Throughout the history of commerce, advertising has evolved along with technological developments in media from paper to radio and TV to smartphones and computers. This is logical as newer technology surpasses its predecessor in providing better speed, breadth and frequency of reach of the target market, yet requires less of costly physical distribution. Hence, a newer technology typically better addresses the challenging task of effective advertising, i.e. reaching a considerable number of target customers and having the value of its products or services recognized – at the least cost possible.

In this age of the internet, why should a small business even bother considering going to the more primitive paper-based advertising, particularly distributing leaflets?

Sufficient reach at relatively less expenses

Unlike its larger counterparts, a typical small enterprise can only realistically meet the demand for its product or service in its vicinity. Looking for kids with parents? The distributor can go to playgrounds and parks. Consequently, while alternatives like TV, radio, mobile and internet can provide wider coverage, small businesses do not require this benefit. This wider reach also makes mass media advertising more expensive, hence small businesses may not be able to afford it or if they do avail of it, they will just be faced with an unsatisfactory return for their advertising expenditure.

Distributing leaflets only requires presentable yet inexpensive leaflets and people who hand out the material. One does not even have to hire an outside party to distribute the leaflets; staff may be tasked to do it during non-peak hours or seasons. On the other hand, the quality of leaflets must match the brand; one may use cheap-looking design and paper if the target market is comprised of lowest cost seekers – but normally not with high-end individuals! Essex Distributions always pride themselves on the quality of their leaflets and their service, they say “There are a lot of sharks in this industry, if you’re currently using a leaflet distributor – be sure the leaflets are actually being delivered…”

Instant feedback

Unlike other types of advertising, a business can get initial reactions at once from potential clients. A business that uses other modes of advertising still needs to wait for feedback (through email, personal appearance or interviews) after potential clients are assumed to have read or seen direct mails, Google ads or TV ads. When it comes to leaflet distribution, one can already obtain verbalized reactions (“It’s a great product” or “The other store offers a better price actually”) and equally important non-verbal cues. An excited and delighted facial reaction coupled with positive comments from the person is a good indicator that someone is going to avail of the services or products, but a positive comment coupled with a straight face is a clear sign that the product is not great or valuable enough to lead to a higher chance for a sale.

In a competitive business environment, one needs timely feedback to be able to adjust strategies before it’s too late. In addition to feedback, the number of leaflets distributed is already a good estimate of the number of people that have been reached.


Without a doubt, a small business that wants to introduce itself to target customers, introduce new product lines or announce promotional events or offers can do so effectively but in a less costly way by distributing leaflets.