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Sept. 1 2011 04:55 PM

Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) is the new hot topic in mailing. The USPS product offers low postage rates, avoids the cost of renting mailing lists and doesn't require a mailing permit. EDDM is the perfect marketing vehicle for a lot of businesses, but it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. In many cases a more expensive, targeted mailing may give the best value.

A lot goes into choosing the best mailing option, and small business owners will need guidance. The decision is an important one. The success of the marketing campaign may hang in the balance. That's when a company may find that the best business decision is to turn to a Mailing Service Provider (MSP). As an MSP, you have a unique perspective. You know that targeting the right audience yields high response rates, and marketing to the wrong audience can lower a company's image and lead to complaints.

Picking a Target

The first question you'll almost certainly ask is, "Who is your target audience?" A business owner who says, "everyone" or "everyone in my neighborhood," is a perfect candidate for EDDM. Certain types of businesses tend to fall into the perfect for EDDM category. A pizzeria is a good example. Nearly everyone likes pizza, and an EDDM mailing can easily target the restaurant's delivery area.

A contractor is an example of not perfect for EDDM. Contractors are better served by targeting home owners or landlords. Sending a saturation or EDDM mailing would waste postage with every piece delivered to an apartment or rental property.

Shotgun marketing

More mail in more mailboxes does not yield higher response rates. You know that, but your clients may not. In their rush to send out a mailing, their excitement over EDDM may cloud their judgment. A well thought out, carefully planned marketing campaign will always give higher response rates. The best advice you can give a business owner is to pick an audience carefully. A shotgun approach is almost never the answer. Business owners need to figure out who their potential clients are, and use the right tools to best target those customers. If your client is a pizzeria, then an EDDM mailing may be the best way to target local pizza eaters.

Even when it's possible that the best audience to target is everyone, completing the leg work is important. Researching purchasing demographics allows each client to focus his or her message to the audience most likely to find value in that product or service. And, it keeps your client from falling into the shotgun marketing trap.

The business of demographics

Demographics can have a strong effect on the success of a marketing campaign. If you supply medical equipment for diabetics, getting your hands on a mailing list specific to diabetic households is gold. EDDM is not an option for highly targeted campaigns. In this and similar cases a targeted mailing is worth a little extra postage. A targeted mailing allows the client to personalize the mail piece with a name instead of "postal customer". The client can also tailor the message to the concerns and solutions specific to diabetics. All things that either aren't practical or aren't possible with EDDM.

There are mailing lists for practically every demographic: political beliefs, hobbies, religion, income, anything. If geography is the only consideration for your client, then EDDM is the best option and offers the lowest postage rates. If your client is targeting any other demographic, then using a targeted mailing and paying higher postage gives the best value.

It really all boils down to the response rate and how many marketing dollars your customer is paying for each response. Crafting a great marketing message and targeting it to the right audience can yield 4%-5% response rates. Don't let postage rates scare your customers. EDDM postage is 14.2 cents apiece and targeted mailings can be .25 to .50. The number your customers should be concerned with is how much they're paying for each response, not how much they're paying for each mailing. It's really all about the numbers. If you provide good value and can lead your client to the best solution for their marketing campaign — well let's just say, in business karma has its own rewards.

Kim Mauch is a subject matter expert in mailing preparation and submission at Satori Software. Contact her at