This question always ranks high whenever we speak to new clients. The answer depends partially on personal preference, but more so on budget. In terms of the effectiveness of either route, we don't see much difference, especially in the higher end communities throughout Charlotte and Lake Norman.
From my unofficial monitoring of friends' and families' flyer boxes in the area, it appears most direct mail postcards coming from area businesses are delivered through the flyer boxes, rather than the mail -- which makes sense, since most small businesses like contractors and landscapers are farming specific neighborhoods, rather than doing larger mass mailings.
Most people, including myself, collect the mail in the flyer box and mail box at the same time. When it's spread on the counter to look at, most people aren't paying any attention to which pieces came from the mailbox vs. the flyer box. (I only pay attention because this is what I do.) Whether your marketing comes in the mail box or flyer box, you have the same amount of time to make an impression and inspire your audience to read your message. I would suggest working with a reputable flyer delivery service who does not "stack" postcards where they will be delivering 8-10 pieces to a neighborhood at a time. I would also suggest making sure that your marketing is not being delivered on the same day as a competing business' cards. With the service providers that only deliver to zones/neighborhoods once a month, there is no effort to ensure your marketing is getting optimum focus. At Message in a Mailbox, we make sure our flyer delivery service provider is not delivering more than 2-3 pieces at a time, and certainly never with your competitor!
If your goal is to farm a particular neighborhood, in most cases it's probably going to make better sense to utilize the flyer box delivery option. Flyer box delivery costs an average of .08 per home, while postage would be 4-5 times that amount. Flyer box delivery is a great way for Realtors to expand their reach for a fraction of the price. Flyer box delivery also allows you to print in bulk for the year, as opposed to as you go -- you can do a main "branding" piece that you use more frequently than versioned out pieces. When we do this for clients, we can get that price per piece down to as low as .20/piece (includes design, printing and delivery) -- huge savings over doing a low quantity mailing.
In terms of when it's better to mail, it all depends on your target. If you are targeting the luxury home market in the Lake Norman area, you know that there are a lot of multi-million dollar waterfront homes that are not in the confines of an established neighborhood like The Peninsula. To hit those luxury lake-front homes off Nantz Road, Bethel Church Road, or Torrence Chapel Road you may be better served by pulling a list based on a combination of geographic location and demographics, including house value. As we're local, we can help you determine how to best hit some of the untapped gems that meet your demographics.
Businesses should always have a mailing list of past clients and contacts, in addition to their target neighborhoods. This group doesn't need to be "touched" as frequently as your farm, as this group already has some sort of established relationship and bond with you. For past clients and contacts, I always suggest mailing at least 3-4 times a year. Too often businesses focus on acquiring new leads, while allowing their past clients to drop off. Your personal database should be looked at as gold, as these are the foot soldiers out there able to refer more business to you. It costs much less to retain past clients than to attract new ones.
Between Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Concord there are more than 150 neighborhoods accessible by flyer box delivery, making it a great, affordable option for your marketing. Whether you choose to mail, use flyer delivery, or a combination of both, we're happy to answer any questions you have in order to decide on the most effective strategy for your budget.