Effective Flyer Advertising

"Print is expensive and it doesn't work." How often do you hear that? If print did not drive store traffic and generate results, brands like Canadian Tire, IKEA, Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart and Home Hardware would not be consistently printing and distributing flyers each week. It's not because they have a limitless budget (they actually have extremely tight budgets), nor do they have huge marketing teams ready to execute the flyer program -- they allocate very few resources to their print flyer advertising campaigns. The reason flyer advertising works for these brands is because they each:

  •  have a compelling offer that motivates action
  • offer a time sensitive and clear call-to-action
  • use a targeted distribution plan that is measureable

In our digital world of smart phones, tablets, and laptops you would think that print is outdated – but that is far from the truth! Simply put, print performs. Consistently helping businesses drive store traffic and increase awareness in the marketplace. A well designed and executed print campaign breaks through the clutter and positions your business in front of prospective customers.

In this article, you will learn 15 Steps to Effective Flyer Advertising to drive customer, store and website traffic and how to motivate prospective customers to take action. Learn how you too can generate leads to your business with effective print campaigns. People are looking for your products and services; let’s motivate action with a marketing campaign that gets results!



Flyers are an effective marketing tool to promote a store opening, sale event or promotion, or to maintain market share with consistent brand awareness campaigns. Flyers are relatively inexpensive when you consider the number of mailboxes and households they reach, and they help grow your business quickly. Flyer printing typically starts at 5¢ each, with the largest expense being postage or newspaper distribution. Before you plan your next flyer campaign, consider investing in creative design so you get the response you desire. With that in mind, let's maximize the return on investment with these steps:

Step #1: Use bold and large images to capture your audience's attention. All images should be high resolution with a minimum of 120 dpi (dots per inch) to eliminate images from "blowing out" or becoming "fuzzy".

Step #2: Make it easy for your audience to understand what you want them to do. Offering a clear Call-to-Action to motivate a response is imperative – some examples: 


Step #3: Creative design is a great way to inspire action. Printed flyers cut through the clutter and position your business directly in front of your prospective customers -- use creative to attract and engage them!



Flyers are an opportunity to capture an audience's attention and potentially convert them into paying customers. Create an offer that motivates your target audience to take action; consider a one-day sale event or seasonal promotion, or an offer that solves a problem for them, or an Enter to Win campaign to drive traffic back to your website or store.


A clear Call-to-Action is designed to motivate prospective customers to take action. Do you want them to call you? visit your website? come to your store for a one-day sale event? Clearly articulate what you want them to do next. We often see flyers and postcards that showcase the business with great images, but do not motivate us to take action or tell us what they want us to do. 


Step #4: Cut through the clutter in mailboxes with a timely, one-day sale event or seasonal promotion. Each business has a “season” when prospective customers are looking for your products and services. Engage and motivate them with a flyer into their mailbox.

Step #5: Identify a problem your prospective customer may have and solve it. Understanding your customers needs and getting to the core reason people take action will increase your response rates for your flyer campaign.

Step #6: An Enter to Win campaign is a great way to attract people back to your store or website and collect emails for lead generation.



Printing is the cheapest component of a flyer campaign, with postage or newspaper distribution being the highest. Since you are investing your time, effort and money into each flyer, ensure you maximize the space available and any group or bulk print savings available from the printer.

Step #7: Maximize the image area and print on both sides of the flyer for your promotion. Speak to your printer about ideal sizes and press efficiencies. Digital Printing uses specific paper sizes to run through their printing presses. You can save money by printing multiple flyers or postcards on one piece of paper stock at one time, we call that running 6-up or 8-up. Running 8 flyers on one piece of paper stock, are then trimmed offline to maximize press efficiencies. Web Printing is used for long run print jobs, typically 50,000 flyers or more. Web printing is extremely fast and is the most economical way of printing. Using rolls of paper stock, the press feeds the paper through the inks and dryers, folds and trims and spits out the flyer at the other end. It would only take a press 90 minutes to print 50,000 flyers and it is reflected in the price. 

flyer advertising web press

Step #8: Use colour to attract. Whether you are printing with a Digital Press or Web Press, always use colour – unless your campaign uses a particular theme or style that does not require colour. If your printer is charging more for colour, shop around until you find a printer that has the best press for your campaign or project. Also, don’t cheap out on paper. Try to find the best thickness of paper that fits your budget and will be well received by your prospective customers. Once again, the printing process is the least expensive part of your campaign, cut costs elsewhere.

Step #9: Group press runs. When working with a printer ask about group printing your upcoming flyers at one time or tag-on to another print run to save money. Once a press is set-up for production that includes paper, ink, fold and trim settings; it’s easy for them to change the plates between jobs and the pressman LOVE IT because it makes their 12 hour shift fly by!


Take time to plan your distribution patterns, neighbourhoods you wish to target, and the frequency of your campaign. Typically, a campaign needs to be seen three times (3x) before significant action is taken. The purpose of your flyer campaign is to draw awareness to your business, attract prospective customers to your business, and then motivate them to take action. Seems like a lot of work, but following these steps will maximize your results and increase your chances of a significant response rate which equals leads and new customers for your business!


Unsure of where your prospective customers live? Or don’t have the budget to target an entire neighbourhood? Consider these tactics to help with your distribution plan:

Step #10: Export your current customer database into excel and sort via city or postal code. Once you have identified the area or postal code most of your customers come from, go target their neighbours! Using Canada Post’s Precision Targeter, you can see the number of houses, apartments, farms and businesses within each postal code. This can be cumbersome, and kind of clunky – if you need help, we can plan your distribution for you!

Step #11: Have a certain neighbourhood or area you wish to target, but don’t know how many houses are within each area? Once again, use Canada Post’s Precision Targeter – it has each neighbourhood mapped out to help with planning.

Step #12: Distribution management comes down to understanding who you are trying to attract to your business. Keep in mind, newspapers and Canada Post deliver to all households which includes: houses, apartments, farms and businesses. Depending on your business and campaign, you may want to save on distribution costs by targeting houses only.

As with any distribution service, there are specifications for delivery and how product must be received at the warehouse. Your printer should know how to deliver flyers to Canada Post or the local newspaper warehouse; but it’s ultimately up to you to ensure it is delivered properly and in a timely fashion to meet your in-home dates (when your flyer hits mailboxes).



Ensure your website is ready to receive leads. Ideally, your flyer advertising is designed for success with creative design, a compelling offer, targeted to the right neighbourhood or prospective customer, and has motivated them to take action. Make sure your website is ready to receive leads to help grow your business.

Step #13: Consistent Messaging across all platforms including your flyer or direct mailer, your website, your email campaign, and your social media channels. This helps people understand they are visiting the right place from the flyer or mailer they received. The last thing you want is a missed opportunity to capture a potential new customer's attention and email address!

Step #14:  Continue to motivate by designing the customer experience online. Just as your prospective customer responds to your Call-To-Action when they receive your flyer or direct mailer, make sure you have a clear message of what you want them to do next when they visit your website i.e. Click Here button or Enter to Win button either at the top right of your website or the centre of the page. 


Step #15:  Install Google Analytics and measure results! You have put a ton of time, effort and money behind this campaign -- make sure you measure the effectiveness of it. Google Analytics tracks visitors to your website and can see how many people visited your website once your flyer dropped.