Direct mail is a thriving marketing channel. Compared to email, it frequently delivers above and beyond its digital rival—or counterpart, depending upon whether you’ve embraced multichannel marketing.
The average household receives two pieces of direct mail per day and over 150 emails. Obviously, the mailbox isn’t nearly as crowded as the inbox. As a result, consumers open almost 90% of direct mail vs. only 18% of emails. Furthermore, the Data and Marketing Association reports that direct mail’s response rate is up to 30x higher than digital.
With all these positive statistics regarding “physical mail,” direct mail companies should be prepared to handle every aspect of your direct mail marketing campaigns. Turn your focus to one company that offers the entire package: experience, innovation, and proven results. With the latest equipment, technology, and resources at your disposal, your direct mail marketing campaigns will flourish.
Are you searching for the perfect direct mail marketing company to handle your next campaign? Here’s what to look for.
State-of-the-Art Direct Mail Facility
Let’s begin at the foundation. Direct mail companies should offer state-of-the-art facilities, featuring the latest equipment that can produce up to millions of direct mailing pieces every day.
You deserve to get more out of your marketing, so look for a direct mail company that can provide top-notch efficiency with the latest and greatest printing presses and postal sorting equipment.
Direct Mail Experience and Know How
One important factor to keep in mind is that your business is different from other businesses. So there’s no one right way to prepare, print, and deliver your direct mail marketing campaigns. You need printing and mailing options. The best solution for your business is not necessarily the best for another. When you consult with direct mail companies, you can find the perfect printing option for your campaign’s quantity and budget.
Here are a few questions to consider asking:
- What paper stock will provide just the right feel?
- What are the best choices for the message I’m trying to convey?
- How long will it take to print and mail my campaign?
From the outset, the way you design your mail piece will determine how much you spend. It’s a crucial first step. Don’t design the piece, then take it to a direct mail company for approval. You should share your ideas and expect expert advice on the size dimensions, style, type of paper, etc. Weigh your options based on their equipment, experience, and know how—then proceed.
Knowledge of USPS Rules and Regulations
Before you start designing your direct mail marketing campaigns, look for guidance on the latest postal regulations regarding dimensions and postage rates. If you don’t follow the best-practice guidelines set forth by the USPS, you could pay far more than necessary.
Direct mail companies with an in-house mailing center employ mail industry experts that keep up with the latest requirements so you don’t have to. When you include a talented staff that’s trained with exceptional skills in postal regulations and logistics, you have a partnership primed to deliver results.
As you create a budget for your direct mail campaign, there’s a good chance more than half of it will go to postage costs. Direct mail companies should provide postal optimization techniques to help you get more for your marketing dollars.
Postal optimization balances technology, discrete tactical processes (logistics), and physical formats (the size dimensions of your mailing)—all with the objective of lowering your postage costs. There are several ways to accomplish this. A postage and freight feasibility report ensures you’re getting the lowest rates possible while at the same time matching your data requirements.
On-site USPS Verification
Even the largest direct mail companies should design production for speed to market. One way to achieve this is by verifying important mailing data in-house. Look for a provider that assures your data is clean and up to date. One of the ways to be certain your mailing list is current is to check with National Change of Address (NCOA) specialists. More than 40-million people and businesses move each year, meaning your mailing may never get into the right hands. The first line of defense against this is an NCOA check, which will provide the proper records so your mailing list is accurate. Direct mail companies should arrange this as part of their service to you.
When your direct mail campaign has to go to a sorting center, it takes up valuable time. Direct mail companies may offer a variety of postal logistic options to ensure your shipment gets into your customer’s hands faster.
Here are some of the sorting options to look for. An industry expert can explain in greater detail and recommend which service would be best for your particular mailing. Contact an MSP representative to discuss your options.
- Commingling. Combining your mail with other companies to generate a discount.
- Presorting. Grouping your mail according to the zip code in the same bundle/tray.
- Consolidation. Combining skids of mail with other clients’ mail, regardless of the size of the mailing.
- Co-palletization. Sharing trays of mail on a pallet rather than pieces of mail in a tray.
The less the postal service has to sort your mail when it arrives at the sorting center, the more money you’ll save. That’s because, in part, you’re doing their work for them. The deeper you can get your mail into the postal system from the outset without their help, the less money you’ll pay. This should be a top priority for direct mail companies—to ensure the best quality marketing materials while also helping you get the best price from the postal service.
Direct Mail Automation Technology
Direct mail companies allow you to deliver repeatable, consistent campaigns with automation. By combining innovative direct mail software with a marketing automation system, you can automate your direct mail just as easily as you would your electronic campaigns. Let’s look at some of the possibilities.
Variable Data Printing and Personalization
When you need to change one element of a direct mail piece without slowing down the printing process, look for variable data printing (VDP) capabilities. Text, color, graphics, and images may all change from one printed piece to the next, without creating any delay in the printing process.
You can print hundreds, thousands, or even millions of personalized, targeted direct mail pieces in a single run.
Personalize your direct mail.
Find out how MSP uses continuous inkjet presses to support variable data printing.
Almost 100% of retailers believe personalization influences what their customers buy. Most shoppers agree. About 90% say personalized marketing has an impact on their likelihood of making a purchase.
Do you want to include your recipient’s name or use customized images in your campaign? The most basic form of VDP would be printing a different address on each mail piece. That’s pretty standard. Now take each of those customers and include a personalized URL, or PURL. This provides everyone with their own traceable website address link.
Here’s another example. Let’s say you’re mailing a campaign where you want to highlight the local branch of a business. Plus you want to include the customer’s name on the mailing. These are two examples of VDP on one mailing that speak directly to that customer.
You can also use VDP based on a customer’s actions. Let’s say you want to thank your customers for a purchase. Using VDP, you could trigger a personalized, handwritten thank-you note for each one. You could also personalize any type of correspondence with them, like invoices or letters.
Transparent Delivery and Tracking
What happens after your direct mail campaign has shipped? After all, results are everything. If you don’t know how your campaign performed, you won’t know how to make adjustments for your next one.
MSP offers Direct Mail Panorama, a software solution that enables marketers to track and analyze every step of the mailing process (not to mention simplifying the editing and approval process).
No other direct mail companies offer this. It’s the future of direct mail management.
Direct Mail Panorama provides more control and a better overall understanding of all your direct mail campaigns. The software streamlines your entire direct mail process with a panoramic view, if you will, of your metrics. This allows you to improve upon future campaigns.
Let’s look at one particularly helpful aspect of Direct Mail Panorama called Direct Mail Lookup. As your customer support staff takes calls about your mailings, they can view a digitized version of each mailpiece based on a variety of search options to see when it was delivered. You can identify what you spent on each piece of mail per campaign.
You’ll have complete transparency into your direct mail marketing campaign’s performance by tracking and analyzing each step of the mailing process from production to delivery to engagement. Other direct mail companies may offer some form of tracking and reporting, but Direct Mail Panorama takes it to a new level.
Dedicated Customer Service
Finally, direct mail companies must have outstanding customer service habits. Look for a dedicated support team with plenty of experience in the direct mail business. Never underestimate the value of a devoted customer service staff that treats you like the most important customer. Service is how great businesses set themselves apart from their competitors.
Direct Mail Companies: Your Solution
Direct mail companies should feature not some, but all of the aforementioned qualities. Sound impossible? MSP offers all of those qualities with the experience, innovation, and results you need.
From start to finish, MSP is a “one-stop-shop” for all your direct mail marketing campaigns. As a family-owned, full-service direct mail marketing company for over 65 years, MSP is one of the most respected, privately owned facilities in the country. We offer efficient direct mail solutions for your brand’s needs. Learn more about how our experience and capabilities can bring your ideas to life.
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