Ep 122 – Leanne Shelton: Do flyer mail outs and printed ads still work?

Apr 18, 2022

Printed ads in this day and age

Have you ever considered printing out flyers to promote your business?

Or have you been putting ads in the paper for months or even years?

But do you know if these methods are actually increasing engagement with your business – in a world heavily dominated by the digital space?

Well, today I’m going through some statistics with you and discussing whether or not flyers and printed ads would be useful for you in this day and age.
But first of all, I want to give a big shout out to my work experience student, Grace, for her amazing efforts to put all this data – and a large portion of this episode – together.

Thanks Grace! As I said, you’re welcome to come back and work for me anytime.

Okay, without further ado – let’s jump into the episode!


So as a part of Advertising April, I thought I’d take the show right back to the old school forms of marketing.

Like flyers and printed ads. And discuss whether they should be part of your marketing campaigns.

Digital media and marketing is consistently on the up and up – but what about printed marketing? Many people will say that it’s either dead or dying – but how much truth does that hold?

When you think of flyer mail outs, you probably think of spam and unwanted pieces of mail that wind up in your letterbox that have no relevance to you. And yes, many businesses take this approach – but it’s been shown to be largely ineffective.

This is because many take a ‘spray and pray approach’ – meaning they’re not properly targeting their audience.

I reckon there’s an art to ensuring you get these types of results.

Mailouts will be more effective if you’re promoting something people definitely need or want. So you have to know your demographics.

And timing it right is key as well.

Like sending out gift-related brochures just before Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or Christmas.

On the other hand, even if you offer something that’s timeless – like you offer beauty treatments or organic fruit boxes – it can be hard to get a response from the flyer alone. For these types of businesses, people are likely to seek feedback from friends or family first. Or check out your website and Google Reviews.

So make sure your online presence is up to scratch!

The most important part to ensure success with printed mail outs is actually addressing your mail to people – rather than randomly distributing them far and wide.

In a report done by Australian Post, 43% of Australians make a purchase as a direct result of receiving a piece of mail and 58% say they’re likely to follow up on offers when receiving a piece of mail. This is almost the same amount of those who open promotional emails (roughly 40%).

But getting these mailing lists for people you don’t know can be hard to obtain. And no one likes those spammy letters.
You probably get those letters saying your business name is up for renewal and encourage payment – and they’re not from ASIC. I’m like hell no!

Having said that – mail outs to existing clients can actually have a wonderful impact.

In a world where everyone is emailing, getting goodies or a magazine highlighting special offers for products and services they already love are very well-received.

Because not everybody does that.

Following the recent Altitude Conference, I’ve pledged to myself to start sending out more goodies in the mail to my valued clients. And not just at Christmas time.

I actually bought the postage packs just the other day to get the ball rolling…

So do you send out personalised stuff in the mail?

Or are you successfully doing flyer distribution? If you’re getting a good ROI from the random mailout thing, I’d love to hear about it. Pop me a PM on LinkedIn or Instagram and let me know.

Okay, let’s look at print advertising.

Knowing your demographics is also important when thinking about whether print ads are something that would be rewarding for your business.

You need to ask yourself:
– What age group am I trying to reach?
This is a key one to get clarity around. A recent study by News Media Alliance, showed that the median age of newspaper readers is 57.9 years old – with the age range for magazines being 18–49-year-olds.

You also want to ask yourself:
– Will printed ads actually increase my enquiries?
Unlike digital advertising, tracking the success rate of printed ads can be harder.

So I recommend featuring a QR code or URL to a unique link that’s only used for print advertising. That way, you can check out your Google Analytics to see how many people came through to your business that way.

You can also provide a special offer like ‘10% off when you mention this ad’. But many people will forget to mention the ad…I know it’s something I’m likely to do – and kick myself later.

Another option is to ensure you’re asking EVERYONE where they found out about you. If it’s in a booking form, ensure you include ‘print advertisement’ as one of the options. If it’s via the phone, you might need to leave yourself (or your receptionist) a sticky note reminding you to ask the question!

Depending on the publication, some offer the opportunity to write advertorial to accompany your print ad.

Advertorial = ad plus editorial. AKA editorial or copy you have paid to be featured.

This gives you the opportunity to provide the reader with tips and tricks – while also advertising your products and services.

If you can get yourself a regular column or feature, that’s even better – as you can build up your sense of authority and brand awareness.

Okay – the next thing to look at when it comes to printed flyers and ads is the cost vs reward.

Print ads tend to be more expensive than online ads. I know I’ve paid – or my employer or client has paid – a minimum of $400 for a quarter page ad in the past.

So this is where you have to be confident about your return on investment before going down that path.

Don’t just put all your eggs in the newspaper basket because that’s the way it’s always been done. Or what some of your competitors are doing.

Online ads can be a lot more targeted and can attract much better results.

Go back to the last couple of episodes with Mia and Petru to learn more about that side of things.

So while people may say that flyers and printed ads are a thing of the past, the truth is that they can be effective if approached in the right way.

When it comes to marketing your business, it’s all about trial and error – but I hope this episode has offered some different options to explore.


Throughout her career, Leanne Shelton has gained vast experience in journalism, marketing, communications, events, and B2B sales. She has worked in both corporate and not-for-profit roles, but since starting Write Time Marketing in 2014, Leanne has found her true calling.

A self-proclaimed English nerd at heart, Leanne is extremely passionate about the written word and loves working with Health & Wellness business owners to prepare effective content marketing strategies to best suit their target audiences. Even though she has dabbled in all forms of copywriting, Leanne specialises in business blogging as she loves the capacity to form ongoing relationships with her clients.

While some business owners choose to outsource their blogs to Leanne to write, others prefer to take the DIY approach and learn about the art via training opportunities online, face-to-face, and her podcast ‘Marketing & Me’.

Outside the office, Leanne enjoys dancing, reading, listening to inspiring podcasts, and spending quality time with her husband and two young daughters.


Write Time Marketing Available Trainings: https://www.writetimemarketing.com.au/academy/

Infographics (made by Grace)”

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