Ah, the humble flyer. Historically used to share news, rally communities around important events, advance political and social causes and support guerilla marketing efforts, flyers quickly gained a reputation for starting revolutions and legitimizing ‘people power’.
The possibilities of this medium eventually shifted in the 1950s when it became a promotional tool to promote goods and services. Cut to present day, and they’re still a relevant business tool to offer important information or make a statement about your brand. (And something that you can create to achieve some all-important business goals even if you’re not a designer).
There’s great power in the message that flyers hold—whether they’re printed out to distribute among local communities or adapted to upload to digital devices that can be accessed anywhere.
While there are lots of considerations to make when creating an impactful flyer design, sometimes it’s best to go back to the basics: What is the message you’re trying to communicate, and how will you make sure it makes the biggest impact by reaching the most people? Below, we will discuss the key steps to consider when creating flyers for your business.
Figure out your key marketing objective
When your marketing efforts have a clear purpose, they are more likely to reach the right people. Designing flyers are no different.
As you brainstorm ideas for your flyer, ask yourself: How does this piece of communication support your business goals? How does it align with your overall business mission? What do you want people to know, learn or believe in?
Some examples of key marketing objectives can include:
- Promoting a new product or service
- Growing your digital audience
- Lead generation
- Reaching new customers
- Retaining existing customers
- Building brand awareness
- Increasing brand loyalty
- Growing sales and revenue
- Expanding into a new market
- Establishing market authority
By adopting some project management strategies, flyers can prove to fit in as a jigsaw puzzle piece into your overall communications and marketing strategy.
Step 1: Do your research
All communication sets itself up for success when it strives to be clear, useful and friendly. Usually in the very early stages of a project, however, there are many things that are undefined. This is where research can come to the rescue. Figure out what your customers want and need—based on their pain points. From there, write down your short- and long-term goals for the project. Keep your thoughts organized with a note-taking system. This research will help inform how flyers can help you get your message across.
Step 2: Clarify the goal of your business flyer
Establish why your project matters, what you’re going to design, and what you want your content to do. Set a timeframe for achieving these goals
Step 3: Get creating
After defining what you want to say, it’s time to get designing. Try a few different variations to see what might work best. Play with words and phrases, fonts and color combinations, images and grid styles. To get early feedback, show early drafts to co-workers and subject matter experts to establish a feedback loop. This will help you reach the best version of your business-related flyer that’s fit for your intended purpose.
Step 4: Refine, polish and publish
When you achieve a final draft, it’s time to publish. Think of this less as a hard deadline, and more as a way to let go of the content and learn from how your customers respond to it.
Your customers and team are your biggest advocates for feedback, who will help you continuously improve. Use their insights to produce preferred designs, checklists or branding style guidelines that’ll help you professionalize your visual design and branding processes for consistency and best practice.
Take, for example, the visual branding of athleisure brand Outdoor Voices, who has a clothing and accessories product line that successfully blends activewear with everyday fashion.
By figuring out what makes them different and marketing themselves as technical apparel, they’ve built a cult following around the message of #doingthings, which shows up in their messaging consistent across all platforms and media.
Identify your target audience
Your audience is the main reason your business exists. But who are they, really? Before you commit to making a flyer, take the time to define who you’re really trying to reach.
Consider how your business exists beyond the products and services it wants to promote. What kind of community does it want to connect to? Who are your regular customers? Who are the customers you’re trying to reach who don’t know you exist yet? Consider the demographics or personal attributes they have in common (or identify as a point of difference).
The team at marketing product company CoSchedule define it as your ‘content core’, understanding the overlap between what you do (the problem which you exist to solve), and what you need to talk about (the benefits and features that an audience will find useful).
Thinking about your audience as you design helps you picture them as real people, and co-creators in the communications you’ll be using to reach them.
Here are a couple of questions worth asking as you try to pinpoint what audience your flyer will be reaching:
- What problems are my products or services solving? This helps you keep your messaging relevant and timely—essentially asking, ‘why does someone need this in their lives right now?’
- Who are our customers? You can use this information to build out audience personas, figure out where in the marketing funnel they may currently be, and create segments based on shared qualities they have.
- Who’s our competition? A quick search on Google will help you figure out who else on the market is offering something similar. By identifying their branding, keywords, and tactics, you can avoid copy cat syndrome to instead craft something contextual for your customer.
- What do our customers gain from choosing us (over our competitor)? Identify your Unique Selling Point—the thing that makes your service or product better than anything else on the market, and tell your customers.
Include a Call-To-Action (CTA)
After scanning your flyer, your customer should know exactly what you’d like them to do.
You don’t need multiple calls-to-action: Instead, pick one, stick to it, and make sure it correlates with your current marketing strategy.
Your call-to-action should also be supported by follow-up information. Want them to make a purchase? Tell them where your store is located. Register for an event? Don’t forget to include the sign-up link. Make a phone call? Leave your number. Write a review? Include your website details.
The clearer your message is, the easier it’ll be for your ideal customer to make sure they follow-through on your desired outcome.
In the example below, the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival in Australia encourages patrons to make bookings which are essential—and provides both an email and phone number to follow up with.
Find the right images
Think of your visuals as bridging the gap between different pieces of information and communicating what’s unspoken: A vibe, expectation, feeling, or look.
Your decisions around choosing the right images will be shaped by your brand, the industry you’re in, and the audience you’re looking to reach. For example, community broadcaster Triple R made one of the flyers for their annual subscription drive resemble a schlocky horror movie poster.
The end result combined humor, nostalgia and striking visuals and an eye-catching primary color scheme to encourage local listeners to ring in and support their local station.
Here are a couple of other things to keep in mind about the balance of visuals and copy on your template:
- Large chunks of text make your information difficult to read. Break up your copy with images or visuals whenever possible.
- Use different font colors to show information hierarchy. Headings, subtitles, and body copy should all be easy to tell apart from one another in a first glance.
- Arrange your information so it flows logically for your reader. Thin about what information is need-to-know versus nice-to-keep-in-mind?
Create a visually exciting and memorable promotional flyers with the Vegetable Party Flyer template and the Pink, Blue, Yellow Colorful CMYK Collage Creative Modern Fashion Event Flyer template.
Keep your copy concise
With limited space to communicate, your word choices need to find a balance between being precise and direct without sacrificing tone-of-voice, style, and the ability to encourage a customer to follow through.
Anticipate your customer’s questions in advance. They might want to know who you are, what you’re offering, where you’re based, why you’re different to the competition, and when they can expect to attend an event or sample your products and services in their area.
These should all either be answered in the flyer information, or your customers should be able to navigate easily to a website or social media platform to gain the full details.
When it comes to what the copy will look like, limit yourself to two fonts: one for the headers and one for the body text. Bullet points, numbered lists, or other hierarchical text formats will also help you communicate important information.
For inspiration, let’s take a look at the Melbourne International Film Festival’s visual branding, which changes every year depending on the festival theme.
A key part of such an audience-driven event is that the experience of the festival program extends beyond the daily screenings. It’s about the conversations that happen after you walk out of the cinema, too.
So rather than explain what the Festival is, the flyer copy here communicates the experience we might be missing out on—coupled with a promise for what will happen when we book tickets.
The combination of copy and design decisions made here aims to sparks interest, stimulate the senses, and invite the public to engage further by navigating to the organization’s website.
Proofread and check alignment
You’ve worked hard on designing your business flyer—let’s make sure tiny errors like typos don’t undo your efforts and goals ahead for business success.
Experiment with different proofreading tactics until you find one that works for you. It’s about keeping your processes systematic as that you’re able to confidently catch as many errors as possible in the least amount of time.
Make sure you have the right file size you need
In the rush to export your flyer design or get it printed, we’re often prone to mistakes happening at the last minute.
Whether you want to print your designs at home, or use Canva Print to get physical copies delivered to your door, it’s worth making sure you know your flyer sizes to suit your intended purpose and audience.
The most common flyer sizes tend to be:
- Half sheet - Often chosen for being cost effective to print.
- Standard - The industry standard for flyer sizes.
- Large format - Best suited for documents that need to be folded. Think menus, broadsheet inserts, and oversized leaflets, among other types of material.