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Flyer Marketing: 25 Places to Distribute Your Flyer for Maximum Exposure

Finding places to distribute flyers for maximum exposure is one of the most important aspects of door-to-door/local marketing. It’s actually one of the more cost-effective ways to market a business. That’s why even in this digital, social media, SEO dominated world that we live in today, local businesses still hand out flyers.

As personable and old school as hand-delivering flyers door-to-door may be however, there is still a lot to consider when planning out a proper distribution strategy. Don’t worry though, we’re about to spell out a whole flyer distribution game plan any business can use to get maximum exposure for their marketing dollar.

Here are a few things local business owners should consider in planning out the best places to engage in flyer marketing:

  • The legalities of flyer distribution
  • Geographic vs. demographic targeting
  • The best places to distribute flyers

Following the Law When Distributing Marketing Flyers

In the city of Toronto, a business owner does not need a business license to distribute handbills, flyers, leaflets, and pamphlets. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some basic rules that need to be followed. Here they are:

  • It’s okay to distribute product samples without a license as long as the person handing them out is moving. This means it’s against city bylaws to set up a tent or a table and hand out flyers and pamphlets without a permit, but as long as a business owner is going door to door, they can hand out as much as they wish. If the business owner is handing out anything related to food, they need to get approval from Toronto’s public health department.
  • It’s also okay to hand out flyers on behalf of a charity without a license but patrons are advised not to take up too much room on the sidewalk.

These are really the only city bylaws in Toronto that business owners need to follow, but that doesn’t mean that flyer marketing in private spaces is easy. We’ll get to that in a little bit. For now, let’s discuss targeting.

The Two Targeting Types

The nature of local business is such that business owners really do have to depend on people that live in the region to show up. Customers may travel far and wide to get to a specialist for a unique medical problem, but they won’t go that far to see their chiropractor or family doctor. They may go a fair distance to go have invasive dental surgery, but they only want to go around the corner to get their teeth cleaned. That’s why anyone using flyer marketing will have to have a clearly defined geographical area to target.

That said within that geographic targeting are the demographic considerations. Demographics include things like:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Annual income
  • Marital status
  • Occupation
  • Education level
  • Living situation (homeowner or renter)

When to Use Geographic Targeting

Geographic targeting works best for businesses that serve everyone on a mass scale regardless of their demographic details. These are things that people absolutely must have and can’t avoid. Services like lawn care or car repair are the most obvious examples. A grocery store would also be a great example of a product-related geo-focused business, because nobody can avoid eating. More niche businesses might be better off using demographic targeting.

When to Use Demographic Targeting

Again, demographic targeting is for a narrow kind of niche. For example let’s say that a business owner runs a high-end steakhouse. The steakhouse provides all kinds of specialty cuts of steak, imports hors d’oeuvres and fine wine from overseas and  the average couple spends $300. Sending flyers out to a low income area isn’t going to work for this kind of business, even if that low-income area is close to the steakhouse.

Other examples of niche businesses that might want to consider demographic targeting include luxury car dealers, childcare services, business-to-business software companies, or a high-end fashion boutique.

Demographic targeting can of course be done with flyers through Canada Post. You can pick postal codes or areas to deliver to that you know are high income. Real estate agents do this all of the time.

When to Use both Geographic and Demographic Targeting

There are many different kinds of businesses that might benefit from using both geographic and demographic targeting. One great example would be a landscaping company. The company might use flyers to advertise in outdoor locations throughout town. They may also decide to send direct-mail outs to homes that are valued at more than $700,000 for instance. This way they know they are targeting households that can afford to make their front and backyard look really nice with all kinds of stones, tiles and styles that ultimately lead to billing a high value customer.

The Best Places to Deliver Flyers

Just because business owners don’t need a license to engage in flyer marketing in Toronto, it doesn’t mean that it is always an easy thing to do. Sure going out in public and posting flyers on traffic posts is easy, but walking into a local business and trying to advertise on their windows is likely going to get you kicked out of someone else’s brick-and-mortar locations. There has to be an in-between. There are many other places besides people’s homes where flyers can be effectively delivered. They include:

Putting Flyers on Car Windshields

This is obviously a great strategy for car insurance and car repair businesses, but it can also work for businesses with a very generic audience like a grocery store. Walking around the parking lot of a mall on a busy day provides access to a ton of cars with empty windshields just waiting to receive a flyer.

Handing Out Flyers on a Busy Street Corner

This is a popular method used by nightclubs and food and drink companies handing out samples. Religious groups also hand out flyers on the street a lot. Each of those groups is just trying to connect with as many people as possible regardless of their demographics (minus the fact nightclubs want people who are at least legal drinking age). That’s why setting up an area or street corner downtown is the best strategy for them. There could literally be a million people walking by during rush hour on the way home.

Handing Out Flyers in Retail Customer Bags

Small businesses usually focus on creating some sort of ambience or environment within their brick-and-mortar stores. They also value their most loyal customers more than a big department store like Walmart might. Handing out flyers in the bags of retail customers works really well in these situations. It lets customers know their business is valued and gives them a next incentive to come back, assuming of course that the flyer offers interesting promotions or discounts.

Put Flyers Inside Newspapers

Putting flyers inside newspapers works well for businesses that want to target commuters. Let’s face it, the majority of people who read the newspaper don’t pay for it anymore, so the free ones are the ones that businesses would want to advertise in. Those are the ones that get picked up by commuters. Sure they may only be casual readers but a compelling promotion could suck them in and make them a valuable customer for a long time.

Including Flyers with Invoices or Bills

Just because a business already has valued customers on its mailing list, doesn’t mean they can’t be offered promotional flyers. In fact, it’s a sound business strategy to do so. Entrepreneurs that believe in the 80/20 principle subscribe to the idea that 80% of a business’s revenue comes from 20% of its customer base. Pleasing ones most loyal customers by offering a great promotion next to a bill or an invoice is a great way to say “We really value your business”.

Handing Out Flyers at Events

Most trade shows, conferences and events cater to a very specific group of people. Getting involved with an event and including a promotional flyer about one’s business in a loot bag or giveaway is a perfect strategy for any company targeting a specific demographic. Literally every popular niche will have some sort of conferences in your local area or at the very least your nearest downtown core. For businesses who have a bit of a marketing budget this is the perfect way to target a core group of prospects.

More Public Places to Put Flyers Up

Here’s a list of more places and a business owner can put up flyers.

  • Traffic light posts/utility posts.
  • Any store or building that has a community bulletin board.
  • Local community centres
  • Laundromats
  • Front desks and lobbies
  • City offices
  • Bus stops, subways, trains and transit terminals
  • Boards of Trade and Chambers of Commerce
  • Convention Centres
  • Vending Machines
  • Public washrooms
  • Senior’s homes
  • Condominiums
  • Coffee shops
  • Gas stations
  • Churches
  • Schools
  • Restaurants and more

What about Digital Flyers?

Alright, so here what we’re really talking about is online advertising. Social media ad campaigns can work great for local businesses. A restaurant can offer a discount to people in a specific area or who fit a specific demographic, or both. Facebook after all is the king of monetizing data. It’s what the company does best. When a business owner pays to advertise online that’s what they’re essentially paying for. The right to access that valuable data.

Both Facebook and Instagram offer geographic and demographic targeting options, meaning that a local restaurant can advertise a half-price wing night to a specific group of people or people within a specific region on a particular afternoon to get them to come out and watch the game while munching on chicken wings that very evening.

Another option is to use pay-per-click advertising which normally involves writing ad copy. Google search ads allow businesses to do this. Although it’s not the best medium for a flyer per se, the same half-price chicken wing promotion can be offered up to the public using this platform. Google advertising can be fairly complicated. It’s recommended that business owners hire a professional digital marketing agency to help with this.

How to Get Nice Flyers Made

Targeting flyers right and getting a rate card from the local post office to inquire about doing a direct mail out is only part of the work. Coming up with an eye-popping flyer and compelling promotion is key to gaining traction with any flyer-related marketing strategy. Paying a digital marketing agency some money for graphic design work is worth it. A business’ promotional strategy is an extension of its brand at the end of the day. A professional look can go a long way in earning a prospect’s trust. Since communicating with a flyer offers a limited opportunity to get people’s attention, making those flyers look nice is an absolute must.

Now get out there and get those flyers made. Your most eager prospects will respond. Old school marketing still works!


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