7 Aspects Between: Promotional Flyers vs SEO

Marketing with printed flyers vs search engine optimization.

Click To Enlarge Infographic

Ever since marketers learned they can get free visitors to their place of business by creating a web page and filling it with words associated with their industry they have spammed the Internet with coagulated paragraphs that are indecipherable to the reader. As time past the Search Engines, or should I say, Google has updated the way they rank websites to be listed in their search results. No longer is it as easy as it was a 5 years ago and with an educated guess I will say it will be even harder in the years to come. So, is SEO still better than the traditional in-your-face and intrusive printing promotions? In this unbiased article we weigh the options between the traditional form of advertising versus search engine optimization.

DIY or Outsource

Most of the time a Small Business Owner would prefer to do a job rather than dish out the money to have someone with experience do the job. Sometimes this is ok, but sometimes it’s best you let a qualified candidate do the job to receive a higher R.O.I..


Using free tools such as Pixlr or paid programs such as Photoshop you can design your very own flyer. You can find free Photoshop flyer templates just by searching online. Or you can hire an experienced graphic designer. By placing a post on an outsourcing website you can have graphic designers bid against each other for the job and ask for previous works.

When it comes to printing, that is another story. You might end up wasting more money and get a lesser quality flyer with a home printer than visiting your local print company.


A simple search online for “how to seo” will give you a list of people who are well qualified. Just think about it… if they are ranking for that term then they must know what they’re talking about right? Some sources we use are MOZSearch Engine Watch, and Search Engine Land. These websites keep us informed on the latest of Search Engine optimization.

You can hire a person who does SEO, but it can get pricey (except in India), especially since they won’t guarantee the results you really want, ranking #1 for your money keyword. “Money Keyword” and “Keyword” are too different things. A Keyword can bring traffic to your website, but a Money Keyword will bring customers to your website.

TightDesigns.com no longer offers an SEO service, because with the ever-changing algorithm our customer’s rankings flucuate and we get a surge of calls. When it comes to SEO, results cannot be guaranteed.


Anything worth doing requires research. Brainstorming and mind-mapping is critical to any successful project.


You should know what the market is offering before you make your offer. Investigate your competitor’s prices and see which of your products has a better price. Advertise your best deal, not all your deals. Or find out what your customers need and what they are inquiring about. Then, put together promotional material showing how your product or service can help.

Finally, find where your audience is. Don’t stand on the corner passing your flyer to everyone who passes by. Find out … Do they meet regularly at certain locations for networking? Will they attend an event related to your business, such as a convention, on-going education class, weekly routine, movie or party? Find this out by checking your local city calendar of events. Knowing where your potential customers are will save you money and time, in-turn, increasing your R.O.I..


Going back to the “Money Keyword” and “Keyword”. You can be found for a certain Keyword and that’s cool, but what matters is the amount of searches that are made for that Keyword. Also, is that Keyword going to bring a lead or a passerby just looking for free content? Does this Keyword have many other competitors trying to rank for it? All these questions can help you find the low-hanging fruit, so you don’t waste time and money.

Same as the Flyers, find where your audience is. Posting helpful topics related to your business will naturally get shared and linked from related web properties. Getting a backlink from a Video Game website to an Restaurant’s website wouldn’t look the same to the Search Engine as a backlink coming from a chef’s website, a foodie’s blog or a baker’s webpage.

Locate Prospects

It’s best to laser target your directives and put your information in a place that is most relevant to your business.


There’s many paid and free tools to research where your audience is or tell you about a certain location such as City-DataNextMark and Esri.

You can also build your own database from past customers or creating a newsletter to keep in touch with customers. A free service I recommend is MailChimp.


Using the power of Google’s advanced search operators and a few tags you can pinpoint exactly which would be the best places to focus your efforts on backlinks.

In the search bar enter the following:

  • “FAQ of your business” forum
  • “FAQ of your business” facebook groups
  • “FAQ of your business” google+ community
  • “FAQ of your business” tweetdeck

These are just simple forms. For a better understanding of how these “Advanced Search Operators” work and many others, visit: http://bit.ly/linkbuilding-search-operators and a huge list here: http://bit.ly/advanced-search-operators-long-list


After all the intelligence is gathered, the real work begins.


There are many ways to pass out your promotional material. You can place your flyers on car windshields in a parking lot where there’s a related store. Don’t go to your competitor’s parking lot. That’s just rude and unprofessional, plus you might gain a bad rep with the same people you want as customers. If you a GYM, place your flyers around a Sporting Goods store. If you sell supplements, place your flyers around a GYM.

Network with local businesses and leave stacks of flyers on their counter. Mail out postcard flyers to your targeted zip code through USPS EDDM service. Give a handful to your family & friends to give to the people they know and help spread the word. Insert them in publications such as free magazines and newspapers that are related to your business. Pass your flyers at an event you know your customers will be attending.


For now, the 2 things you must do for SEO is On-Page Optimization and Off-Page Optimization.

On-Page Optimization consist of writing a keyword rich

  • Title
  • Description
  • Heading
  • URL
  • Image ALT description

You should also give those images a filename that contain the keyword as well. Do not stuff keywords where they don’t go. You will get penalized. An update to Google’s algorithm named Panda, targeted over-optimized webpages.

Rinse and repeat. Keep your content database fresh with new relevant content to keep receiving that Search Engine love.

3Rank has a list of 200 Ranking Factors that impact SEO.

Off-Page Optimization is basically creating backlinks to your webpages, but not every link is created equal. Backlinks measured a Page Rank (PR). Higher the number the more authority it has. Here’s a post on how to get backlinks from PR6 – PR9.

You could share your posts on Social-Media and if it is worth sharing, others will do so. You can make videos and include a backlink to your webpages in the video description. Side note: It is easier to get a YouTube Video ranked for a certain keyword than it is for your website. Post links to your website from coupon sites, relevant directories, and local directories.

Guest Posting, which is writing content for another website, is a great way to get a backlink from a relevant website.

You can also share PowerPoint slidesPDF & DOC files, or even a Podcast which contain a call-to-action that will bring traffic to your website.

Tracking Methods

So after all this work, how do you know if it worked? Especially if you are doing multiple promotions at one time, it would be hard to know whether one promotion was more effective than the other. It is imperative to track your results in order to save time and money for future promotions.


So you put out a massive amount of flyers, but you aren’t sure if they are effective. Place any of the following on your flyer to track the effectiveness of your investment.

  • Write something like “bring this coupon” or “mention this ad” or any other variation.
  • Use a different telephone that will only be displayed on the flyer at that time.
  • Use a promotional URL such as mywebsite.com/special-name
  • Use a URL shortener like bit.ly to foward to your website. This service has actual statistics.
  • Place a Coupon Code, so you know the sale led through the flyer.


For webpages it’s much easier to find important information, such as geographic location, how long they stayed on the site, what page they came in through, what interests the visitors have, how old they are, where they came in through… referral, social media, or search.

Tools such as Google AnalyticsMarket SamuraiMozSemaltPiwikClicky, and many others will give you insight to what is going on with your SEO rankings.

Google Analytics is a free service and it will help you find which is your Money Keyword. All you have to do is backtrack from the Thank You Page < Check Out Page < Product Page < Landing Page < Keyword used to find your website.

Results & Benefits

After all the work is done, was it worth it? What have you learned? Will you do it again?


When done correctly, which means researched your competitors, your audience, and your design… flyers can bring you an immediate burst of traffic to your business, but the results will be short-term.


When done correctly, which means researched your competitors, your audience, your content, your referring backlinks… SEO can bring you a trickle of traffic at the beginning, but with time as you keep doing it the results will multiply as you can benefit from past efforts, which is great for long-term growth.

Continued Efforts

Marketing & promotions is an on-going process to generate new business. A new small business should invest 10% of its gross revenue into marketing. After establishing market share, a small business can lower its marketing budget to 7%. Within in 3-5 years the business should only be spending 3-4% on promotions.


After your initial batch of flyers is gone, you will need to print more. Remember, to get the most out of your promotional material you must research to make sure it gets in the right person’s eyesight. This will save you time and money. Even-though the logical theory is to cast a large net to grab as many fish as you can, when it comes to marketing through flyers it is best to throw a targeted net and not all willy-nilly.


  • After posting your first piece of content you might get some traffic, but you have to be consistently updating your web properties with good content. You cannot have duplicate content, but you can repurpose your content by turning an old article into a Powerpoint presentation, a YouTube video, or taking snippets to create picture quotes to post on Social Media.
  • You must keep up-to-date with algorithm changes.
  • Things that worked 3 years ago, aren’t working today.
  • You must go back to edit and fix obsolete techniques that can hurt you in the present time.
  • You must monitor your backlink profile and disavow bad neighbor backlinks.

The Bottom Line

There is no magic bullet that you can set and forget. Both forms of marketing require deep understanding, research and work for any to truly work. When done correctly, SEO can benefit you greatly in the long run, while printed material such Flyers, Door-Hangers, and Postcards can give you a quick burst of traffic to your business for a short period of time. Both forms needs to be replenished on a constant basis.

UPDATE: On August 7th, 2014, in a Google+ post, Google Webmasters said the following: “Here at Google, protecting user data and offering secure sites are at the forefront of our goals, and we want the rest of the web to adopt these important goals too. That’s why we’re now using HTTPS as a ranking signal in Google Search.” So, basically that means more money you would have to dish out to stay on-top of your SEO efforts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *