7 Leaflet Distribution Mistakes That Are Killing Your ROI featured image showing a letter box.

7 Leaflet Distribution Mistakes That Are Killing Your ROI

Leaflet distribution mistakes can cost your business a whole lot more than money. In this guide, I’ll talk you through seven of the most common misunderstandings that we see here in Derby & Nottingham.

Sidestep the bloopers and set your next campaign up for success!


Often, newcomers to this form of marketing have failed to consider what’s needed for the best response rates. And that’s completely understandable.

Over nine years ago, when we set up (what was then known as) Clearcut Leaflet Distribution, we had no idea what we were doing.

Thankfully, over the following years, we homed in on what works and, equally important, what doesn’t.

Learning a little about best practices before your next design, print and distribution campaign will ensure your return on investment is worthwhile.

Let’s get into it.

1. Poor Quality Print

The most common of all the leaflet distribution mistakes is printing on the cheapest paper available. Although it may seem like it won’t make much difference, it dramatically impacts your response rates.

For example, a budget paper stock would generally be 130gsm, with gsm being the thickness of the stock (grams per square meter). So while (providing you’re working with a decent commercial printer) they’ll look ok, they’ll get easily crumpled in letterboxes when being delivered.

Not a good look.

The solution: 170gsm is the absolute minimum requirement for door drops. Even some of these will sometimes get crumpled. In a perfect world, and if the budget allows, up your stock to around 250gsm.

2. No Way of Tracking The Results

Another super-blooper is not having any way of knowing if your campaign worked or not. Again, a regular pitfall with many of the campaigns we work on when the client has handled the design and print.

If you’re simply sending out your flyers and hoping for the best, that won’t work. It needs to be much more targeted in how you can track its success. Additionally, there are several easy ways that you can implement tracking.

The solution: QR codes are a popular option. The code takes the viewer to a specific landing page, and you track the stats via your website analytics. Also, the old-school way of adding ‘mention flyer’ will quickly identify when they’re enquiring due to the distribution.

3. Not Using a Professional Distribution Company

Newcomers to leaflet distribution are often on the lookout for the best price. Again, understandable. However, as with almost everything, the cheapest option is rarely the best.

This industry is rife with half-arsed companies that don’t overly care about your success. Furthermore, plenty of them fall into the somewhat dodgy category.

The solution: Research, and plenty of it. Don’t choose a company just because they are the cheapest. What’s their history? Who do they work with? How are they coming across, and what knowledge are they providing?

4. No Deal or Offer

Although this one depends on what you’re advertising or promoting, an offer on your flyer has been proven to up your response rates with leaflet marketing.

Unquestionably, when executed correctly, people respond to deals and offers. It can be the difference between someone throwing your flyer in the bin and calling you as soon as they see it.

The solution: Wherever possible, include an offer with the flyer. This also ties in with the tracking mentioned in tip two. Think free trials (works exceptionally well for gyms), a percentage off the first order or even a free drink. The latter provided a pub we worked with, with no end of new customers. As you’d imagine, they stayed for more paid drinks and food.

5. Poor Design & Low-Quality Visuals

Another one of the most common leaflet distribution mistakes is when a business thinks that graphic design is easy and they can do it all themselves. Admittedly this was also my approach; however, although you may think it looks brilliant, it probably doesn’t.

Sites and apps like Canva undeniably make it easy to throw a flyer design together. But regardless, if you lack the knowledge of what’s needed on the flyer for the best response rates, it won’t work.

In addition, we often see low-quality photos, images and illustrations added to the artwork.

The solution: Everything on the design should be the highest possible quality. This means high-resolution images and vector files. If you’re designing it yourself, run it by a graphic designer before you send it for printing. If the budget allows, hire a designer to do it all for you.

6. No Social Proof

Social proof is showing the viewer of your flyer that you’re trustworthy and reliable. For this reason, it’s 100% essential.

Not including any social proof remains a widespread mistake.

The solution: Add your Google, Trustpilot or Facebook rating (as long as it’s positive). Moreover, a short snippet of one of the testimonials you’ve gained will harness your viewer’s interest.

Ouch! No website? Are you even legit, bro? This one’s a common downfall with property investors especially. Either they have a basic website that serves no purpose or have no website at all.

Either way, no website link on a flyer or leaflet would be cause for concern. Many folks interested in your flyer may want to investigate further by visiting your website. If they can’t do this, that’s potentially the end of their journey, and you’ve lost a customer or client.

The solution: Get a website. There’s no excuse not to have one these days. You can pay a web designer or agency to make you one or even set one up yourself on Squarespace or similar.

Leaflet Distribution Mistakes – Conclusion

Leaflet distribution mistakes are easily overcome when you know a little bit about how this sort of marketing works. This article has given you a decent understanding of everything we learned the hard way.

Avoid as many that are relevant to your next campaign to give it the best possible chance of success. Your seven areas to swiftly sidestep are:

  • Poor quality print
  • No way of tracking the results
  • Not using a professional distribution company
  • No deal or offer
  • Poor design & low-quality visuals
  • No social proof
  • No website link
mike hindle emoji

Thanks for reading!

Mike Hindle – Founder & Owner
Clearcut Derby

High-impact leaflet distribution campaigns in Derby, Derbyshire, Burton-on-Trent & Staffordshire.