Direct Mail Marketing vs. Junk Mail

Many people fear that their direct mail marketing campaign will be viewed as junk mail. Most junk mail is not personally addressed to the resident at a home. Direct Mail Marketing requires a more personalized strategy in order to grab the attention of the recipient. Strategic Marketing and Mailing offers tools and tips to help people create effective mail marketing campaigns. Here is some information on the difference between junk mail and direct mail marketing.

Strategic Marketing and Mailing

What is Junk Mail?

You usually know it right away when you see it. You may receive promotional material addressed to Resident. Or catalogs featuring products you would never buy in a million years. Some of it gets sent to you from big companies or retailers you may have heard of. Some of it comes from local businesses plastering your area with their marketing materials. Regardless of how junk mail gets to your mailbox or who sent it, you are not interested so it ends up in the garbage bin.

  • Junk mail is not targeted. It is sent to large lists of people or addresses. Its objective is to wind up in the mailboxes of as many people as possible without regard to demographics, needs or shopping habits.
  • Junk mail is not personal. It may come addressed to “Our Neighbor” or “Current Resident.” If you bother to read it at all, you will notice that it is filled with sweeping generalities designed to apply or appeal to as many people as possible.

Big companies with immediate brand recognition and millions to spend on marketing may be able to get away with mailing as many pieces as they can to as many people as they can. They are hoping that some small percentage of recipients responds. You, however, probably don’t have the budget to try to market your product or service to everyone via direct mailings. Besides, this is not the best use of your funds. Junk mail is no way for you the small business owner to build credibility and bring in more business.

Direct Mail Marketing vs Junk Mail

Direct mail advertising is much different. When done properly, direct mail marketing works very well for small business. Junk mail does not.

  • Direct mail is personal and specific. It speaks directly to the prospect by name. It addresses a problem that the recipient has, fills a need, or fulfills a wish. It compels them to act.
  • Effective direct mail advertising is primarily focused on the prospect, not on you or your business.
  • Direct mail advertising is targeted. The recipients have been identified and chosen for a specific reason. Direct mail is not sent to every address within a range of zip codes.

The difference between junk mail and direct mail should be clear in your mind before you start your first direct mail campaign. Before you stuff that first envelope or drop your postcard in a mailbox, ask yourself whether you’re sending junk mail or not.

To read the full article click here: Direct Mail vs. Junk Mail


6 Direct Mail Mistakes That Could Cost Thousands

At Strategic Marketing and Mailing, we love to share tips of our trade. Today we would like to offer some information about mistakes that could cost your direct mail marketing campaign lots of money. Avoiding these six issues will help your direct mail marketing strategy become a success.


6 Direct Mail Mistakes That Could Cost Thousands

1. Failure to Use the Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB) on Reply Mail
USPS rules dictate that any discounted mailing that has a reply vehicle inside must bear the proper IMB on the reply piece. This means that a business reply envelope or card that bears no barcode, or the old version of a barcode, is subject to non-automated postage rates for the entire outgoing mailing. Savvy inspectors will open a mail piece and check for reply mail inside. If it does not meet regulations, that will bump your postage up to “non-auto” rates … a big increaseMake sure your reply vehicle complies with the new IMB rules. 

2. Designing a Folded Self-Mailer Using the Old Rules
January 2013 ushered in new rules for folded self-mailers (not booklets) that reduced the allowable size, altered folding parameters, and increased tabbing requirements.  Now, a folded self-mailer can be no larger than 6″ high x 10.5″ wide and cannot be open along the bottom. The only options are that it is open along the top or the left (trailing edge). Also, tabbing has been changed to require more tabs for a piece that weighs over 1 ounce. Finally, be careful of paper stock: the minimum basis weight for a folded self-mailer is now 70# text (more if the piece is perforated or die cut). Insure mail piece design is presented to your mailing expert prior to finalizing the piece.

3. Nonprofit Issues
The USPS is strict regarding nonprofit (Standard) mail rates. A difference in organization name, return address, content in the mail piece or post office of mailing will—at best—delay your drop date. At worst, you could be forced to pay around 40 percent more in postage. Make sure you have your nonprofit ducks in a row when designing the mail piece and deciding to which post office your mail will be brought.  Remember that a small difference in organization name on the mailer versus what the post office has on file could raise a red flag.

4. Flat-Size Address Placement
This is a biggie, because the USPS charges First Class rates to any mailing that does not comply, even a nonprofit mailing. The rule is that any flat-size mail piece (magazines, catalogs, etc.) requires the address to be entirely in the top half. This is regardless of copy position or graphics. Generally, the top half is defined as the upper part when you hold the piece with the stitching to the right. The “top-half rule” is why you see so many magazines delivered with the address upside down in relation to the cover. (This rule does not apply to First Class Mail.)

5. Postcard Design
First Class postcards enjoy a low postage rate with speedy First Class service.  However, there are many limitations on the design of these pieces and, while they are an awesome medium in which to convey a message by mail, failure to properly design them can result in some big postage penalties. Here are some rules to keep in mind:

  • The maximum size is 4 ¼” x 6″, and it has to be a single card (unless the second-half is a reply card).
  • Designers must allow enough room (around 3.5″ wide x 2″ high) for the barcode and address.
  • The USPS mandates that either the entire right half or the entire top half be reserved for the return address, indicia/stamp and outgoing address.  Technically, no other copy is allowed in that area. If you violate this rule, you could be charged higher “letter-size” rates.
  • Do not design vertically (6″ high x 4 ¼” wide).
  • There is no “postcard” rate for Standard Mail. If you are a commercial mailer (not a non-profit), you should mail First Class when mailing a postcard. You will actually save a couple of cents and get faster, more predictable service.

6. Poor Merge/Purge or List Hygiene
Most folks want to believe their databases are clean and free of duplicates or other trash. Data processing (DP) experts in direct mail testify otherwise. It is a huge waste to mail two pieces to one person or to be mailing to outdated or bad prospects.  Mailers should be allowing time for the DP team to process the list and provide results so that issues can be corrected before the mailing. In many mailing environments, DP work is done the day before the mailing and National Change of Address (NCOA) results are not even examined nor merge/purge results checked. Each piece of wasted mail can easily cost 50 cents to $1 each in plus the missed opportunity of sending non-deliverable mailAllow more lead time for data processing if you want to make changes to your database prior to mailing.

Here are some examples of questions raised in the data processing step:

  • Do I want to mail to folks who have moved out of my service area or out of range of my locations (common in retail, nonprofit)?
  • Which deliverability indices do I delete? Can I get a listing of those records deemed “undeliverable”?
  • How do I handle borderline deliverable records (e.g., records missing apartment numbers)?
  • Do I want to dedupe by last name/address, full name/address, address only (different strategies for business files, residential files, etc.)?
  • Do I want any extra DP steps taken to update my database (DMA Mail Preference, Deceased Processing, additional address hygiene steps, etc.)?

Wasted money in direct mail can be attributed to poor mail piece design and sloppy data management. And often the dollars are not seen directly (since lots of undeliverable mail pieces are usually discarded). Postage is an ever-increasing cost, so it pays to be vigilant about getting the most bang out of every buck spent.

To read the full article click here: 6 Direct Mail Mistakes That Could Cost Thousands


Creating an Engaging Direct Mailing Campaign

1. Apply email logic: You probably have heard by now that before blasting out an email, you want to make sure you get people to opt-in to your communications. Otherwise you can be labeled as spam. With direct mail, there is a similar reaction – it’s called, “This piece is going right into my trash can.” Before sending out a mass direct mailing, qualify your audience. There are lots of ways to do this, including:

2. Keep that consistent message: Is this starting to sound like a broken record yet? If so, good. This is so important. If you are tweeting to people and then you decide to send that same audience a direct mail piece, how can you let them know that you’re the same company? That you value their relationships just as you indicate online?

3. Make it useful: Just like with email, people are getting bombarded every day by come-ons, little gadgets, catalogs – all kinds of stuff. You know. You get all of that stuff, too. What sticks out in your pile of paper? The thing that can help you solve a problem.

4. Let your audience interact: The people you are sending mail to are hopefully overlapping with the people who are liking your Facebook page and following your tweets. They’ve established that they have insights about your company, your products, and/or your services. Why muzzle them with your direct mail piece? Ask them to respond by posting a video to your Facebook page, or include a survey that could be returned as entry into a contest. Include a link or QR code that takes the recipient to a relevant video. Converse.

5. Think outside the box: This is so important, just as it is with your website, with your advertising, and with all of your marketing. Postcards can serve a purpose, but there is so much more that can be done now with direct mail campaigns. From DVD mailers to things I’ve never seen and can barely imagine, this marketing channel is ready and waiting for a slam dunk, thoughtful, engaging campaign. Are you ready to send one out there?

To read more click here:  5 ways to create a more engaging campaign