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Is Every Door Direct Mail Worth the Time and Tradeoffs?

Posted on the 02 September 2015 by Marketingtango @marketingtango
Mailman Delivering Letters To Woman
  • September 2, 2015
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Is Every Door Direct Mail Worth the Time and Tradeoffs?

As most marketers know, Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) is a U.S. Postal Service program that enables businesses to send mailpieces, with discounted postage, to selected geographic areas or zip codes of their choosing, anywhere in the country. It was introduced a few years back and, not surprisingly, has both proponents (blanketing is good) and critics (targeting is better).

The EDDM website asserts that you can use its online portal and mapping tool to ‘reach every home, every address, every time,’ without having to know recipients’ names or addresses.

Not bad, right? After all, such ‘saturation’ mailings can be very effective for certain kinds of local, regional or national establishments, such as:

  • General retailers
  • Professional services
  • Healthcare providers and veterinarians
  • Restaurants and pizzerias
  • Dry cleaners and nail salons
  • Churches and non-profits

These and other kinds of businesses could use EDDM to: promote special sales or events; announce a grand opening; or distribute coupons or discounted offers. And today, many do.

One reason is because EDDM’s potential returns mimic those of traditional direct mail initiatives–more leads, more traffic, more revenue–that is, with ONE big exception: potentially higher print costs and mail waste, due to the inability to precisely target a specific audience.

The Opposite of Targeting

Compared with a traditional targeted campaign, where you and/or your printer select appropriate mailing lists, EDDM is often less efficient. Because, true to its claim, EDDM requires you to mail to every household on your chosen carrier routes, even vacant properties, and even those who have no interest whatsoever in buying what you are selling.

One data provider claims that with EDDM, you’ll need to print 5 to 10 times more pieces than with a list-driven campaign. While we’re not sure the figure is quite that high, we do know that for optimal ROI, getting the count right is an absolute must.

Outsource or DIY?

As with other integrated marketing projects, such as PPC, copywriting and in-store signage, you could prepare an EDDM mailing yourself. But those with limited time, resources or DM expertise often get design or targeting help from an experienced mail-services provider.

EDDM’s exacting format, list-pulling and piece-prep guidelines can be tricky, especially for campaigns outside your immediate area. Find complete instructions in the 2015 EDDM Users Guide. Or contact a reputable mail-services partner for assistance. The good ones offer a free analysis and cost comparison to identify any tradeoffs, and help you assess whether a saturated or traditional targeted mailing is best.

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