As customers have turned their attention to social media and Web-based communication for marketing, direct mail has been an increasingly tough sell for mailing services providers. Businesses that relied heavily on direct mail have shifted some their direct mail dollars to Web-based media, and businesses that haven’t yet tried direct mail are less inclined to risk the money it takes to run a good direct mail campaign.
Enter the USPS program Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM), which debuted in March 2011. Initially viewed with skepticism by commercial mailers, EDDM seems to be proving itself. According to Paul Vogel, USPS president and chief marketing/sales officer, as of January 2012 EDDM mail was approaching the one billion mark and had generated $270 million in revenue in 2011. While there is no way to know how much of this volume is new mail and how much is diverted from addressed presort standard, anecdotal evidence from mailers indicates EDDM can be a good service to offer customers and prospects—especially those who have been wary of trying direct mail marketing because of cost.
To help make EDDM a success, the USPS heavily promotes directly to businesses by using mailers, Grow Your Business in-person presentations, online seminars (such as the one sponsored by Quick Printing, which is archived at http://bit.ly/Oo5B0q), sales calls by USPS personnel, and a comprehensive website emphasizing do-it-yourself.
Initially this raised the ire of mailing services providers, particularly since it was alleged that the USPS used the ghost permits of commercial mailers to decide which businesses to target for EDDM. The USPS denied the allegations and now encourages businesses to use a local printer and mailing services provider on the EDDM website. The USPS has also started including local printers and mailing services providers as part of the Grow Your Business presentations.
Printers and mailers who have been most active with EDDM report that it is particularly successful for smaller, local businesses offering a product or service to consumers and whose geographic sales and service area is a neighborhood. Some examples include restaurants, dry cleaners, beauty shops, auto service shops, pharmacies, department stores, banks, and real estate firms. The target audience could be a residential neighborhood or a mixed residential and business area (for services that workers might use before and after work or during lunch).
A print-and-mail package is an attractive way to sell EDDM—a single price that combines the cost of design, printing, mail preparation, and postage. To use this method, offer a limited menu of design and size options or provide a template so customers can do their own design work.
Be prepared to provide customers with the required wording for indicia and simplified address format (available at the USPS EDDM website) as well as counts by carrier route (also available at the USPS EDDM website or via online counts from mail list providers). Postage costs will vary depending on where the mail is entered.
A variation on the print-and-mail package for a single business is to offer a co-op mailing featuring several businesses that are targeting an audience in the same carrier route but who don’t compete with each other—a beauty shop, dry cleaner, and fast food restaurant, for example.
EDDM can also be used for community service or other legal notices when the object of the mailing is to reach a specific home or business rather than a specific individual.
There are two versions of EDDM—Retail and BMEU—and mailers can offer either version to customers. Both are saturation mailings (at least 90 percent of the deliverable addresses in a carrier route receive the mailing) using the simplified address format (sometimes called “Postal Patron”), which uses just the simplified address designation and the city, state, and zip code.