Don’t diss the flyer

I’m always a bit dismayed when the idea of using a small flyer (a.k.a leaflet) is met with an immediate pooh-poohing.

Compared to an e-shot, yes it’s more costly to produce, certainly there’s less space for text and graphics and indeed it is not ‘digital’ – but come on, a little respect please. Something that’s been around for more than 200 years can’t be all bad.

I get plenty of small flyers through the door, well designed, well written. From reputable, professional businesses (local and national) with a decent offer to make.

Thinking of a flyer as something trendy, cheap and cheerful, only used by boutiques, nightclubs and eateries is shortsighted. In a world dominated by copious transient emails, does not the flyer still maintain some advantage?

More time

An attention-grabbing flyer is pocketed, filed for future reference, passed-on to a decision maker (or two) – it offers readers just that little bit more time and opportunity to absorb its message.

In the hand

The reality is there’s still many out there – at least above a certain age perhaps – who are still trained to receive information on a piece of paper, to be held in the hand and put in a to-do pile. Paper-free is not everybody’s ideal.


And let’s face it, how many marketing communications do you know that are so channel happy? Post it, hand it out (at a seminar, an exhibition, in the street), insert it in a newspaper or magazine, leave it at a venue, put it in a shop window, under a windscreen wiper – versatility personified.


As an advertising medium, the flyer’s so free. Not constrained by the mechanical specs of a print advert, the limitations of a banner ad, the rigours of a 30 second radio spot. It can be what you want it to be (budget permitting of course.)


As a quick illustration, consider the material costs of a direct mailing of say 1,000 A6 postcards, typical costs exc. VAT. Printed double-sided on a decent stock, £175; plain quality C6 envelopes, £50; 2nd class postage (Royal Mail ‘advertising mail’), £300. Plus a bit of design and some excellent copywriting. Say 80p a shot inc. VAT?

btw, envelope, or not?

If you’re direct mailing it, using even the plainest of outer envelopes can boost engagement and flyer effectiveness. Counter intuitive perhaps, but I often see a simple, ‘blind’ envelope working far more effectively than a bold outer envelope emblazoned with teaser copy and imagery. What’s inside? Curiosity’s a great motivator in my view.


Particularly when it comes to the smallest A6, postcard flyer, ‘less is more’ is a useful mantra. Too many images, colours and fonts is simply counterproductive. Don’t do anything that risks diverting attention way from your key message or which ruffles a brand image. Do use a high impact image that directly supports the headline.


Find a copywriter 😉 It’s got to be persuasive, interesting and memorable. A bold and relevant headline, clear and concise body copy, a strong call to action. Don’t stuff it full of text. Go for quality rather than quantity, a strong clear argument.

And know this, in my view at least, webpage copywriting (SEO to one side) follows the same ethos as flyer copywriting: write tight, short paragraphs, sub-heads, bullet points – make it easier to scan, quicker to read, understand and act.

And word count?

I’ve oft-heard it said that, ‘there’s simply not enough room on an A6 flyer for the text’. Really? I’ve seen many a great A6 flyer with as many as 100 words on a side. Perfectly legible, not crammed, message delivered.

And consider this. Rules of thumb say a webpage can lose 25% of readers after a 100 words of copy, 60% after 500 words and so on. Assuming reading habits are becoming consistent across media(s), then using a good deal less than 100 words on a flyer side sounds good to me.

So please don’t diss the flyer, it’s still got legs. Or is that wings?