Improve Your Promotional Flyers And Improve Sales

Admittedly, I have not seen your advertising flyer. Then again, I probably don't have to. I have reviewed hundreds, if not thousands, of advertising flyers for small businesses. After 30 years I have found that nearly every small business ad flyer contains the same mistakes and missed opportunities. Avoid these seven common mistakes, and your advertising flyer - and your marketing in general - will be stronger for it.

Advertising flyer mistake #1: A Blah Headline (Your Company's Name)

Remember, your flyer is an ad. It needs to SELL. Your potential customers aren't interested in your name. They're not even interested in what you do. Sounds cruel? Well, it is but that's life. Get over it!

Prospective customers are interested in their own needs and wants. So, hit them with a headline they can't ignore, because it addresses their needs.

Instead of:

Sheri's Pet Grooming

Try: Smelly Pet Stinking Up The House?


We Treat Your Cat Like The Royalty They Are!


Man's Best Friend Deserves Something Special!

You get the idea. Figure out what's important to your potential customers. Then, use your headline to immediately answer their question: "What's in it for me?"

Advertising flyer mistake #2: Not Solving A Problem!

Although your ad flyer copy should include your key features or services, each feature or service should be attached to a clear, customer-oriented, benefit that addresses a problem, or hassle, or pain. Also, tell - or, better, show - how those benefits prevent or solve problems for your potential customer.

Think about all the problems, both real and potential, that could stem from not using your product or service. Put yourself in your customer's shoes. Talk to them. Listen to them. Learn what their problems are. Identify benefits about your product or service that make a difference to your potential customers. Emphasize in your flyer the problems and solutions that set you apart from your competition.

Advertising flyer mistake #3: Be A Friend!

People buy from people they like. One key thing your potential customer needs and wants is to feel good about you. Are you knowledgeable? Are you trustworthy? Do you understand my problems? Am I comfortable doing business with you?

The more comfortable someone feels about buying from you, the more likely they are to do so. That's why I recommend that you have an "I" section - a section where you talk about yourself, your qualifications, your values, your personal commitment. Help them understand who you are and who they will be doing business with (hopefully).

Advertising flyer mistake #4: Going Quietly Into The Night!

This is the typical close to a flyer: "for more information, call 555-5555." Instead, create a "call to action". Here are three basic, proven closers:

· Buy before (DATE), and receive $10 off. This closer is effective at getting immediate action, and works especially well for one-time purchases or regularly purchased items.

· Act before (DATE), and get (VALUE-ADDED PRODUCT/SERVICE), FREE with your purchase! This closer offers an incentive for fast action. It also works "free" into your flyer. "Free" is a very powerful word.

· Purchase before (DATE) to take advantage of our slow-season! This closer attaches a negative consequence to any delay or hesitation. Note the more believable the reason for the limit, the more powerful this closer becomes.

Advertising flyer mistake #5: Forgetting There Are Two Sides!

With an advertising flyer, the printing or photocopying is but a small part of the overall expense. The larger expense, in time or money or both, is distribution. So, distribute a two-sided flyer, for twice the opportunity to make a sale! Just make sure your second side doesn't compete with your main message side.

The second side could be used for:

· A comprehensive list of your services

· A map with driving and parking directions

· Customer testimonials

· Relevant tips or advice

· Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Use the second side to support, expand upon, or enhance the message on the main side.

Advertising flyer mistake #6: One Good Shot!

One-time advertising efforts are seldom effective. It is a rule of thumb among marketing professionals that you need to reach people at least eight times before they really notice you. Your prospective customers need to see the your ads over and over.

So, plan a series of distributions as part of your strategy. I recommend that you plan to hit each household at least eight times with an ad flyer. Mix the message up a bit! Change the color of the paper you use. Change the headline. Keep track of which flyer drives the most business.

If possible, combine your flyers with other localized advertising, so you reach those homes through a variety of media channels. At the very least, combine door-to-door distribution with posting in public areas where allowed. Community centers, schools, stores, and libraries often offer public bulletin boards.

Advertising flyer mistake #7: Flyers Gone Astray!

You should keep two objectives in mind when targeting neighborhoods for your flyer distribution.

· It's much more cost-effective for you to have clients in convenient clusters instead of scattered all over town. Concentrate your ad distribution within and around your existing clusters of clients.

· Reaching the right people within the target area is also critical. An advertising flyer for a landscaper is largely wasted if it's delivered to residents of an apartment building. The added advantage to walking your "territory" house-by-house will be giving you a better understanding for what services or mix of services you should offer.

Promotional flyers are one tool in the small business' marketing arsenal. Learn to use them well and you will create customers while saving yourself time and money.

Michele Schermerhorn calls herself a "Corporate Freedom Fighter" dedicated to freeing cubicle prisoners. She has over 30 years experience in the business world and over 12 years running her own successful online businesses. She is President of Online Business Institute Inc. (, authors a marketing blog (, and regularly conducts free online seminars. Online Business Institute Inc. exists to "Create Successful Online Business Owners One Person At A Time".

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