In today’s online world, it may seem strange to highlight something as old fashioned as direct mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. Sure, there are lots of downsides to “snail mail” like relatively slow delivery time, environmental concerns, and the junk-mail stigma, but there’s a reason millions of businesses still include it in marketing plans– it delivers.
Unlike email which can be blocked by spam filters, banner ads that can be shut off in browser settings, and PPC ads that can be out bid, your direct mail piece is guaranteed to at least arrive. (Though once it gets there, whether it is read or round-filed is anyone’s guess.) And, direct mail is a great way to reach your entire customer base, not just those who have email and Internet access.
Granted, for some business types such as online retailers, e-marketing just makes more sense. But for bricks-and-mortar businesses that serve small communities, such as local book stores, cleaning services, or restaurants, direct mail can be a smart way to go. If this sounds like your business, the U.S. Postal Service has a new program created just for you: Every Door Direct Mail—Retail.
This program is designed to make it easy for a small business to create and execute a small direct mail program without the hassle of getting a mail permit or using a mailing service and without the expense of purchasing mailing lists. Use the simple Every Door Direct Mail software to select the zip code (or carrier route inside a zip code) you want to reach, and it tells you the number of mail pieces to create and how much it will cost to mail. You create the mail pieces, address them to “Local Postal Customer,” and take them to the post office with paperwork created by the software. Watch a demo of the software here, or try it out yourself with the Test Drive tool.
Key Things to Note:
- You need to register for an account with the Postal Service in order to access the tool and use the mailing service.
- You can mail between 200 and 5000 pieces per day without a postal permit, by using the Retail program.
- You can mail only flats ( rectangle post card, folded card, or envelope that is more than 11.5” but less than 15” long OR more than 6.125” but less than 12” high AND less than ¾” thick).
- Each piece costs 14.5 cents to mail.
- You must create your mailing labels and postal indicia based on post office specifications. (Download them here.)
- You do not need to know (nor get access to) the names of the people who will get your mailing.
- You can choose to mail to city address, rural addresses and/or P.O. Boxes within the selected carrier routes.
- You can use the Every Door Direct Mail software to select recipients by city or zip code. You can also use a mapping tool to select a radius around your business. You can then view postal routes that fall in that radius and decide which ones you want to use. (FUN TIP: This is a really cool tool for looking at postal routes on a map—even if you don’t want to use the mailing service!)
A comprehensive overview of the program, along with video tutorials, pdf guides, a FAQ, and everything you need to get started can be found here.
So whether you want to promote a grand opening to your new business neighborhood, or whether you want to advertise pizza specials to your new delivery area, give Every Door Direct Mail—Retail a try.
If you’re looking for a great way to manage and bill all the new clients you get from direct mail marketing, take a look at PaySimple. We’re an online payment processing and customer management platform, designed for small business owners.