For as long as the printing press has been around, people have been creating leaflets to spread messages. In some cases, those messages have transformed the world, spreading new ideas and sentiments which would otherwise have been contained. In others, it’s just been used to sell things to a few local customers.
Of course, we now live in the digital age, where a similar leap forward has taken place. Now, you can spread a message with a few keystrokes and the click of a mouse. S d Does this mean that the traditional paper leaflet has become obsolete? There’s reason to suspect not.
Why are leaflets still a thing?
So why should we concern ourselves with leaflets when the digital alternatives are so widespread, accessible, and flashy? There are a few factors at play.
When customers can hold a piece of paper literature in their hands, they’re much more likely to value the message that’s printed on it. They’ll spend more time reading it, and they’ll find it easier to remember the message itself. This has been repeatedly demonstrated in the laboratory. Why this is a matter for speculation, but we might say that a digital message is more disposable and forgettable than one that you can physically hold, and whose pages you have to physically turn.
A leaflet isn’t just a vehicle for information – it can also be a thing of beauty. Spend a little extra and you’ll get bright colours, glossy print, and other niceties that will establish your brand as a prestigious and worthwhile one. Just think of the catalogues that expensive furniture companies put out: it’s the weight and feel of those materials that convinces customers to take the additional step to spending thousands on a new sofa or coffee-table.
It’s easy to put together an a6 leaflet using templates provided by printing companies. You don’t need a big marketing department.
Lots of information
Since leaflets are capable of holding a reader’s attention for far longer than many of the alternatives, they’re capable of conveying longer, and more detailed, information. If you’re running for a position on the local council, for example, you might set out your vision for the local area, and all of the policies you’d implement if elected. If you’re running a charitable drive, you might take the opportunity to tell a story over several paragraphs. When a person is viewing an advert on a mobile device, their attention is fragile; they might easily be drawn away by a notification or a text message.
Leaflets can be printed very cheaply, and in large numbers. They benefit hugely from economies of scale, but they’re still within reach of very small businesses. Moreover, leaflets tend to provide a significant return on the investment, especially if the people you are trying to reach are all based locally. For example, a takeaway restaurant might easily deliver menus to thousands of houses within a relatively small radius, and thereby achieve a level of visibility that would be impossible through digital marketing.