Is Every Door Direct Mail Right for You?

Every Door Direct Mail is a service designed by the USPS to help businesses reach every address in a neighborhood. With a simplified form of addressing that does not require an actual list of addresses, this is meant to make mailing easier and cheaper for individuals at a company

Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) is a service designed by the United States Postal Service (USPS) to help businesses reach every address in a neighborhood. With a simplified form of addressing that does not require an actual list of addresses, this is meant to make mailing easier and cheaper for individuals at a company.

When you mail with EDDM, you only need room for the EDDM indicia, endorsement and the address block (which would say postal customer and the city, state and zip code it is mailing to). All the rest of the area can contain your images and messaging. This leaves you with a lot of room for design. EDDM works best for retailers and service-based businesses in a local area, such as pizza restaurants, small neighborhood stores, dry cleaners, etc.

As with anything, EDDM has some drawbacks as well. One of the big ones is that you cannot personalize the mail. Everyone in a carrier route will get the same piece addressed to postal customer. That means that the imaging and messaging must be more generic in order to appeal to more people. Another drawback is that the size of the piece is larger for this program, so printing costs more and can eat away at any cost savings. Take the time to consider if EDDM is right for you. In many cases you will get a better return on your investment if you use a targeted list.

The following types of mail are allowable as EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail):

Flat: Mail size is between 6.126 x 11.51 to 12 x 15. A minimum of .009 thick and a maximum thickness of 3/4 inch.

Irregular Parcels: Must weigh less than 16 ounces and includes parcels such as:

  • Rolls and tubes up to 26 inches long and merchandise samples not individually addressed.
  • Unwrapped, paper-wrapped or sleeve-wrapped articles that are not letter-size or flat-size
  • Articles enclosed in envelopes that are not letter-size, flat-size or machinable parcels.

Periodicals: Periodicals consist of newspapers, magazines, journals or newsletters. To qualify for Periodicals prices, they must meet the following criteria and the publisher must be authorized.

  • The publication must be published in a serial format (such as volume 1 issue 1, volume 1 issue 2, volume 1 issue 3, etc.).
  • The publication must be published at least four times a year with a specified frequency.
  • The publisher must have a known office of publication. This office should be accessible to the public during business hours for conducting publication business.

Bound Printed Matter: An economical service for sending permanently bound materials, such as catalogs and phonebooks, up to 15 lbs in two to eight days. Sheets must be permanently bound by secure fastenings, such as staples, spiral binding, glue or stitching.

To get started with EDDM, go to this website:

  • Enter your desired ZIP code or codes.
  • Select if you want just residents or businesses, too.
  • Select the carrier routes you are interested in, or select them all.
  • There are also some general demographics for each route that you can choose from if you want to.
  • In order to process the request, you will need to set up an account.
  • Once you process the order, the website will furnish you with all the paperwork you need and the amount the postage will cost

There are two forms of EDDM: commercial (using a mail provider) or retail (you do all the work and take it to the post office). If you are using the retail version, you can only mail 5,000 pieces per ZIP code per day, and your postage rate will be $0.175 each. If you are doing commercial, there is no quantity limit and the postage is $0.157 each. If you need to mail more than 5,000, contact a service provider to help you. If you do not already have a provider you can find one near you here.

Introducing ‘The Integrated Email’ Blog by Debra Ellis

Why is email marketing so effective? Is it the one-to-one communication, ability to connect with customers and prospects on the go, or the provision of instant gratification with one-click shopping? The answer depends on the company and the customer relationship, but there is one universal truth: The combination of interactive communication with self-service solutions makes email the most versatile tool in a marketing workshop.

Why is email marketing so effective? Is it the one-to-one communication, ability to connect with customers and prospects on the go, or the provision of instant gratification with one-click shopping? The answer depends on the company and the customer relationship, but there is one universal truth: The combination of interactive communication with self-service solutions makes email the most versatile tool in a marketing workshop.

My experience with email marketing began shortly after Hotmail launched the first Web-based email service in 1996. A client had compiled approximately 11,000 customer email addresses and wondered what we could do with them. Our first test was a 25 percent discount on any order placed that day. A text-only message was sent using the mail merge functionality in Excel and Outlook. It took over two hours to send all the emails.

Those two hours were quite exciting. We had two computers in close proximity so we could watch the progress of the outgoing emails and monitor sales on the website. Within minutes of starting the email transmissions, orders started flowing in. By the end of the day, more than 1900 orders were received. A handful of people asked to be excluded from future mailings. Over 200 people responded with personal notes. Some were grateful for the discount. Others apologized for not placing an order and asked to receive more emails.

Things are much different today. The novelty of receiving a personalized message from a company is long gone. Spam filters make getting emails delivered a near impossible mission. And the competition for recipients’ attention is at an all-time high. Even so, email marketing remains one of most effective marketing and service vehicles available.

The emails that deliver the best return on investment are the ones that are integrated with the other marketing channels to provide information and service to the recipients. They create a connection between company and customer that motivates people to respond. A successful email marketing strategy builds loyalty while increasing sales.

Many email campaigns today are little more than a systematic generation of one promotional email after another. Discount emails are relatively easy to create and deliver sales with each send, making them a quick way to inject some life into lagging sales. The simplicity of sale marketing combined with solid response rates creates an environment where marketers are reluctant to move beyond the easy, low-hanging fruit.

In addition to generating sales, discount marketing also trains people to always look for the best price before buying the company’s products and services. It is not a sustainable strategy because there will always be another company that can offer lower prices and lure customers away. A better plan is to develop an integrated email marketing strategy that educates and encourages people to develop a relationship with the company. This requires more effort, but it delivers loyalty and long-term results.

Every email that a customer or prospect receives is an opportunity for the company to establish itself as the best service provider and solidify the relationship. Best practices include:

  • Using a valid return email address so the recipient can respond with one click.
  • Sending branded emails that identify your company at first glance.
  • Mixing educational emails that provide “how to” information for products and services with new product launches and promotional messages.
  • Transactional emails that communicate shipping information and challenges so customers aren’t left wondering, “Where is my order?”
  • Highly targeted and personalized emails designed to engage customers and prospects at every point in their lifespan.

Finding the right combination of educational, event and promotional emails requires testing and measuring results for incremental improvements. The resources invested improve relationships, increase sales and create a sustainable marketing strategy.

Note: Over the next few months, we’ll feature winning and losing email marketing strategies and campaigns on this blog. If you would like to share your company’s killer emails, send them to Debra at dellis@wilsonellisconsulting.com.

Reducing UAA Must Focus on New Movers

In a recent post, I addressed the issue of undeliverable as addressed (UAA) mail, and how brands, businesses and other mailers lose more than $1 billion a year by not getting their mail addressed properly. It’s a solvable problem. Both the USPS and the DMA have made public commitments to reduce UAA as an industry goal, both of which would help marketers and their bottom lines. Progress toward UAA reduction, however, has not been uniform.

In a recent post, I addressed the issue of undeliverable as addressed (UAA) mail, and how brands, businesses and other mailers lose more than $1 billion a year by not getting their mail addressed properly. It’s a solvable problem.

Both the USPS and the DMA have made public commitments to reduce UAA as an industry goal, both of which would help marketers and their bottom lines. Progress toward UAA reduction, however, has not been uniform.

Recently, Charley Howard, who is the vice president of postal affairs at Harte-Hanks (disclosure: Harte-Hanks is a client), discussed this concern in a monthly e-newsletter he writes for the company called Postology. Charley wrote about UAA, and explained why UAA reduction goals have been slow to materialize. One of the key reasons has nothing to do with mailers, and everything to do with mail recipients: Too few Americans are filling out National Change of Address (NCOA) forms as they had previously. In fact, less than 50 percent are now doing so, and its ramifications on UAA volume are profound.

Frankly, mailers must supplement their use of NCOA with proprietary change-of-address/new move data from commercially available sources in the private sector. There’s just no way around this. However, by taking advantage of such services (as all direct mailers should), there is a risk that the USPS, ironically, will penalize the mailer. Charley explains the paradox here, used with permission:

USPS New Moves Source Is not Enough
“In addition to … postal-approved methods for Move Updates being applied to mailing files, there are those in the industry that additionally supplement postal moves with a Proprietary Change of Address (PCOA) service offering (for example, Harte-Hanks offers such a service). The sources of this move data tend to come from utility, telecommunication and publishing companies. In recent years, PCOA has developed into a near necessity because of the diminishing numbers of people who fill out the USPS Change of Address form.

When NCOALINK started in late 1986, more than 90 percent of all moves were captured. Today the use of COA cards has fallen to less than 50percent of moves. How can the USPS ever hope to reach its goal of cutting UAA mail by 50percent if its own source for Move Update data has fallen below half of all moves? Forcing mailers to go outside the Postal Service to attempt to obtain the balance of the moves contains some postage risk, however.

During Mail Acceptance, mail samplings are run through the MERLIN detection machine. The scanned records are passed by the USPS’s COA data to test for Move Update compliance of 90%. There is a chance of failure through the use of proprietary sourced moves. Here is an example. Say a grown child leaves home to go to college or to get a job and an apartment. The child files the COA with the USPS. Assume 9 months later the child returns home for whatever reason and no COA is filed. The USPS COA has the first move but not the second. The mail owner, using a PCOA, has obtained the second move back to the original address and is using it in the current mailing. MERLIN would show this as a failure because the move the USPS has on record is not reflected in the mailing. The service provider would have to fight this ruling to prove that it has the more current data.

The real problem here is that the USPS’s own COA data is inadequate to achieve the desired results. It is inadequate to even validate the thoroughness of Move Update compliance. The USPS needs to recognize that along with less use of the mail by younger generations, comes little to no use of COA as a stand-alone product. Therefore the USPS needs to supplement its own data with outside sourced data to become the sole repository of moves, once again. The USPS needs to invest in better data to save more in the end – and only then can UAA be reduced in line with Postal Service management goals.”

This opinion in its entirety reflects Charley’s view—and not necessarily my own or that of Harte-Hanks. But, I do believe that using PCOA should be recognized in some fashion by USPS, so mailers can be rewarded for keeping their mail off the UAA track and in the recipients’ hands. Putting the onus on the mailer to explain how its list is more up to date than the USPS’s on change-of-address concerns seems to be a burden that does not reflect today’s list hygiene realities. Either USPS should incorporate PCOA sources in MERLIN, or it should provide some sort of seal of approval on what private sector sources are already doing to help mail reach the intended recipient. Let me know your points of view in your comments here.

Helpful Links:

Direct Marketing Association on UAA Reduction

USPS Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan, FY 2011 (see page 65)

Harte-Hanks Postology (June 2012) on UAA and Move Updates (live link as of June 14, 2012)

Nextmark’s List Search Platform (search using “New Movers” or “Change of Address”)

An example of a recently released “New Move” file (disclosure: Alliant is a client)