The United States Postal Service is at it again. I’m sure most of you have heard the USPS is proposing a rate increases for 2011. Groups of publishers, printers and other associations are banding together to try and stop it, and with good reason. Many of these groups rely on mail as part of their business, so they are likely a bit scared as to how this increase could affect their bottom line. However, I am not going to use this blog to discuss the death of print and direct mail. Instead, I would like to discuss one way to maximize your dollar and kick up the efficiency of a direct mail marketing campaign. Direct mail is still a great element of a successful marketing program – not to mention it’s one of my favorite types of project to work on.
My tip: Clean up and organize your mailing list. Sounds simple and obvious right? Judging by how commonly this little tip is overlooked and how much money it could save, I feel it’s worth repeating. Clean house by updating new or changed addresses and delete the old addresses. I can’t tell you how many times the same mailing comes to me and the previous homeowner. Also, double check to be sure the same piece isn’t going to two people within the same company (unless there’s good reason to do so). I’ve seen duplicate mail pieces and magazines arrive here at our office, one each addressed to Denise and Lindsay – unnecessary in our case, as these materials are shared by all employees. While a smaller piece only wastes minor printing costs and postage,imagine how this adds up with larger pieces in a list of say, 50,000. Surely there are bound to be several incorrect or duplicated contacts in a list of this size – and all end up as money down the drain. The Post Office has taken steps to alleviate this. Automation or presort discounts may be applied to certain types of mailings, provided the mailing list has been validated for correct addresses and occupants within 95 days of each mailing
Furthermore, organize your list according to buying cycles and further break it down into geographic regions. It’s no doubt you have been researching and learning your target market’s buying cycle, so don’t let that knowledge go to waste. The geographic break down could weed out some non-applicable contacts – after all, no need to try and sell ice to an Eskimo.
With a little more up-front time and planning, we can all handle this proposed rate increase without too much impact. And if it doesn’t go through, I’ve just shared another way to save some money – always a good thing.
Do you have any tips for further stretching your mailing dollar? How do you feel about direct mail as part of an integrated marketing campaign?