The life of a leaflet deliverer

If you have ever attempted to deliver leaflets yourself, you will know that it can be extremely difficult. Whether you are delivering in pouring down rain or in hot summer weather, it can be a hard job.

Some areas may be full of terraced houses and can be very quick to get a few thousand leaflets delivered in a small amount of distance. Other areas have long gardens and driveways which each deliverer must walk back and fore to deliver the flyers. On some streets, houses have large stairways up or down to them.

When you are a leaflet deliverer with an ethical distribution company, you would have been given training and rules. In these rules, the deliverers are instructed to never jump over a wall between houses. This is to protect the deliverer from hurting themselves or even damaging a resident’s property. This means that the deliverer will have to walk up and down every driveway or staircase at the front of the property.

Opening and closing gates is another aspect of the properties that will slow deliverers down. It seems like such a quick and simple task but over a full day this can influence the time it has taken to distribute leaflets.

In the rules that a deliverer will have to abide by, it will note that you cannot deliver a leaflet to a house with a no junk mail sign on the front. The deliverers will usually not be able to see this from the outside of the house and will have to walk right up to the door to find out that they cannot even put a leaflet through the letterbox. Extremely frustrating when you have walked up a long driveway. 

The leaflets that are being delivered can have an impact on the speed it takes to deliver and how difficult of a run it is for the deliverer. Some flyers are often very thin and are difficult to push through letterboxes, which can slow down distribution dramatically. Some booklet style materials can often weigh a lot, and this can make the day of a deliverer more difficult than usual. Carrying around a heavy weight is something that can take its toll by the end of the day. The deliverer will also need to return to the car or van a lot to top up the stock they are carrying, slowing them down with the distribution.

Letterboxes on properties will vary throughout the area that a deliverer is operating in. Some are easy to push flyers through while others are very tough and may need two hands to do. This will slow deliverers down if they are having to stop and put their bundle of flyers between their legs, then play around with a letterbox.

When on a distribution run you will often have areas that you love to go to and others that you loathe. Reasons for disliking areas can include large hills which the deliverers have to climb or spaced-out houses such as country roads. These can be demanding on the deliverer physically.

Residents within areas are also a strong cause for concern when delivering as they can become hostile towards the deliverer. This can be as they did not want the leaflet, or they dislike the company who is on the advert. In some cases, there are just people in that area who will choose to abuse a leaflet deliverer for no reason whatsoever.

As stated here, the life of a leaflet deliverer can be extremely difficult. Every deliverer must be physically fit to be able to carry out their duties and be confident going to some areas.

Being a leaflet deliverer does come with its positives, however. Having a job that is outdoors and able to be carried out without a huge amount of thought can be quite calming. Some deliverers will put their headphones on and listen to music to help speed up the day.

A lot of leaflet deliverers will be self-employed and will also be paid for the quantity they deliver. This can be rewarding as some areas with street after street of terraced houses on the pavements can be delivered to in no time at all. Meaning you can get a few thousand leaflets out in one day. When it comes to the money the deliverer earns from this, it can work out at over £100 a day.

In easier areas, the leaflet deliverer might be told that they have a certain amount of quantity. If this is done quickly it can also result in an early finish for them, which is always a nice outcome.

Leaflet delivering can also be a flexible job and you could work it alongside studying. A lot of leaflet deliverers are retired and choose to do it to get out of the house or earn a bit more money.

As with any job, being a leaflet deliverer comes with its positives and negatives. Leaflet deliverers can go through a lot to get a clients’ leaflets delivered on time and should always be respected for how hard they work.

Scams in leaflet distribution

A lot of businesses have been unfortunately sold leaflet distribution by unethical companies and have literally paid the price. There are many ways in which leaflet distribution companies scam businesses into using their services and telling them everything has been completed. 

You should always research the company you choose to use for your leaflet distribution and if they have any testimonials, maybe chase them up and ask them about their service and response rates.

Some leaflet distribution companies will have no intention of ever delivering your leaflets once they have them and take a business’s money, regardless. As with most services you will need to pay for the distribution before it commences, but once these unethical distribution companies have your money, they do not proceed with the work. They can get away with this, because by law you would have to prove that they have not delivered your leaflets, which is extremely difficult to do, but certainly not impossible. If you are scammed by a company who does this, you could go around the houses getting signatures of residents who confirm they never received one. This would need to be done as soon as possible, as these can become unreliable the longer you leave it. Backchecks only seem to be accurate within three days of distribution.

These sorts of companies often come with terms and conditions, that you would need to sign, that are completely one sided. Read these carefully and consider the fact that if you had no leaflets delivered, would their terms and conditions stop you from complaining. Terms and conditions are not uncommon among leaflet distribution companies, as on the other side of the fence, they sometimes get customers saying they have friends in the area who have not received flyers. These customers will then demand money back or not pay at all. Terms and conditions should cover the distribution company in these circumstances but also cover the business using them.

If you are choosing a leaflet distribution company to distribute your leaflets, then you should always ask them how they can prove that a team has delivered to the area requested. Most companies use back checks to ensure the team has done a correct job. These can come in many different forms. 

We would always recommend using a distribution company who has invested in having GPS trackers on their staff. This can be quite expensive for the company and reflect in their rate per thousand. However, when viewing the tracking data, you would be able to see the deliverer walking up and down driveways, giving you confidence that this has been done correctly. GPS tracking data is the most trustworthy way of proving distribution.

When choosing a leaflet distribution company, there are many ways you can guess that they are not being entirely genuine with you. You should always question the price per thousand, that you are quoted, if it seems cheap. There are many companies that will charge businesses as little at £20 per thousand, which when you work it out, is not possible. It would take an experienced deliverer around a full day to deliver 1,000 flyers. We highly doubt that deliverer is getting paid £20 for the day, let alone what the distribution company takes for arranging this. A fair distribution company would charge a fair price, and you should question anything seeming very cheap.

Another way of telling an unethical distribution company is if they are promising to deliver large quantities in unrealistic timescales. Most distribution companies being small enterprises would not be able to deliver large quantities at a time. If a distribution company is promising to deliver 10,000 leaflets in one day, then you should assume that they have at least 10 deliverers who will all be allocated that work on that one day.

When some leaflet distribution companies suggest that they can target specific areas, you should often ask where they are getting their information. A lot of credible companies would have invested in demographic software to get this targeted information, but some companies may suggest they are delivering based on your target audience, however, do not have the information to be able to do this effectively. They plan on just delivering to an area and possibly even charging you a further premium for targeted leaflet drops.

If you are choosing to have your leaflets delivered solus, which means with no other flyers, then make sure that this is the case. Some leaflet distribution companies may tell you that you are receiving these services, but rather adding the leaflet to a shared distribution run. Unfortunately, when this happens, you are paying a higher price and not getting what you have been promised. This can then influence your response rates.

A final point to look out for when arranging your leaflet distribution, is the quantities that a company is giving you for each area. Some unethical leaflet distribution companies may choose to increase the quantity of households per area, so that when you cover an entire area, you have paid for more than what is necessary. No data that any company holds regarding households and even demographics is entirely accurate, as new houses are being built all the time and people are moving around regularly. But if a company’s quantities seem much higher than what you expected, this may be a chance to ask where this data was collected.

Being vigilant about the distribution company you choose and the way they operate can save you a lot of money and even time. You should never choose a leaflet distribution company just because they are the cheapest.

Using the leaflet network, ensures that you are using the best and most trustworthy team in your selected area at that time. Our teams change every so often, due to feedback we receive from clients who have targeted those areas and backchecks conducted by our in-house staff. This gives you the peace of mind that you are using a trusted service and getting what you have paid for.

Leaflet distribution missed properties

With leaflet distribution, you are delivering unaddressed material and cannot guarantee that every letterbox within an area will be found or reached. Some properties even, do not have letterboxes or have them in unusual places. Even flats are unreachable on many occasions as without a key to the front door, our staff cannot get in to deliver.

No leaflet distribution company can guarantee 100% coverage.

There are many reasons why there may be missed properties on a distribution run, such as no junk mail signs, no access, resident refused etc.

For insurance purposes there will be reasons why delivery staff cannot reach a letterbox of some properties. These reasons can include dogs roaming and work being carried out on the house or garden.

Following a distribution campaign, you should receive a list of properties that were missed while the deliverers were out on the run. This should work alongside a coloured map indicating where was delivered.

If you have a friend or family member on a coloured road that did not receive a leaflet, you should see their address noted within the missed properties list.

When a leaflet lands on a door mat of a house, the deliverers are certainly not in control of who picks that flyer up and whether they pass it on among the household. In a lot of occasions, the first person picking up the leaflet will assign it straight to the bin and therefore other residents within the house will not have seen this. This is unfortunate but can result in some people suggesting they have not received the flyer, when in fact they did.

Backchecking for Leaflet Distribution

When a leaflet distribution campaign is completed, it is the duty of the distribution company to be able to prove that every flyer was delivered. 

With some ethical companies who have every intention of delivering all your leaflets, the staff they choose to employ can let them down massively. Most likely every leaflet distribution company has come across a staff member who has attempted to cut corners and sometimes not even deliver any leaflets at all.

This is where every distribution company should back check the campaign, looking into each area and team individually.

The most reliable source of back checking is to have every staff member carry a GPS tracking device, that records all their movements while out delivering. This will show a staff member walking up and around each of the streets and include them walking up and down driveways and gardens.

The GPS tracking device will also show the time in the area. This can be useful to see exactly what time a specific street would have been delivered.

There is the problem that the staff member could have just walked around with the GPS tracking device, but if they were already walking around the streets then why would they choose not to deliver and risk getting caught that way.

A way to have further confidence in the distribution run is to request door to door back checks. This is when a team leader follows around the streets a few hours later and knocks on doors. When a resident answers, the team leader will present a copy of the flyer and ask if they have received it. For these sorts of back checks, some distribution companies may need to charge extra to cover the wage of the team leader conducting these checks.

Other back checks that distribution companies can provide include:

  • Telephone back checks – This is where an external company who has data of residents, including addresses and phone number, calls out to households to ask them if they received a flyer following distribution.
  • Sign off sheets – These are when a member of the team calls into the store if it is in the area and gets a sheet signed to show that the client has witnessed the team in that area. This is not hugely reliable as staff members could just call in for the signature. This could be used alongside GPS tracking to ensure everything matches up.
  • Secret Shoppers – This is when you have people in the area waiting to receive a leaflet. The team are not told about this address. If the street is coloured in and your secret shopper has not received one, then this will indicate that the distribution has not been completed correctly.

All back checks and follow ups should be completed within a few days of the distribution, otherwise they will not be valid or accurate.

Therefore, GPS tracking will always remain the best form of evidence, and other back checks should be used alongside this to add confidence to the run.

Does leaflet distribution work?

Leaflet distribution is one of, if not the best forms of direct marketing available to businesses. This is because you are giving every person in a household a physical advertisement that they can feel. A properly designed and printed leaflet is extremely effective in getting a message out. 

When you plan your distribution campaign correctly, covering every aspect you can, you can have some of the highest response rates out of all the marketing techniques. 

As with any marketing campaign, it would depend on the potential customer and what they subconsciously are most likely to engage with. Some people are more likely to respond to a social media advert, where some people will respond more to a physical leaflet.

Delivering your leaflets to the correct areas, following some audience and location research, will give your marketing campaign a great chance at being successful. When it comes to any form of marketing, it is important that you make more money back from the campaign that you spent conducting it. Leaflet distribution, when done correctly, is possibly the most cost effective.

Unfortunately, many businesses who have tried leaflet distribution campaigns, may not be entirely convinced. This could be due to poor planning or even using a distribution company who have not done a good enough job. 

There are many scams to avoid when choosing a leaflet distribution company, but when you have a team that are willing to complete the work correctly, leaflet distribution is an impressive marketing technique.

Retargeting areas for leaflet distribution

Before someone decides to buy your product or service, they need to feel like they know you. A good marketing rule of thumb to help customers make up their mind about purchasing is to ensure they hear your message at least 5 times.

This can be in the form of multiple avenues of marketing such as social media, pay per click etc. 

Retargeting builds visibility for your brand, allowing you to reach an audience that has already expressed interest in your products.

Leaflet distribution response rates will often increase the more times you target an area. While a lot of residents will purchase your offer on your flyer, the first time they see it. Others will not and getting the message back to them to remind them a second time will encourage a response from these.

We would recommend that you retarget each area once a month for three months. This will mean each household has received your flyer three times. If it is once a month, this is a great timescale, as the previous leaflet is still in the residents’ memory, whether they realise or not, and it is not too soon where it upsets potential customers. After the third time, you could have a break from targeting that area, not to overload your potential customers.

Consistency in leaflet distribution is extremely important and regular leaflet drops to regular areas is the best way to repeat business and gain more customers.

Choosing a Leaflet Distribution Company

Unfortunately, in the world of leaflet distribution companies, there are many businesses and individuals offering the service who may not carry it out as it is intended and agreed to be done. There are many scams to avoid when choosing a company to distribute your leaflets. 

Therefore, the leaflet network was started. The companies who were doing a correct job of delivering the leaflets, were having to charge rates that were far too high to compete with the companies who were using other means. By having a network of distribution companies working together, we can lower the rates and match runs up with each other. This means for a more cost-effective job for the teams and a far more efficient and trustworthy service for our clients.

As each of the companies used by us are vetted and trained to get into the network, we have a far more trustworthy service. Each team must abide by our strict rules and back checks on jobs, so they must be able to provide sufficient evidence for distribution. After trialling many teams throughout the UK, we believe we have been left with the most efficient and secure teams there are.

Following an enquiry through our website, you will be forwarded to our current team in the area you selected. We will also have a copy of the job you are having completed for you. The distribution team will then complete the order with yourselves and provide all sufficient evidence to us as well as you to prove distribution was completed successfully. Using our in-depth demographic and mapping software, we can thoroughly check all information to confirm that it matches up. 

Teams used by us, risk losing membership with the network if they are to receive any bad responses or feedback. Therefore, they will choose to give you the best services possible including their best price for the job.

We highly recommend using our network to get your distribution campaign underway, as this is by far the most secure and trustworthy method in the UK at the moment for completing a leaflet drop.

Corresponding marketing

When you are planning your leaflet distribution campaign, you should make sure that other avenues of marketing are offering the same deals. This can be extremely embarrassing if your leaflet is offering 20% off and then a customer goes to your social media to see you offering 50% off through that.

This can result in several negative outcomes. One outcome is that you receive no response from your distribution campaign, but loads from your social media, which is fine for you, but you have no accurate results to use for the next time you come to marketing. Another outcome is that a consumer loses trust in your company immediately and decides never to use you. This is a lost sale that you could have gained as a customer.

Another huge aspect of keeping other avenues up to date is to have a great website. If a customer reacts to your leaflet by visiting your website, and it does not reflect the same quality as your flyer, then this can leave the customer losing trust and again not buying from you. 

As mentioned in our design article, you should keep wording to a minimum on a flyer. This will cause the reader to visit your website if they would like to read more information. Your website can have as much information as possible as you are not usually limited with space for information. This can provide further answers to questions and further market your business for you.

Having a website that is in line with you branding and corresponds to your flyer will have a good impact on the trust a consumer has with your company. It shows that you are credible, and you are not likely to just take their money and run. Building trust with a potential customer is always important if you wish to convert them from a prospect to a returning customer. 

In some large marketing campaigns, leaflet distribution will be just one form of marketing that you choose to use to get your message out there. For example, if a company that makes cola, decides to launch a new product that is cherry flavour, they will push marketing through multiple avenues, including leaflet distribution, google adverts, YouTube adverts, TV adverts etc.

Coming at a consumer from multiple directions really does work well. However, this comes at a really high cost to the business. Therefore, you should choose the form of marketing that has the best return on investment, depending on your marketing budget. This often, when done correctly is in fact leaflet distribution.

Again, if you choose multiple forms of marketing for your campaign, then make sure they are all inline with each other, including the deals being offered and even the branding.

Timing your leaflet distribution campaign

The timing of your leaflet drop can have a huge impact on your response rates. For example, you might not choose to sell shorts as winter is approaching. But if you were to sell them as Summer is approaching then your response rates will increase dramatically.

As this is your business, you will usually have an insight into when are busy periods for your products or services and when are quiet periods. You could choose to do a leaflet drop to advertise ready for quiet periods that you are expecting. This will help you generate an income during a time that is usually not too great. However, if your quiet periods are due to your products or services not being relevant to the consumer at that time, then maybe this is just something that your business will have to accept. It will be important to generate more income and customers during your busier periods to make up for these quiet times, so that is when you should conduct a marketing campaign.

As previously mentioned about shorts, businesses that may deal only in these will not have many sales during the colder months but should make enough income during the warmer months to cover the entire year. A lot of businesses are seasonal in this way.

Aiming for periods that you know the consumers will purchase your products or services will be one step in planning. You already know there is a demand during that timescale, and this should be advised to the distribution company who will take this into consideration when setting a deadline for the delivery teams.

Researching other companies and their time periods may help you with the timescale you choose. There are online forums where you could ask the question and see what worked for other companies and what did not. If you were to ask the distribution team you choose to use, they may have an insight into what worked for previous clients at what times also.

If you have a deadline date on your flyer for a deal or offer, then you must ensure all the leaflets are delivered with enough time left to make a purchase. This should be stressed to the distribution team, and they should stick to the agreed timescale as best they can.

Solus or Shared leaflet distribution

Solus distribution refers to your leaflet being the only piece of marketing material being delivered to the area by the delivery team on that day. This means that, if there are no other distribution teams delivering to that area on that same day, then when the resident goes to pick up their mail from their door mat, yours will be the only advert waiting for them. This can result in a better response rate.

Benefits of a solus plan can include the flexibility that comes with this campaign. You can choose roughly when the distribution starts and when it ends. You can also be more specific with what areas and households you aim to target.

In a shared distribution run, your flyer will be delivered along with up to 3 other leaflets at the same time. There will be no conflicting businesses among these 4, but there will be other advertisements that the resident will have to look through to find yours. Experienced leaflet distribution teams will plan their runs to those areas carefully and try and use businesses that will complement each other.

Shared distribution campaigns are far more popular as the price per thousand leaflets delivered decreases dramatically. This is because up to 4 companies are sharing the cost of the delivery. For the cost reduction you can usually get over double the amount of leaflets delivered for the same cost as a solus campaign.

When a solus campaign is conducted, your leaflet still lands on the doormat along with other letters that have built up there from the day. This can also include other adverts depending on the postal sector and whether other teams have been delivering marketing materials there that day as well. So, in effect, you have paid for a solus campaign but still get the outcome of a shared campaign.

Therefore, we would often recommend a shared campaign to busier areas to reduce cost. As we previously mentioned, you can have a shared campaign for less than half the cost of a solus distribution run and will result in you getting more leaflets out for your budget. The quantity increase alone should result in a higher response rate.