If you’ve never promoted your products and services with door hangers, or if you’ve tried door hanger marketing with few results to show, it’s time to reconsider door hangers as viable and profitable marketing tools. The following details why door hangers are excellent marketing tools and offers step-by-step advice for launching a successful door hanger marketing campaign.

Why door hangers make great marketing tools

Door hangers might be considered the “poor man’s postcard,” but in reality door hangers have several benefits not shared by postcards or other direct-mail marketing tools:

• Door hangers are delivered to homes, but they’re not lumped in mailboxes with “junk mail”
• Placed on door knobs, door hangers are practically impossible to ignore
• Official notices, such as missed deliveries and utilities notices, are distributed on door hangers; as such, customers are very likely to read your door hangers
• Door hangers are more personal; they hang alone, and they’re tangible items customers can pick, hold, and carry

How to launch a successful door hanger marketing campaign

Winning door hanger marketing campaigns aren’t created by accident; they’re developed according to set of proven “rules” that, when followed, ultimately lead to high response rates, more sales, and greater profits. Follow the steps below to launch a successful door hanger marketing campaign.

Step 1: Determine your goal

What is the goal of your door hanger marketing campaign? Be specific. Instead of saying you want to make money, state something like “I want to generate 100 sales of product ABC.” It’s a good idea to have several measurable goals leading to that end. For example, you might want to:

• generate a response rate of 4 percent or more
• get 500 responses and collect contact (lead) information from each
• land 100 sales or more total, for a profit of $10,000

By defining multiple measurable goals, you can later evaluate your door hanger marketing campaign and identify your strengths as well as weaknesses that need to be addressed before you move on to a second door hanger marketing campaign. You’ll also be able to tell whether your initial campaign can be deemed a success.

Step 2: Create a special offer

One of the most critical keys to door hanger marketing success is to develop a time-limited special offer. Similar to direct-mail marketing, as much as 40 percent of your campaign’s success will be dependent on your offer alone, so it’s important to get it right. Your offer should:

• have exceptional value for your customers
• leave enough room for ample profit
• be time-limited, so customers are motivated to respond quickly

Step 3: Write compelling copy

Your door hanger copy, or text, is what will draw customers in to your special offer and help create desire for your products and services, thereby increasing your response rate. Good door hanger copy features:

• a bold headline that reveals the special offer, benefit/unique selling point, or intrigues with a question (for example, “Are you missing out on $10,000/year in free money?”)
• a brief descriptions or bullet points that list product benefits; essentially, how customers’ problems will be solved or lives will be improved after buying your product
• a time-limited statement that creates urgency for response
• a powerful call to action that tells customers exactly what to do next in order to take advantage of your special offer (for example, visit a website, download an app, call a number, visit a store, scan a QR code, etc.)

Step 4: Develop a dazzling design

The very first thing your door hanger has to do in order to be successful is command attention. That’s what your door hanger design does (along with your copy, particularly your headline). Of course, the fact that your door hangers are placed on door knobs means customers will notice them; but you want them to also notice your brand and special offer immediately.

Great design doesn’t just command attention for your special offer, it makes a statement your company, brand, and the quality of your products and services. Your door hanger design should feature:

• attention-getting colors and layout
• photos, images, and/or illustrations your customers will identify with
• bold, yet clean and easy-to-read typography
• highlighted coupon codes or perforated coupons (to be used to track campaign performance)

Don’t be afraid to get ultra-creative with your door hanger design; the more you can differentiate your brand from the competition and find common ground with targeted customers, the more said customers will want to read about your special offer.

Step 5: Get a targeted distribution list

If 40 percent of your success is based on your specialty offer, another 40 percent is dependent directly on the quality of your distribution list. Your distribution list should target neighborhoods comprised of individuals who match your best customer demographics, which include but are not limited to:

• age
• gender
• income
• geographic location
• buying habits
• marital/family status
• hobbies and interests

Of course, door hangers are distributed according to geographic locations and you can’t target quite as well as you can with direct-mail campaigns (since you can pick and choose which homes to send postcards and other marketing materials to); however, you can identify neighborhoods that are most likely to house people who want to buy what you sell based on location, age, gender, and income demographics. Some neighborhoods even offer common sense niche targeting. For example, if you sell golf-related products, a subdivision built on a golf course would be an ideal door hanger distribution neighborhood.

Step 6: Print door hangers

If 80 percent of your door hanger marketing success is dependent on your offer and your distribution, the remaining 20 percent is based on everything else: copy, design, and printing. It’s easy to find value in copy and design, but the quality of your door hanger printing along with your ability to get discounted printing play major roles in how your company and brand are perceived and your ultimate return on investment. Keep these tips in mind when printing door hangers:

• print full-color two-sided door hangers for a more attractive piece that can include all the information you need to motivate customers to take the next step in the purchasing process
• print door hangers on 12 point gloss paper stock for a heavy weight and elegant feel, both of which lend themselves to customers forming better opinions of your company
• print as many door hangers as you can distribute at once to cut down on overhead, since your price per piece goes down as print volume goes up
• consider helping your door hangers stand out with perforated coupons, custom die-cut shapes, or bright and shiny foil stamps
• keep an eye out for discount door hanger printing, which again will reduce your overall investment and increase your return
• ask for a hard copy proof so you can double check for errors, typos, or other mistakes before you go to print

Step 7: Door hanger distribution

Once your completed door hangers are printed and in-hand (with your special offer, compelling copy, and dazzling design, of course), it’s time to distribution them to your targeted neighborhoods. There are several ways you can accomplish door hanger distribution:

• you can distribute door hangers yourself, but it will take a long time if you go it alone
• you can hire a third-party company to distribute your door hangers, though it can be rather expensive and cut into your ROI
• you can have your employees distribute door hangers on the clock; of course, you’ll have to pay them for their efforts
• you can recruit a team of volunteers to help you distribute door hangers; if you go this route, it’s a good idea to reward your volunteers with a pizza party or cocktail party afterward (or both, depending on the age of your volunteers

My favorite door hanger method is volunteers; it’s practically free (except for the after-party), it can be a ton of fun (especially if you put people in pairs and hold a contest to see which team gets the most houses), and you canvas several neighborhoods and thousands of potential customers’ homes in a single day. The employee distribution method is my second choice, followed by doing it yourself. From my perspective, third-party door hanger distribution companies can cut too much into your profits, unless you want to distribute door hangers to tens of thousands of homes in a single day.

Step 8: Evaluate your door hanger marketing campaign

It’s critical to keep track of how many responses you receive over the course of your campaign; then, once your special offer expires, you can measure your campaign’s performance against your original goals to determine whether your door hanger marketing campaign was successful. If you met your goals, outstanding! If not, it’s time to evaluate what you could have done differently to generate the results you want. Start with your offer and targeted distribution to identify whether one or the other was wrong and how you can improve it the next time around.

If you follow these steps and continue to test, track, and tweak your door hangers for success, you’ll be able to reliably launch effective door hanger marketing campaigns with predictable and accurate returns. In this manner, door hanger marketing can become a lucrative way to market your products and services.