Advertising is not something that I talk a lot about on this blog, as while it is hugely important to any business, it’s not something new sellers should really worry about – simply because they don’t have the budget to tackle it properly.
But nearly every time I tell someone this, they nearly always answer with “flyer advertising!” which if you don’t know is when you print and deliver flyers/leaflets door to door. After all, flyers are a cheap and effective advertising method and that’s why newbies love using them, right?
Wrong! I really want today’s post to dispel this myth once and for all and to hopefully save you some time and money.
You won’t achieve a positive ROI with flyer advertising and it’s an incredibly inefficient way to advertise your eBay business, as simple as that.
Let’s just start off with the fact that 99% of such flyers end up straight in the bin without even a single glance. And from that 1% that will take 5-10 seconds to scan over your leaflet (among the tens of others they receive every single day) maybe 1% will actually go online, check out your store/listing and buy something. And that’s a big maybe!
What that means is if you deliver 10,000 flyers, around 100 people will look over it properly, and you might then make a sale.
One single sale.
From ten thousand flyers.
Let’s quickly run through the maths on that so we can roughly gauge the ROI. I searched on eBay for “10,000 A5 flyers”:
The first three sellers were all offering double sided for around £120 so we’ll use that in our calculation:
Of course this only covers the cost of the flyers being printed – you still need the design and most importantly actually distributing the flyers.
I searched on Google for “flyer distribution UK” and checked a few different websites for estimates:
The price of course varies considerably, based on who you use, what area you are targeting, and whether you want your leaflet to be delivered by itself (very expensive!).
I’m going to take the lower price of £390 and ignore the VAT, so you can’t say I haven’t given flyers a fair chance here!
Why not, let’s also ignore any design costs, which means £120 for printing and £390 for distribution, for a total of £510 for 10,000 flyers.
Using my 1%>1% calculation, that gives us 1 purchase and a cost per acquired customer of …£510!
It goes without saying that that is an abysmal return! Even with a ten times higher response, that would still be a cost per sale of £51.
However you try to spin it, there is just no business sense in spending money on an advertising campaign that doesn’t produce a positive return on investment (or at least break even if you are list building).
Now I know what you might be thinking – “why do I get so many flyers if they’re so bad for businesses?”
And to be fair that is a good question. The answer is that it works differently for different businesses. It might make sense for Dominos to send out hundreds of thousands of flyers for 50% off as they’re a well known brand so their flyer will attract attention, plus they will still achieve a decent margin at 50% off.
That’s not at all comparable to an online eBay seller who will be making a loss if he offers anywhere near that level of discount.
And really that is the key to flyer advertising and the one time when I can see it being profitable – for local businesses with high retention rates and long term customer value.
Another important point to consider is that I always stress how important it is to track your advertising so you know exactly what ROI you’re achieving. A combination of using an offline advertising method like flyers and eBay, who still don’t offer any sort of coupon system, makes this incredibly difficult.
In my mind if you cannot properly measure your results, then there is no point to it, as you won’t be able to make data-driven decisions and properly scale your marketing.
So to sum up – please don’t fall in to the newbie mind-set or get suckered in by the big talk and fake statistics of printing and marketing companies. You will not make any money using flyers for your eBay business!
Times have changed and there are countless other advertising avenues significantly cheaper and many times more effective.
In fact simply spending that money on eBay itself will generate a much better return; create sales using the mark down manager, utilise listing upgrades or use some of the more advanced strategies that I teach on this blog.
As long as you stay away from flyers!
Until next time.
All the best,