When it comes to direct mail marketing, the United States Postal Service offers several different options. The two most cost effective are standard marketing mail (aka bulk mail) and Every Door Direct Mail (aka EDDM). With standard mail, you provide names and addresses for each piece. With EDDM, you choose one or more carrier routes and your piece is delivered to every single address on that route. Each program is effective, but for very different reasons.
Why use EDDM?
Businesses who want to target a local audience, but do not need to target a specific audience based on different demographic data, find EDDM very effective. For them, EDDM is less expensive and easier to execute than standard mail.
EDDM is easier for many business because it doesn’t require addresses. Obtaining a database of addresses can be expensive, and formating the addresses onto a mailing piece difficult and time intensive. If you don’t want to bother with all of that, EDDM is the way to go. You simply choose carrier routes through the USPS website and don’t have to deal with addresses.
Restaurants, automotive shops, home services, and gyms have found EDDM particularly effective. These brick and mortar businesses send large mailings to homes on carrier routes close to them and often receive a great response.
Why use Standard Mail?
Business with a direct mail marketing strategy centered on unique mailing pieces, or dependent on specific targeted databases, have found standard mailing to be the most effective program.
Standard marketing mail allows for a much wider variety in size and shape of mailing piece than EDDM. Businesses who want to mail a variety of postcard sizes and shapes, as well as unique pieces like booklets, envelopes, folded pieces, and lumpy mail, need to use standard mail.
Some businesses have a database of past clients, current clients and leads that they keep up to date. They create campaigns specific to this audience, they may even use variable data to make the mailings highly personalized. These businesses will want to continue using standard mail as EDDM does not allow them to mail to a database. Standard mail is also the best way to mail for business that want to target audiences with very specific demographic criteria. For example, if a business ONLY wanted to mail to people in a certain age group, or with a certain income, etc., they would need to purchase a database that matches that demographic and send to the database through standard mail.
Many of One Step Services’ real estate agents send to geographic farms, social lists and absentee owners. All of these effective strategies require standard marketing mail.
Can you use both?
Absolutely! There is no reason why a direct mail marketing strategy can’t include both EDDM and standard marketing mail. You just need to be strategic about what pieces you send through each program. Our customer service staff at One Step Services can help you create and execute a comprehensive strategy that effectively targets the correct audiences and gives you the best return on investment. We design, print and mail all types of direct mail marketing pieces. Give us a call at 949-587-5301 or email email@example.com to set up a consultation appointment.
The Challenge: The Chanje Movement needed help promoting their first ever golf classic and gala. Previously, their big fundraising event had been a charity run which required very different promotional materials. They came to us with a vague idea of what they wanted, but didn’t know the details. Specifically, they needed guidance on their invitations, programs and signage.
The Solution: At One Step, we’ve created and printed marketing materials for several charity galas, including American Heart Association, so we had several different ideas for Chanje. We pulled out our stack of samples and discussed content ideas, design ideas, paper types and budget. Once we narrowed down the details, we brought in a designer who created a look for the event by expanding on the logo they had already created.
The Surprise: Two weeks before the event, we were discussing signage and the founder, Dave, expressed a desire for a sign that encouraged people to participate in child sponsorships. Their One Step account rep, Brianna, suggested printing on a white board sign so that the team could use markers to track progress.
The Result: The whiteboard sign was a huge hit. One Step printed a simple thermometer design on white board material, and the Chanje team wrote their goal and tracked their progress with erasable marker. They’ll be able to reuse this sign to future events. In addition, One Step created elegant invitations, event programs, sponsorship banners and signs for each golf hole. The Chanje Movement was incredibly pleased with the result.
The Testimonial: “Working with Brianna at One Step Services makes it easy for our small organization to increase our impact. When we need help with graphics & design or fresh ideas for our content or marketing, she is available – and they’re affordable and fast! We planned our first ever golf & gala fundraiser and their support made it possible to focus on sharing our vision and connecting with people. Knowing they are there for us gives me a confidence we have the support we need.” – Dave Brodksy
In order to be successful with direct mail marketing, you need to be consistent. If you find yourself low on funds, you may be tempted to skip a mailing. DON’T! This will lead to inconsistency and loss of the momentum you’ve already gained. Instead, consider cutting costs with these tactics.
- Convert color postcards to black and white. You can convert one side or both. Many people choose to just convert the back to black and white, since most of the card is taken up by text and address anyways. At One Step, this one change will save you about 8 cents a card. You can also convert both sides to black and white to save even more. Just be aware that some of the design may be compromised once the color is taken out. If possible, tell your designer ahead of time that you want the postcard to be able to print well in black and white so that they can design accordingly.
- Check for quantity discounts. At One Step Services, we offer discounts for 500+, 1000+, 1500+, 2000+. In some cases, ordering more will actually save you money. For example, if you are ordering 475 full color 8.5×5.5 postcards, you’ll actually save about $10 if you bump your order up to 500.
- Clean your mailing lists. It’s a waste of money to send a mailer to bad addresses. A bad address is any address that doesn’t fit into your target market. For example, if you are a real estate agent looking for listings, you won’t want to send the postcard to renters. You also don’t want to send to people who have asked to be taken off your list, or to addresses that are undeliverable. Regularly clean your list to make sure you aren’t wasting money.
- Order smaller postcards. At One Step Services, we have a lot of different postcard sizes. If you need to trim your budget, consider going with a smaller postcard, especially for mailers who’s main job is to simply build brand awareness and trust. For example, perhaps you go with an 8.5×5.5 postcard for your mailings about community events and testimonials, but go back to your 10.5×5.5 for your Just Listed card so that you draw extra attention to it.
Don’t let a tight budget keep you from doing your marketing. The more you put your name out there, the more business you’ll get. Call our friendly customer service reps at 949-587-5301 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss specific ways to cut costs on your next mailing.
One popular marketing strategy in real estate marketing is use of the agent photo. Agents put their photos on business cards, post cards, door hangers and signs. This builds familiarity amongst the residents they market to. It also brings a very personal touch to the marketing pieces. It sends the message “Hi! My name is Bob. I’m friendly, honest and excited to help you buy or sell a home.” The wrong picture, however, can send the wrong message. An unprofessional picture sends this message “What up? I’m Bob. I just rolled out of bed and will probably be late to our first meeting.”
Don’t invest a bunch of money on a beautifully designed printed piece and then ruin the message with a bad agent photo. Here are four tips for choosing a fantastic head shot:
Keep It Professional– Look at the background of your picture. Does it show you at a party with a bar and your drunken uncle in the background? What about your attire? Are you sporting a button up shirt or a skimpy tank top? Everything in your picture needs to give an air of professionalism. Keep your backgrounds simple and neutral. Locations make great photo settings, as do studio backdrops or lightly colored walls. As for attire, make sure it’s modest and professional.
Keep it About You– Don’t include friends, family or pets in your photo. The whole point of an agent photo is for people to become familiar with your face, not someone else’s. (There may be some exceptions to this. For example, if you want to send a family photo Christmas card or your pet is a significant part of your business and brand.) Also, don’t try to crop people out of your photo, especially if they are touching you in anyway. People can always tell when another person has been cropped out, so it’s best to get a photo taken with just you in it.
Keep it Current– The whole point of a photo is to get people familiar with your face so they will recognize you. If you’re using a photo from 20 years ago, chances are that when people see you in person, they aren’t going to realize it’s the “you” from the photo! Update your picture every other year or so to keep it current.
Keep it Touched Up– We suggest having a professional take your photos for you. One reason for this is that a photographer can touch up your photos by reducing red eye, adjusting shadows and correcting blemishes. A good photographer will make touch ups that make the photo look more professional but don’t drastically change your natural look.
Do you know of any good head shot photographers? How about some great places to take pictures? Share your tips in the comments below