Deliver Your Direct Mail Piece

3rd of Four Basics in Direct Mail Makeover: DELIVER YOUR DIRECT MAIL PIECE

Last week we talked about how to formulate the dough (game plan) for your direct mail makeover. If you will remember my analogy of preparing chocolate chip cookies to preparing direct mail pieces, we are now ready to send your direct mail piece to your target audience (or put the cookies into the oven to bake). Note: at the end of this January/February blog on direct mail makeover, I promise to publish my recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies … just in time for Valentine’s Day!

In this part of the makeover, let’s take a look at what’s involved in delivering your direct mail piece.

• Money Saving Postal Strategies
• Standardizing Your Mailing Addresses
• Merging Your Mailing Lists or De-duping

    Money Saving Postal Strategies.

If you are interested in saving money, then there are several things that can decrease your postage cost.
Know your class. With first class mail, your direct mail piece should arrive anywhere in the country in one to three days. And if the person you’re mailing to has moved within 12 to 18 months and left a forwarding address, your mail will be re-directed to the new address at no extra charge. Standard class allows you to mail a minimum of 200 pieces of direct mail at one time and although you receive lower bulk rates, your mail usually arrives within seven to ten days. Note: make sure your addresses are as up to date as possible; with standard class your mail won’t be forwarded if the recipients have moved.
Make the Postal Service’s job easier. Your addresses need to be CASS-certified addresses.
Send deliverable mail. Almost 20% of the U.S. population moves every year, so chances are good that some of your addresses will be undeliverable. For the best first class mail discounts, you can use:

1. National Change of Address (NCOA) service
2. A Service Bureau: will presort your mail and may also commingle your company’s mailing with others so you receive a deeper discount
3. A program called Fastforward: which works off of a CD-ROM that contains all reported address changes for the past 12 months

    Standardizing Your Mailing Addresses.

Standardizing simply means that all your addresses are consistent. Here’s the standardization rules to remember when creating your addresses:

Always use one or two letters for directional – for example, use the letter N for North, S for South, etc. Do not use a period.
Use the fixed abbreviations for street, road, avenue, i.e., St, Rd, Ave – You can get a complete list from the Postal Service
Do not use any punctuation

    Merging Your Mailing Lists.

No one likes to receive multiple copies of the same piece of mail, even if the letters are personalized. If you are using more than one mailing list, you may have the same people listed several times. (Duplicate mail irritates the recipient and wastes your money). Performing merge-purge operations can help make your list duplicate free.

Although the computer is doing the work, you are the person making the decisions in the matching process. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when determining your criteria:

Are shortened versions of formal names, i.e. Robert, Bob – located at the same address a match? Probably
Are similar sounding names, such as Richard Goldsmith and Richard Goldman, located at the same address a match? Probably, but you have to assume not.
Are identical names at slightly different addresses, i.e. 123 Main St vs. 123 E Main St – a match? Probably
Do you want to send duplicates to multibuyers (people whose names appear on more than one list?

Tip: If you are mailing thousands of direct mail pieces, use a commercial letter-shop to save time. Time is money and your time may be better spent on other tasks and projects.

Our final and 4th in our Basics of Direct Mail Makeovers: MEASURING YOUR RESULTS will be posted the first week in February. Look for us then.

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