Monday, March 26, 2012

Every Door Direct Mail

A year after launching its "Every Door Direct Mail" program, The USPS has unveiled a new marketing campaign designed to promote EDDM along with a suite of other services specifically targeted to small businesses. Included is the flat rate shipping program, "If it Fits, it Ships," that has been heavily promoted through TV advertising and a re-launch of the "Click-N-Ship" program now made more accessible to small businesses. The Postal Service is hoping to tap into the small business shipping market long dominated by UPS and FedEx.

We would suggest that the EDDM could be made a lot more attractive to small businesses if it were simplified even further. There are currently two versions of EDDM, EDDM and EDDM Retail. Both provide saturation mailing to city routes using a simplified address format. The post office doesn't require the name and street number since the mailing goes to every door.  EDDM Retail differs only in that you do not need a mailing permit, and mail can be taken to the front counter of the post office instead of the bulk mail platform at the back.   The USPS provides a online guide for those wishing to take advantage of the program. Click here to access the guide.

In theory, EDDM Retail allows any small business to easily and inexpensively reach every door in its specific market area. This seems an ideal marketing tool for small retailers like neighborhood restaurants, cleaners, maintenance services , etc. But there are some obstacles that may discourage potential users. Although EDDM Retail does not require a mailing permit, it does require a USPS issued Mailer ID. Also, any piece mailed through either EDDM version must fit the postal definition of a "Standard Mail Flat." This effectively rules out the 6 x 9, 4 x 6, or 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 postcard sizes that are the most popular with direct mail customers. The Standard Mail Flat must "be more than 11.5" long OR more than 6.125" high OR more than 0.25" thick," and less than 15" long or 12" high and .75" thick.

Most mailers who want to take advantage of EDDM with a postcard mailing will need to go to a minimum 6.25" x 10" postcard. But standard paper sizes of 8.5 x 11, 11 x 17, or 12 x 18 for digital printers and small presses do not readily accommodate the sizes for a Standard Mail Flat. That is, you can only get one 6.25 x 10" postcard from an 8.5 x 11" sheet as opposed to four 4.25 x 5.5 postcards from the same sheet. Because of this, any savings in postage may be lost to an additional cost for printing.

Even with this drawback, however, EDDM is a good way to promote a neighborhood business. You don't have to buy a mailing list or have the specific address of everyone you want to reach. You can outline the geographic area that is your target, and get your message out to every door in your area.