Last year, The United States Postal Service introduced Every Door Direct Mail, and it’s been a game changer for companies looking to do effective direct mail marketing without purchasing expensive lists or spending a ton on postage. It’s a simple concept: instead of buying a mailing list, you choose postal routes that best fit your target audience, and your mailing piece is delivered to each address on that route, addressed generically to “Postal Customer” or something similar. The USPS provides a tool that allows you to search routes to narrow things down on a variety of demographics, and you can choose as many routes as you’d like. The mailing fees start at 18.3 cents per piece, and because you’re not purchasing a list of names, you have the advantage of 100% deliverability (no bouncebacks for old addresses or residents).
Here at Ambit, we facilitate a number of Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) campaigns for our clients, from design and print all the way through to fulfillment and actually getting the mailers bundled appropriately and to the Post Office for mailing. We’ve developed a series of best practices for our clients to keep in mind when they’re considering an EDDM campaign.
Be Choosy with Your Target Route & Test Your Mailer
EDDM works by delivering to specific carrier routes, and you can get lots of interesting demographic information on those routes to help you determine which are the best for you. Of course, if you’re a retailer or service provider that largely services a particular area like a doctor, geography is going to be paramount. But if you’d like to narrow the field, you can sort based on age, household size, income and residences versus businesses. Using this handy tool lets you narrow your area and calculates your postage cost.
We recommend being choosy with your target route, at least at first. Consider sending a test mailer to just one or two routes in order to check the performance of any given piece before you send out thousands and don’t be afraid to narrow down routes based on your brand’s target audience.
Choose Frequency Over Quantity
Marketing studies since the dawn of time have indicated that frequency of message is key to increase brand recognition. You’re far better off mailing several times to one smaller target area than to send a one-off mailer to a larger swath. This strategy should increase your response rates and your brand awareness in that area.
Invest in Design
While we live in an age of DIY design, the fact is that good design and an excellent first impression is really all you have when you’re doing a direct mailer. Consider employing a professional to design the piece or at least to review and tweak what you have. Direct mail pieces are not typically complex, time-consuming graphic designs so a small design investment can pay big dividends when it comes to standing out in a crowded mailbox.
Stand Out with Finishing Touches
When budget allows, we always recommend that customers use unique finishes on their postcards in order to further distinguish themselves from the other mailers landing that day. Some finishing effects we love are interactive scratch-offs, die-cutting, embossing or foil-stamping. These are all eye-catching elements that make a piece more appealing and also create texture when the recipient handles it.
Craft a Compelling Offer – and Track It
We recommend crafting a unique offer for your mailer that creates a sense of urgency through a deadline or limited number available whenever possible. You’ll also want a clear and distinct call-to-action, and whenever possible that CTA should have some way of being trackable so that you can check the effectiveness of your piece. For example, you can send the recipient to a specific URL, give them a unique coupon code or ask them to dial a specific phone number. If your business is walk-in, a coupon they can bring into the store is always effective, as is training your employees to ask new customers how they heard about you.
One disadvantage of EDDM is that it does not allow for variable data printing – putting the name of the recipient or a personalized URL (PURL) on each marketing piece. If your’e leaning towards this level of personalization and tracking, traditional direct mail options might be best.
Outsource Postage Handling and Bundling
One of the major headache-reducing services that Ambit provides is a full-service option for our direct mail customers. This means we take the mailer all the way from design to print, checking along the way to ensure that we are meeting postal standards for the EDDM campaign and then bundling and delivering to the Post Office according to their strict regulations. This can be a time-consuming task and if done wrong, will derail your whole campaign, so it’s something to consider outsourcing to the pros. Should you go it alone, we highly recommend familiarizing yourself with the rules of EDDM and using their Mailpiece Size Checker before getting anything printed.
Track Your Results and Learn from Them
Like any good marketing campaign, tracking and follow-up is essential. See where you’re getting the best response rate from and ensure that you mail to that area again or consider investing in other marketing channels to that particular demographic. Develop benchmarks that will help you determine if future campaigns are more or less successful. Get a good handle on the ROI of your campaign so that you can make educated decisions on your next steps.
Interested in learning more about direct mail best practices? Check out our other Direct Mail tips and tricks. Ready to research and price out your EDDM campaign? Contact us today for a free, no obligation quote and our expert input on the best options for your campaign.