She stood on a street corner handing out flyers. Good marketing, or not?

Woman practising yoga

She stood on a street corner handing out flyers.

Good marketing, or not?

A Pilates instructor told me that she had taken to standing on street corners handing out flyers as a way of her promoting her business. She didn’t know if it was the right thing to do, she just thought it was good to ‘get out there’ and people would be able to put a face to a name.

What do you think? Do you think this is a good use of her time? Given the response rate to leafleting is about 1%.*

The answer isn’t as obvious as it may seem. As is mostly the case in this world, it depends on the who, what, where, when and one other ‘w’ that I’ll explain at the end. (Hint: it’s the most important one in this case.)

Who was she targeting?

This woman was a high end Pilates instructor conducting 121 coaching. Her target audience were people who wanted to make noticeable progress with their Pilates and to protect themselves from injury. Aged 35+, socioeconomic group ABC1 (i.e. got a bit of cash to spend). Her ideal customer would naturally be interested in exercise and probably healthy eating.

What was she offering?

To maximise response rates and to enable her to track the success rate of this activity, she could offer something extra e.g. free taster lesson (reason to respond) with this flyer (allows her to see how many found out about her because of the flyers). Another way to do it would be ‘10% off when you quote this code xxxx’.

Where did she do it?

Now we’ve got a good idea of who she’s trying to reach, it is easy to see that handing out her leaflets outside KFC or similar probably wouldn’t yield very good results. Positioning herself within striking distance of the health food shops would probably be a better bet.

As with any marketing activity, you’ve got to show up when you’re customers are active. Standing around trying to hand out leaflets when there is no one about would clearly be a fruitless task. Checking when footfall on the high streets is busiest would save time in the long run.

She might also want to think about the time of year. Just after new year or just before the summer season might catch people who want to kick start their fitness.

A note on return on investment (ROI)

Ms Pilates also has to take into consideration the cost of her own time plus the cost of producing the flyers versus what returns she gets on that investment i.e. how many people followed up and contacted her for more info or to book a session.

This is where tracking and analysis comes in. It doesn’t need to be complicated, but as many of your sales and marketing efforts need to be reported on as possible so you can tell what is working and do more of it. If it’s not working, don’t do it. Simples.

Stay tuned for a separate blog working through whether this activity made financial sense for the Pilates instructor. I’m also going to cover how to tackle reporting on more intangible marketing activities like building awareness of your brand.

And now the all important 4th ‘W’…

Drum roll….

Whether or not she checked with the local authorities

If you want to distribute any sort of free promotional printed material on the streets** you MUST check with the local authorities. If you distribute printed material without a licence or break the rules of your licence, you could be fined up to £2,500 and a get a criminal record.  (Click here to check if you need permission to leaflet in your area). 


*Source: The Direct Marketing Association. I have used their response rate to door dropped leaflets, but I think it’s a fair comparison, possibly even a generous one i.e. even less people would respond to untargeted leafleting in the street.

** If you want to post leaflets through doors, different rules apply.


Work with me

Got more ideas than time to implement? Book a call with me to talk about working 121. I can help you prioritise your time, energy and marketing budget to get better results for less effort. 

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