Leaflet distribution is an incredibly effective campaign tool if it’s planned and executed properly, in the correct location; of that there is no doubt.
Psychologists have known for decades that the more frequently you encounter something, the more positively you’ll rate it (trips to the dentist excluded, obviously). This method of strengthening the bond between consumer and brand can be a slow-moving process, but the effects of this kind of exposure marketing are long-lasting and help to generate invaluable customer loyalty.
Having recently delved into the logistical realms of leafleting, I thought I’d share some essential food for thought when planning such an activity.
Once upon a time we could all scamper about the streets without a care in the world. We could identify our target audience and thrust our literature at them with gusto, without the shadow of reprimand lurking nearby.
These days the waters are a bit trickier to navigate with the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 giving land owners the power to deny your access to their location, if they have reason to believe the discarded literature will deface their land (which, let’s face it, is inevitable because – to my amazement – people still drop litter).
Ultimately this means that you may need to be prepared to squeeze your budget and allow a little longer to plan your activity.
Yes! Distributing free printed material as a campaign tool is incredibly useful because it allows you to directly target your audience within an optimum time-frame and location. It provides a window of opportunity for your brand ambassadors to connect with consumers in person – putting a friendly face to the brand.
Tactically, your first move is ultimately decided by who your target audience are and more importantly, where they can be found! Once you’ve discerned this and have chosen your ideal location, you can then check who owns the land and begin to investigate how to secure permission.
Central Outdoor Locations
If you’re planning on braving the elements and engaging with your target audience in an open, public space – typically a town or city centre – you will, in all likelihood, need to inform the council approximately two weeks before sending your brand ambassadors to the location.
Having spoken to council representatives from all over the UK, I can tell you that it’s impossible to predict whether or not permission is something they’ll give freely, so the sensible thing is to err on the side of caution and never assume they will.
For example, in Sheffield you’ll pay £53 per month for a leafleting pass and in Solihull you’ll pay £50 per day. In Bootle you can plug away to your heart’s content for absolutely no charge at all, and in Bradford you’ll be shuffling back to the drawing board because their permission isn’t for sale!
The best thing to do is to contact the council or Town/City Centre Manager and ask. Failing that, contact eventeem and let us work our investigative magic.
If you’ve decided the best place for your leaflet distribution is inside a shopping centre, your first port of call will be to contact the centre management team, who will be able to discuss their permission and fee policy with you.
Bear in mind: many shopping centres may stipulate that your activity remains static and takes place in a designated space. There’s no doubt that a roaming leafleting activity may enable you to engage with a higher proportion of your audience, but if you’ve ever been swept along in a sea of disgruntled Christmas shoppers, you may empathise with the enforcement of a static activity, which is often more logistically manageable – and not to mention safer – for your brand ambassadors.
In either case, you’ll need to decide how this is going to impact upon your audience engagement and adjust your plan accordingly.
Leafleting in and around train stations can sometimes prove to be a logistical nightmare if you don’t approach the planning process in the right manner.
Firstly decide whether or not your activity is going to have the maximum impact inside or outside of the station. If the answer is ‘inside’ you’ll be navigating privately owned land and will need to contact the station management team. Much like privately owned shopping centres, train stations tend to prefer promotional activities to remain static, which can be a blessing or a hindrance, depending on your engagement strategy, so it’s best to think carefully about your options and develop a contingency plan if needs be.
Should obstacles arise, perhaps consider leafleting outside of the train station – providing the land owner is willing to grant you permission to roam and distribute your literature. If the land outside the train station is categorised as a public highway, then in all likelihood the appropriate authority will indeed be the council, and as always, it’s always best to check with them first!
Remember: no matter where you hold your activity, land owners – particularly councils – tend to hold very strong opinions on the subject of litter (and rightly so). Leaving a promotional activity area clean and tidy can be the difference between reaping the benefits of returning again and again, and being completely denied permission in the future. It’s definitely something to factor into your staff-budget and schedule, if your brand ambassadors are going to be carrying out a sweep of the area once the activity is finished! Nothing ruins a successful promotional activity like a great, big fine.
Planning Check List:
- Who owns the land?
- Will they grant you permission to distribute free printed matter?
- If so, what costs and stipulations are attached to this permission – if any?
- How many people are allowed to carry out this activity?
- How far in advance does this all need to be booked?
- How long is your permit valid for?
- Are you allowed to roam, or must your activity remain static?
- Have you budgeted time and resources for tidying the activity area afterwards?
You’re good to go!