Best Value Printer:

As part of our review of branch marketing practices, we undertook some research into the prices paid for the printing of locally-produced brochures, posters and so on.  We created a notional list of print jobs of various types and sizes, and asked the printers used by regional Branches to quote against it.

Nine printers responded.  Amazingly, the most expensive printer charged almost double for the same job as the cheapest.  The cheapest - a company called Prinkk - are not actually printers themselves, but offer a service where they lay out your brochure for you from supplied content before outsourcing the printing to a trade printer.  As Prinkk are also the company we use for the 'Web-to-Print' design programme, they have already been vetted and come with the WEA stamp of approval.

Contact Tom Robinson at Prinkk for your own printing needs:

Getting it Out There

First things first: posting brochures to individual students is expensive and should be avoided.  Anyone with an email address can receive a pdf brochure by email, and that should be a Branch's default position.  Where a student cannot receive or read an electronic copy and cannot reasonably be expected to pick one up from a collection point, e.g. local library, then sending one may be appropriate.

Understand Your Target Audience

Know who your target audience are.  Learn where they socialise, work, shop, live, visit, and what they read, watch and listen to.  You will maximise your distribution efficiency once you have this information.

Hand Distribution

Brochures and flyers can be distributed effectively by hand, either 'hand-to-hand' at, say, an event, or through people's letterboxes, either by a volunteer or through a local distribution company.  Google 'leaflet distribution (name of your area)' to find companies offering this service.  Expect to pay between £25 and £100 per 1,000 units for through-the-door drops.  Royal Mail also offer a door-to-door service and could be a good place to start.

Think about the size of your leaflets. Credit card-sized have the lowest drop-rate because they fit easily into pockets or wallets. Larger, thicker brochures can put off people from taking them in the first place.  

Check with local authorities first about any by-laws in place for the areas you wish to distribute.  Engage passers-by by making eye contact and conversing before giving them something; they are more likely to take and keep the leaflet if you do this.  And be prepared to pick up dropped leaflets; you'll do more harm than good to the WEA's reputation if the floor is littered with discarded flyers.

Newspapers and Publications

Your local evening and free papers will undoubtedly offer you the opportunity to distribute a paid-for 'insert'.  Due to the publication's circulation rate your brochure or flyer has the potential to reach a wide audience, but measuring its effectiveness is hard; do you read the inserts or put them straight in the recycling?  This method of distribution is most effective when the insert is specific to the publication type.

Public Places

Brochures and flyers can be displayed in a variety of places:

  • Your course venues
  • Dance and music clubs
  • Pubs and social clubs
  • Sport /leisure clubs and centres
  • Cinemas, including independent cinemas and theatres
  • Music festivals
  • Employers
  • Doctors/ dentists/ chiropodist
  • Surgeries/ health centres
  • Hospital outpatients
  • Residential/ sheltered/ nursing homes
  • Other charities such as Age Concern
  • U3A
  • WI
  • Community centres
  • Neighbourhood projects
  • Libraries
  • Post office
  • Health centre
  • Supermarkets and shops
  • Bus and train stations
  • Community shops
  • Church halls
  • Boot fairs
  • Farmers' markets

Try to think of places to display a poster that is particularly relevant to the course – e.g. a poster for a horticulture course in a gardening centre, or leaflets for a literature course at the venue where a book club meets.  Sometimes a venue may be more willing to display a poster if they have a date to take it down.  For instance, if you have a poster advertising a course which starts on 10th September and the date is clearly stated on the poster, ask the venue if they can display it up until that date.

If you do produce a poster for a single course, give brief details of other courses on offer at your Branch and provide contact details for people to find out more about them.

Think about the size of your poster/leaflet. Some venues are more willing to display an A5 size poster opposed to an A4 one.