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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Tracking Direct Mail Response: Ring The Bell!

It’s pretty well accepted that direct mail (or any other advertising program) tracks along a bell curve. In other words, the response comes slowly at first, then accelerates, then peaks, then declines and eventually disappears. If you don’t recognize and plan for this, you may fall prey to one of two classic advertising mistakes.

The first mistake is to expect too much for the first mailing. The impact of advertising is cumulative, which means that response increases as the message is repeated. To put it simply, the vast majority of people who see the first mailing will barely register the message, but more will take it seriously the second time they see it, and the third, and so on. Sadly, many businesses have put all their hopes on a single mailing, and they’ve come away with the attitude that they tried direct mail, and it didn’t work.

The second mistake is to keep mailing too far past the point of decline. No matter how successful a mailing may be, it will eventually saturate its market and bring in less and less response. When it stops working, you want to stop mailing it, but here’s a key point — you want to start mailing something else! Again, it’s sad, but many businesses have seen how well direct mail works but then sacrificed much of its value by letting the message get stale. It’s a far better strategy to freshen the message and then ring the bell again!

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.

It’s All About the Plan

Do you have a Marketing Plan in place? Please note the capital letters. We’re not talking about having a few marketing ideas, we’re talking about tying good ideas together into a real plan. There’s an old saying about how “failing to plan is like planning to fail,” and there’s a lot of truth to that.

marketingplanWe recently spoke to a prospect who said, “Yeah, I don’t have much of a marketing plan, I just sort of wing it.” We introduced him to an acronym used by a highly respected marketer: WIDOW: Winging It Doesn’t Often Work!

This particular prospect was thinking about what he referred to as a “mass mailing”—10,000 postcards to pretty much every resident of an entire town. We talked to him about a series of targeted mailings instead, identifying 1000-1500 likely prospects based on the demographics of his product, and hitting each of them 6 times. Then we talked about the steps he would take with each respondent, which included educating his staff, so they’d be prepared to handle the response he was hoping for.

Now, instead of winging it, he has a plan with a much higher likelihood of success. And we’re talking to him about a much more detailed plan for his next fiscal year.

 

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.