Door Hanging Strategies...What Is The Most Successful?

Now that the weather is getting better here in Upstate, NY, I’m going to start door hanging next week. I’m excited to get out there and start pounding the pavement again! Tonight I got thinking about what type of door hanging strategy I want to use.

Strategy #1:
Break the city up into groups of streets and hit each group in order until the entire city has been covered and then repeat. My pizza shop is in a small city of around 7,000 addresses so it takes about 7 weeks to door hang the entire city.

Strategy #2:
Form smaller groups of streets, but instead hit these houses twice in one month and then move on to the next group and continue this process until the entire city has been covered. With this strategy each house will be receiving a door hanger twice in one month. I read an article a while back where it was said that the average household orders pizza 1-2 times a month. By hitting a house twice a month, you increase your odds of having your door hanger in front of each of those potential customers during those 1 or 2 weeks that they usually order pizza. I have never personally tried this strategy so I really can’t say how effective it actually is. It sounds good in theory. Have any of you guys ever tried this type of strategy? If so, what kind of response did you see?

Another idea that I have though about doing sometime is instead of using my actual door hangers, I would print up a letter, tri-fold it with my menu, and staple on a rubber band and use it as my door hanger. In the letter I would put some kind of offer on there and state how it was made special just for their street and it is for that week or weekend only.

How do you guys do your door hanging and what have you found to be most successful? Do you find hot neighborhoods (with high redemption rates) and keep hitting them over and over or do you prefer to saturate the entire city and repeat?

Saturating the entire delivery area and repeating is probably the most inefficient way to marketing. There are tons of studies that tell you that repeated exposure in a short period of time is the best strategy. Yes, the reasoning for wanting to hit your entire delivery area seems sound, but your desired result is to generate sales, not to get a menu in everyone’s hands.

Basically you want to hit a single area 3 times in a 10 day period to maximize your sales from front end marketing efforts. That doesn’t have to be hitting the neighborhood 3 times in 10 days with fliers either. You could mail them a post card, val=pak, letter (both carrier route bulk mail and database mailers), or it could even be seeing a delivery driver’s car topper or your store sign (why people who live within 0.8 miles are generally your best customers).

Tie in a good back end sales program and you are looking at a huge sales increase over non-marketing sales numbers. What I mean by front and back end is the difference between new customer generation (harder) and marketing to your existing customers, or selling them more of what they want. It is a bit of a chicken and egg thing, but with out a good program in place (30, 60, 90, day mailers or 45 day mailers) to take advantage of your database (back end) you are passing over free money, and with out good front end marketing to generate more new customers, you don’t increase the number of customers you have in your database.

Excuse my ignorance (I’m from England) but what does the phrase “Door Hanging” mean exactly ? Does this mean posting a menu / flyer through someone’s letter box ?


When I think of “door hanging,” these come to mind 1st:
Hang one on the front door knob of the house/apartment.

In the U.S., our mail tends to be put in a mailbox on a post out by the road way down the driveway. We like our big front lawns. Also, we are not allowed to touch those things (mailboxes) with marketing materials.

For us what is most effective is going… :lol:

When we start we hit the subdivisions in one area. We go in 2-3 hour periods. That way if you get a great response your going to the same area instead of one side of the town then the other.

As with any marketing effort, results will vary depending on demographics of your market, competition, how much marketing the competition does, etc…

When I owned a shop in a small town of 1,500 houses we door hanged so each house got a menu every 3 or 4 weeks…In a larger city (18,000 house) we sent out fliers to about 3,000 houses each week…So this was a once in a 6 week cycle…These cycles were the result of long period of testing and adjustments, however, from time to time results got messed up when the competition did something out of their norm…So you have to watch what is going on in your market.

The cost of reaching clients can vary by method and material being used…A direct mailing with a flashy flier and promotional product can cost up to a 1.00 or even more…A door hanging of a 1/2 sheet 2 colour colour flier can be a fraction of that…Only by tracking your results can you tell which method will give you the best return on investment…

And about tracking…Not only do you have to look at sales from a particular marketing effort, you have to look at the cost of those sales…I see comments like I got 3% or 5% back…I have no idea of whether or not those are good or bad numbers without looking at sales $s generated and the cost to generate those sales…

For example say you direct mailed 500 addresses at a cost of 0.60 each and door hung 3,000 houses at a cost of 0.10 each…So 300.00 investment for each method…And say you got a 5% return from both and an average sale of 22.00…

Direct mail - 5% = 25 sales x 22.00 = 550.00 or 12.00 cost per sale…
Door hang - 5% = 150 sales x 22.00 = 3,300.00 or 2.00 cost per sale…
And I am showing this to show that a much lower return from a less costly method works too…
Door hang - 1.5% = 45 sales x 22.00 =990.00 or 6.66 per sale…
These numbers are just for illustration and you numbers may vary…

What none of these scenarios shows, is future value of a re-activated and/or new client…

Making pizza is the easy part…Figuring out what kind of marketing gives you the best results will take your whole business life to master…

PS…What do folks spend on marketing…My clients tell me numbers from 1% of sales to 12% of sales…

Thats what love about marketing, very little is proven and what works for one doesn’t work for everyone otherwise we’d all get all of the business! I’m not sure what your definition of inefficient is but in many case saturation marketing is MUCH cheaper than targeted marketing. A few years ago I did a target marketing exercise for 7000 pieces of mail. The following year I did a saturation mailing for the same price of 70,000 pieces. It may generate a lower %'ge return per piece of mail sent but per $ spent the later approach won hands down.

The marketing advice which stuck in my mind was that typically a name needed to be seen 6 times before people recognized it. I agree with this BUT I also know that too much to often can p**s people off. I certainly would not purposefully put 3 pieces of mail/text/email/whatever (albeit in different formats) in front of a specific customer in 10 days without it being very subtle. If I had three pieces of whatever in my mail from a company over 10 days I think it was pretty annoying and would be very unlikely to use them but thats just my opinion.

I’d agree with this.

BUT back to the original question… Personally, I’d try and cover your area once a month. Don’t totally ignore areas where you get little business as it may be because you just haven’t marketed it appropriately. Try and rotate when you do the area so you don;t always do the same area in the 1st week of the month. Review the progress over a few months. If you don’t get a response from an area after a while then drop it.

There are two common misconceptions there. Sure, we agree that the per piece cost of saturation marketing is cheaper, but the bottom line is that it doesn’t matter. You have to acquire new customers no matter what the price, so it is a necessary evil. My actual numbers were 2.1% return per 1000 fliers I put out door-to-door, and it took about 4 hours. $7 x 4 + 1000 x 2.8, so about $30 to generate 2 orders.

Comparing front end sales (posting or bulk mail) to back end sales is comparing apples and oranges. Once you have a customer in your database, you have a captive market. They don’t need your pizza, but the chances of them ordering again are very high. My targeted d-mail post cards averaged 17% return. The cost break down for 1000 is .60 per post card, so it cost me about $600, for 170 orders. Much higher ROI with post cards.

Grouping all your customers in the same boat is a mistake. You basically need a two pronged approach, with new customer generation on the front end, and marketing to your existing customers to increase the frequency of purchases on the back side, you will see your marketing ROI, as well as the lifetime value of each customer increase exponentially.

As for some idea of “p*ssing customers off” with too much marketing, I am just going to call it BS. The idea that there is some arbitrary number of fliers/customer contacts (3 as opposed to 1) for targeting a customer isn’t based on anything factual. Any data at all will tell you that reach without frequency is wasted money, and that is not just a random claim, it is a well proven marketing fact.

Did you get 17% return which is 170 orders per 1,000 or 17 orders per 1,000 which is 1.7%?..

Thanks for catching that. I left the zero off. I fixed it to reflect the 17% return of 170 orders per 1000 mailers.

17%…I think that is a very amazing return…How aggressive an offer do you make to get that?..How frequently do you mail to your data base?..

And I agree there are 2 parts to marketing…Getting the customers into you data base and using the data base…So back to the door hanging…Reach & Frequency seem to be the theme…So what are ways to get your message out frequently and at a reasonable price?..And how do you improve the response rates?..Better offers?..Lumpy Mail?..Increased frequency?..All of the above?..

That 17% return is for my monthly postcard d-mail. I sent out from 1000-2000 a month per store, with consistent returns in the high teens, and if I have a reputation here for anything it should be that I am really anal about numbers. I am pretty much mercenary in tracking my marketing numbers.

My monthly mailer comes directly from the POS database. I take my 30-60-90 and occasionally 120-150 day address with no orders and mail them a post card. The highest response by far is the 30-59 day no order group. Then it tapers off. I also graduate my specials depending on the group. Split testing showed early on that $off coupons pulled a few % better than free item deals in 3 of my 4 markets, so that is what I go with.

A normal mailer will consist of:

$2 off for new customers
$3 off for 30-59 day no orders
$5 off for 60-89 day no orders
$6 off for 90-120 day no orders

By the time someone gets 3 post cards 3 months in a row without ordering, they are probably never going to order again. I leave them in the database until 210 days with no orders, then I purge my inactive addresses. The reasons for that are many. The address might have had the grand kids over, they might have moved, they might have died, they found a hair in the pizza and didn’t call and complain, who knows. If they do order after 8 months of no orders, I would like to make sure they get a thank you post card anyway, so erasing them from the database for inactivity also triggers the thank you post card when (if) they order again. I have seen operators who brag about a 10 year customer list, I only shake my head. In terms of a good database, inactive data is a killer.

Split testing (Multivariate_testing) is something that the internet (google specifically) really helped perfect. It works just as well with database mailers as it does for google ad words. It boils down to sending out equal numbers of slightly different coupons.

For example, you have 400 customers who haven’t ordered in the last 30-60 days. Splitting them randomly and sending out 200 with a $3.00 off coupon and 200 with coupon for free bread sticks (or cheese bread, or any item with a $3 value), then measuring and comparing the results. You can hone your testing and realize a few % increase after only a few tests. When you are sending out a few thousand post cards a month, a 1-2% increase in redemption is huge.

Back to door hanging, that was one pillar of my front end marketing. I also used carrier route mailers (I consistently failed with these, and gave up after testing 4000 direct mail letters in 2 markets over 3 months with negative ROI each and every time I sent them out). Some of my effective marketing efforts are newspaper inserts and magazine ads. I had some marginal success with newspapers, but nothing consistently good.

In all of my testing and results frequency trumped reach each and every time. Door hanging is the shot gun approach. Blast an area with marketing materials. The only ways I know to increase your ROI there is to increase the frequency. Hitting an area 3 times in 10 days keeps it at the top of the mind. Funny thing is, in competitive areas, if you are the third pizza place to hit a customer in 10 days, it has nearly the same effect as if you had put your own fliers on their door each time. 3 Hits in 10 days gets people thinking about pizza.

Other ways to increase the redemption, are to attach coupons. People like coupons. They like to see something they can pull off and use to get a perceived deal. Do coupons create a never ending spiral? Yes, and it is tough to tame the coupon monster when you let it out, but if you don’t, your competition is going to anyway. No sense in looking a gift horse in the mouth.

The bottom line is, figure out what you want. The only ways to make more money are:

  1. Increase the # of customers you have
  2. Increase the frequency they buy from you
  3. Increase the average order.

#1 is front end sales, #2 is back end sales, and #3 is upselling. MacDonald’s aggressively upsells for a reason, they are in business to sell you super-sized cokes and fries, not to be concerned if asking you if you would like that super-sized is going to tick someone off.