ListAbility's Direct Marketing Blog

Cost Effective Targeted Direct Mail versus Every Door Direct Mail

Posted by Carol Arnold on Mon, Apr 16, 2012 @ 01:42 PM

archer targetThe postal service is creating buzz and excitement with their Every Door Direct Mail ads on TV.

No list! Drop your mail off at the post office! What could be easier?

The reality isn’t quite that simple. The mail piece has to fit their specification of a flat; you calculate the quantities and bundle into packages of 100. If you are mailing to 5 towns, you will have to take your mail  to each of the 5 post offices, which could end up taking an entire day!

But the cost savings is there, right? Only 14½ cents per piece for postage! You can go onto the map at the postal website and pick out the carrier routes you think you want to deliver to, and it will go to every single address.

What if every single person isn’t a potential customer?

If you are an Ice Cream Stand, Pizza or take-out Chinese restaurant, by all means, get your menu and coupons out to everyone! What about more specialized businesses? Renters and Condominium owners may not be good targets for your landscaping business. A high end jewelry store might not want traffic from lower and middle income households.

Mailing to everyone, when only some are qualified can actually limit your reach. You will be spending money on postage and printing for people whom you are fairly sure will never buy your product. Even worse, they may waste your sales people’s valuable time.

Here is an example I came across the other day when an agency asked about a mailing for their client who is a pediatrician: The doctor had seen the ads on TV and asked about the Every Door Direct Mail program to help build his business.

We ran the numbers and found there were about 41,000 households in his service area of 5 towns on the south shore of Boston.

Using a targeted mailing list, we discovered that only 15,340 of the 41,000 households have children. To further target the mailing list, we took a look at some additional qualifiers. The practice would rather have younger children, and families with an income that would be more comfortable paying mdical bills.

5,212 families ended up on the qualified mailing list using the selections:  Children Age 0-12 and Household Income of $40K+

Additional qualifiers could include Length of Residence or Number of Children. You could also specify that the piece be addressed to the women (where present).

A better mailing list will pay dividends by helping you go get noticed by the right people!

ListAbility is a mailing list broker with the expertise and quality data to guide you through the process of obtaining a highly targeted mailing, telemarketing or email list. A better list will pay dividends with the savings you garner in printing and postage – to say nothing of getting noticed by the right people!


Tags: USPS Services, direct marketing list strategies, mailing list brokers, direct mail campaigns, consumer mailing lists, direct mail marketing, direct mail advertising, direct mail, Every Door Direct Mail

Postal Service Offers Money-Back Guarantee for New Direct Mail Advertising

Posted by Carol Arnold on Thu, Apr 21, 2011 @ 05:21 PM

Proposal for “Mail Works Guarantee” market test to begin mid-May, 2011

The postal service is looking to increase their slice of national advertising budgets by offering a Postage-Back guarantee. This Mail Works Guarantee program is expected to run for up to 2 years.

Only 16 companies will be included in the initial test, so the average mailers won’t be feeling the direct benefit any time soon. The requirements for consideration are pretty stringent; a company must spend a minimum of $250 Million annually on advertising (as identified by Advertising Age magazine) and mail cannot currently be a large part of their advertising mix: postage must be less than 0.5 percent of the current advertising budget.

Each of the test companies will be expected to mail between 500,000 and a million pieces. They will be offered a postage-back guarantee based on the effectiveness of mail advertisements using First-Class Mail and Standard Mail.

“Effectiveness” will be defined by a set of metrics, based on the goals of the campaign. Both the mailer and postal service will collaborate on the goals and expected outcomes. For example,

  • A retail company’s Direct Mail offer could be designed to increase store traffic
  • The e-commerce company’s offer could be designed to drive Web traffic
  • A product goods company’s offer could be designed to promote increasing sales of a specific product.

If the Direct Mail campaign falls below the expectations of the metrics established in the plan, (verified of course by a Postal Service representative) the USPS will credit the postage paid for the market test, up to $250,000. The refund will not include any production and printing costs.

Currently, the USPS captures about 3% of the $90 Billion spent on media advertising by the top advertisers in America. The postal service is looking at a huge revenue potential if they can get more of these companies to open up a larger portion of their budget to direct mail.

What will this mean for the average mailer? Not much in the near term, but….

If all works out the way the post office is hoping, they will prove to the skeptics that direct mail works.

They will collect specific data for using mail to advertise both on-line and off-line products and services. This should provide us with some facts and figures that can be used in planning the campaigns for  the other companies who don’t happen to be part of the who’s who of advertisers.

 Maybe this will provide the boost needed to rejuvenate the mail volumes and stem the tide of negative cash flow at the USPS. That could mean that we won’t be seeing as many increases in postage which is what we really hope for.

After all, so many of us already know, direct mail lets us target our advertising budget directly into the mail boxes of the people most likely to want our products and services.


Tags: Trends in marketing, Direct marketing strategy, USPS Services

Postal Service hopes to boost mail volume with greeting card test.

Posted by Carol Arnold on Fri, Nov 19, 2010 @ 01:48 PM

USPS looking for boost with greeting cards

Direct mail marketing has seen increases over the past several months. However, the USPS is working to increase volume for First-Class Mail single-piece correspondence.

Many in the industry hope bigger first class volumes will forestall additional postage increases for the direct marketing industry.

Private companies to offer greeting cards with pre-paid postage

This test provides a convenient method for consumers to purchase a greeting card without having to pay for postage separately.

It is hoped that the simplicity of the process will encourage more people to purchase cards when they can sign, address and mail the card without worrying about the stamp.

Under the proposed market test, participating businesses will produce and distribute pre-approved envelopes according to specific design requirements which will be packaged for sale with greeting cards. Individuals can mail the greeting cards in the pre-approved envelopes without affixing postage.

The Alternate Postage Payment Method has a two-stage process for businesses to pay postage. First, at least 50 % of the postage will be paid based upon reports on the number of cards sold to customers or third-party vendors. Generally, this payment would be retained by the Postal Service regardless of whether the cards are also mailed. Second, the balance of the postage due will be collected based on scans of the cards that are mailed.

ListAbility provides highly accurate and updated direct mail lists and email lists for the US market. We have an active re-seller program for agencies, printers, mail houses, list brokers and other large mailers.

Tags: Trends in marketing, USPS Services