned earlier, the average flyer response rate is 3%. Taking this into consideration, we can estimate that if you’d like to gain 100 new customers, you’ll need 3500 copies. As you get out on the street more, you’ll be able to more accurately determine how many pamphlets are needed for your particular campaign.

4. Not Having A Prepared Speech

word bubble with crumpled up flyers

Many salespeople think it is satisfactory to give a simple greeting while shoving a pamphlet in a passerby’s face. The problem with this tactic is that you’ll give potential customers zero context. When handing people a flyer, you must answer two unspoken questions; “What is this?” and “Why are you giving me this?”

Always remember to be charismatic. Start a conversation with something your average customer wants. Instead of asking, “Would you like to hear about our insurance program?” start with, “Would you like to learn a new way to save money?”

Think of your starting sentence as real-life clickbait. You want to get people’s attention. If you manage to stop someone in their tracks, try to make sure they get a flyer, even if they don’t want to hear your speech. Some people will be interested in your brand but also have somewhere to be.

5. Speaking Like A Salesperson

woman giving a presentation about handing out flyers

Believe it or not, speaking exactly like a salesperson doesn’t always lead to sales. Charisma is an advantage, but you must also be approachable and down to earth. Sometimes, having an overly professional speaking voice can give off the impression of a robot. While it’s always critical to have a good speaking voice, you’ll want to talk to pedestrians as if they were a friend. 

6. Staying In One Place When Handing out Flyers

Limiting your area of advertising to one place will severely limit your reach. Places have various amounts of traffic at different times. You can try moving locations if one does not work out.

Furthermore, advertisers can hand out flyers to other businesses. Simply walk into any establishment and ask permission to place a stack of flyers on their countertop.

Some places might be nice enough to promote your brand. Other times, it may be helpful to come to an agreement. For example, they can carry your flyers, while you take some of their business cards to put in your shop. 

7. Creating Boring Flyers

hand to hand, door to door, marketing strategies

 If you don’t want people to throw away your handouts, you must make them look presentable and interesting. You can do this by using bold colors, high-quality images, engaging visuals, and unique details. 

Treat the flyer as if it were its own product. It has to prove its value to the average customer and must do so quickly. 

8. Not Taking Advantage of Holidays or Local Events

hand out flyers, product or service, potential customers

It should go without saying that holidays and events are great for business. There are more people in the commercial areas during festive times. Those people are in a happier mood than usual, and more likely to accept a flyer. 

9. Pestering Pedestrians

Do not harass pedestrians into taking a pamphlet or listening to your speech. Not only will you miss out on potential customers, but you’ll also give them a bad impression of your business. When handing out flyers, street heckling is the worst thing you can do.

10. Taking Things Personally

element of service, target audience, leaflet distrubition

When handing out flyers on the street, you’ll come across all sorts of people. Some are ruder than others when it comes to salespeople.

You must be prepared to come across the annoyed, tired, or just plain old mean passersby. If you ever feel you are in danger, however, leave the premises. No promotion is worth losing an eye.

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