Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Do you get it Now?

If you're like most Americans, you've seen the Post Office ads for EDDM--Every Door Direct Mail--advertised on TV but probably didn't "get it." It sounds so easy. Small businessman, do the mailing yourself and save money!

But you can't believe everything you see in a 30-second TV commercial. For mailers who can use EDDM effectively, it is great. For those who can't, it isn't. It all depends on your market and your message. For just about everybody, it has the potential to be confusing and frustrating.

So in the interests of alleviating stress and confusion, here are SIMPLIFIED rules to help you take advantage of EDDM.

1. Your mailing piece has to be a "flat." That's post office lingo for larger than 6-1/8" x 11-1/2" but no larger than 12" x 15".

Oops. Sorry. After the TV commercials were launched, the Post Office changed the specs. Seems the pizza restaurant lobby convinced the USPS to shift the minimum size to accommodate pizza carryout menus. Now the minimum size is 6-1/8" x 10-1/2", but the maximum 12" x 15" is still unchanged.

2. Your mail must have a mailing panel with an indicia. The panel has to be in the right spot, with the right info in the right place. If you need clarification on any of these points, stop right now. Get help! You will only hurt yourself if you continue without adult supervision.

If you don't want to pay for an indicia--and it isn't cheap--then use a professional mail house to help with your mailing. They will take care of all the details for you, and let you use their indicia.

3. You have to mail at CRRT Saturation. That's more post office jargon for mailing to everybody on a carrier's route. No prejudicial skipping addresses. Now this is where the effectiveness of EDDM depends on your market and your message.

If you are a restaurant/dry cleaner/coffee mail rainshop/dentist/church or lawn care serving everybody in the neighborhood indiscriminately, then EDDM might be right for you. It's a cost--effective way to get the word out to everybody, in a large format that will be visible in their mailboxes.

However, if you are a specialty business like daycare/dog walking/hearing aid repair/senior services or SAT exam prep, then EDDM is absolutely NOT for you. You need to target specific people who need your specific message. You will waste printing and postage with EDDM, and you will be unhappy with the results.

Need help figuring it all out? EDDM is not as easy as it sounds. Check with a professional mail house.

4. You don't have to show actual names and addresses, thus saving the cost of list rental and presorting. But each piece DOES have to have a generic address like "Postal Patron."

Before you leap for joy at the financial windfall, read item #6 below for a reality check.

5. You have to mail out of the DDU. That's even more post office speak for the destination delivery unit, aka the post office that serves the people you are mailing to.

If your mailing is going to two adjoining towns, then you have two DDU drops to make.

6. You have to present your mail in USPS--approved fashion, ie counted out, strapped, bagged, and tagged, with a covering sheet on each packet showing zip code, carrier route number, number of addresses on that route, etc. If this makes no sense to you, get help. It's a deal--killer if you show up at the DDU without proper paperwork.

Getting it right takes time, effort and yes, moola. If you're a small business and you need to focus on your business, this time and effort will definitely take you outside your area of strength. Use a mail house that understands EDDM, the post office, and can ensure that all your paperwork is in order.

7. You may mail only 5,000 pieces a day. If you intend to mail more than 5,000 pieces you'll need to budget for multi--day drops. Be prepared for more paperwork, more aggravation, and higher costs.
But back to point #5. If you're mailing to adjoining towns, then you can mail 5,000 a day to each DDU.
Finally, if you've been able to successfully navigate all of the above, then your reward comes:

8. Your postage rate will be 14.5 cents each.
Whew. Take a deep breath and relax. Now you can see that despite convincing commercials, EDDM is not a fit for everybody. Some mailers need to send more than 5,000 pieces or to multiple areas; some are too specialized in their messaging; some don't need or want all that acreage to tell their story; and most small businesses do not have the postal expertise needed to pull off their own EDDM mailing.

And that's EDDM in a nutshell. If you meet the restrictive criterion, it's useful. If you don't, it's not.

Now do you get it? You win some and you lose some.

1 comment:

Sofia Sana said...

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Before you leap for joy at the financial windfall,
read item #6 below for a reality check.
If your mailing is
going to two adjoining towns,
then you have two DDU drops to make.
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