3 Common Direct Mail Questions and Answers

Direct mail can be a complicated and intimidating marketing channel if you are not familiar with it or have encountered problems in previous campaigns. Don’t let that stop you from using it.

MailboxDirect mail can be a complicated and intimidating marketing channel if you are not familiar with it or have encountered problems in previous campaigns. Don’t let that stop you from using it. Here are answers to three common direct mail questions and concerns that can help you not only avoid issues, but have confidence that your direct mail will provide you a good ROI.

1. What Do I Do if My Data Files Are Not Current?
There are a few ways that data files can be cleaned to give you a fresh list. The first is to update addresses for moves. This can be done before mailing with the USPS NCOA (National Change of Address) data file. Your list is run against the USPS file and any move addresses are appended to your file.

In some cases, people move and do not update the post office with their current address. In those cases the records are flagged and the addresses can be removed.

Many times an outdated file will have people on it that are no longer living. In order to correct that problem, your data file can be run against the national deceased file.

This will provide you with all the people that should be removed from your mailing.

2. How Do I Keep My Postage Costs Down?
The first thing to do is to make sure that the design of your mail piece is USPS compatible. If it is not, you will have to pay postage surcharges. If you need help with the USPS regulations, contact your mail service provider and they can guide you.

The next thing to do is to make sure that you are only mailing to addresses that have been CASS/DPV validated, so you are sending to good mailing addresses.

Finally, choose your mailing list wisely. Only send to people that are interested in your specific offer. You can save the rest of your list for the next campaign that is a better fit. Sending an offer to someone who is not interested is more than just a waste of postage and printing, it can aggravate the recipient and have them think twice before buying from you again.

3. How Long Will My Mail Take to Deliver?
Since the post office has made so many changes over the last two years we have seen drastic changes in delivery times.

The worst recorded times were last spring. At that time, the post office really stepped up to the plate, admitted a problem and took measures to fix delivery times.

On average, the delivery times we are seeing for letter size mail are: First Class Mail to the other side of the country in five to seven days, Standard Mail in seven to 15 days. This can vary depending on the amount of mail at each post office along the way.

The closer the recipient is to the origin post office, the faster they will get the mail. In many cases, in order to speed up delivery of standard mail we will drop ship the mail to a post office closer to recipients. The cost of the shipment is usually offset by the postal savings when submitting mail to a local SCF (Sectional Center Facility).

Direct mail is a great way to reach recipients — even millennials like to get mail. Using the information we have discussed you can create direct mail that is cost effective and will contribute towards your ROI.

The three key factors that you must plan for in direct mail are the list, creative and call to action. Taking the time to create a formal marketing plan that includes direct mail is vital to your response rate. Do not send out direct mail without a plan, a way to track it and how you will follow up. Do you have a great direct mail story? I would love to hear it!

Author: Summer Gould

A blog about Direct Mail Marketing, tips, tricks and what not to do.Summer Gould is President of Eye/Comm Inc. Summer has spent her 27 year career helping clients achieve better marketing results. She has served as a panel speaker for the Association of Marketing Service Providers conferences. She is active in several industry organizations and she is a board member for Printing Industries Association San Diego, as well as a board member for Mailing Systems Management Association of San Diego. You can find her at Eye/Comm Inc’s website: eyecomm.org, email: summer.gould@eyecomm.org, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @sumgould.

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