It is The Least Expensive Mail Available, but Is It Right for Your Business?

February 1, 2013 Gary Ritkes

Last year the USPS announced Every Door Direct Mail, or EDDM, which offers businesses an inexpensive, untargeted direct mail advertising option. I wrote about it briefly when it launched, but lately I’m hearing more and more business owners ask if it’s right for their business. So I thought I’d revisit the topic, explain what it is for those still unfamiliar with it, and then discuss which businesses might benefit from EDDM, and which might not.

First things first.

What Is EDDM?

For once, the government named something for what it actually does. Every Door Direct Mail is just that – a way to deliver direct mail to every door in an area. And they do mean every door. There is no way to target your mailing based on demographics, income levels or any other criteria. Using the Postal Service’s online tool, you select a ZIP code or a specific postal route, and you mail to each and every address in your selected area.

What’s The Benefit?

Cost. Plain and simple. The USPS offers EDDM for as a low as 14.5¢ per piece. That’s less than half the price of Bulk Mail, and less than a third of the price of a First Class stamp. If you’re looking to blanket an area with your advertisement, and you’re not particularly concerned about only delivering to targeted groups, a fifty percent cost savings may suddenly make direct mail an affordable and viable option for you.

What’s The Catch?

It’s not so much a catch, but the USPS does have some requirements if you want to take advantage of EDDM. The biggest one is you have to take your mailing to the local post office yourself. That’s not too bad unless you’re covering an area several towns over, or even out of state. In that case you have to ship the mailing to the local post office with the proper forms for it to go out EDDM. Fortunately, the USPS has all the forms available online.

There are other requirements for the size and format for the mail piece, and how the pieces need to be bundled when you prop them off. Again, the Postal Service’s website does a great job of laying out all the requirements in easy-to-find and simple-to-understand instructions.

If you do feel intimidated by all of the requirements, you can still take advantage of the savings of EDDM. There are a number of direct mail printers or marketing companies who offer EDDM services. They know the formatting requirements, and will make sure your mailings are compliant and delivered to the post office. Often the costs associated with these services are still low enough where your business is saving money over using Bulk Mail.

Is EDDM Right for my Company?

That’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it? Every business owner would like to cut costs, any cost, by half. But that doesn’t mean EDDM is right for every business.

If your business targets a very specific customer base, EDDM may not be for you. A lawn or tree trimming service probably wouldn’t want to send to every address in an area if a large percentage of households are apartments or condominiums where the residents aren’t responsible for mowing the lawn or trimming the trees.

Some businesses which would be particularly well suited to Every Door Direct Mail include:

  • Auto Mechanics
  • Auto Sales
  • Carpet Cleaning
  • Car Washes
  • Computer Repair
  • Dental Offices
  • Dry Cleaning
  • Fitness
  • General Retail
  • Lawn Care
  • Restaurants
  • Real Estate
  • House Cleaning
  • Insurance Agencies
  • Pest Control
  • Pharmacies
  • Barber Shops, Salons And Spas
  • Tax Prep
  • Urgent Care
  • Veterinarians

Of course, just because your industry isn’t on the list doesn’t mean EDDM can’t or won’t work for your business. This is where you have to do your own homework. First, go to the USPS website and price out EDDM for the area you’re interested in. Then, price out purchasing a mailing list in that same area using your business’s market segmentation. If there are 10,000 people in an area, and only 2,000 people meet your criteria, then mailing to the other 8,000 will probably cost more than any savings you’d get through EDDM.

Not every advertising tactic is ideally suited for every business, but the more quality options there are out there, the more likely you’ll be to find a tactic that works for you.

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About the Author

Gary Ritkes

Gary Ritkes, President of SproutLoud, oversees all Business Development and Marketing for the company. Gary, a pioneer in the emerging vertical of Distributed Marketing Technology, is an industry leader and innovator with 20+ years experience in graphic communications and marketing strategy. Gary has been involved with SproutLoud since the inception of the company. Prior to joining SproutLoud, Gary was VP of Marketing for Rex Three, Inc., SproutLoud’s first and largest vendor among its network of providers. He has served many Fortune 1000 clients and worldwide advertising agencies in providing marketing technology direction and optimization. He was an original founder of U.S. based Earth Color Group and co-founder of Advanced Digital Services (ADS), which was sold in 1996 to publicly traded Katz Digital Technologies. He has served as a board member of the local chapter of the American Advertising Federation chapter and other national industry associations, including the DMA and AGA.

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