Case Study: Door Hangers vs Mailers

Posted by | June 30, 2017 | Marketing Advice | 5 Comments

I have been working with a painting contractor on the west coast for a couple of years now whose main source of leads came from door hangers, customers and referrals when I started. I was a little surprised that he was receiving leads from door hangers. I had mix results from other painters passing out door hangers. 

The client needed more leads in order to grow his overall revenue. He had a big 3 year growth plan. In fact, 2017 the goal is $4 million (which we are on track to hit).

We have a lot of marketing items we are doing now to generate more leads. For the sake of this quick post, I’ll focus on door hangers and mailers. Over the past 18 months, we’ve increased the amount of door hangers being distributed and have had a very consistent direct mail campaign. The door hangers were also redesigned to be more consistent with his brand. Door hangers go out on a daily basis throughout the year. Direct mail goes out monthly. We’ve recently saved a bit of money by switching from a custom mailing list ($.50+) to a mass mailing list (under $.20 each). The amount of leads are about the same, but the cost of leads for mailers continues to drop, (custom list $400-500 a lead and mass mailing list under $200 a lead) because we are saving on doing a larger quantity of mailers.

Surprisingly the door hangers are bringing in the most leads and sales over the mailers. As we approach the halfway point of 2017, their average door hanger sale is over $9k. The average mailer sale is close to $7k. The cost per lead for the door hanger is at $140, and the cost per mailer lead varies a little based on the types of mailers we have done. The total average is $360 per lead in 2017 which has actually dropped since we started mailers 18 months ago.

Though the cost for mailers seems high, the company sold close to a half million in sales in 2016 and spent around $50k on direct mail. So we continue to do direct mail to hit our target lead and sales goals.

What Works Best

After 18 months of tracking two sources, the door hanging definitely is the cheaper and better option. One thing that has been helpful for this company is that they’ve branched out to offer more than just painting services. They’ve been getting “foot in the door” leads. When they go out and bid a small pressure washing project, the painting company is able to say, “We build decks too!” or “We repair dry rot!” This has helped increase their closing rate on both the hangers and mailers.

If you are located in a market that allows walking neighborhoods and door hangers are legal, give it a try. They key is consistency on your marketing. Oh, and if you want to be even more aggressive, knocking on doors to get leads can help boost the number of leads even more! That requires a bit more training and strategy.

Note about lead cost: Lead cost varies based on the source of the lead. Most painting companies have an average overall lead cost of $100 or less. Your repeat and referrals leads are obviously the cheapest. So don’t be too concerns if a door hanger lead cost $100-200 range. If you have a good sales process and you bid profitability, you’ll be fine!


About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


  • Kevin C Zeigler says:

    Hi David,

    Do you have any examples of door hangers and what message is best ?

    Fancy color ones? Plain black and white?

    What kind of headline ? Any type of offer or free estimate?

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