It used to amaze me when we got calls asking what we were doing that was different to other leaflet distribution companies. At first I thought it was the leaflet design (as we often do the design or recommend changes to it to improve response). But then we noticed we would also get the same question even if we were doing exactly the same leaflet as was done before. I could have decided we had magical powers but being a bit more down to earth than that I decided to investigate further and see if we could discover the real reasons why we could pull a better response than others.
The first thing we noticed is many just pay their staff - even if they are not full time - to distribute a volume leaflets - we long since learnt that many part time or temporary staff will easily convert "distribute the leaflets" to "get rid of the leaflets". This is a management madness – you can't ask someone like this to hand-out 1,000 leaflets and then leave them to it - the chances of the job being done right are close to zero in my experience. They just don't have that level of responsibility and I'm not being mean – just real I'm afraid. I have much bitter experience on this front.
To that end and to improve the results we changed our business structure. We only employ full time staff for starters as that gives an immediate upgrade to the appraoch they have to the job – a professional one! We also pay for time not just the amount of leaflets that are gone when they come back. This allows them to use intelligence in the distribution as they aren't forced to get rid of 1,000 fliers as quickly as possible. Their job is to get results - which is what the customer wants too. Some leaflets can cost quite a bit and if they are treated with respect I find they always do better than if they are just thought of as something to dispose of. Much thought and design is usually put into one so it is only reasonable the same care is taken to get it into the hands of a potential customer.
By running things this way we are far more likely to get leaflets delivered to appropriate letter boxes whether they are residential ones or businesses ones as that is what we pay for. This way we can get the same result for a smaller distribution. We can also reach the letter boxes that are so often missed - as they are too far apart for easy disposal. Some products are best advertised to bigger houses which are far apart - this can cost three times as much in quantity terms than a terraced street but if you are selling swimming pools or high value properties anything less is a complete waste. Also – as they more rarely get any leaflets at all they can get a much better response. You'd be surprised at how many leaflets some terraced houses get!
This doesn't totally negate the fact that high volume and regular leaflet promotion doesn't get consistent and useful results. I by no means think getting out a hundred leaflets is going to replace getting out 100,000. We are just pointing out that 100,000 delivered intelligently and properly delivered through doors may take twice as long to do right (or should I say ACTUALLY DELIVER) but will usually get three or four times the response over what all to often passes for "leaflet delivery". It is an ethical point really – just doing the job that was ordered and not some pretence of having done it. Hence we like to push pride in the work done with proper uniforms and the tools to do the job right and treating our staff with respect whenever they have earned it. Which I'm happy to say is the vast majority of the time, we simply don't tolerate anything less, perhaps that is whay we are expanding as a company?