Is It Worth Printing Flyers for a New Business?

When was the last time you made a decision based on a physical flyer you saw on the street? Printing flyers has fallen out of fashion over the past several years, partially in response to the cost-efficiency and scalability of digital marketing and inbound marketing campaigns. However, flyer printing is far from obsolete; backed with modern strategies and efficient printing, flyers can be an incredibly effective way to promote your business.

But if you’re launching a new business, with limited visibility and almost no budget, are flyers worth the time, money, and effort to circulate?

The Advantages

Let’s start by looking at what flyers can do for your new business:

  • Competitive differentiation. Companies have been increasingly shifting their efforts to digital marketing, with total spending in the United States projected to reach $120 billion by 2021. This is mostly due to the low costs and ease of entry for the majority of digital marketing strategies. However, it also means that companies have left the traditional advertising game in droves; in other words, there’s far less competition. Printing and distributing flyers could be a way to differentiate your business and stand out in an otherwise crowded market.

  • Modern cost-efficiency. Thanks to new printing technology and more cost-effective businesses, printing flyers is less expensive than it’s ever been. It only costs a few hundred dollars to print up thousands of flyers (depending on what options you select), and your distribution method probably won’t cost much more. Even if only a small percentage of your flyer recipients end up making a purchase, you can still see a reasonable return on investment (ROI) from the strategy.

  • Local targeting. Flyers tend to be distributed around your city or neighborhood. This makes them ideal for capturing the attention of a local audience. If you’re a small business who wants more local customers, this is a far more efficient strategy than trying to target people through online efforts. It also serves as a way to restrict your audience, so you don’t end up targeting people who wouldn’t be interested in your services to begin with.

  • Offline users. The vast majority of United States adults use the internet regularly (89 percent to be exact), but that doesn’t mean they’re all using the online channels in which you choose to operate. If you only focused on online advertising, you’d run the risk of excluding a significant portion of the population altogether—a portion that could hypothetically be reached by a printed flyer.

  • Immediate effects. Many online strategies take months to years to fully develop, such as content marketing or social media marketing. Printed flyers work immediately. It doesn’t take long to design an advertisement, or to print your initial run. Once distributed, people will begin to see your flyers instantly, and once they do, they’ll be equipped with all the information necessary to (hopefully) make a purchasing decision.

The Downsides

There are, of course, some disadvantages to consider as well:

  • No growth curve. One of the biggest advantages of online inbound marketing strategies like content marketing is their virtually unlimited ROI; because you’ll constantly build on your older foundations, and because there’s no limit to how far you can expand, your ROI tends to increase over time, all without a substantial increase in investment. Flyers tend to have a flat rate of return, meaning if you want to see more results, you’ll have to spend more on flyers.

  • Location limitations. Flyers are great if your entire audience is local, but what if you want to target some users on the other side of the country? They simply aren’t efficient tools for nation-wide advertising campaigns.

  • Online absence. The advantages of online marketing strategies are too significant to ignore. If you only focus on creating and distributing printed flyers, you’ll alienate all your potential online users, and miss out on the benefits that those strategies hold.

  • Measurability. Finally, printed flyers are hard to measure in terms of effectiveness. You might be able to include a custom discount code or a custom URL on your flyers, but how can you measure how many people stopped to look at the flyer versus how many people threw it away? Digital marketing strategies offer far more insights on key performance indicators (KPIs) and other metrics.

So is it worth printing up flyers to promote your new business? That depends on how you intend to use them. Flyers are still a cost-efficient and potentially effective marketing strategy, but they won’t give you all the advantages that a well-rounded, modern digital marketing campaign can. Accordingly, using flyers as your sole means of marketing and advertising isn’t advisable, but as a complement to your other efforts, it can be a major win for your company.