The business case to offer mailing services couldn’t be stronger, if you don’t offer mail you’re neglecting 50% of the market; that’s the percentage of printed matter that ends up in the mail stream! Imagine turning away half the business you’re doing right now, would you still be in business?
Mail has always been a strong offering and it’s getting stronger for one simple reason: ROI. Organizations who invest in well executed direct mail strategies receive a nice return on their investment and as such continue to invest. As you build your mailing business it becomes more and more profitable since your clients continue to invest in marketing strategies that work and you’re not having to absorb the acquisition cost of a new client. Every client you acquire should be viewed as an annuity.
Despite what you may believe or have been told mailing isn’t that tough and you can get started with no additional outlay in capital with offerings like Every Door Direct Mail or EDDM. As you build your mailing operation you can decide (or not) to invest in additional equipment and resources as market opportunities present themselves.
Start small, the USPS has some effective programs that will allow you to attract new clientele with EDDM. Used properly, EDDM can produce a decent ROI for your client and keep them coming back for more printing services. According to a 2015 DMA study 82% of respondents expect to the same or more direct mail in the coming year.
The concept for EDDM is fairly simple, these are mailings that are “simplified” in the sense that they are “addressed” without a person’s name or address, instead they are addressed to correspond with a letter carrier’s postal route and generally go to every mail receptacle within a route. The USPS has a free mapping tool that will display carrier routes and provide counts within those routes. The mailings are produced in bundles of 50/100 and require facing slips, TEC Mailing provides a tool, MailPreparer.com, that produces the completed facing slip, otherwise these would have to be filled out by hand. It’s important to have a tool to create facing slips – if you have a 10,000 pcs EDDM mailing that’s 100/200 facing slips! If your front line people are burdened by this manual work they are less likely to actively sell EDDM.
Speaking of selling EDDM it’s important to understand the best use cases and target the businesses that would benefit most, after all, your success in mailing is determined by your clients ROI. Since these are not personal in nature the mailings tend to work best when proximity to a business is a driving factor. Therefore EDDM is great for restaurants, carry out establishments, general retail, dentists, veterinary, auto repair, fitness centers, insurance agents, etc.
If you have an outside sales component have them visit some of the establishments, a wirelessly connected tablet can easily display carrier routes on the USPS website; bring some samples and share some successes. Avoid offing EDDM where personalization and demographics are the driver, it’s imperative to be mindful of these use cases and do everything you can to ensure success for your client to keep them coming back for more.
As your organization grows with EDDM it’s only natural to become more confident and knowledgeable about mail, as a result your organization will become more capable selling your mail offerings. The natural evolution is offering traditional direct mail services and you’ll be in a much better position if you’re consistently doing EDDM. Keep in mind, at this point you’ve made no capital investment for your new business unit and you don’t have to as long as you don’t have to insert or tab a mailing. These may be good long term investments but your market place should let you know if that’s the case.
According to the DMA the key to direct mail is relevance and personalization, while an EDDM piece can be relevant it can never be personal. Effectively combining the two produces a better response rate (ROI) which is why your organization’s goal should include traditional produced direct mail. The mechanics of producing an EDDM mailing are very similar to creating a traditional direct mail piece using MailPreparer.
Aside from a wider array of mail piece dimensions and personalization techniques the primary difference between EDDM and traditional mail is the address block. While EDDM relies on carrier route information for delivery, traditional direct mail must be produced with a conventional address block, name, street, city, state, zip+4. This will require a recipient list, which may be provided by the client or a list broker like Mailer’s Haven or Accudata. Typical response rates from client supplied lists are 3.7% versus 1% from list brokers so you’re almost always better off with client supplied data.
Once you’ve acquired a list, simply upload it to MailPreparer, answer a few questions and the system will output all the required data for a direct mail job, including all of the postal reporting.
Message, personalization and list quality all play factors in the success in a mailing, luckily you probably have many of the resources to make this happen. Many digital presses are bundled with plugins to Adobe InDesign or Acrobat for Variable Data Printing like XMPie or Fusion Pro. There are even companies like Jet Letter that have standalone VDP solutions that can be consumed pay as you go as well. All that’s really needed is desire to grow your business.
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