Don’t just mail, GROW with EDDM

EDDMMitchell Graphics is your no hassle, expert source for high performance Every Door Direct Mail. Our production facilities print thousands of EDDM pieces for our customers.

EDDM is a saturation mailing targeting every address within a specific carrier route or zip code.
Local EDDM Success Stories:
  • New propane dealer attracts customer base.
  • Golf and Ski Resort promotes summer events schedule.
  • Retail store announces relocation, offers Mother’s Day sale and pulls in new customers.
Benefits of Every Door Direct Mail
  • The current cost for postage on an EDDM campaign is 18.3 cents compared with approximately 30 cents for standard bulk and up to 50 cents for first class.
  • Send direct mail pieces without having to purchase a mailing list.
What Does Mitchell Graphics Provide?

We are a turn-key solutions provider for EDDM campaigns. The staff at Mitchell offer full service graphic design, giving customers the compelling look that demands a solid response, mail list selection assistance, addressing and postal intelligence.

Do-it-yourself doesn’t always add up to savings. Let Mitchell handle your next mail campaign from start to finish, while you focus on your business.

EDDM Mailer Size Requirements

Minimum Size: Must be at least 10.5 inches in length or 6.125 inches in height. Any smaller and the piece will not meet EDDM requirements.

Maximum Size: May not exceed 15 inches in length or 12 inches of height. Any larger and the piece will exceed EDDM requirements.

  • EDDM does not require a mailing list, every piece just says “Local Postal Customer.”

Not sure if your project meets EDDM standards?

Call our experts today for a no cost review or to request FREE samples!

To take advantage of this offer…

Call 800.583.9401 to speak with an Account Consultant or email us at mgi@mitchellgraphics.com.
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Understanding the Basic Types of Bulk Mail Postal Discounts

When and why you should use Mitchell’s direct mail services:

UnderstandingBasicTypesofBulkMailUsually if you are going to mail 1,000 or more pieces, it is worth the investment to hire a direct mail house like Mitchell Graphics to sort and process your direct mail for you. If you go on your own you will need to get a mailing permit, buy mailing labels and stick the labels on your piece.

Understanding the basic types of bulk mail postal discounts:

Standard Presort

Standard presort letter rate will average between 27 – 32 cents per letter or postcard. Your postal rate mostly depends on the number of zip codes you are mailing and the number of zip codes you mail to. The piece will need to have a standard mailing indicia and be bar coded. The standard delivery time is 7 to 12 business days. You will also get no returns of undeliverable postcards. The minimum number of pieces the post office requires is 200.

First Class Presort

First Class Presort postage will average between 39 to 44 cents per piece. The delivery time is 5 to 7 business days. Once again, the amount of postage depends on the number of zip codes mailed to and the number of pieces mailed to each zip code. With first class presort you will get returns of the undeliverables.

Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM)

EDDM, as it is called, will give you the cheapest postage rates. Postage will run 18.3 cents per card. You also do not need a mailing list with EDDM. Read the related article on EDDM for the pros and cons of this type of mailing.

There are other types of discounts, but the above three are the most common for most small business marketing.

Call a Mitchell Graphics account manager today to take advantage of our mailing expertise. 800.583.9401.

Why We Like Coupons

In an earlier post, we wrote about the difference between advertising and promotion. Advertising tells people what you hope they will buy from you. The role of promotion is to give them an incentive to buy now. It’s been proven over and over again in the marketplace that buyers love a deal, and coupons can be a very effective way to communicate that deal.

Beyond that, they can be a very effective way for you to keep track of who’s taking you up on your deal. The coupon becomes a record of the response, and simply counting coupons can give you an idea of whether a campaign is working.

Coupons can do even more than that, though. You can use them to capture information that goes beyond what you currently have in your mailing list or marketing database. For example, if you’d like to collect e-mail addresses, you can use coupons to do that. If you’d like to explore other areas of a customer’s interest you can use coupons to do that too. Think of a coupon as a blank canvas. You can send information out, using text and graphics. You can also bring information in, using words and graphics along with fields and check boxes.

We like coupons a lot!

Don’t let your marketing get stale: Freshen the message

In an earlier post, we wrote about the importance of not letting your marketing message get stale. A common example is mailing the same request or offer to the same list, month after month after month. Direct mail response tracks along a bell curve, whether you’re using it for sales purposes, fundraising or member development. Even the best of programs reaches a saturation point, where everyone who is likely to respond has already done so, and at that point, you are throwing bad money after good!

Freshening the message can be as simple as changing the graphics. Picture

Adding some vitality to your marketing campaign can be done by freshening up the graphics.
Adding some vitality to your marketing campaign can be done by freshening up the graphics.

yourself going through your own stack of mail. You see things that you’ve seen before, and experience has shown that if you’ve seen something once or twice, you might actually look closely at it the third time and make a decision about whether to respond. But let’s say you do that, and you choose not to respond, and then you see the same mailer over and over again. Do you take even a second before tossing the mailer in the trash pile? Or let’s say that you look closely and you do respond. Does seeing the same mailer again and again encourage you to do it again?

Experts like to say that direct mail works until it stops working. They also say that the best strategy is to freshen the message — or change the offer or change the list — before you get too far past the point of diminishing returns. That’s how you keep it working!

What PURLs can do for your business or organization

purl.jpgYou’ve heard of them. You’ve seen them. But do you actually understand what PURLs can do for your business or organization?

PURL stands for “Personalized Unique Resource Locator.” They can be as simple as an extension of your existing web address, e.g., customersname.yourcompanyname.com. Or, they can be as sophisticated as your program name or campaign title, e.g., customersname.promotionname.com. It’s up to you.

In simple terms, a PURL is a personalized website (URL) address linked to a landing page that is customized visually as well as textually for the person visiting the page. This customization can include items that may be of particular interest to the person, variable value coupons based on the person’s previous purchases, or even location specific items that may be of interest to them.

PURLs are usually used along with direct mail pieces to further increase results of campaigns as well as direct visitors to specific website pages that are personalized based on the person’s information in your database — presumably collected with their knowledge and/or permission — including contact information as well as their buying and/or visiting habits. PURLs can also be used as hyperlinks in email campaigns and as web addresses linked to personalized QR Codes. When the direct mail recipient logs onto/connects to the PURL, the information from your database is used to tailor the web page to that person. This can include populating the billing and shipping information of the visitor, filling line entries on an order form based on a customer’s previous purchasing habits, personalizing a presentation to a person based on their previously noted preferences which can include everything from product preferences to cultural, educational and/or departmental information.

The beauty of it is that once the individual logs in, the website can track the respondent’s activity and continue to tailor the information being presented based on their behavior as well as collect information that can be used to custom craft future print and internet communications. What’s more, PURLs can track and capture information that can be used to help you understand your clients as well as determine the value of your marketing money being spent and what is being effective or ineffective in providing results.

By combining both media — direct mail and the internet — marketers can take advantage of the personalization, comfort, tangible appeal, and quality of commercial Variable Data Printing (VDP), and the immediacy, tracking, analytics, and instant response of the Internet. All the while, simplifying the contact process for your potential customers. That’s what makes a PURL so powerful. It’s just so simple, and simple works. As we all know, the simpler the process — be it through personal or professional experience — the higher the response and rate of return.

A PURL is the ultimate targeted marketing tool — a web page about you or your business, designed to cater to each individual visitor’s interests, preferences and/or buying patterns.

For more information on PURLs and how Mitchell Graphics can help you use them in your future marketing campaigns, contact your Account Representative, or call us at: 800.583.9401.

NCOA: Save time, money, and avoid piles of undelivered mail

Getting your message in the hands of your customers is one of the most effective weapons in your NCOAmarketing arsenal.

The real power behind direct mail communication is having an accurate database.

As a company whose mailing department plays a big role in its business, Mitchell Graphics knows how much work it takes to build and maintain a mailing database. It takes significant resources—time and money—to gather names and addresses and keep them up to date. Then take into account the forty million ‘Change of Address’ (COA) forms filed annually, and there’s simply too much information for businesses to keep track of manually.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) enters all COA updates weekly into a database, known as NCOALink (National Change of Address), where they are retained for 4 years. These include individual moves, family moves and business moves.

When utilizing bulk direct mail (for postage discounts) to contact your database, the USPS requires you use a move update method to minimize the extra cost required to process undeliverable as addressed pieces. The move update options are Ancillary Service Endorsements or NCOALink processing. You could also designate ‘or Current Resident’ in the mailing address, but this only guarantees delivery to the physical address and not the intended recipient.

For targeted mailings, NCOALink processing provides the best value. With this option, the USPS matches names and addresses on your mailing list to filed COA forms in the NCOALink database. When the name and address on your mailing list matches the name and address in the database, the updated address replaces the old information. Postal customers who move multiple times within a four-year period are linked to ensure the latest address is supplied when an NCOALink match is gathered.

After processing is complete, a list of the updated addresses is available to you, relieving some of the headache that goes with making sure your internal database is kept up to date.

It’s important to note, however, that the NCOALink database is only as accurate as the information provided by individuals and businesses filing the COA forms. Not only must the forms be filed in exactly the same manner as previous to ensure proper chaining, but the spelling must be exact as well. Sometimes the Katy Peters in the database is Katherine Peters in your outdated mailing list. Katherine Peters will not be linked to Katy’s new address.

NCOALink processing may not be able to guarantee a 100% fool-proof updated mail list, but the COA matches that are made will save wasted postage and avoid returned or recycled undeliverable mail.

QUICK FACT: Did you know… in order to have ‘undeliverable as addressed’ mail returned, you must mail at First Class rates? Standard and Non-Profit mail without an additional ancillary service endorsement does not include return service, and undeliverable pieces will be recycled by the post office. 

There’s no question whether NCOALink is an extremely valuable tool for bulk mailings; the benefits are pretty obvious: it saves the time and cost of sending out business promotions that return as undeliverable. But to be more specific, the benefits and monetary payback of NCOALink include:

– Helping ensure prompt delivery at the most current mailing address

– Reducing unnecessary postage by removing individuals who have moved and left no forwarding address

– Faster service

– Helping reduce expenses for:

– Printing

– Postage

– Address Correction Charges

– File Maintenance

– Mail Processing

Direct Mail Success Part 1

listdirectmailMake your list and check it twice.

The success of any direct mail campaign begins with the list. Profile your best customers. Discover the attributes that will ensure new customers will become loyal customers. Once you’ve dialed in on the optimum characteristics, start building your list.

Where should you start?

Those who offer mailing services will have mail specialists that are skilled at researching, cleaning and purchasing targeted mailing lists. To better understand the process, below is a brief description on where list criteria come from, specifically for two types of purchased lists: Compiled Mailing Lists and Response or Specialty Lists. It is truly a case of ‘you get what you pay for.’

 Compiled Mailing List

This type of list is comprised of information from public records and sources such as the telephone book, courthouse records, bankruptcy filings, deed recordings, tax documents, census findings, etc. Information that is readily available to the public is collected and compiled into a mega database.

This type of list is ideal for those businesses that need special demographic selections to target a well-defined market, for example manufacturing companies with more than 50 employees and an annual sales volume of $3,000,000 or more. Or perhaps single family households with an annual income of $125,000 or more in all zip codes representing Chicago.

Since these lists are based on self-reported information that is easy to access, the cost of purchasing this type of list is low.

Response or Specialty List

Information in this type of list is much more targeted and will be your best choice if you need to reach a specific market or audience that has similar interests or characteristics. These people have responded to specific media offers, have purchasing habits that can be tracked and measured, subscribe to specific publications or have signed up to receive discounts and information on targeted subjects.

Because these lists are comprised of individuals who are willing participants and purchasers, response rates tend to be higher—justifying a higher cost for the mailing list.

Be aware that not all criteria are available in each type of list search. You may be able to locate architects with a household income of more than $250,000 in Boston, but this type of list may not have the available information on registered boat owners. You must decide the most important characteristics of your ideal customer and model your mailing list around those criteria.

No purchased list will guarantee a 100% response rate, but purchasing a list from targeted criteria is a good place to start. With a bit of research, and tweaking over time to check and re-check your list, you’ll find yourself on the path to a successful direct mail campaign.

Printed Mail vs. E-mail: Which is the Better Marketing Tool?

Printed Mail or E-mail?directvsemail

Which works better, “traditional” direct mail or marketing via e-mail? The short answer is that no one really knows, because both have been proven to work in various applications. Maybe a better answer, though, is that traditional printed/postal direct mail and e-mail can work together. Your audience probably includes people who prefer to be contacted via one or the other, so using both increases the likelihood of making a connection.

E-mail also costs less, which makes it an attractive option to many marketers. But there’s a catch, right? It’s pretty easy to buy a list containing postal addresses for any given set of demographics. It’s not as easy to find a list with e-mail addresses for all of those people.

Here’s a thought, though. How about a campaign that leads off with a printed postcard, featuring an offer which involves a chance to win something of high perceived value. Visit our website and register for your chance to win an iPad! Every e-mail address you capture gives you two ways to reach that prospect or customer in the future.

And here’s an even greater benefit. At the registration site, you can ask for even more data that can help you to tailor an offer that will appeal to that individual. Don’t overdo this, no one wants to get to your website and be faced with 50 questions. But just two or three key questions could make a very big difference in your future marketing results.

 

8 Powerful Ways Direct Mail Postcards Will Work For You

Direct mail postcards have proven to be one of the most versatile options in direct mail marketing. They offer a quick, affordable way to create smart, condensed direct marketing campaigns. They work just as well in conjunction with, or in place of, traditional direct mail promotions.
Direct mail postcards have proven to be one of the most versatile options in direct mail marketing. They offer a quick, affordable way to create smart, condensed direct marketing campaigns. They work just as well in conjunction with, or in place of, traditional direct mail promotions.

Direct mail postcards have proven to be one of the most versatile options in direct mail marketing. They offer a quick, affordable way to create smart, condensed direct marketing campaigns. They work just as well in conjunction with, or in place of, traditional direct mail promotions. Most importantly, with a little creativity, postcards can break through the clutter and deliver your advertising messages to your audience instantaneously. Old-fashioned direct mail is hot again, but the “rules” have changed to meet changing consumer habits. To ensure success, you need to know what’s working and what’s not in direct mail marketing. Make a quick grab for attention while doing these…

  1. Drive brand awareness. Create a series of creative postcard mailings for campaigns geared toward establishing or strengthening your relationship with customers and potential customers. By mailing frequently, you stay top of mind with your customers.
  2. Send traffic to your Web site. Mixing online and offline media works best when you have a clear call to action and the path to information is simple to follow. Give your postcard audience a compelling reason to visit your Web site – an offer or announcement that will prompt a reader to act. Be sure not to disappoint your visitors once they arrive at the site. Make sure the offer is prominently featured on the home page or control and track response by creating a custom landing page dedicated to the offer promoted in the postcard. In taking your audience to your home page they often get lost.
  3. Advertise current and upcoming promotions. Inform your customers of your latest offer or upcoming monthly specials.
  4. Show your appreciation. Thank customers and donors for their purchases or donations and encourage a second purchase.
  5. Follow up with attendees after an event. Use postcards to offer discounts or educational materials or to promote upcoming events.
  6. Develop a strategic customer loyalty campaign. Build stronger, more relevant customer relationships with personalized postcards. Using variable data printing your message can be customized to include the recipient’s name, company and graphics geared to their interests.
  7. Generate more business. Advertise to prospects or existing customers, especially in down times. It’s cost-effective and gets attention. For example, in an effort to generate additional sales, a client recently launched a postcard mailing for a niche retail store. Each customer received a personalized postcard that featured several products similar to a previous purchase. The offer featured an extra percentage off the next purchase. Within four days of mailing, the effort generated an overwhelming volume of sales.
  8. Get into social media. Send your Twitter followers, LinkedIn colleagues, and Facebook fans a non-digital surprise. They’ll love it.

These days simple, efficient and creative will make the difference. Make the best use of your time and budget…postcards ARE powerful.

New Postal Requirements for Folded Self Mailers and Unenveloped Mailpieces

As of January 5, 2013 the United States Postal Service (USPS) published revised standards in effect for Folded Self-Mailers (FSM) and specific Unenveloped mailpiece designs that receive automation, machinable letter discounts. This means that in order to qualify for presort, bulk rate postage discounts, your direct mail projects must meet the USPS defined fold methods, paper basis weights, flap and panel guidelines, tabbing requirements…..the list goes on.

While this may sound troublesome it’s actually rather simple and sensible.

Non-machinable mail requires manual hand sortation, and consequently increased cost for the USPS. To be classified as non-machinable, a mail piece needs only to violate one of the outlined standards. We can’t stress enough how important it is to review postal requirements when designing your direct mail pieces, otherwise you could find yourself paying near double for non-machinable postage rates.

The key is finding the right translator.

Mitchell Graphics’ in-house mail experts are always available to help. From consultation to mail piece design, presort list management, inkjet addressing and barcoding, we have all the tools and resources to help plan and execute your campaign, achieving the deepest postage discounts available.

There are several online resources also available, starting with the full official language for FSM regulations in the Federal Register’s Final DMM section 201.3.14 and 201.3.15. If you’ve never read the DMM, I would invite you to do so. Just for fun. Occasionally it can read like a cross between a math word problem disguised in legal jargon, with the twists and turns of a choose-your-way novel.

If Jerry tries to mail an unenveloped tomato (see chart 301.2.b.xyz for examples of acceptable unenveloped tomatoes) he must use two 1in. non-perforated wafer seals (or tabs), unless the tomato is over 1 oz, he must use three 1.5in. tabs. See exhibit A for acceptable tab placement and closure method standards. Decayed or decomposed tomatoes are non-machinable and will incur a surcharge as a result of mechanical intolerance of foul odor. See Price Notice 123 under non-machinable tomatoes for surcharge rates…

You might even find yourself reading about tomatoes, but you really want to mail grapes. They have similar texture and consistency, but the package presentation is different. Can you even mail grapes? The DMM section only mentions tomatoes and then skips on to pineapple (which has a completely different set of rules). Where in the heinous DMM do you go for guidelines about grapes?!

Note: The above statements are not actual excerpts from the DMM. We know you can’t tab and stamp unpackaged fruit. The sanitation violations alone would be like bowling your produce across the supermarket floor and into your basket. Gross. But, it is near lunchtime as we write this and food sounds more interesting than envelopes.

If you experience frustration and confusion, like the above described, there are other resources available. One of those options is the USPS abridged version for FSM standards. This 5 page Folded Self-Mailer Reference Material provides charts, diagrams and brief descriptions. Again, you may find you’re solving math problems amid legal jargon—but in cliff note fashion.

If you’re a visual learner or just want to skip the technical reading, we’ve discovered a short 7 minute YouTube video with simple direction and visual aids.


The presenter—Trish Witkowski from foldfactory.com—offers plain English explanations and examples, outlining the new and updated regulations so they are easy to understand and apply to your print and direct mail projects. It’s well worth the time. So take a look and then give us a call. We’re always available and would love to help.

And we keep it simple.