How To Make An Effective Flyer
The simple yet effective flyer. Small business and particularly home based businesses have basically three means of self-promotion; face to face contact with potential customers, word of mouth and a printed piece of paper. Anything more than that and you’ll be looking at costs which may be prohibitive.
Photo used with permission.
It's simple really. A flyer has one aim. To promote your business. And it can do this in a number of ways: tell people what you can do, tell them what they need, tell them what they want or a special offer. Then there's the details; your (business) name and phone number and/or address.
Yet, some people can make a mess of this surprisingly simple concept. How many times has a shonky looking flyer been stuffed into your letterbox. And what happens to them? Straight in the recycle bin or used to start a fire.
It's hard enough to get most people to take their junk mail inside with so many professionally printed brochures turning up every day (Where I live I'm sure they cut down a portion of forest the size of a football field to make the weekly printed advertisements for my letterbox alone).
With some aspiring Desktop Publishers it's a hit and miss affair. They have a computer, they have clipart installed on the hard drive with their wordprocessor (or spent money on a CD ROM crammed packed with it) and they throw every picture and font style they can possibly fit onto the page.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to keep it simple. Keep it to the bare minimum. Don't expound your writing, filling it with extra words to puff up the length of text. The best read words are ones that are well edited (which I've had to do again after hitting publish on this article by changing "one's" to "ones"... which was pointed out to me by an eagle eyed reader who emailed me that correction, thank you Don! :-D ).
No one wants to read mindless drivel. It's annoying.
After you've mastered the art of the KISS principle (keep it simple stupid) you can rise to the next level. And create a flyer that is a powerful weapon.
You've got to do three things!
- Step one: Get Their ATTENTION
The use of a big bold HEADLINE. Or perhaps an image. it has to be relevant as well. don’t use a clip art if it’s got nothing to do with the subject. You really are better off paying (or conning) someone artistically inclined than use a clip art that is 1) not quite what you wanted and 2) is available for use by anyone else with the same software. Be creative. Draw something, redraw it, scan it, play with it on your computer and then save it as a WMF (Windows Meta File, the file format of cliparts)
- Step Two: Create a DESIRE
Now that you’ve got their attention you have to create some INTEREST. Here you have a few lines or paragraphs to let the prospective customer know what you’ve got and they’ll decide whether they want it. It may be a special offer, something free, a limited time only, a unique selling point, or there’ something about your product or service.
- Step Three: A Call to ACTION
Now we go for the ACTION. They have to respond to the ad. So you give them the details of how they can contact you. Your name, your business name, your address and your phone number. Use your business logo (you know how to do it yourself, you read my last article).
Pitfalls To Avoid - The computer is not creative. Only the operator using it.
Now you've got the basic rules let me point out the pitfalls to avoid:
- Fold a piece of paper in half then half again. Open it. Draw 4 roughs of how you want your flyer to look. Do it quickly, these are not finished bits of art, hence the name 'roughs'. These will give you ideas for layout. Choose the best of the four. Look at what you can improve. Perhaps draw it with a little bit more care and talent. Now take this rough to your computer and use it as a guideline when doing your flyer on your Desktop Publishing package or Word Processor. Too many people lose track of what their objective is, and that's probably because they don't know what it is.
- Don't use your business name at the top of the flyer. Save it for last (or second last). Whatever is the last thing they read will be the thing that stays in their mind, whether consciously or subliminally.
- Use a big bold font for the headline. Perhaps you have the fonts Impact or Arial Black already on your system. These are known as sans serifs (sans = without) they don't have the curly bits on the ends of the letters. Or you may choose to use a decorative font (a style that you'd never uses for a body of text) but make sure it's still readable and doesn't take away from the message.
- For the main body of copy use Times New Roman. This is a serif style font. It has the curly bits at the end. I once had a guy show me his self (mutilated) produced flyer. I suggested he change the font so people might actually be able to read it. Times Roman works for me but he said everybody uses it. Trust me, Times New Roman isn't about to wear out. It isn't a fad, it isn't a trend that's about to go out of style. Alternately you may choose to use Arial. It's clean and crisp. It descended from the Helvetica typeface and it's been around almost as long as Times Roman.
- Set your font size no smaller than 10 points and no bigger than 14. The human eye is able to read anything between these sizes with ease and speed (unless of course your market is the vision impaired).
What To Know About Artwork
Certain colors do not reproduce in black and white and are unsuitable to supply as art. Generally, dark colors will result in a black image and pale colors will reproduce as a white image. Therefore, a dark color on a dark background will photograph as a solid black area. A pale color on a pale background will not produce an image at all.
Some examples of these color combinations are:
- Black on Red will be a solid black area
- Gold on Black will become a solid black
- Yellow on White will not produce an image
- Pale to Middle Blue will not produce an image
- Green and Silver generally reproduce as a 'dirty' grey
Here are some things to think about...
Don't flog your inkjet printer within an inch of its life. If you're not going to get a printing company to run off a thousand copies then use a photocopier. Some places charge as little as 5 cents a copy. And if you've ever licked something printed on an inkjet (well okay, just wet your finger and try it) you'll see it smudge. So if you're sticking these flyers under windscreen wipers or in letter boxes the owner will find a runny mess of black ink if it rains.
What color should the paper be? Black on white works for me. Don't go out and buy a ream of pink paper just to be different. If you want to be different take some time and research colors and come up with the right ones for your corporate identity.
Size Does Matter. A4 is good if you're sticking it up on a notice board but if it's intended to be handed out or (as mentioned above) sticking under windscreen wipers and stuffed in letterboxes then go A5 or A6. That also means a reduction in cost. Cut your photocopied flyers into halves or quarters. But please, use a guillotine. Nothing looks worse than a cut edge that is hacked or skewed. Presentation is important.
Get the attention
It's not about advertising, marketing or graphic design. It's a combination of all three. You want an 'image' campaign.
Sure you may be announcing that you're a new business, or you've got a special offer, you stress the benefits of your product/service but it all comes back to the same thing: you are selling an image.
When you know what the image is that you want to sell it gets a lot easier. But you have to be conscious of what it is.
Image does not come about by accident. It is thought out and planned. It is developed and maintained. And when used effectively, that's when the rewards will be reaped.
It doesn't take one flyer, brochure or ad. It takes a campaign. But that doesn't mean it has to be costly. Get back to the 'thinking' and 'planning' stage. If you will bring in new business or sell a product more then you would without advertising then it is worth the cost of a campaign.
The Gripping Conclusion
Now before you run off and get all creative and exercise that imagination that I know you all have, consider this. Instead of doing a one off flyer, create a series. Three or four good flyers that stand alone but where you (and others) can see a strong corporate identity linking them. 'Release' them one at a time.
This will not only make you look professional it will reinforce the image you're trying to portray with your business. If you want to be the best you've also got to look your best.