We get a lot of questions about the official United States Postal Service’s direct mail program Every Door Direct Mail, popularly shortened to “EDDM.”
EDDM is a type of mailing list.
And here’s why it’s so appealing:
The cheapest on the market actually, when it comes to postage. (And, for the record, the U.S. Postal Service sets the price of postage. Period.)
At a mere $0.187 per piece for EDDM postage, savings-savvy business owners often find themselves drawn to this type mailing list. And when compared to first-class postage — about $0.11 more per piece on a standard 4.25″x6″ postcard — who wouldn’t find EDDM attractive?
But, of course, that’s comparing 2 extreme opposite ends of the spectrum. There are many shades of gray when it comes to mailing lists.
EDDM works great for some businesses — but not all.
To know which camp your business likely falls into, we have to look at the pros and the cons…
EDDM PRO: You can reach EVERYONE with your postcards in a certain area for cheap.
With EDDM, you can blanket a specific area entirely with your postcards in exchange for the lower postage rates I stated above.
The “Every Door” part of its name means just that:
Every single door within the USPS’s designated area will receive your postcards.
Sounds great, right?
Well, if your business is in one of these industries, EDDM can work fantastically…
- Low-cost restaurants
- Dry cleaners
- Auto repair
Here’s what those businesses have in common:
Almost every person, at some point, will need these products or services.
That’s why delivering that marketing message to every single door and person makes sense.
Generally, customers looking for the above services reach for businesses located within a close proximity to where they live. Which makes EDDM’s reduced postage rate a great deal when you need to hit every house surrounding your business with your postcards.
Why not, right?
Well, here’s the flip side…
EDDM CON: Limited targeting means you could be paying to reach unqualified prospects.
Regardless of the potential postage savings, spending money to send postcards to unqualified prospects that are unlikely to ever buy from you means one thing:
You wasted your money.
The only way to precisely target your ideal prospects — that is, the people most likely to call, buy, and stay with you — is this:
A targeted mailing list.
Here are a few industries that benefit the most from targeted mailing lists:
- Dental and Orthodontic Services
- Home Remodeling
- Private Schools
- Financial Services
- CPA/Tax Preparation
- Health Services (Vision Care, Hearing Care, General Practitioners, etc.)
- Realtors and Real Estate Investors
- Veterinary Services
- Day Care Services
- Tutoring and Lessons
- Pool and Lawn Maintenance
- Expensive Restaurants
So, if you know the majority of your best customers suit a specific profile, such as:
- They reach a certain income level
- They have kids and/or kids of a certain age
- They are within a certain age group
- They’ve owned their home for a number of years
- They own a certain type of home (multi-level, an apartment, etc.)
- Or maybe their home features certain elements (such as a pool)
Then you probably want to opt for a targeted mailing list.
That way, you’ll only pay to reach the people whose demographics match those of your ideal customers. These are the people most likely to call and buy from you.
Don’t know who your ideal customer is?
Here’s how you can find out:
The best place to start is your existing customer database.
Compile a list of your best customers, or all customers who converted within the last few years. (Going back too far could result in data that’s less accurate.)
Next, work with a company that can process data and add demographic information onto the record of each person on your list.
You send your list, and the list company will tell you the age range of each customer, the income range, marital status, and more — you request the data, and the data will be supplied.
And yes — PostcardMania can do this for you.
This is important because you’ll have a more insightful and complete picture of who your customers are. So I definitely suggest you take us up on this offer for you!
EDDM PRO: If your marketing budget is low and your expendable time is high, you can even do it yourself.
We all have to hustle a little bit — or a lot — when we’re first starting out.
I actually started PostcardMania with little more than a phone and a computer, so I understand that sometimes it’s worth busting your butt to save a little money.
If this is the case, and reaching every single home and business in a certain area is workable for your business, I say go for it. I’d rather you do any marketing than none.
You’ll have to send more than 200 but no more than 5,000 postcards in a day, and no special mailing permit is needed.
The USPS website even allows you to do it yourself. You can download their EDDM user guide here.
Their user guide is 33 pages long and EDDM is no small undertaking — but, like I said, sometimes money is scarcer than time.
If your business is in one of the industries I mentioned above (retail, restaurant, dry cleaners, etc.), then EDDM provides you a less expensive way to reach prospects in your area, particularly if you’re marketing very locally, and you don’t need to hit a large area.
EDDM CON: There is no opportunity for personalization, which can hurt your response.
As part of the great deal you’re getting on postage, the USPS puts a number of restrictions on the mail pieces you send out.
The dimensions of your postcard must meet certain standards, and you cannot personalize your postcard to your mailing list like you can with regular direct mail.
Here’s an example of a regular personalized direct mail piece so you can see:
Each and every first name from your targeted mailing list gets automatically printed on your postcards (like “John” above), personalizing each piece to your prospects.
We also just launched an exciting product that real estate agents, brokers, and investors will love called Google Street View Postcards.
It’s an easy, 100% automated way to pull Google Street View images and customize each mail piece with an individual photo of the home at that address.
Wouldn’t a picture of your own home grab your attention? To say the least!
Here’s an example of our new Google Street View postcard product:
I love this tactic because I know personally that when I flip through the mail stack at home, if I see my name or something that relates to me personally, I’m MUCH more likely to take a second glance and actually read that message.
EDDM CON: There’s no way to track the delivery of your mail pieces.
With any other type of bulk mailing, we can track and do track the delivery so that you know for sure your postcards have arrived. Unfortunately, the USPS does not offer tracking on EDDM mail pieces — yet another tradeoff for its cheap price tag.
It has happened in the past that whole mailings went missing after we delivered that mailing to the post office. So, we track every single piece we mail sans EDDM as it’s impossible.
If tracking isn’t important to you, and your business is a restaurant or retail shop or other local business that serves virtually everyone with a small-ticket item, then go with EDDM.
If you love knowing the status of your marketing (and who doesn’t!), a regular direct mail campaign is what you need.
Plus, if you’re interested in maximizing your marketing budget, eliminating waste and honing in on tactics that are proven to work for your individual business, then you’ll want to track as much of your marketing as you can.
We offer not only mail tracking, but also call tracking on our postcards, so you can track how many leads your specific mail piece generates.
Call tracking also allows you to listen to your recorded calls later for training purposes and see how your sales or front desk personnel handled your new leads IF the main way they interact the first time is with a phone call!
Call tracking costs very little. I recommend it to everyone.
The number one factor to consider when planning your marketing?
Response and return on investment!
EDDM may be a perfect fit for your business, but for the majority of our clients (that’s you), it frankly isn’t the best choice.
When you purchase a targeted mailing list full of your ideal prospects, personalize your piece, and add in tracking, you’ve created a marketing mix unrivaled by the postage savings EDDM boasts.
Your marketing must be choreographed to produce qualified leads who call your business and buy from you again and again.
And the best way to achieve the kind of response that grows your business is with a quality mailing list and consistency of mailing.
We receive lots of questions about EDDM, so if you have any questions at all that I didn’t address here, feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or, if you want a one-on-one consultation with a trained marketing expert, call 800-628-1804. They’ll review your business, goals, and suggest proven-to-work tactics similar businesses to yours have already used!
Plus, their help is 100% FREE.