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What is a Flyer? Best Types of Flyers to Use for Businesses

Written by: Jessie Strongitharm

Jan 06, 2023


Need a guaranteed way to entice new customers, pump up promotions and build brand awareness? Look no further than the humble flyer! Tried and true, these marketing materials have stood the test of time thanks to their impressive ROIs.

But not all flyers are created equal! I’ve seen tons throughout my life, yet only a few I’ve paid attention to. So if you’re keen to know exactly what is a flyer, and how to make a great one, you’re in the right place.

Keep reading to learn the elements of a good flyer, along with templates you can use to drive amazing results — plus tips to give you total confidence when it comes time to design.


Click to jump ahead: 

So…what is a flyer? 

First, let’s get those definitions straight. Flyers are promotional materials used to inform viewers about a brand, business or organization. More specifically, they can be used to market products, services, upcoming events or even general updates from a company.

These single page ads are traditionally printed onto sheets of paper before being handed out, mailed or posted in public places — though they can be shared online as a digital flyer too.

what is a flyer

Despite being somewhat “old fashioned”, flyers remain a popular method for marketing and advertising. (Cue: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it).

They’re a highly affordable, effective way to get your business in front of the right people — so long as they attract attention and contain all the necessary information to inspire action.

hiring flyer

But with limited space to work with, and limited time to get your message across (people be busy, after all), the key is to make sure your business flyers make a big impact at a glance. That involves creating harmony between all your flyer elements: fire, water, air and earth.

Just kidding. Let me explain…

Related: What Is a Business Flyer [+ How To Make One]

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What are the elements of a flyer?

Look, here’s the deal. You only have a few seconds to get your audience to pause and consider your offer, so you’ll need to make sure to include all the right stuff.

FYI, the elements of an effective flyer are…

  • A defined goal or objective
  • An engaging layout, visuals and graphics 
  • A captivating headline
  • Clear and compelling supporting details 
  • A call-to-action (CTA) 

If you want to succeed and get those juicy leads, you’ll need all five of those ingredients in your flyer secret sauce. Don’t worry, I’ve covered each below and included plenty of examples to guide you.

Related: 50+ Captivating Flyer Examples, Templates and Design Tips

Define a main goal and align your content

Above all else, make sure your flyer content is engaging, informative and consistent with the overall goal of your marketing campaign.

Translation: you don’t want to risk confusing your audience, since you only have a page worth of space to work with!

To keep everything on track, be sure to consider your audience, where they’ll be seeing your flyer, and what they’ll need to hear to follow through when constructing your flyer. Writing an outline is a great way to distill all that information down and align everything accordingly. 

what is a flyer

For example, if your goal is to drive up local attendance to a summer picnic with an event flyer, you’ll know you need to include basic location and event details, statements to entice your audience and eye-catching imagery to capture their initial interest.

The free flyer template above streamlines all that info into an easy-to-understand, attractive format. Feel free to customize it for your own needs with Venngage’s Flyer Maker — more on this later.

Create an eye-catching flyer design and layout

Let’s face it. If your flyer isn’t well-designed, you have little chance of inspiring action. 

With so much visual content and information out in the world, viewers aren’t going to waste their time looking at just any old ad. Too cluttered, and they’ll get confused. Too sparse, and they’ll pass over it without a second thought.

So the trick is to find that perfect balance — you want to grab their attention immediately, and inform without overwhelming. (Hint: this is where your outline comes in handy!)

what is a flyer

First, you’ll need to decide on a layout that creates a strong visual hierarchy and gives your content room to breathe. Depending on how text-heavy your design is, you’ll need to choose between a single column (like the flyer template shown above), double column, multi column or hybrid layout. 

(Psst: you can read up on layout styles in Flyer Design: A Complete & Actionable Guide).

Next, consider how readable your text and font choice will be from afar — AKA always put yourself in your audience’s shoes! Likewise, when it comes to your background and color palette, it’s a good idea to get familiar with color theory and choose hues with strong contrast for maximum visibility (see also: accessibility). 

Looking to save room, add additional visual interest? Icons are a great way to illustrate meaning while adding extra curb appeal. Here’s a free flyer template that puts all this into practice:

what is a flyer

The moral of the story is: there are a ton of different flyer layouts and design styles you can choose from to stand out and get noticed. 

That being said, creating a flyer from scratch can be daunting. For those who don’t have the resources or time to hire a graphic designer, Venngage’s free Flyer Maker and professionally designed flyer templates are your secret weapon to creating an amazing piece in minutes.

Just choose a template that works, swap in your desired text and visual content and you’re off to the races. 

Craft a captivating headline

First impressions count, right? Especially when you have only milliseconds to do so. So be sure to complement your design with an attention-grabbing headline. 

Your copywriting angle will depend on your target audience of course. But for some general advice, avoid long sentences and technical words. And use active voice rather than passive to ensure readers feel engaged, like so:

what is a flyer

If posted somewhere public, your headline should tell customers what the flyer’s about immediately. Again, being direct is key.

On the other hand, if your flyer is posted somewhere with a smaller, more targeted audience base, a little intrigue can entice readers to keep…well…reading. 

Here’s another example flyer template to inspire you: 

what is a flyer

The headline is simple, but effective. There’s a clear benefit statement, yet enough mystery to drive readers to learn more by looking over the supporting details.

Speaking of which… 

Motivate viewers with clear and compelling supporting content

Since the main objective of flyers is to spark potential customers’ interest, your supporting content should be concise yet compelling.

As a marketer, after all, your role is to understand what makes your brand stand out — so highlight this in your flyer! Just try to use the least number of words to relay your message, achieve your goal and reflect the info laid out in your outline.

what is a flyer

Again, you only have seconds to make it count. This promotional flyer template understands this by keeping things straightforward and highlighting info your customers will actually care about: the discount.

Just triple check that your flyer addresses all those who, what, when, where and whys. In other words…

Seal the deal with an unmistakable call-to-action

Whatever it is you want viewers to do, make it crystal clear in your flyer. In other words, highlight your CTA (call-to-action) so people know exactly what to do next.

what is a flyer

Pro tip: you can measure results through your CTA. For example, if you’re sharing a URL, you could create a specific tracking link that’ll let you know how many customers your flyer actually pulled in. 

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How to make a good flyer for your business?

I’ve already laid out the most important elements for a flyer. Here’s how you make a good one:

Planning: this is critical before you design a flyer; it’s also how you’ll be able to come up with a clear goal and outline to guide you. Don’t forget to base your ideas on market research! Remember, your content should consider your market’s taste and preferences. Using their language is a must, too.

Designing: When you’re done planning, it’s time to consider your flyer design. While this used to require extra resources and design knowledge back in the day, modern solutions now make it easy…

 You see, it’s a breeze to create high-performing flyers when there’s hundreds of professionally-designed, editable templates to act as your starting point. From product flyers to hiring flyers and more, you’ll be able to produce engaging flyer designs that suit your needs with Venngage’s templates and online Flyer Maker.

what is a flyer

Here’s how:

  1. Start by picking from our library of professionally-designed flyer templates, or any of those featured on this page. To do so, look for premium or free flyer templates that reflect the goals and the layout you’re looking for. 
  2. Sign-up for a free Venngage account.
  3. Now it’s time to make your own custom flyer! Swap in your desired flyer copy, images, icons and colors to make the flyer template your own. For graphic content, select from our library of free and premium images or upload your own photos from a file. (Be sure to check out our diverse library of icons too.)
  4. Happy with your flyer design? You’re welcome to share the link publicly for free. Otherwise, you can upgrade to a paid plan to download your custom flyer template. With a Business Plan, you’ll get access to premium templates and features — like real-time Team Collaboration, automated branding via My Brand Kit, and a built-in accessible color palette checker that ensures your design accessibility is on point.

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Choose from different kinds of flyers for your business

Digital flyers are easy to distribute and cost less to produce 

With more and more folks doing their research and shopping online these days, digital flyers present a great opportunity to reach a broader market. They can be distributed in a few clicks via email or social media platforms, and they cost a whole lot less compared to physical flyers (though those are already quite inexpensive). 

But don’t skimp creatively just because there’s lower overhead costs! A drab digital flyer will be scrolled past, or worse, sent straight to the SPAM folder (a fatal blow for email marketers everywhere).

what is a flyer

Instead, use a digital flyer template like this to help you stand out in any feed or inbox.

Handbills must be engaging to draw attention 

A ‘handbill’ is a flyer (or printout) that’s distributed — you guessed it — by hand. Unfortunately, most handbills end up in the waste bin without a second glance. But you can avoid that fate by making your design as visually appealing as possible!

One suggestion is to write a compelling headline and use bold colors to highlight information. Take the flyer template below as inspiration. 

what is a flyer

Simple, yet effective.

Mailers provide a direct line to your target audience

Mailers, or mailed leaflets, are a tried and true way to reach a pre-defined audience.

Don’t believe me? Research by the Data and Marketing Association (DMA) found almost half (48%) of consumers that received a flyer this way visited the shop, showed interest in getting more information or made a purchase.

So use mailers as an opportunity to fine-tune your flyer content, and make it more personal. If you know which benefits will appeal to this group best, be sure to use them.

Pro tip: Venngage’s easy-to-edit templates, targeting your content while keeping your design consistent is simple. Just swap out any visual or text content you’d like to change in the editor, and you’re all ready to rumble.)

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How are flyers different? 

Did you know? Flyers are not the same as pamphlets or brochures.

What is a pamphlet?

A pamphlet is a small, unbound booklet that provides information to readers. Most contain non-commercial content and have the goal of educating readers about a particular subject, event, campaign or service. 

Take this security brochure for example: 

what is a flyer

Pamphlets are typically printed on both sides and may be folded into quarters, thirds or halves depending. This differs from flyers, which are typically one-pagers that can be understood at a glance.

Check out more pamphlets you can customize here

What is a brochure?

Similar to a pamphlet, brochures are print marketing materials that provide more room to explain products and services in detail. They may be folded (i.e. a bifold brochure or a trifold brochure) or stapled together as an unbound booklet. Once again, graphics and texts adorn both sides of each page.

Check out this modern brochure design you can customize for your own purposes: 

what is a flyer

In terms of distribution, brochures are more appropriate for an already interested audience — AKA those looking to learn more about your company, products and services by reading over multi-page content.

So while flyers can help you appeal to a broad audience at a glance, brochures provide more in-depth explanations.

Check out more free and easy-to-edit brochures here.

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Using flyers to promote your business is a great investment

Think of flyers as an investment in your business — one that helps get your products and services in front of the right audience.

After all, the more leads you have, the better your chances of converting potential customers. And the more compelling your flyer design, the more you’ll get noticed in the first place. So why not become a flyer design wiz using Venngage’s templates, and make the most out of your marketing efforts.

About Jessie Strongitharm

Jessie Strongitharm is a Content Marketer & Writer at Venngage. A quick-witted wordsmith whose passions lie in strategic storytelling (see also: excessive alliteration), Jessie's background in psychology, new media communications and B2B SaaS marketing informs the copy she crafts for Venngage's audience.