Do you already have a direct mail provider? Have you been working with the same company for years and think, “Things are going just fine. Why make a change?” If you are happy your current provider, great! But it’s always worth asking the question, “What else could I be getting? Am I leaving opportunities on the table?”
Whether you’ve been in direct mail for years or you’re just getting started, here are five things you should expect from your direct mail provider, even if you’ve been working with them for years.
1. Lowest possible postage. Most direct mail houses help you get discounts on your mail, but not every direct mail house is certified to get the lowest possible postage rates and discounts based on volume, drop-shipping, and mail design. That’s where a “best in class” provider comes in. Best-in-class providers are able to offer all discounts for which you qualify and have the knowledge, technology, and experience to help you capitalize on them. Some companies, like the Goode Company, go even further. We drive trucks daily to the local entry points at no charge, reducing your costs even further. Plus, we have unique international mailing capabilities that get you dramatically lower international postage.
2. Expert mail consultation and design. Saving money also means avoiding unnecessary costs. Best-in-class mail providers look for problems that might delay your mail or result in unexpected surcharges. For example, is the indicia placed correctly? Did you know you could use your own branded indicia if your mailer has USPS “mail anywhere” status? Are the folds placed so that the return address falls into the right place? We can’t count the number of times we’ve helped clients save thousands of dollars by identifying out-of-compliance designs or tweaking details before the piece goes into the mail.
Note: You might be mailing non-compliant pieces and not even know it. Even if you have been mailing non-compliant mail pieces until now, that doesn’t mean that someone at the post office won’t suddenly decide to be a stickler tomorrow!
3. Sophisticated data management. Best-in-class direct mail providers can help you save money by managing your mailing list to remove duplicates, stay up to date with address changes, and fix noncompliance issues. They provide data services including NCOA, merge/purge/de-dupe, CASS certification, presort and ACS updates, return files to eliminate physical returns. They even offer mail tracking so that you know where your mail is in the postal stream and the exact day each piece hits.
4. Expert campaign development. No matter who you work with, you want the best results. Best-in-class mail providers help you identify what your ideal prospect looks like and using demographic searches can expand your database to get to know your customers, and can help you use this information to design highly targeted mailings. This can include sending direct mailers automatically based on triggers that you set. Best-in-class providers also help you collect detailed metrics (so you know your campaigns are working) and do A/B testing to refine your campaigns based on real-life results.
5. Detailed tracking and reporting. The more tracking and reporting data you have, the more you can plan your timing around other aspects of the campaign. For example, once delivery of your mail has been confirmed, your salespeople can start making calls immediately. You can also time follow-up emails and reminders, and if you know that mail takes longer in certain ZIP Codes, you can optimize your mail drops to ensure that you hit your target windows. You can even schedule complementary channels, such as radio advertising and social media campaigns, to begin the desired number of days after your mail is in-home.
Working with a best-in-class direct mail provider is more than making sure your mail is delivered on time. It means working with someone with deep knowledge of the postal regulations and with deep data, mail design, and consultation expertise who can get you the best results.
Does your mail house do all that? If not, let’s talk.