Conducting a proprietary study with SIS International Market Research, USPS Delivers has uncovered the current role AI plays in the marketing industry. Read the stats below, then try our tool to learn how your company can put AI to work this holiday season.
At any size or stage, customer acquisition is a top priority for businesses. With a myriad of ways to find and convert potential customers, establishing the most efficient and effective marketing method is vital to success.
For businesses trying to reach a specific audience, especially one in their proximity, Every Door Direct Mail® (EDDM®) may be the answer.
What is EDDM?
This service from USPS® lets businesses send geographically and demographically targeted direct mail to households across the U.S.
Using an online mapping tool, businesses may choose postal routes within specific ZIP Codes™ and leverage U.S. Census data on age, household income and household size to hyper-target their audience. Any household on the route that fits the targeted profile will receive the mailpiece.
The process eliminates the need for a customer list, whether compiled or purchased, which saves businesses from extra costs and potential inaccuracies. Plus, it opens up a business’s reach: Any household that fits the filters comes into reach with EDDM.
EDDM is built for businesses with a local pool of prospective customers and is especially effective for businesses working to:
- Acquire new customers, especially within a specific local area
- Build awareness for a location
- Drive traffic to a location, on foot or online
- Spend efficiently on marketing
Direct mail is a simple way to reach high-potential customers in a way that works.
of survey respondents said that they almost always read advertisements that come in the mail.1
response rates, compared to the 1% or less response rate for email, paid search, online display ads and social media.2
Explore how the EDDM tool works, then read on for benefits and best practices of using this direct mail service.
The Benefit to Businesses
EDDM helps businesses drive awareness and traffic within their community to build a strong network of local customers.
It is a method that works for new and established local businesses. While new businesses can use EDDM to introduce themselves and share their story with the community, established businesses can expand to other populations or spread the word about new offerings.
For any business, EDDM may deliver a valuable boost in key areas:
1. More Customers
For an existing business looking to attract more customers and drum up sales, or a new business in search of an early audience, it pays to spread the message locally. Here are two successful case studies:
- A car wash franchise with eight locations in Virginia used EDDM to find new customers and encourage them to visit the nearest location. The campaign produced a 20 percent increase in sales.
- A remodeled fast-food location in Colorado saw a 7 percent increase in sales after using EDDM in conjunction with digital advertising.
Sending targeted messages to potential customers in your community may help solidify your market share.
2. Stronger Returns
Rather than investing in a mailing list that may be expensive and out of date, EDDM allows businesses to affordably connect with consumers in an area using data-driven tactics.
Targeting the right demographics within a set geographic area means that the message reaches the most potential customers. By using data analytics, the chances for a high ROI are stronger. Here’s how one business did just that:
- A real estate agent’s office used EDDM to reach high-net-worth households for their luxury real estate business. They earned a listing for a $2.5 million lakefront home from an EDDM mailing that cost them less than $500.
- When you’re able to reach your target business audience, your investment will go far.
3. Increased Consumer Interest
Awareness and interest are two prime drivers for many businesses using EDDM. Using demographic and geographic data may help a business reach its ideal audience.
- A manufacturer of packaging solutions used EDDM to find entry-level talent for one of their facilities. They targeted a pool of people by location, age and household income, and found that 90% of candidates interviewed were recruited via the mailpiece.
Isolating a business need and using the demographic and geographic filters may help a business find the right population of people to fulfill its goal.
Considerations and Tips for Using EDDM
EDDM delivers significant benefits for many businesses. Use this checklist to help optimize mail mix decisions to meet your business’s marketing needs.
First, determine if EDDM is the right direct mail option:
- Do you know who your exact target audience is?
- Do you need to reach your target audience in a specific geographic area?
If not, EDDM might not be the best solution. Explore other direct mail solutions instead.
With these questions answered, use this advice from USPS printing and mailing partners to start creating an effective direct mail campaign with EDDM.
- Pick your message wisely. While a direct mailpiece may target only one person in a household specifically, ensure that the messaging (both written and visual) won’t alienate or isolate other members.
- Include an offer or call to action. Direct mail is sent to drive action—don’t forget to communicate what that action should be. Use a strong CTA and include a timely offer. This can also help when measuring the return and effectiveness of a piece.
- Work with a designer or creative team. It’s important for the direct mailpiece to look professional and represent the business well. Bring on a designer or creative team to communicate your vision and message clearly and in a way that will entice right out of the mailbox.
- Measure the results to determine success. Metrics of success—like visits, referrals, code redemptions or sales increases—are vital for any marketing campaign. Before mailing, set up a way to track the results of the campaign and determine success.
- Consider creating a campaign with multiple touch points. Depending on the business and outcomes a campaign is created to drive, it could be beneficial to think about the bigger picture. Develop a long-term campaign by sending mail several times over a few months.
Build a Campaign With These USPS Authorized EDDM Affiliates
Deploying a successful EDDM campaign starts with finding a USPS authorized affiliate. Working with a company that specializes in EDDM targeting, printing and mailing saves time and helps to ensure that your campaign goes out successfully.
Explore these six USPS authorized EDDM affiliates and the option of a USPS authorized EDDM affiliate helping your business target, create and send an EDDM campaign.
Amazingmail® helps create and execute an EDDM campaign in full, from design to mailing. Businesses create a mailpiece using Amazingmail’s free online editor and basic design templates, or upload their own. From there, Amazingmail prints and mails custom-designed postcards in one business day.
AMPlified Mail℠ provides design, printing and EDDM mailing services for postcards and bifolds. Businesses may create a mailpiece using AMPlified Mail’s free online editor and design templates, or upload their own. The company also offers response and ROI reporting, in addition to USPS delivery tracking information.
Click2Mail™ offers creation, printing and mailing services for businesses sending an EDDM campaign. Businesses connect with Click2Mail’s creative team for graphic design services, or download guides for designing and creating direct mailpieces on their own. Once the mailpiece is designed, Click2Mail can print and mail the postcards in one business day.
Grow Mail provides full-service EDDM campaign solutions, including creation, printing and mailing services. Businesses connect with Grow Mail’s creative team for mailpiece design (as well as other branding and graphic services), or download generic templates for different business types to create their own designs.
PFL is a one-stop shop for a business’s EDDM campaign needs, including printing, mailing and creation guidelines. Businesses download templated guides for a large variety of mail types, from postcards to catalogs to table tents and more, to assist in the design process.
Taradel is a full-service direct mail preparation service, specializing in creating, printing and mailing EDDM campaigns. Businesses create a mailpiece using Taradel’s free design templates, uploading their own or working with a professional.
Every Door Direct Mail provides businesses with a cost-efficient way to spread targeted messages to potential customers in focus areas. In leveraging ZIP Codes™ and U.S. Census data, businesses gain access to a precise, hyper-targeted audience without having to compile, update or buy mailing lists.
Not only does this service help marketers avoid the extra costs and potential inaccuracies of old data, but an EDDM campaign done right may drive an increase in sales, a boost in awareness and a powerful ROI.
Ready to get started on an EDDM campaign?
Choose an Affiliate
Need more information before diving in?
Connect With USPS
There are many different ways to grow a strong customer base. One option especially good for businesses looking to reach prospective customers in areas close to their business location is Every Door Direct Mail® (EDDM®).
The service from the U.S. Postal Service® makes it easy for businesses like these to reach and convert prospective local customers.
Using EDDM, businesses can send geographically and demographically targeted direct mail to households without purchasing or compiling their own customer lists.
A simple online mapping tool lets businesses:
- Set a geographic range: Choose postal routes within ZIP Codes™ and spread your marketing message to every address within a specified range of your business.
- Target by demographic: Specify your target age range, household size and household income to narrow down your audience even further. The online tool uses U.S. Census data so that you can select EDDM routes that best match your demographic criteria.
- Bypass rental lists: Skip the hassle and expense of renting or purchasing potentially outdated address lists of target consumers. This tool sends your mailpiece directly to any household within your filtered criteria.
Even more, campaigns are easy to build, especially when a business works with a USPS affiliate partner. These companies specialize in EDDM mailings and will help set up a target audience, design and print direct mailpieces, and send campaigns.
EDDM is an efficient and effective way to hyper-target a local audience and bring in new customers. A strong campaign built with a USPS affiliate can help drive increased sales and higher awareness, delivering an impressive return on the investment.
Explore our comprehensive guide to EDDM, which includes more benefits, tips, case studies and a list of USPS affiliate companies, all of which can help build a successful EDDM campaign.
Artificial intelligence (AI), a form of computer science that uses machine intelligence to perform complex analyses, has started to make waves in the marketing industry, yet brands have been slow to adopt it. According to a recent study by USPS, marketers face a number of hurdles when it comes to AI adoption:
|57%||of respondents said allocating budget was a challenge1|
|48%||of respondents said getting upper management on board was a challenge1|
|43%||of respondents said training and recruiting staff with the right skills was a challenge1|
|39%||of respondents said knowing where to start was a challenge1|
Industry experts said the latter was the most important hurdle to cross. With so many different AI applications, marketers need help jump-starting the process of experimenting and implementing AI.
“It’s not like AI is this awesome hammer and all you need to do is find a bunch of nails. It comes down to what business problems you want to solve.” – Machine learning expert1,2
To overcome barriers, experts recommended five simple steps to help your company get in the game.
Start with a use case that isn’t business-critical.
This gives you room to experiment. Choose a part of your marketing strategy that’s less essential to overall success. The less important it is to your business, the easier it’ll be to try new AI solutions.
Pick an application within your area of expertise.
Are you an expert at social media? Do you have a solid grasp of direct mail? Focus on the channels you know and pick AI solutions that could help improve metrics and increase efficiencies. For help deciding how to include AI in your marketing, try our AI Marketing Idea Generator.
Buy a Software as a Service (SaaS) model to test different AI tools.
Instead of using one software or technology that will quickly depreciate, turn to SaaS models, which continuously improve their software. This will allow you to avoid paying for every technology update and test different tools as your business changes.
Lean on solution providers for training.
Providers that offer AI marketing solutions—like SaaS or social media companies—are happy to help you start implementing. Turn to their support teams for proper training on their products.
Have clear goals and success metrics to prove value.
No experiment can function without a goal in mind. Decide what KPIs are most important for your AI test. AI solutions have been proven to help free up personnel for other tasks, lower the cost of customer acquisition, generate more leads, improve click-through rates and boost social media reach.
With the majority of companies still warming to AI, the time is ripe for capitalizing on this untapped market. Companies that get a head start stand to reap the benefits in the future. Begin small and scale as your applications start showing business-driving results.
Put your mail in your customers’ email with Informed Delivery® from USPS®. Daily emails offer your customers a peek into their mailbox from anywhere and, for you, one mailing delivers two impressions to help achieve your business KPIs.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to Informed Delivery® for business mailers.
Regardless of your budget or resources, direct mail can be an impactful marketing solution for your business. Estimate the cost of a campaign using this calculator tool.
Designing a direct mailpiece presents a different challenge than creating an email design or a social media post: it’s a single printed piece that has to tell enough of a story to drive a consumer online or in-store without a clickable direct link. So it’s vital that a piece captivates quickly with a professional look and standout messaging.
We spoke with Rene Bonin, Creative Director at Amplified Mail, about the basic principles of designing a mailpiece. He shared six standout tips for creating a piece that delivers results.
1. Understand Your Audience
Direct mail is a unique form of advertising that comes with a captive audience—from the mailbox to the front door. Before you start designing your piece, Bonin suggests taking time to understand who you are targeting and what emotion you want to evoke from them.
“Consider what an entire audience may gravitate toward, not just what you like.”
For example, a luxury car brand may send a sleek postcard with limited copy to convey an aspirational feeling to potential customers. A local veterinarian might use cute pictures of puppies and kittens to encourage pet owners to bring theirs in for a checkup.
2. Less Is More
According to Bonin, you have only a few seconds to grab a person’s attention, so avoid clutter. If you try to say too much or include too many different images, it becomes difficult for consumers to know what to respond to. Instead, have a primary message and let the entire piece drive that home.
“Don’t feel compelled to fill every corner to get your money’s worth. You can be heard a lot louder by whispering than by shouting.”
As you’re designing, Bonin suggests that you think aesthetically. Experiment with drop shadow to set primary text apart from the rest. Make background images lighter or more transparent so that your copy isn’t lost in dark colors or harsh lines. Keep messages short and to the point.
Pro Tip: Add a darker, more transparent shape (like a shadow) behind text or an object to make it look like it is raised from the background.
3. Make It Flow
In addition to keeping messages concise and decluttered, make sure that things flow visually. Using standard grid lines to keep items aligned and well-spaced goes a long way toward creating a highly readable piece.
A consistent visual flow stops people’s eyes from bouncing around. Use a clean hierarchy of weights (such as light, regular and bold) and font sizes—rather than using many fonts in different weights and styles—to guide a reader through your message. Rather than cluttering space with photos and graphics that have varying treatments, choose one or two that convey emotion best and are cleanly lined up.
4. Have a Strong (But Simple) Message
Once you know the reason you’re sending a direct mailpiece and the emotion you want it to evoke, you can start thinking about messaging. Keep it short and punchy, Bonin suggests.
“Nothing works better than when an image and a strong headline come together and become one.”
Rather than telling your entire brand story in the space of a postcard, find a few captivating lines that focus on the campaign at hand and encourage some kind of action, like coming into the store or making an order.
Bonin also cautions against overused, punny lines (think “Patty-O-Furniture” sales around St. Patrick’s Day) or spending too much time highlighting accolades. If it doesn’t show a consumer how your product or service can improve their life, keep it off the mailpiece.
5. Stay Relevant
Keep the imagery and messages on your mailpiece relevant to the campaign. You want people to see your piece and know, almost immediately, what your business does—so putting a family pet on a piece for an electronics retailer would be counterintuitive. Similarly, stay away from graphic elements like icons and emojis that don’t serve your message.
“Using irrelevant images puts too much attention on the wrong thing.”
Design your campaigns around relevant events or times of year to appeal to your audience’s current needs. Use a strong call to action to create a sense of urgency and drive response rates.
Pro Tip: Write a CTA that makes people want to do something. Tell them what they get out of it, what it might cost them and if it’s only available for a limited time.
6. Know Your Limitations
If you feel like you’re biting off more than you can chew, you probably are, according to Bonin. Before you start developing your campaign and creating a design, do the research into what type of mail format works for what you’re doing. A multi-panel mailpiece, for instance, requires more effort than a standard postcard. Then, acknowledge if you truly feel comfortable creating the piece yourself.
“If layout and design aren’t your strengths, leave it to a professional—the results will speak for themselves.”
Direct mail, like any marketing, is an investment, so you want to make sure it pays off. Whether doing it yourself, in-house or with a freelance designer, gather samples and develop a clear direction for the piece. If your materials are well prepared, designing a simple and effective postcard shouldn’t take more than a few hours, Bonin says.
When you’re ready to create your mailpiece, let these principles guide the way. With concise messaging and relevant images, you’ll make a piece that flows and attracts attention. Even better, your piece could convert prospects into customers.
Direct mail is a proven way to reach and engage with customers. Each campaign has many vital moving parts—from mailing lists to mailpiece design to postage—that can seem intimidating to uninitiated businesses.
Before you run a direct mail campaign, take a step back and look at the process step by step. Use this checklist to guide you painlessly through building and executing a campaign that works.
Establish Goals and Objectives
Decide what you want to accomplish with this campaign. Do you want to acquire new customers? Increase customer loyalty? It’s also important to think about how a successful direct mail campaign will bring you closer to your long-term business goals, like opening a brick-and-mortar store or expanding into new cities and neighborhoods. Use these goals to guide the following decisions.
Set a Budget
Consider what portion of your marketing budget you want to allot to this direct mail campaign to achieve your goals. Direct mail can be an option whether you have a small budget or a large one. Setting a budget will help you decide the size of your mailing list as well as the form and design of your mailpiece.
Understand the Audience
Nail down the exact audience you’re trying to reach with your campaign. If you’re mailing to existing customers, you may already know what causes them to take action. If your goal is to reach new potential customers, it may be helpful to run a survey or gather data (including age, gender, income, hobbies, etc.) on your target audience before you prepare a mailpiece.
Create a Mailing List
Mailing lists can connect you to customers you want to reach. Use a house list, which is created with the addresses of existing customers, to engage current customers. You can also buy or rent, through a broker, a list that aggregates names based on demographic and psychographic targets.
Craft Your Message
Create a message or an offer that will catch customers’ attention and direct them to take an action, like sharing with friends or making a purchase. The messaging should include bold headlines that clearly communicate the point of the mailpiece. If more copy is needed, keep your sentences simple and easy to understand.
Design Your Piece
This step incorporates a few different points:
- Which format will work best for your message and budget? Postcards and self-mailers are simple and affordable, while catalogs result in higher engagement.
- What will your piece look like? Use online DIY design tools or a professional designer, and state your offer to the recipient clearly.
- How will you send your mail? First-Class Mail® service is faster and trackable but costs more, while Standard Mail® service offers basic mail delivery and costs less.
Print Your Mail Piece
Do your research and select a reputable printer. Use this white paper to help you narrow down considerations and ask for bids from vendors.
Before your piece is printed, make sure to proofread it to avoid expensive and embarrassing mistakes.
Make Your Piece Postal-ready
Are you sending more than 500 mailpieces? If so, consider bulk mail, which could lower costs but requires presorting of addresses and a business mailing permit. If you’re mailing fewer pieces, you’ll pay single-piece prices but have less upfront labor.
Track and Fine-tune
Use tracking tools—such as unique URLs and QR Codes®, referrals and social media interactions in a given time period—to help measure ROI.1 If you estimate your ROI through tests before your campaign begins, you can measure it again during and after the campaign to see if it’s effective.
A successful direct mail campaign is within reach for businesses of any size or caliber. This checklist is a basic guide for each step in the process. Use it in conjunction with our free direct mail white paper to master your next direct mail campaign.
If you think you know direct mail, think again. Thanks to digital data, the marketing channel is helping companies achieve their goals more effectively. Our white paper tells the new story of direct mail as dynamic, fully integrated and hyper-targeted.
In the frenetic pace of our digital world, physical mail has secured its position as a credible communications channel with staying power and popularity. In fact, a Royal Mail study of mail users in the United Kingdom found 87% of customers rate mail as believable, compared to 48% for email, and 65% of customers are likely to give it their full attention.1
Small and medium-sized businesses know this. Sending invoices and other client communications by physical mail is a daily occurrence for them, but many are generating unnecessary costs. Without knowing the exact postage for a mailpiece, senders find themselves estimating costs, resulting in postal surcharges and delays or even returned mail.
Metered mail can help prevent all these issues. Read on to learn the value of this service when it comes to postage and the benefits of using digital meters.
The Perks of Metered Mail
Metered mail allows small and medium businesses to use a meter to print postage on mailpieces as proof of payment. By leveraging this service, businesses could easily simplify their mail process. They could also improve accuracy and save money.
A meter’s built-in scale is designed to accurately weigh everything from postcards to packages, removing the guesswork and ensuring senders pay exactly the right postage every time. Meters also offer discounts unavailable in a Post Office™ retail location or when using stamps. As of January 2019, using a postage meter saves $0.05 per piece for envelopes up to 3.5 ounces, lowering the cost of your postage to $0.50 for First-Class Mail® letters weighing 1 ounce or less.
Save Time and Boost Your Brand
Replacing manual mail operations with a meter saves time, the most valuable asset. In a Pitney Bowes study, 37% of small businesses said that finding time to go to a Post Office retail location was their biggest hassle in regard to sending mail.2 Meters eliminate this, giving businesses back valuable time that can be spent on growing their business.
Meters also boost the professional look of business mail, as a company logo or personalized message can be printed on the envelope, boosting brand visibility.
The Next Generation of Meters
Today’s meters integrate advanced digital technology with design innovation. Some models even use Android® operating systems, so it’s as easy as using a smartphone, with convenient functionality and a simple interface. It helps businesses select the ideal sending option for every letter, flat and parcel they send, while delivering savings and helping track costs.
Older analog connected meters still have a place in many mailrooms across the world today, and for some organizations, they are a viable and effective option. However, it’s worth taking some time to consider the benefits of digital meters.
Digital is faster and more flexible.
A dial-up Internet connection can vary from 1.2 to around 56 kilobytes per second. A digital connection is 100 megabytes per second, which could make it up to a thousand times faster than the connection of an analog meter. By connecting to Wi-Fi or Local Area Networks, digital meters don’t vie for Internet access with your other communications technology. Also, if you connect via wireless and switch offices, your meter can move with you.
Rate changes and software updates are simple and precise.
These inevitably require preparation and attention. Without a meter, businesses must remember to accurately factor in the cost of the new rates into their postage. With an analog meter, time is spent establishing a connection first before information can be transferred, then there is the additional need to wait for the downloading and installation of new rates for a rate change, for example. A digital system is always connected, so rates can be updated anytime.
Digital meters provide enhanced accounting.
They allow you to track how much your business spends on postage down to the product level. You can also measure what time of the year your spending goes up or down.
Digital connections are reliable and future-proof.
If an analog line disconnects while trying to credit your meter before a mailing, it can cost you time and productivity. The copper analog network can also be costly to maintain and vulnerable to service outages. In the future, service providers are likely to become less willing to provide and support analog connections. Digital meters help alleviate this concern.
Digital meters can generate additional savings.
An analog-connected meter requires a dedicated phone line, which for most businesses is an incremental cost they often overlook. Many organizations are already paying for broadband, so there is no additional cost for a digital meter connection, and no need for the analog line.
Today’s connected customer draws information from a diversity of platforms but the value of physical mail remains. Postage meters help ensure that businesses continue to benefit from this vital customer engagement channel, while optimizing their budgets.
Connect with USPS®
Looking to learn more about metered mail? Speak to a USPS representative.
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