Are Marketing Flyers Still Relevant in a Digital World?

In a world saturated with online media, does traditional print media still hold a distinct appeal?

In a world saturated with online media – interactive video ads, polished company websites and intricate social media tie-ins are commonplace – traditional print media still holds a distinct appeal. A well-done marketing flyer can be an effective tool in the arsenal of a startup or small business owner looking to make an impression on potential clients: It’s tactile, memorable and portable, whether tucked in a book or folded in a pocket.

Flyers carry the visual impact and branding power of a poster, but allow for greater distribution, allowing your message to reach even more potential clients, particularly those who might be accustomed to dismissing online and television ads or walking past posters and billboards.

To ensure marketing flyers effectively convey your message to the right people, consider the following tips when designing and distributing them:


  • Opt for an Eye-catching Design

    Look and feel is everything. A bold flyer design generates initial interest – it’s the difference between a potential recipient looking at your flyer or passing by, so it’s the most important element to plan. Whether it is drawn by freehand or designed in photo editing software like Illustrator or Photoshop, ensure your flyer design is not too text-heavy or lacking contrast, white space, and balance. Too much text or light/dark space can be unpleasant to look at (even at a glance).

    The most effective flyers present a balanced composition and make effective use of well-positioned text and images to pique interest and visually guide the recipient through the flyer’s compact space. While it may be tempting to make use of your favorite fonts to make your flyer design “pop,” keep in mind that too many mismatched fonts can make your design seem chaotic and unprofessional. Pick a clean, readable font that scales well, and avoid using more than two or three different fonts in your flyer.

    Unless you’re trying to evoke a vintage or slightly dark mood with a sepia-toned or black-and-white composition, choose your colors carefully too. Avoid the “rainbow effect” unless it’s part of your branding and create a strong contrast with complementary colors – such as a rich shade of blue with a bold red-orange or lavender and marigold – offset by bold black lines and just the right amount of white space. Too many colors can have the same effect as several different fonts side-by-side. Whether you’re working with a crowdsourced graphic designer or a design firm, convey your expectations as specifically as possible for optimal results.

  • Engage Recipients with Interesting Content

    If your flyer design piques a viewers’ initial interest and draws them in, its content is what will hold their attention. Refrain from hooking them with standard advertising copy praising your product and encouraging them to visit your company website for more information. If potential clients feel they are being “pitched” they might abandon your flyer completely.

    Instead, make them think: Pose a riddle or intriguing question, or make add a hidden image or picture to compel them to participate in a project that gives your brand exposure while appealing to their curiosity and needs. For example, a diverse range of companies have formed advertising campaigns around consumers submitting handmade videos or pictures using their products and services.

    Ultimately, an effective marketing flyer generates interest and invites participation without a hard sell. Whether they’re finding out the answer to a question or puzzle you highlighted on the flyer or drawn in via a dedicated social media message, your flyer has succeeded in engaging them.

  • Don’t Skimp on Flyer Printing

    Since your flyer is fundamentally a tactile experience, make sure your brand image and quality is reflected in every aspect of the finished product. In addition to a sharp design and well-drafted content, spend a few cents more to ensure your flyer is printed on durable and high quality paper.

    For a modern design, pick a smooth paper with a matte finish; for a vintage design with hand-lettered print, consider a paper that looks equally “handmade” with texture and minimal gloss. Also, make sure that your colors are optimized for print – your digital image should be in CMYK format (i.e., a subtractive color model used in color printing) rather than RGB.

  • Considering Flyer Branding

    Even with a strong design, intriguing message and paper that holds up to the apocalypse, your marketing flyer won’t get the job done without proper branding. Re-evaluate your logo if necessary to ensure that it is versatile and compatible with the image your business wants to communicate.

    If it doesn’t meet your standards consider modernizing or redrafting your brand identity entirely with the help of crowdsourcing or a design firm. Then incorporate your brand into the flyer in a way that feels natural and not forced – and don’t forget to include copy that directs recipients to a vanity URL, landing page, or social media account where you can track likes or followers to gauge your flyer’s impact.

  • Vet Flyer Distribution Options Carefully

    Lastly, make sure your flyer ends up in a place where it will be seen by your ideal customer: Spend time scouting potential locations in person to gauge whether or not your flyer will be exposed to your target demographic. For instance, if you’re marketing to young, tech-savvy students, placing a stack of flyers next to free publications in local coffee shops could be a smart move. In short, your flyers will gain prime exposure where your target demographic likes to hang out. Always vet your prospective advertising locations first!

This article has been edited and condensed.

Clancy Clarke is the Organic Search manager at DesignCrowd, a design crowdsourcing platform making crowdsourcing more accessible for small business. Clancy has over 7 years of online marketing experience, a passion for analytics and a degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of New South Wales. Connect with @designcrowd on Twitter.


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