Case Study: Door Hangers vs Mailers

Posted by David Chism | Fri, Jun 30, 2017

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.


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