Door hanger campaigns are perhaps the most economical and effective type of local print campaign. Door hangers are easy to create, print, and distribute.
In this guide, you’ll learn the types of organizations that do well with door hanger campaigns. You’ll see a typical return on investment, and you’ll discover the competitive advantages that make this type of print marketing so successful.
Next, you’ll learn the phases of a door hanger campaign, and you’ll get detailed information on exactly how you can run your own profitable campaign.
Will a Door Hanger Campaign Work for Your Business?
Door hanger campaigns work well for products and services that meet two conditions.
- You need to be able to afford a minimum $18 customer acquisition cost.
- You need to be able to estimate with reasonable accuracy a 2% conversion rate. That is, for the area where you’re distributing door hangers, you need to know that for every 50 doors you deliver to, one customer will buy.
Of course, you can tweak these conditions. For example, a door hanger campaign could work if you get a 1% conversion rate so long as you’re willing to offset this with a $36 customer acquisition cost.
Industries That Use Door Hanger Campaigns
Door hangers are particularly effective for recurring services. This is because the lifetime value of each customer is extremely high, more than enough to justify a moderate customer acquisition cost. For many recurring service businesses, it’s also fairly easy to predict that homes in a certain area will be interested in a particular type of service.
You might consider distributing door hangers for recurring services including:
- Automotive services
- Cleaning services
- Lawn care
Since the cost of acquiring a customer through a door hanger is so low, door hangers can also make sense for single-use high-end service providers such as:
- Home service contractors (painters, plumbers, technicians, etc.)
- Home theater installers
- Pool installers
- Real estate agents
- Solar panel installers
For a real estate agent, a new customer could be worth thousands of dollars. So, even if only 1 in 4,000 people sign up to work with he agent, that single customer can subsidize the entire $1,400 cost of the door hanger campaign.
Finally, door hangers are also effective for community engagement campaigns including political campaigns. They’ve been shown to generate awareness, engage volunteers, increase endorsements, and inform communities of upcoming events and fundraisers.
Door Hanger Return on Investment (ROI)
So what does a door hanger campaign cost?
PsPrint estimates that a typical door hanger campaign costs $1,415 for 4,000 door hangers ($0.35 per door). Their estimate breaks down to roughly:
- $80 for time conducting demographic research (using the free US Census Bureau)
- $250 for messaging and design (Nexus charges $198)
- $285 for printing ($0.07 per hanger)
- $800 for distribution ($0.20 per hanger)
Is a sale worth $18 in profit to your business? Do you have reason to believe that 1 out of 50 people in your target area would buy (a 2% response rate)? If so, then a door hanger campaign would be a great investment. Best yet, you can test it at a relatively modest price.
Or, is a sale worth $72 in profit to your business, and do you have reason to believe that 1 in 200 people in your target area would buy (a 0.5% response rate)? This estimate would make a door hanger campaign an equally compelling opportunity.
Both of these scenarios are plausible. Depending on your industry and audience, campaigns vary from 0.5% to 5% response rate. The average response rate is 2%.
Door Hanger Advantages
Why do door hanger campaigns work so well? There are a few factors at play.
Firstly, door hangers are cheaper to print and distribute than postcards or direct mail.
They’re also hard for customers to ignore. Customers have to handle a door hanger by hand, usually all by itself. For this reason, it’s hard for your message to get lost in a packed mailbox or a busy social media feed.
Some customers respond positively to the personal touch, since every door hanger needs to be hand-delivered. Additionally, the tactile quality of your print can give a customer an impression of your brand. Thick, smooth paper can convey quality and professionalism.
As an added bonus, multiple family members, friends and neighbors can be exposed to the door hanger, rather than just the one person who checks the family’s mailbox.
One potential downside is that some customers may see door hangers as a nuisance or a waste of paper. Every homeowner has the right to put up a non-solicitation sign or request the city add them to a non-solicitation list. Ultimately though, these individuals are not likely to be your customers anyway. Do you lose much by losing them? Probably not.
Start with Demographic Research
If you have a customer list, divide the list into postal codes and assess where people are buying from you most frequently.
If needed, you can conduct zip code demographic research on age, household size, and income using USPS’s free Every Door Direct Mail tool. You can also do more advanced research using the US Census Bureau, Neighborhood Scout, and Movoto.
Demographic research will help you avoid wasting time in neighborhoods that aren’t a good fit for your product. For example, you probably don’t want to ask a college neighborhood about installing a high-end smart home security system. Your campaign dollars will be better spent in a wealthier neighborhood.
Define Your Message
Keep your headline big, your message simple, your call-to-action obvious, and your contact information legible.
Your message, offer, and visual design are all key to increasing your conversion rate. A poor message can result in 20 sales (0.5% conversion rate) while a spectacular one can result in 200 (5% conversion rate).
Consider going up to 28 or even 34 point font for your headline and make sure it’s dead simple what you’re selling.
A bold headline grabs people’s attention.
Write what you sell in one sentence. “We provide” or “We offer…” is a practical way to position your business.
For most products or services, give your customer 3 good reasons to do business with you. If you write more than 3, you’ll probably overwhelm your readers. Also, avoid getting verbose. People tend to skim ads and are often just looking for keywords.
You can build trust with logos related to your business. You can showcase clients, awards, or certifications, and accompany each section with relevant logos.
You should strongly consider adding one or more testimonials. The best testimonials are usually a sentence or two.
Finally, the most successful door hanger campaigns offer one-time specials and coupons. If you offer a free sample or a meaningful discount, it will be harder for people to pass up your offer. For best results, require buyers to act before a certain date to get the special.
Keep in mind, you have two sides for your design! Less essential material can go on the back.
Tell your prospects exactly what you want them to do. For example:
- “Bring this coupon in for one FREE laser treatment”
- “Call for a FREE estimate”
- “Call us for more details”
Most of the time, designers encourage prospects to call. This way, you can close the deal on the phone rather than allow your prospect to get distracted on the Internet. (As soon as a customer starts researching your service online, they’ll see ads and articles promoting your competitors. At this point, it’s easy for people to freeze with analysis paralysis.)
You can use door hanger marketing as one part of a larger marketing campaign that ventures into the digital space. For example, your call-to-action can be to invite users to either type in a web address or scan a QR code with their phone’s camera. In this way, you can direct people to visit your landing page, where they can sign up for your email list to redeem a special discount or free ebook.
Whether you promote a phone number or web address, make sure your call-to-action is printed in huge type so that it’s impossible to miss. And make sure you only promote one call-to-action.
Include your address, phone number, and email. You can even add your social media handles.
A photo of the face of the company can also make a prospect feel a closer connection to you, and increase their likelihood of contacting you.
Design Your Door Hanger
For design ideas, visit the many ready-to-use door hanger templates on Graphic River as well as the templates on My Creative Shop (which will effectively charge you $20 for a template). You can also review Pinterest boards like the Customized Door Hangers board by Printingblue.
I also recommend reviewing our article, “12 Print Design Tips and Techniques for Flyers and Brochures.” Many of the principles apply to door hangers.
If you print with VistaPrint, you’ll have two size options:
Small Size Door Hanger
- 3.5” x 8.5”
- Document trim size: 1,050 x 2,550 pixels
- Full bleed size: 1,121 x 2,621 pixels
- 5,000 door hangers for $258
Large Size Door Hanger
- 4.5” x 11”
- Document trim size: 1,350 x 3,300 pixels
- Full bleed size: 1,421 x 3,371 pixels
- 5,000 door hangers for $333
The larger design size is often preferable since it allows more room for big headlines, readable font, strong visuals, a prominent call-to-action, and white space.
Print Your Door Hangers
Print out a draft of your door hanger and check for errors. It’s much easier to proof a design when you’re holding it in your hand rather than looking at it on a screen. Also, share it with a couple people to get their impression, feedback, and a final look-over before you submit it for printing.
Nexus Marketing prints with Vistaprint. Currently you can print 5,000 large door hangers for $333.
Distribute Your Door Hangers
If you require canvassers to distribute 75 door hangers per hour, and you pay them $15 per hour, it will take 53 hours to distribute 4,000 door hangers for a total cost of $800.
You can hire canvassers locally using Craigslist, by posting a job on LinkedIn, by contacting students or recent marketing graduates in your area, or by hiring a temp agency.
For a hard-working, friendly, professional team, I recommend contacting several recent graduates via LinkedIn direct messages to see if any could use the extra work. If you find one interested, you can ask if they know a friend who would like to join them. (It usually works well to have one canvasser work one side of the street while the other works the other side.)
For long-term operations, you might prefer to pay a service like Time to Hire $400 to hire a door-to-door sales team for you. You can also ask for a quote from a company like Global Flyer Distribution, which distributes marketing materials to any US region.
You can place door hangers on doors in your city so long as you follow local regulations.
Train your staff to follow a few simple rules.
- Deliver during the daytime.
- Avoid knocking on doors.
- Skip houses with negative signs like “Do Not Disturb”, “No Solicitors”, or “No Trespassing.”
- Stay focused on making 75 deliveries per hour.
If a canvasser sees a resident, the canvasser can “hello” or “how are you doing?” but they should refrain from talking about the company unless a resident asks. To avoid complaints, you can ask your city clerk’s office. Ask for the city’s do-not-deliver list and then share this list with your canvassing team.
Canvassers typically account for 60% of campaign expenses. You can potentially cut these costs by working with a volunteer organization in your area and donating $500 to the organization.
If you track neighborhood response rates, consider returning to favorable neighborhoods in the next season or year. This gives residents a chance to rethink your offer. Often people need to be “re-targeted” before they’ll turn into a customer.
You can include a business card, or a branded magnet or pen. Certainly this will increase the cost of each delivery. However, for certain neighborhoods or products, the extra investment could make your offer stand out. A magnet or pen has the added advantage of keeping your brand (and phone number and website) in front of your customers even after they’ve forgotten about the door hanger.
If you have a team of canvassers, you can reward the person who distributes the most door hangers in one day. The reward could be a Starbucks, Amazon, or Visa gift card.
Evaluate Your Campaign
Keep track of how many people use your coupon code, or how many people say they heard about you from your door hanger. Calculate the number of sales that you can attribute to your campaign. Divide the campaign cost (probably $1,400) by the total number of sales to find your cost per sale.
Was it worth it?
If so, continue with the strategy! Keep reaching out to new neighborhoods in your community, or hire a nationwide service to get your message out to other neighborhoods in the US.
If you feel short, evaluate what you could do differently next time. Likely you’ll want to begin by revising the door hanger message and design.
Door hangers present an affordable opportunity to tap into local markets. As people spend more time at home, they’re assured to notice an ad on their door. As competition intensifies for digital ad space and social media attention, door hanger marketing allows small businesses to sidestep the bidding wars and competition and go straight to consumers.
Currently companies like SolarCity spend $1,200-2,000 per customer on door-to-door sales, spending almost as much on customer acquisition as they do to produce their solar panels.
What if a $1,400 door hanger campaign offered consumers a limited-time discount code and sent them to a digital landing page, where they could view an informational video, and schedule a free consultation? Could a campaign like this close new customers for a fraction of the cost?
We’d love to help you explore this and other opportunities. Please feel welcome to schedule a consultation with us today. Even if we decide door hangers aren’t the best fit for you, there are many other methods to promote a local business including email marketing, postcard marketing, Google local service ads, and social media ads.