Making your campaign work harder without breaking the bank
There’s no lack of evidence suggesting direct mail delivers results. Take its average response rate: A respectable 5-9%, towering over that of email at less than 1%.
Yet despite the smorgasbord of statistics underpinning its advantages, only about 50% of businesses report using direct mail in their marketing strategy, compared to over 80% utilizing email.
If direct mail marketing is such a game changer, why aren’t more companies using it?
Spoiler, it comes down to cost. The physical production and shipment of a printed mail piece typically comes with a larger price tag than that of digital mail.
However, a strong mail campaign doesn’t have to be the budget-consuming super beast it’s cracked up to be. Knowing how to navigate USPS tools, and take advantage of postage efficiencies can cut costs significantly, and ultimately, increase your ROI.
Here we’ve outlined some of the smartest ways to boost your return on investment and make your direct mail campaigns work harder without chewing through your budget.
Get More From Every Door
Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) is in fact not a new genre of dance music. It’s a free service from the USPS that allows you to send a mailing to every residence within a specified zip code. This is accomplished using a mapping tool on the USPS website. You can select mail routes within a certain zip code radius, as well as filter by age, income, and average household size.
It can be used to reach your audience without needing (much) contact information and significantly reduces both production and postage costs because it:
- Gets pre-sorted, thus qualifying for USPS discounts
- Is zip code based, eliminating the need for a costly mailing list
- Prints in larger quantities, qualifying for bulk mail discounts
- Involves simpler designs, hence doesn’t require elaborate creative services
There are two different types of EDDM, Retail and Business Mail Entry Units (BMEU), each having slightly different requirements. Things like the amount of pieces being sent, and how many different areas you plan to send to, help determine which to choose. Thysse can advise you on which type of EDDM is right for you, ensure your pieces are printed to proper specifications, and take care of drop off to the post office for you.
Increase Your Reach with Informed Delivery
Another handy free service from the USPS, Informed Delivery®, doesn’t cut costs per se, but it can boost the return on your investment by enhancing the impact of your mail. When the owner of a residence subscribes to the service, Informed Delivery sends a digital preview of the items inside their mailbox.
The beauty of this email preview for businesses, is that it provides an opportunity to attach full color ride-along images and website URLs – effectively putting your mail in the digital and physical world simultaneously. Users can see their mail while traveling, obtain a digital, archivable copy of their mail, and take action on mail sooner via digital preview.
Your reach is also extended to all members of the household who subscribe to Informed Delivery, even if they’re not on your mailing list. With over 39 million subscribers and average open rates hovering around 64.7%, Informed Delivery presents a promising opportunity to get more eyes on your message. Talk to us about designing a campaign to integrate seamlessly with Informed Delivery, as well as provide you with detailed post-campaign reports.
Practice Good Hygiene
No, we’re not suggesting that you take a bath… but it wouldn’t kill you to clean up your mail list. If EDDM is too much of a blanket approach for your business goals, using a mail list is a great option for targeting specific prospects. As we addressed in our last post, you can either purchase a list or create one.
If maintaining your own mail list, ensuring proper ‘list hygiene’ is key for eliminating unnecessary campaign costs. A ‘clean’ list ensures you won’t be sending mail to duplicates, customers who have moved, are deceased, or no longer qualify for your service. Your high school health teacher would be proud.
List maintenance is often easier said than done. The USPS can help match your list to the NCOA (National Change of Address) list to help clean up your data, which happens to be a step in achieving our next cost-cutting highlight: Automation.
Don’t Hate. Automate.
Similar to EDDM, automation is a USPS offering that decreases the amount of futzing required at the post office. Thus, substantially reducing costs and processing time. However unlike EDDM, these pieces are tailored to specific recipients on a mailing list.
Thysse can help you navigate the freakishly-long checklist of acronyms for a mailing to be eligible for automation. To give you an idea of complexity, the addresses on your list must be verified (using one of several options, like the NCOA process above), and specifically formatted to include zip+4 postal codes (a CASS certification). This generates a magical barcode on each piece which allows for more efficient processing.
Like EDDM, there are a handful of design and size requirements for a piece to qualify for automation. However the range of styles and sizes you can choose from is slightly more diverse than that of EDDM.
Find The Logistical Sweet Spot
As per economics 101, the more mail pieces you print up front, the lower the price per piece. Unless you’re advertising a one-off event or a going out of business sale (knock on wood) repeat mailings generally perform better. However, more is not always better, and determining the most efficient number and type of mailings in accordance with your business objectives is a delicate dance. For example, is it better to send:
- 30,000 pieces all at once?
- 10,000 pieces 3 times to the same list?
- 10,000 pieces 3 times to different customers?
- 10,000 plain white EDDM postcards?
- 500 targeted First Class pieces?
Consider how you want the recipient to act and select a style accordingly: Do you want them to order products directly from your piece (a catalog) or do you want them to visit your website and use a promo code (a flat mailer). The less components your mail piece has, the lower the cost. However if your target audience is a smaller, niche market, say, high-end custom boat owners, you may find more value in decreasing the number of sends and paying a bit more for a stand out piece.
With near limitless options for design and customization, balancing cost with impact based on your unique objectives is the ticket to maximizing your return while keeping costs manageable. Understanding USPS requirements, maintaining your data, and knowing what free tools are available, are proactive steps you can take in creating a strong campaign that stays within budget.
Or, if all else fails… just have your printer do it.
If you’re curious to learn more about the features mentioned here, or if you just need some pointers on where to begin, drop us a line! We’re ready and waiting to find the most cost effective direct mail solution for your brand.