If you’ve ever come home on an empty stomach to find a door hanger on your doorknob announcing the opening of a new barbecue joint in your neighborhood, or a small flyer wedged in the front door with the full menu of a Chinese restaurant around the corner, you know how effective door hanger marketing can be.
However, door hanger marketing is an oft-forgotten weapon in the small-business advertising arsenal. This is unfortunate, as door hangers can be an extremely cost-effective way to get the word out about your business.
Here, we’ll review the benefits of door hanger marketing, and why it might be a good fit for your company. Plus, we’ll share a few tips to help boost response rates for your doorknob-affixed advertising.
Benefits of door hanger marketing
While door hangers might be considered by some to be a “poor man’s postcard,” they actually have a couple of benefits over postcards and direct mail campaigns.
First of all, they’re noticeable. Because they’re delivered directly to the door and not lumped in with junk mail in the mailbox — which many recipients throw away immediately — they’re virtually impossible to ignore. And because official notices such as utilities and missed deliveries are often placed on doors using hang tags, recipients will likely also read the messaging.
Second, they’re inexpensive. As marketing materials go, door hangers are one of the least expensive options available. They’re available at rock-bottom printing costs that are often as low as 2-8 cents per unit, depending on the volume and cost of design services. With such low costs to print door hangers, they’re definitely an intriguing marketing prospect, especially for cash-strapped businesses. (And what business isn’t these days?)
In other words, if you want to get a potential customer’s attention for very little money, door hangers are a great option.
Tips to boost response rates
As you can see, door hanger marketing has several benefits that give it an edge over other types of guerrilla marketing and mailing services. But in order to make sure your campaign gives you the return on investment you’re looking for, there are several things you should consider before you dive in and decide to create a custom door hanger design on glitzy, full-color cardstock.
Research the demographics
Before you decide to pull the trigger on a door hanger marketing campaign, you need to consider your customer base. A little research goes a long way toward increasing the effectiveness of a door hanger campaign.
Create a customer profile to identify your target audience, then use demographic information to determine which neighborhoods in your locale most likely need your services. You wouldn’t try to sell lawn services in a community full of apartments and condos, for example. To see the best returns, focus on the areas that most need your services.
For instance, let’s say Sonia just opened a sandwich shop in a new neighborhood, Sonia’s Little Deli. Of course, she did initial market research to determine the best location for her shop and decided to rent space in a small complex smack-dab in the middle of an urban neighborhood with lots of young families. Since she did quite a lot of demographic research before opening, she knows that her target demographic is people within walking distance in the neighborhood.
Set your goals
Now that Sonia knows who she wants to target — residents in a 2 mile radius — she needs to set some goals. She’s eager to get the word out to residents in the community about her small business, and she thinks that door hanger marketing might be a good way to drum up interest while conserving capital that she needs to cover opening costs.
She sets clear goals for this initial marketing campaign, saying she wants to target 1,000 households and generate a response rate of 5% or more.
By setting her goals at the outset, Sonia will be able to evaluate whether her door hanger campaign was successful. With a clearly defined metric for success, she can also identify what worked and what didn’t, which will allow her to plan any future door hanger marketing campaigns more strategically.
Create a campaign
Next, you’ll need to create a campaign that provides exceptional value for your customers, leaves room for you to profit, and is time-limited. This way, you can motivate your potential customers to move quickly. In Sonia’s case, she decides to offer a buy one sandwich, get one free deal that is only valid for two weeks after she delivers her door hangers.
Choose the right printer
While you likely have a variety of printers in your area that offer door hanger printing as an option, you should consider a few things when choosing which one you’ll go with. For example, if you already use a certain company to print your business cards, you might be able to bundle together the cards and the door hangers to get an even lower printing rate.
You’ll also want to consider the turnaround time. For instance, Sonia plans to distribute her door hangers on July 1st in order to take advantage of the 4th of July holiday when many people could be more likely to go out for lunch or dinner with friends and family.
As such, she needs to make sure all her door hangers are ready to go by June 30th, so she chooses a printer that can complete her order quickly in three business days. If you also have a campaign that is time sensitive, you’ll want to make sure you’re aware of how many business days your printer takes to provide the finished product.
Finally, consider your materials. While you may go googly-eyed over thick die cut paper stocks with full-color printing and a gloss cover with UV coating, recipients will likely only interact with your door hanger for a matter of seconds. As such, it’s better to focus on an eye-catching and memorable design, rather than get caught up in flashy materials.
Keep designs simple
Remember that people quickly read — and discard — door hangers. Use bold colors and images, big headlines, and a simple, direct message. Don’t try to promote more than one major benefit per hanger. An appealing coupon, combined with potent copy and a strong call to action, helps to increase the odds of conversion success (and the likelihood that the reader will hold on to your flyer). Obviously, be sure to include your contact information prominently on the door hanger.
In Sonia’s case, she chooses to go with a simple firework design template that she found on her printer’s website. It’s eye-catching and will prominently feature her two-for-one offer at the top (with the valid dates clearly noted), as well as her business’s name and location details.
Without a way to track responses, you won’t know where your door hangers were a hit — or where they tanked. Forget setting up separate phone lines or hounding customers for their demographic information. Use technology to help you identify where your leads come from.
Remember that coupon you’re including on the door hanger? Assign unique codes and website URLs to door hangers distributed in different neighborhoods. When people take advantage of your special offer, you’ll know immediately where they came from.
In Sonia’s case, she included a special code on her flyer that customers could use at checkout. She or her staff can enter the code at the register when customers buy their sandwich, allowing her to easily tag transactions that were impacted by this particular campaign.
Have your elevator pitch ready
Finally, unless you hire another company to distribute your door hangers, passing them out gives you an excellent secondary sales opportunity: face time with potential customers.
Before you head out the door, prepare an elevator pitch — a quick blurb that clearly explains what your business is and its benefit to customers. With a pitch in mind, you’ll never be tongue-tied if someone opens the door and asks what you do. Be sure to dress professionally, too, so you’ll make a good impression. In other words, leave the cut-off shorts and ratty old concert T-shirt at home.
Gauge your success
Once your campaign is over, take a moment to analyze the results. What was your return on investment? What was your response rate?
In Sonia’s case, door hangers proved to be an efficient and cost-effective marketing tool. During her July “buy one, get one free” offer, she tracked 75 transactions that used the special coupon code she had included on her door hangers — a 7.5% response rate that exceeded her initial goal.
Custom door hangers can work for a variety of businesses, and in Sonia’s scenario, they were highly effective at generating interest and creating new customers for her sandwich shop. If you haven’t considered door hangers as a marketing tool for your small business, now might be the time. They offer low cost and high visibility.
If you’d like to find other creative ways to reach potential customers and keep growing your business, you might want to consider email marketing, content marketing, and even social media marketing as other cost-effective campaigns that can help give your business a boost, without breaking the bank.