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Flyers can be one of the most lucrative forms of marketing for any small business. They’re cheap, easy to make, and you can target your public market en masse any time. Any company that does them right can see a huge boost to business immediately. Especially if you use them as part of a guerilla marketing strategy.

However, because they are so cheap and effective, many companies are producing way too much of them. In fact, many firms still believe that raising the quantity of flyers will always generate more business. Of course, this is wrong and only leads to an even bigger group of people to simply throw your flyers away immediately. While this can be quite frustrating for businesses, it might also tell you that you may be doing something wrong and need create more effective flyers.

Flyers - Why People Are Throwing Away Your Flyers And How To Stop Them (Legally)

It’s easy for businesses to commit mistakes in designing flyers. Since they are so cheap to produce, many people think that it’s not worth it to put too much effort into them. Unfortunately this assumption is false. If you make a bad flyer, you will be basically just pouring money down the drain. In this case, you can as well stop producing them altogether right now.

The goal should be to create a flyer that will be memorable for your customers. And make them want to keep it so they know your business. Luckily, there are a few things that any small business can do to create flyers that consumers will want to read and share with their friends. Below we’ll look at a few things you can do to make your flyers more effective. Check them out and make sure you are tracking the effectiveness and ROI of your new flyers.

Write a good headline

Ask yourself what is the goal of the flyer you are printing. Are you announcing a sale? Are you promoting a special service or new product? The headline should be something that will resonate in your customers minds. The headline is the first thing that consumers will see. Many companies think that just putting the business name is enough. To get a higher return on your investment, you should try to engage your public by writing something that will spike their curiosity. Maybe your business solves a common problem for your target market. Play with that problem or ask your potential clients a question about it.

Think about your segmented market

People will throw away your flyers if you are offering something that does not address any of their needs. As a result, it’s important to have a few different types of flyers for each area of the city or every different event that you are attending. This will make sure that you are connecting with your target audience better. Therefore, think about your target demographic where you plan to distribute flyers and tailor your headline and message to address something that could be important for them.

Connect with your customers needs

Customers are not interested in all of your products and services, they are interested in what you can do to help them. Focus on benefits and how you can help them solve their challenges and problems. If your flyer is all about you and your business, they will disconnect. The different and more successful approach is to write about something that affects them. A problem or a challenge in their lives and the benefit of doing business with you.

Incentivize customers

Flyers are thrown away by customers if they have no real reason to hold onto them. Turn your flyer into a coupon for a special deal or give them a code to use on your website for purchases to make sure that they hang onto them. If you don’t give any real reason for a customer to hold onto your flyer, they will throw it to the next garbage they can find.

Use higher quality designs and materials

Use higher quality designs and materials - Why People Are Throwing Away Your Flyers

We aren’t saying that you should use the most expensive inks and go through a costly designer for each round of flyers you print. But it’s important that there is a certain level of quality in the paper and ink used. After all, you don’t want anyone who looks at your flyer to think that this is just some cheap piece of paper. Moreover, a good design in high quality will also resonate better with customers than a design that is too pixilated or low-quality.

Use the right image

This is linked with the previous two points. Businesses should keep their target market in mind while using a quality image. Do not limit yourself to simple clip art or a picture of your storefront. An image that does not connect with an audience can be a waste of space and make people throw out your flyers. Do you have a promotion on skiing equipment? There are readily available stock images of people skiing that you can use. Use stock image websites like dreamstime.com or, if you’re operating on a budget, check free websites likes Pexels and Pixabay or go through a google search for stock photos on your flyers. Either way, make sure you are using engaging and relevant images.

Don’t be afraid to experiment

Not all of your flyers that you hand out need to be identical. Flyers that you distribute downtown should be different than the ones you hand out at a tradeshow or music concert. If you notice your flyers perform better in one environment and struggle in another, think about mixing them up. You can always redesign flyers to focus on each different target market and do some AB testing to figure out what works best. Think about how the target markets are different and how you can be creative to appeal to each one. A good rule is to have a different flyer design for each different major demographic that you are trying to reach.

Make sure your flyer is clear and readable

Make sure your flyer is clear and readable - Why People Are Throwing Away Your Flyers
Flyers at Butokuden Dojo. By Aranami. – Sometimes less is more, don’t overhwelm your customers.

It’s easy to get caught up with flyer design and use a font you think is absolutely perfect. An unreadable or confusing font can cause frustration for any customer and make them throw it away almost immediately. An image that conflicts with your headline or the writing can also cause confusion and make your flyer unclear for customers. Don’t make the font too small so that every consumer needs to get really close to read them. Even if your font and images are clear and readable. Look it over before you print them out to see if there is too much writing. Or too much going on that would detract from your main message of the flyer.

Keep it simple

While you want to show how you can address customer needs. It’s easy to forget that and write out all of the services that you offer or to give too much information. Don’t bombard your customers with messages. Focus on one simple specific message and need you are addressing and don’t overwhelm your clients with information and choice.


Simple spelling and grammar mistakes can turn off your potential customers and signal that your business is not serious. You should always double and triple check to make sure that everything you are about to send out for printing is proofread correctly.

End with a call to action

Call To Action
MuseScore promotional flyers for the Frankfurter MusikMesse. By MuseScore. – A good call to action will bring in more customers.

Like with all marketing. Ending your flyers with a call to action is an essential part to get more customers for your business. There are a lot of flyers that end with the company’s address and contact information. But this is not enough to get more customers in your door. Something a lot of companies are doing now is to combine the promotion or sale they are offering with a call to action. An example would be “Come to this store before a certain date with this flyer to receive a special offer”. Another good call to action could be to tell the customer that if they present this flyer with their next purchase they will receive 10% off. Always end your message with a call to action.


The challenge for small businesses and handing out flyers has always been that customers often throw them away instantly. However, with a few lessons from other businesses. It is easy to revamp and edit your flyers so that customers will want to keep them and come to your store. Flyers are still one of the most cost effective ways to reach more customers. Even in the digital age, so it’s worth it to follow our simple tips in order to ensure that people aren’t throwing away all the hard work and time that you’ve put into your flyers.