How to Find Affordable Flyer Printing Options

August 27, 2016 - 17 minutes read

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This is the third article of a 7-step training series about flyer marketing. Have you read the previous article Choose a Target Market for Your Flyer Campaign?

Now that you have determined who to target with flyers, you will need to think about the logistics of actually getting a flyer to every house in your selected area. Most importantly, the flyers will need to be designed, printed and delivered correctly to neighborhoods. We will show you how to design and deliver flyers through later articles in this series. First, we need to talk about printing!

Surprisingly, you will need to plan for printing before beginning the flyer design. That is because you cannot design before knowing the size (dimensions) and type of flyer that will be printed. Do you want to distribute a door hanger? An 8.5 x 11 inch flyer that will be rolled up and rubber banded to doorknobs? A sticky flyer that can be stuck to the door at eye level and re-stuck to a homeowner’s refrigerator? What size do you want any or all of those materials to be? I bet you didn’t think there were so many options, did you? 🙂

At the very least, you need to consider the flyer type you want for the sake of your wallet. Flyers come in all types of shapes and sizes and printing prices range accordingly. Larger flyers on better quality paper cost more than small flyers on thin paper that easily tears. You will therefore need to make decisions on whether printing a very high quality flyer or keeping your budget low is more important.

For those of you that don’t have a ton of experience with printing, I’ll give a brief overview of printing basics in this post.

Choosing a printer

Printing costs vary greatly from printer to printer. That is the first thing you need to know. If you have a ton of time, you can spend hours or days looking around for the absolute best printing deal. Most of you are busy people, though, so here are some common printing trends.

printing press

Local printers tend to be more expensive than big online printing companies (i.e. Vistaprint). Why? Local printers usually have smaller order volumes than large-scale online printers. It costs more for them to order materials (like paper) and run their printing presses than online printers, who get more orders and therefore better bulk deals. Big online printers also process so many orders that they actually can use their machines more efficiently by printing multiple orders that fit on the same paper roll at the same time.

Plus, online printers often sell their printing through “print brokers,” independent sales agents that get wholesale printing prices from big printers in exchange for taking care of the sales transactions with the public. Online printers therefore don’t need to hire their own sales teams like small local printing companies. All these factors help big online printers offer lower prices than local printers.

printing color modesThere are advantages to hiring a local printer though. For one, you will be supporting another local business. Secondly, big online printing companies leave all the design and file submission up to you. You simply upload a design file (like a pdf or jpeg) and their computers process the order. If your design file contains a spelling mistake or is formatted wrong, tough luck. They will usually go ahead with printing and you will get a bad batch of flyers.   

When it comes to local printers, they often communicate with you more about your design file and will point out mistakes or issues (i.e. wrong color mode, lack of “bleed” edges, etc). Sometimes, the local printer will even offer affordable design services! In my opinion, a unique flyer design and better customer service is better than using generic templates on Vistaprint.

Local printers can usually turn around orders quicker than online printers as well. Plus, you can save money by picking up your flyer order from the printer. With online companies, you will have to pay for shipping and also account for the extra time it takes for your order to ship to you.

Types of flyers

Our agency personally likes to deliver flyers that are high quality and stand out! You only have a couple seconds to get someone’s attention. Flyers that are rolled and rubber banded to a doorknob are often never unrolled and just go straight into the trash. Door hangers hang nicely on the doorknob but fly off doors easily with wind and end up littering people’s yards. In my opinion, these are both weak options that aren’t guaranteed to get someone’s attention.

sticky flyer marketingWe therefore use a printer that prints “sticky flyers.” These flyers have a residue-free adhesive on the back of them. Our flyer droppers can stick the flyers to the front door of homes at eye level. As homeowners walk up to their doors, they are already looking at it since it sits at eye level (extra viewing time) and they have to physically pull it off the door to take it inside. This is very attention-grabbing! The homeowner can even take the flyer inside and re-stick it to their refrigerator.

The particular sticky flyer we use has a strong adhesive. It doesn’t leave goopy residue and the flyers will not fly off the doors with wind. However, these flyers should only be stuck to glass or metal surfaces (not painted surfaces like wood, etc). We usually stick them to the glass storm door in front of the main door, or other glass surfaces on/adjacent to the door. As long as you stick them correctly, there is no damage of any kind. Of course, some grumpy homeowners will still take offense to anything being stuck to their door so expect some negative calls from people who just like to complain. Overall, these flyers get a lot of attention so that’s not a bad thing! 🙂

There are a couple companies that print sticky flyers, including the popular manufacturing company 3M. We like to use a smaller company called Adeas Printing because they have affordable “Stick It” and “Band It” products, as well as good customer service.

If you aren’t interested in sticky flyers, regular door hangers or standard flyers that you roll up are still a decent option.

Flyer Size and Paper Quality

Bigger is usually better. Larger flyers will get more attention and are easier to read since you have more space for larger text. If you’re trying to go big, though, don’t overdo it. You also want your prospect to retain the flyer. They most likely won’t want to keep a big poster from your business (unless you find a way to make it super awesome!). We usually stick with standard paper-sized (8.5 x 11 inch sheet) or a door hanger-sized (4.25 x 11 inches) materials.

Of course, cost is a factor. If you need to print smaller flyers to save on printing costs, that is perfectly understandable. Just make sure the messaging is readable. You may even decide to buy better quality paper and print it on your office printer. That’s definitely an affordable option; however, try to avoid printing the flyers yourself if possible since it does look cheap and less professional.

paper weight and paper qualityDepending on the printer you use, there may be many flyer size and paper weight options or only a few options. Don’t be afraid to ask for printing quotes for a few different flyer sizes and paper weights.

The paper weight system refers to the thickness and quality of the paper. If you have ever received a door hanger, they usually have a little heft to them (it’s not on standard thin printer paper). These materials are often printed on “100# Cover” paper. I like to go with 100# Cover or 14 pt paper. You can ask your printer for advice and/or samples, or do some research online to learn more about choosing paper options.

Timing Your Flyer Marketing Campaign

Now is a good time as any to talk about the timing of your flyer campaign. Every part of the flyer campaign, whether it be research, design, printing or distribution, will take time! As a result, you will need to think about your business’ timeline and ask the right questions of people you will work with (i.e. your printer) when planning your campaign.

timing your marketing campaignTiming is important with all marketing efforts. If you don’t reach out to people at the right time and when they are in the correct frame of mind, your results will be drastically different from a similar campaign that is timed correctly.

People take certain actions and make different decisions depending on the day of the week, month or season. Hopefully, you understand which months or seasons are critical for your business. Perhaps you own a real estate agency. You know that springtime is the most popular season for people to list and buy homes. Who are homeowners going to call if they decide to list their home? In many cases, the business that reached out to them at that moment or a few weeks earlier (late winter).

Planning the Flyer Marketing Campaign Timeline

Once you figure out that you want homeowners to have your flyer in their hands by X date/month, you need to work backwards. Let’s say you want to distribute 5,000 flyers to an area. That may take up to 3 weeks to deliver, depending on the size of your flyer dropper team and weather (don’t worry, we’ll discuss distribution timelines in a later article).  Printing/shipping could take 1-2 weeks, depending on the type of flyer and quantities you are printing. I would also budget at least one week for design. That means you will need to plan your campaign at least 1 ½ months ahead of time! We’ve worked with some companies that need even more time than that.

I’m telling you this now so you can ask the right questions of whoever you are working with for your flyer campaign. Make sure to ask both your designer and printer how long they estimate their work to take when getting quotes. If you started planning very late, you will either need to rush printing/shipping or wait for the next critical time period for your business.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you now have an idea of what information you need to gather about flyer printing before you move further with your campaign. In our next post, we’ll teach you how to design an effective flyer that gets attention and responses!

This article is part of a 7-step training series on how to create a successful flyer marketing program for your business. To receive the rest of the articles by email, just make sure to register below!