direct mail printing
article,  Business Help

What is direct mail printing?

Digital Direct mail is the process of creating and fulfilling marketing materials or products mailed directly to the homes of consumers or offices of business buyers.  Examples include postcards with an offer, catalogs that offer products, coupons, and promotions, donation letters from nonprofits, or free trials sent by businesses. 

Is Direct Mail Still Effective? 

Digital Direct Mail is still one of the most effective ways to reach a potential targeted audience. Unlike broadcast email, you can direct mail to every known address, both business and residential, and every known post office box.  With email marketing, a person has to give you consent to send items, and you need to provide an option so they can opt-out at any time. 

A strong direct mail response rate requires an experienced direct mail printer, a vetted mailing list, and a tempting call-to-action.  Add to that equation a plan for response follow-through, and you’ll close more business. Remember, marketing brings them to your door, but it’s your sales process at the point of sale, which ultimately closes it.

With the continuing influx of technology, savvy marketers have a greater ability to manage several aspects of their campaigns. One advantage of digital processes is that creating materials and making changes is quick, simple, and relatively inexpensive. This allows an ability to make adjustments based upon what works and modify what doesn’t. 

How To Produce An Effective Mailer

If you look at a week’s worth of direct mail, almost every piece is unique. Many have bright colors and strong visuals. Others look like official correspondence. Some firms will even make their pieces look exactly like the recipient is receiving a check to grab your attention instantly. 

The key to standing out from the others is the need to select the best paper stock for their mailer. Experienced marketers know how the paper performs in the mail, what consumers expect to see, and the best suppliers, and how to work within a budget. Processes like coatings and finishes, characteristics like thickness, weight, and reflectance all impact cost, production processes, and, most importantly, the impression you make on your recipient. Some rationalize that type of paper stock used in a mailer isn’t the main thing. However, but it’s actually a key element in the completion of a successful mailer. It is literally the first impression you make. When working with a direct mail printer, they’ve already solved that problem. They already have relationships with established suppliers, are aware of the latest trends, and have successfully recommended the best products. 

Is Digital Printing and Digital Marketing The Same? 

Today, most people think of printing as digital printing. This is standard for short-run jobs and many in-house uses. But that’s not the only tool in a printer’s toolbox. Offset printing is their go-to system because it combines high-quality results and cost-effectiveness for use with large runs. Your options for full-color offset printing are numerous. It uses a four-color process (CYMK), producing a full spectrum of over 3000 available colors. Some applications may require a precise color or use that cannot be reproduced simply with process inks. Custom printing solutions, such as metallic, scratch and sniff, UV coatings, glow in the dark ink, are then factored into the production. The size and weight of your finished piece is a big factor in the price of postage. A direct mail printer will help you achieve the right balance between the design of your dreams and the reality of your budget.

How Does Mailing Direct Mail Work? 

Mailing one item is rather simple: lick, stick, seal, and drop.  When a mailing is composed of hundreds of thousands of pieces, this then could become complicated. Understanding the necessary process of sorting, stuffing, stamping, and sending is an important element of the job.  Success can be achieved in many different ways. The last thing you want to do is generate a powerful looking mail campaign and find it doesn’t qualify for the post office’s Every Door Direct Mailer (EDDM), nonprofit rate, letter rate, postcard rate, or another method you’ve chosen. Your direct mail printer with their partnering mail house understands all the latest specifications from the USPS fully.

How Do You Get The Best Results From Your Direct Mail?

How do you get the best results from your direct mail?  If you want to see success, all team members in a project must deliver on their responsibilities.  Delays are often related to poor communication or unclear expectations. The more you can minimize this, the better. Your printer manages his team and machines for efficiency. That’s how they reduce errors and increase utilization. Once you have all the pieces in place, the result can be impressive.

Perhaps marketing is one of your various responsibilities. You may not have a standard process for assembling, producing, and monitoring your direct mail campaigns. The more you understand and standardize the creation and fulfillment process, the greater your success rate will be. Tap into your direct mail printer’s experience. This means skill with questions so you will have both knowledge and confidence.

Once the final product is understood – goals, paper stock, ink, design, layout, list, postage, anticipated ROI – look at the action steps to pull it together. Put the associated tasks in a timeline, working backward from when the mailer hits the mailboxes to your very next step after the immediate conversation. All this activity works towards the moment of truth. If you set reasonable goals, did your research, and accurately projected your ROI, there shouldn’t be any major shock. Good marketing is just like the scientific method – predictable and reliable. 

With the mailer out the door, activate your data collection plan for measuring performance. Perhaps it’s counting the number of coupons redeemed or the number of inbound phone calls generated on a specific phone line.

For accurate, measurable results of direct mail, document your actual cost per response (CPR). To calculate your CPR, divide the direct mail campaign’s total cost by the number of replies.  You can also calculate it using both gross and net sales. This will let you judge if your efforts are working.

Also, evaluate the follow-up process for the activity your marketing generates. Were the responses handled effectively and efficiently? Did your sales process effectively handle what came through the door? Did you document what happened?  It’s important to document outcomes, both good and bad, so you don’t repeat problems from the past and so you can leverage what’s possible for future success. 

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