How to Make a Door Hanger: Your Guide to Success
If you’ve ever lived in an apartment building or suburb, then you’ve most likely come across a door hanger before. They’re small, rectangle-shaped, and so very useful when marketing to specific people, in specific areas.
Door hangers are the most popular choice for when you want to promote or draw attention to your business, service or campaign in your local area. They’re very inexpensive, easy to distribute, and best of all, impossible to ignore.
Let’s take a closer look at what door hangers are exactly, how to design one that dazzles, and how to spread them so they bring you the results you’re looking for.
The Basics: What are Door Hangers and What Do They Do?
Door hangers are specialized, focused advertisements that you leave right in your target customer’s door. They usually promote:
- Store openings.
- Limited-time deals.
- Local businesses.
- Political campaigns.
- Special sales.
They’re very small (compared to other forms of advertisement), and very inexpensive to produce and distribute. And yet, they’re still one of the most efficient and effective forms of advertising out there – even more than flyers or posters.
In fact, while a flyer is expected to receive a 1% success rate per campaign, door hangers have been shown to receive anywhere from 4% to 5% success rates.
That may not seem like much if you’re distributing 100 of them… but when you consider a campaign of 2,000, those numbers really add up.
Why Should I Use Door Hangers Instead of Some Other Form of Advertising?
Imagine that you’re coming home after work and you’re starving.
You’re walking towards your porch, thinking about what you’re going to eat, when suddenly, you notice a colorful door hanger staring right at you. The first thing you notice is a crisp, gorgeous picture of a sizzling pepperoni pizza pie next to an order of breadsticks and marinara sauce. On top of the picture, the words “Get One Free!” stand out in a large, catchy white font.
You look down the ad and see that it’s a nearby place, maybe five minutes away, and that there’s a coupon at the reverse side for a free, large pizza with your first order. The hanger also includes a short, featured menu on the back, giving you even more options. Like this one (below).
I’m 99% sure I know what you’ll eat that night. That little piece of glossy paper just solved your immediate problem, and with a local, accessible solution.
Can you see the charm?
Unlike other forms of advertising, door hangers target the people most likely to make use of whatever service they’re promoting – right where they live. They’re very focused, convenient and simple advertising tools that people can easily carry around and most of the time, even use.
Door hangers are:
- Impossible to ignore.
- Straight to the point.
- Very cost effective and cheap to produce, especially when compared to other forms of advertising.
- Very targeted, and thus more likely than other forms of advertising to bring in a positive response.
- A more personal form of advertising, so people are innately more willing to trust them.
- Unobtrusive and easy to pick up, handle and store.
- Just plain convenient.
Steps for a Successful Door Hanger Campaign
Now you know just how useful and powerful of a tool door hangers can be when used right. Despite their geographical limitations, they’re exceptionally effective, cheap to produce and distribute, and a very convenient way to promote your local services, event or business.
However, as with any other marketing material, a lot of thought goes into creating a successful door hanger. Here are the basic steps you should consider to launch a successful door hanger campaign:
- Tracking Results
Let’s take a look at the first step in the process, and arguably the most important – planning.
Planning Your Door Hanger Campaign
Researching Your Target Audience
Who exactly are the people you’d like to reach with your door hangers?
Where do they live? What do they like to do? What age are they? What are their goals and dreams, and how does your product or service relate to those goals?
Knowing who you’re targeting first is vital, because it ensures that the design, offer and copy of the door hanger will be created with a laser-focus for the right audience. This will help create a deeper connection with the reader and increase your chances, and rate, of positive responses.
It will also make the next steps of the process much easier – giving you a road map to follow, as it were – as you create a marketing piece that will truly resonate with and incite a response from as many people as possible.
What Should Your Door Hanger Accomplish?
Do you want people to come by your store and check out a new product?
Are you hoping to attract new customers to your physical store? Maybe you want to introduce your new restaurant to likely customers in your neighborhood?
What do you want people to do as soon as they read your door hanger?
Once you figure that out, the rest of the process gets much easier, and you improve your chances of getting positive responses by a metric mile.
You also want to set clear and tangible goals for your campaign that you can track, as these will let you know how well your door hangers are doing and whether the campaign was worth it or not.
Examples of clear goals could be to:
- Get a 5% call rate from your overall distribution.
- Generate 50 new clients or 1 per every 50 door hangers.
- Land 100 sales for $1,000 in the first two weeks.
What Kind of Offer Will Your Door Hanger Include?
Unless you’re designing a door hanger for a political campaign, you’ll want to have an enticing, limited-time offer or deal in your piece that incites the reader to take action.
An offer can be anything like:
- A special discount if your customer brings the door hanger to the store by a specific date.
- Giving a free product sample to the first 100 callers.
- Including a time-sensitive coupon that your customers can redeem.
- Calling for a free consultation.
Whatever your offer is, it’s important that it offers great value to your potential customers. It’s also very important to include a time constraint of some kind, so that they don’t put it off for later and then forget it.
Designing a Door Hanger That Demands Attention
Anatomy of the Door Hanger
What crucial elements is a door hanger made of? I don’t mean the paper, (though we’ll get to that in a bit).
Every door hanger has several elements in common, and it’s the interplay between these elements that ultimately decides whether a delivered hanger succeeds or fails, so it pays to know them well.
These basic elements are:
- A Title or Headline – This is the most important text you can put in any ad. The title immediately tells the reader what your big offer is, or what the door hanger is all about. Make sure your title text is clear, stands out, and is easily-readable.
- Body Text – Explains the offer of the door hanger in more detail. The less copy you can get away with using, the better. Many people opt for short, bulleted lists instead of sentences or blocks of text, but your individual needs will ultimately dictate which approach is best.
- A Limited-Time Offer – Sometimes included in the body text, and sometimes written as part of the call to action (CTA), at the end. Some door hangers, such as political ads, don’t require a limited-time offer. They are, however, the exception to the rule.
- A Call to Action – The CTA tells your reader what they should do next. It should be as simple and clear as possible, and leave no doubt as to what the reader’s next action should be. It should also be clearly visible in your design, so that it doesn’t get lost among the other elements.
- Your Contact Info – Don’t forget to let readers know your address, phone number, website or any other basic information they’ll need to know to take advantage of your offer.
- Design Elements – The design elements of your picture (which we’ll talk about in the next section) determine the visual appeal of your door hanger; from the text, shapes and textures, to the color and tone of your door hanger.
- Pictures – Pictures can be a crucial element of your door hanger, especially if you’re promoting a product or property of any kind, as they draw the eyes and can immediately tell a reader what the ad is all about.
Color and Texture
The colors you choose for your door hanger determine how, and whether, it’ll stand out at a glance. Some important things to keep in mind when choosing your color:
- Does your business, company or brand have any key colors? Remember to use those.
- What kind of emotions are you trying to make your audience feel? Cool colors such as greens and blues elicit a sense of calm, while warmer colors like reds, yellows and oranges can either create intensity, immediacy or even hunger.
- What age group are you trying to target? Younger demographics react better to bright, contrasting colors, while older demographics respond better to calmer, more saturated tones and designs.
Textured designs play a similar role as color, helping you create a specific mood or feeling on your ad, while enhancing the delivery of your message.
They can also help add interest or life to an otherwise bland design, making your door hanger pop out even more.
Just like in flyers, posters and other visual ads, pictures can be used to tell a story of their own when used correctly.
Choose pictures that convey or complement the message of the ad, and always make sure to go for the highest resolution possible.
This makes your business appear more professional and trustworthy, eliciting a deeper sense of trust, respect and confidence from your audience.
Shapes can be seen as the building blocks of your ad, and the most common design element after color and text. You can use shapes in a door hanger’s design to:
- Draw the eye to specific parts of the ad.
- Separate other design elements, like pictures and text.
- Highlight important text or information.
- Compliment the tone and “energy” of the overall design.
- Give the eyes a rest from picture-heavy designs.
- Help the door hanger more appealing and likely to be read.
The fonts you choose also play a role on how your door hanger is perceived.
As a rule of thumb, it’s recommended to limit your choice to just two types of fonts per door hanger, one for the headlines and subheads (if your door hanger has any), and one for the main text.
Also, don’t forget that you can vary the color of your text to create emphasis and help your copy stand out more.
We know that typography and text play a big role in your door hanger design – but did you know that where and how you place that text is also very important?
Placement of your text can be as vital a design element as that of your shapes or pictures.
Will you place a bullet list highlighting your service’s key benefits over a full-color shape? Or will you present your offer in a short paragraph, right beneath a picture?
Say you’re promoting your new comic book shop. Will you put the text inside speech bubbles coming from an animated drawing? Or if you’re opening a new restaurant, how about putting a small version of the menu on the back side of the door hanger?
You won’t have that much space on a door hanger, so remember to keep your copy as succinct and to-the-point as you can. One of the key aspects of a door hanger is to be able to say more with less. The better you manage to do that, the more powerful your message will be.
Printing Your Door Hanger
Now that we’re done with the design phase, it’s time to print our hangers.
Door hangers can be printed using either digital or offset printing, but offset is often the best way to go. Not only does it offer more printing options, and a higher print quality, but the bigger your order, the less it’ll cost.
Pro tip: Don't let mother nature ruin your investment! A water-resistant material like gloss paper with UV coating will help ensure that your door hangers don't fall victim to sprinklers and rain clouds.
Distributing Your Door Hanger
Now that you’ve designed and printed your door hanger, it’s time to come up with your distribution plan. Those suckers aren’t going to spread themselves!
Charting the Best Route
The first thing you need to do is plan out your distribution route. Which neighborhoods are you going to hit? In which order?
Planning this out in advance lets you tally up how many people you’ll need to spread the door hangers as quickly and efficiently as possible. It’ll also make the process of distributing them much smoother and enjoyable.
Here’s an idea: you can download a map of the area over which your distribution will take place, and draw the different team’s routes; including who’s going with who, who will pick up which team members and where you’re all going to meet after the job’s done.
That way, you can hand out the custom route maps to your team members so everyone’s on the same page. And speaking of team members…
Getting a Team Together
Here comes the fun part – getting your distribution team together. There are several ways to go about this, and some are definitely better than others. Your best options are:
- Volunteers: Get a group of volunteers together, ideally friends and family, and offer to throw them a lunch party after the job’s done (pizza works best). This method costs you no extra money (save for what you spend on the food), and can turn out to be a very fun and rewarding experience.
- Employees: Get your employees to distribute the door hangers during work hours. This is the next best method, but it will cost you manpower. Plus, the distributors will still be working on the clock, so this method won’t be free.
- Outside Distributors: The third method is to hire outside distributors to hand out your door hangers. This is as valid a method as the ones above, and it can be helpful if you can’t spare the time or employees, but it presents the most expensive approach at the end of the day.
Figuring Out the Best Time to Distribute
Knowing when to distribute your door hangers is also an important factor.
You want to make sure you plan out your distribution run for an appropriate time of day, preferably during or after the first shift of a normal work day. That way, you run less of a risk of bothering homeowners as your team is distributing the door hangers.
The two big rules are as follows:
- You never want to distribute door hangers too early in the morning, where your team of distributors could end up disturbing the residents as they wake up and get ready for the day.
- Or too late at night, where the work could be mistaken for something else and raise unnecessary concern from homeowners.
The best time? Late morning to early afternoon.
Bonus Distribution Tactics
To maximize your distribution efforts, efficiency and time, it’s good to consider the following tactics:
- Divide your groups in pairs, per street or block, so that each person can handle one side of the street at once and cut down on time.
- Carpooling is best. Plan out who the designated drivers will be, and where/when they’ll drop the teams off and pick them up.
- If distributing with family and friends, make the event a fun one, and even encourage the teams to compete to see which one finishes their beat first. You can even offer the winning team a small reward at the lunch party. The more fun your team has during the run, the more likely they’ll be to come back and help you next time!
Tracking Your Campaign Results
Now that you’ve handed out your door hangers, the next step is to track your campaign’s results. Without a solid way to track your results, there’s no way to know if your campaign was successful or not, so this step plays a vital role towards your marketing success.
Ways to Track Your Campaign Results
There are many ways to track your results. Some of the most common are:
- Asking for a phone call as part of the offer.
- Telling the customer to bring the door hanger to a physical location, to receive a discount or special offer.
- Adding a coupon to the door hanger that the recipient can then bring to your store.
- Encouraging the recipient to register online or visit a specific page on your website.
Aside from establishing ways to track your success, it’s important that you develop a system to keep tabs on it. This can be as simple as keeping a records notebook or as complex as investing in project management software.
The key aspect of this is to log where the campaign is having the most success and which demographic is responding better.
Also, if you’re using more than one door hanger design or offer (A/B testing), then it’s important to know which is working better, with whom, and where.
Something you may want to try, especially if you’ve got a sizable list of people in your list (2,000 or more), is A/B testing.
A/B testing is just what it sounds like – using two different designs (or offers) to test which proves more effective with your target audience. The higher the distribution number, the more accurate the results of the A/B test will be.
You might choose to test the two designs on the same neighborhoods (every other house), or you may segregate them by geographic zone. However, the closer you keep the variables, the more accurate the data you’ll get in return.
Time to Design Your Own Door Hanger
Door hangers are one of the cheapest and most effective ways to reach your ideal customers, but like any other marketing material, they do take a bit of work to make.
You need to know who your target audience is, what they’re like, and what they need and want. Once you do, you need to come up with an offer that offers exceptional value to them, and a design that speaks directly to who they are.
What will your door hanger look like, now that you know how it all works?
If you want to try your hand at it right away, we offer an online editor where you can design and create your very own door hanger in just a matter of minutes.