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how to design a small business marketing flyer that won’t end up in the bin

Whether you’re a small business in Bristol or Bath offering a service such as cleaning or beauty therapy or you are selling a product such as baby clothing or cosmetics, creating and distributing a small business marketing flyer is one of the most cost effective ways of attracting new customers. In other words a well targeted flyer is likely to get the most return on your marketing spend.

What tools do you need to design your small business marketing flyer?

It’s also pretty easy to design a small business marketing flyer yourself if you have the time and inclination or if not, there are plenty of people willing to design one for you at a reasonable cost.

If you choose to design one yourself, you will need Photoshop and there are plenty of web tutorials and YouTube videos out there giving you tips on how to use it. You don’t even need to start from scratch – you can download fully editable Photoshop flyer templates and customise to suit your needs.

Alternatively, companies such as Vistaprint offer predesigned templates that you can add your own copy and images to before sending to print.

If you’d prefer to get someone else to do it, a couple of options that won’t break the bank are, approaching local graphic design courses in Bristol or Bath to see if there are any students interested in developing their portfolios with real-life examples; or, People Per Hour showcase a wide selection of freelancers offering flyers with unlimited amendments from around £25 – do check out the designer’s portfolio and references though.

12 tips to follow when writing the design brief for your small business marketing flyer

Whether you choose to design it yourself or write a brief for somebody else to design it, the following points will help you to get the most from your flyer.

  1. Use colours and fonts that are consistent with other promotional efforts to help develop a visual brand identity.
  2. Only use high quality photography and images. If commissioning a photographer or graphic artist to create something unique is out of reach, then there is plenty of stock imagery on the web.
  3. Find images to support your message, an image is 1000 words as they say. Use the strongest image in the top half of your flyer. Stock images are available through sites such as iStock but the subscriptions are not usually cost effective for a small business who only produces a limited number of marketing promotions a year. A couple of free alternatives are and
  4. Don’t use too many different colours, images and fonts as it could end up confusing the customer– usually one strong image and one or two fonts styles work the best.
  5. If you must use lots of images try to group them together.
  6. Keep the messages simple – stick to one or two key messages in your flyer – don’t try to tell the customer about everything you do in one go.
  7. Include a customer testimonial or two.
  8. Know your audience – plan your flyer with your target customer in mind and address their needs in your copy. Segment your list and only deliver to people that you know will be most likely to take up your offer. If you’re a bit hazy on who these potential customers are then have a read of  my recent post CRM for small businesses.
  9. Don’t try to be funny, it may come across as cheesy, aim to be professional.
  10. Tell your customers to do something – this is called a call to action. If this is asking the customer to contact you then make it as easy as possible for the customer to do so.
  11. Make the call to action bigger than the rest of the text on the flyer and if you want customers to come to a specific location then give clear directions and include a map if you can. Try to think how you can incentivise the call to action and add a deadline to create urgency e.g. call us today on 1234567 and quote ‘newcustomer’ for a 10% discount – offer ends 20/01/2015
  12. If you have the budget then try to put your promotional flyer on a paper stock that’s going to impress. The more high-end your target customer the more quality you want to convey. Avoid photocopies and black and white printing (that is not by design), it won’t look professional.

If you’re a small business in Bristol or Bath and you’d like a helping hand with any aspects of your marketing, then please get in touch with me at sensible marketing for small businesses today.

Here’s some flyers I like. Seen anything you love? Then do share.

1. Flyer promoting a photography event


Clearly laid out flyer with all essential event details, location map and contact information easy to find. Not trying to be clever, does what it says on the tin. Like it.

2. Flyer encouraging people to wash their hands


This flyer conveys its message with one powerful image, illustrating how one carefully selected image can have more impact than cramming the flyer with lots of content. Although I know that as a small business you are unlikely to have the budget to pay a graphic designer to come up with something unique, I wanted to share it anyway –  to inspire!

3. Flyer promoting subscriptions to Hello magazine


These are subscription marketing flyers for Hello magazine. They have a clear incentive Save 30% and a free gift and also a clear call to action in the red section at the bottom to visit the website to claim the offer. The red gives a sense of urgency. Magazine publishers are often great at designing flyers to promote their subscription offers, with clear incentives, call to actions and deadlines. These flyers also feature one strong clear image. Tick.

4. Flyer promoting a room for rent


I like the clever way they have included a large amount of information without it feeling overcrowded, by limiting the range of colours and fonts and using icons.

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