Slick marketing program by the USPS

I know a good thing when I see one. This program in particular, is perfect for smaller independent shops, home based businesses and those who don't want to run through their monthly advertising budget with just one program yet get results and find new customers.

In my corporate life I was a direct marketing consultant leading national projects for such companies as McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Osco Drug. My sales team also worked with numerous smaller businesses. So ins and outs of the post office and various mailing programs are not new to me.

So why am I hot on the idea?

It gives business owners the opportunity to target their message directly into their community, control their costs and gain valuable readership that converts into sales.  The program is called Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) and is extremely easy to use. Simply put, you can deliver your message  into every household in an area by carrier route. In the advertising world, saturation can be a very good thing and this has it. No undeliverable pieces, no lists to buy and total control over the timing.

Here are some of the ADVANTAGES I see:
1. No Contract - You can use it only once or every week if you like.
2. Geographical Selection - Pick as few as one carrier route or multiple routes not to exceed 5,000 pieces in a day.
3. Low Cost - At 14.2 cents per piece, you can't beat the delivery price. The average carrier route is 500 households (give or take). That makes delivery for a carrier route on average $71. Did you hear that? $71! The only additional cost you incur is printing the piece. This you can control by choice of paper stock and print color/quality.
4. No Prescheduling - Once you have materials printed up, you just fill out the short online forms and walk them both into the local post office (where your selected carrier route is delivered). Your piece goes out the very next day.
5. Easy Entrance - You could start tomorrow if you wanted to.

Here are the APPLICATIONS I see:
1. Boost business during slow weeks - Target a specific area around you where you know you draw business. You don't even need to know the carrier route, just select an address in the area and the post office can tell you the route number.
2. Last minute holiday sales - Since you can select small local areas, do a discount blowout promotion of Halloween gifts (for example) that will allow you to finish off your themed products and eliminate perishable wastage or inventory that you'd have to retain for the following year.
3. Control delivery time - Pick areas around your shop/home if you do your own delivery. This makes execution of the program fast since all deliveries will be in the same area and nearby.
4. Test promotional offers - Send out two different offers to two different carrier routes and see which one performs better. To ensure a good test, the demographics should be similar of course.
5. Competitive blunt - If your competitor comes out with an unbelievable offer that is attracting your customer, react immediately with one of your own.

When planning your promotional/sale piece, here are some points to consider to ENSURE SUCCESS:
1. Make your message simple - Less is more. Most mail pieces are judged within a split second to be categorized into keep and review or trash. In a brief glance, your customer should understand the offer.
2. Use photos to reinforce your message, again for the impact and motivation to save.
3. Include a call to action - It may have a deadline, be available for the first X number of customers, etc. General announcements of product offered in your store doesn't prompt customers to act quickly.
4. Make it trackable - As with any advertising or promotion you do, it only makes sense to be able to track it and see the results. You can code the coupon so if it is used you know it's from this campaign. You can use different codes by carrier route to see which perform better. Or make an offer totally different than anything else you have out there at the time and see what type of response you get.

This article is not intended to give you all the ins and outs of the program. But it's a very simple one to understand. Go the the website at www.usps.com for details on piece specifications including size, indicia and addressee guidelines. It's on the home page in the dropdown under Business Solutions.

Take a look and let me know what you think. Better yet, share your results!


Sue Monhait
Sue Monhait

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