How to make USPS Every Door Direct Mail work

We can make the USPS Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) Program work for you!

Every Door Direct Mail

EDDM Support from Pam Bush

Are you frustrated because you’re trying to use the USPS EDDM Simplified mailing program but find that it really isn’t that simple? What could be better than a mailing program that costs you less to print and even less to mail? According to the USPS website, you can even do it yourself.

However, many businesses have tried this approach of doing it themselves and then end up bringing us their mail pieces that have not been printed the right size or on the right paper stock and have been rejected by their local post office when they tried to mail their “simplified EDDM mailing”. Fortunately for them, we have found ways to salvage their print/mail job and still get it mailed for a reasonable cost.

A simple phone call to CSG Direct in the beginning would lead you in the right direction. As a premier Print and Mail Shop, we specialize in knowing what postal requirements are required for EDDM mailings. We can design your mail piece, obtain the addresses you need, do the postal paperwork, print the facing slips, all the required bundling and then present them to the post office for you.

We have had many successful EDDM mailings. One of our local clients printed and mailed out over 75,000 pieces. Their overall cost’s including postage was approximately $20,000. When their six month direct mail campaign ended, the ROI was $207,000. Due to their success they have chosen to continue using the EDDM program with CSG Direct, expanding their mailing area to reach even more new clients. We would like the opportunity to help you try to achieve these same amazing results.

*New ways to reach out to potential clients at a significant cost savings for your business.

*Get postage rates as low as 14.5 cents a piece depending on the mail area.
For postal approved Non-Profit companies: postage is only .07-.122 cents a piece.

*No mailing list purchase costs.

*Mail only to the zip codes or carrier routes YOU choose.

*Your mail pieces will go directly to the carriers and not have to go through postal machinery.
This allows for quicker delivery & a cleaner looking mail piece when it reaches its recipient.

This program works well for large corporate companies and as well for the Mom & Pop corner store/business. We can help make the USPS Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) Program work for you. We’re here to help!

Call me at 1-800-881-2150 ext 36 and I’ll walk you through the whole program.

Pam Bush
CSG Direct Mail

Quality Control, Your life depends on it!

quality control paperwork at CSG direct mailQuality Control, or “QC”, is the process in which the details and consistency of a job are reviewed before the job is advanced to the next stage of protocol. QC includes the job’s artwork and its data. Both steps are crucial when preparing a print job. For instance, you may have the correct amounts in the data, but it may be mapped to the wrong version of artwork. The job could be going presorted first class mailing, but the barcode reads standard mailing. These are two of many possible examples of errors that can lead to costly mistakes. One mistake is all a job needs to go horribly awry! That one mistake could cost you thousands of dollars or even your client altogether. This guide is here to help you prevent such mistakes from happening.

Preemptive Measures
Q: What is the first step in preventing a mistake from happening?

A: Having all the proper details written where everyone who handles the job can read them. This means writing up the proper instructions for everything: art, data, postage, assembly, etc. By gathering all the job details at once before the job begins, it will help insure the customer has full knowledge of the outcome of their project and what it requires; therefore lessening the likeliness that there will be changes. Remember, every time you go back and change something in a job that’s already begun, the odds of errors greatly increase! After being in this business for 7 years, I can’t stress that enough.

Proofing
Due to its very nature, variable printing can contain many details to keep an eye on. For example, one mailer alone can have variable dates, freeplay amounts, hotel offers, account numbers, addresses, disclaimers, and varying graphic fields. I think you get the picture. That’s a lot of fields to keep in line.

Steps to proofing a job before sending it out for customer sign-off:

1. Know the variables and all aspects involved in that particular job.
a. Dates, amounts, disclaimers, address fields, snipes, graphic fields, etc.

2. How many versions are there? Are there multiple versions being run as one? Proof each and every version!

3. Mailing Class? Presorted standard, Full rate first class? What is your mailer being run as? Are there multiple versions being run as different postal rates?

4. Check the proofs against the original start data. For example, on the proofs it says John Smith Account# 40456 is getting $5,000 in freeplay. Wait! That’s a lot of money to just be giving away. Now going back to the start data you may find out that John Smith Account# 40456 is only supposed to get $500 in freeplay. Try explaining that mistake to your customer. So, when comparing the proofs to the start data look for these things:

a. Name and address. Is John Smith at 123 Liberty Lane on the proof as well as in the start data?
b. Any type of offers that may be included in the start data, such as: Amounts, dates, hotels offers, disclaimers, locality (This is where knowing all the variables in data really comes in handy).
c. Version: The proof says John Smith is getting “version A” does the start data reflect that?
d. Double check if there are “bi-weekly” or “semi-monthly” type offers. It would be a shame if John Smith got $100 every day when he was supposed to get $100 every other week!

5. Is the mailer size the proper dimensions? Does it go in an envelope or is it folded down to proper size? Ultimately, does the final product reflect the instructions given by the customer AND what is written up in the instructions for the job?

6. Color. Do the colors match those of the original artwork? (You may have to consult with a graphic designer on this.)

7. Spelling and grammar mistakes! Proofread every single word and sentence!

Comparing the final product to the start files is one of the most efficient ways to ensure you will be providing your customer with proper proofs. Many times customers will not fully understand the magnitude of the seemingly miniscule details involved in digital variable printing, thus overlooking small (but huge!) mistakes. This is why it is crucial that we catch these errors before we send proofs to our clients.

Address Block Sign-offThis is it. This is your last chance to change or fix the job before all five thousand, ten thousand, one hundred thousand (!) pieces are printed and money is thrown away because nobody checked a silly little thing like class, barcode, quantity, etc.

Things to check before signing off on the address block:

1. Class. For each version that you sign off on.

2. Barcode. Does it scan? If so, make sure the barcode reflects the class and work order.

3. Address. Make sure all the proper fields are there, such as: First Name, Last Name, Company, Address 1, Address 2, City, State, Zip Code, Country, etc.

4. Once again I recommend going back and comparing the given record(s) with the start data.

5. Check the postal paperwork. Does the postal paperwork and tray tags reflect the information in the job instructions?

6. Color, size, paper – make sure all of these are correct.

In closing, I must stress that communication between the sales rep and the customer is the most essential part to ensuring a smooth process that will lead to a successful marketing campaign. Furthermore, this communication must be transcribed orderly and properly into the job’s instructions. There is no reason for an error to happen if the proofing process is properly utilized and every small detail is checked. Look at it this way: would you rather spend 10 minutes proofing your job or 10 hours and double the cost reprinting it because you were too busy to proof? I know, that’s a no-brainer!

Okay, you’ve proofed it, the customer signed off, and now it’s in your lap for address block sign-off? I know you’re probably asking yourself, “What the heck! I thought this job was good to go?” But who knows, maybe something was accidentally changed in the time that the customer signed-off to the time it took a press operator to get the job ready, this is your last chance to catch any mistakes, take advantage of it!

By Chris Ohm -Data and Design Department

Paul Erickson joins CSG Direct Mail

When I look back through my career it is divided into “Phases”. Those phases are always centered around our largest milestones and the progress that follows. I know 2012 is one of those milestones and 2012 is the beginning of “The Era of Paul“.

We are very excited to share with you that Paul Erickson has joined our team (your team) as General Manager of our CSG Direct digital-printing plant in Reno, Nevada.  Paul brings with him over 34 years of print plant management, team development and print manufacturing experience.

Paul is a Six Sigma Champion and is experienced in Business Management Strategy.

For anyone in our region that is aware, Paul is known for his tenure at RR Donnelley where for 9 years he was the Vice President of Manufacturing at the Reno plant.  However, Paul has many other accomplishments that demonstrate his deep level of experience.

Paul began his career after he earned his BS in Printing Management from South Dakota State University.  More recently Paul was the managing director of Polestar Sheffield, the largest gravure printing facility in the U.K with a very demanding customer base and a high level of customer satisfaction.

Paul came back to the US to run the very prestigious US Government Printing Office for 3 years as the Deputy Public Printer and Chief Operating Officer.  In this very demanding position Paul still adopted and implemented the ISO 9001 standard for quality assurance and management in GPOs production facilities and led the effort to adopt 5S, a world recognized continuous improvement process in both manufacturing and office environments.

I cannot say enough about how excited we are to have Paul leading our team.

Paul recently shared his insight with us “The future of Printing is digital and CSG Direct has positioned itself well in this market segment. The CSG niche is strong and our unique services offer us unlimited growth and opportunity.”

We’ll if anyone should know… it’s Paul.

Welcome aboard Paul!
We look forward to the new era.

the 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2012

The US Senate voted 62-37 yesterday to pass S. 1789 (as amended), the 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2012, as amended. Sixty votes were needed to pass the bill.

About S. 1789
S. 1789, as amended, works to refund the USPS billions of dollars in overpayments to the Federal Employees Retirement System, streamline its structure and operations, adjust an onerous retiree pre-funding requirement, and seeks compromise solutions on controversial issues like facility closures and Saturday mail delivery. The bill does not include legislated rate increases on first class/standard mail above the current rate cap tied to the Consumer Price Index. While S. 1789 is not a perfect solution to the USPS crisis, Printing Industries of America supports this bipartisan bill as the legislation best suited to reform the USPS.

Action on postal reform now moves to the House The House version of postal reform (H.R. 2309), sponsored by Reps. Issa (R-CA) and Ross (R-AL), has been heard, amended and approved out of committee, but no floor vote has yet been scheduled. The House GOP leadership and bill sponsors said that the House had been waiting for the Senate product and will likely move postal reform legislation this spring/summer. There are a few procedural avenues this could take, but the current expectation is that the House bill will go to a full floor debate/vote. It would then need to be merged with the now-passed Senate bill in a conference committee in order to receive final approval and be sent to President Obama for his signature. Keep in mind that the House legislation takes a dramatically different approach to postal reform than does its Senate counterpart. Printing & Mailing Industries and its allies will continue our work in the House and put pressure in that chamber to achieve legislative success as soon as possible.

– Printing Industry of America

Boost Creative Services from CSG Direct Mail

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to one of our dynamic creative design vendor-partners.

CSG Direct Mail has more Boost than ever.

Boost is a creative partner for everything over-the-top, effective and impressive.

Boost Creative is a top tier agency with clients like Porsche, Harrahs, KOA and Wells Fargo.

Here is the Boost Creative story:

Acceleration. Power. Ascent. To lend a hand, to enhance, to make better. All visions of Boost, and the inspiration behind a new type of company. A little giant capable of big league work. Where did we come up with such an idea? We’ve dreamt it all our lives.

You know those Friday happy hour conversations you have when you’re first out of college and mixing up in the “real world”? Well, ours pretty much went like this: “Wouldn’t it be great to have a collaborative of creatives who worked together, yet independently, with nothing getting in the way, taking up space and cluttering up communication with our clients? And wouldn’t it be a miracle to choose with whom we wanted to work – from clients to vendors to the UPS driver -so that our relationships were a good fit, serving an even nurturing the spirits of everyone involved? And wouldn’t it be perfect to do awesome work, the kind that not only puts our clients head and shoulders above the crowd, but also gives us a gut feeling of satisfaction.

This is who we are: innovative, resourceful, efficient, and honest.

We are a creative collaborative and culmination of tequila doused musings and professional dreams. We know the difference between advertising and “badvertising” and we won’t sell our for the latter. We understand technology, but we are not the “techies”. We work in a world-class space, which we designed and built with our own hands. We are students of design, art, communication and live. We love what we do and we do what we love. We are not a group of head nodders. We are not an advertising agency. We are an idea company.

Founded in January 2002, we strongly, honestly, absolutely believe that the best work comes when a client communicates directly with the individuals who will be producing the campaign or project. This saves clients a lot of money and us a lot of headache. We have seen the waste in advertising agencies. Hey, we’ve even been a part of it, but we have seen the light.

Strategy is at the core of how we run our business and how we work with our clients. Being able to say big words like Brand Positioning, and Core Competencies, are the easy part. Knowing how to do the work, that’s different. We can work to understand you, your business, your market, and your customers. Then, we make the recommendations, and we execute. Our strategy will always help clients communicate with sincerity and honesty, and create an emotional response. When it’s all done, we’re not off to Tahiti, we’re accountable. We analyze what went right or wrong, adjust, rebuild if necessary, move to the next steps, whatever is needed to truly accomplish goals. One step, one project, one magnificent moment at a time.

We love to brainstorm. We want to be your off site think tank. Whether brought in at the front of a large campaign, or simply called on to be one small part of it, we’ll help solve problems. When we mix it up with your people, there’s going to be some kind of wonderful going on. No doubt.

We approach every job, large or small, with the same level of energy and attention; your business, your budget, our reputation…all on the line. Yes we love to laugh, we always have fun, but we take this seriously.

Learn more about Boost Creative Services.

How to Get Your Direct Mail Opened

Direct-mail is one of the most powerful marketing tools a casino has!   Getting the highest direct mail response should be the goal but there is usually a lot of pressure to keep the costs down. These can be conflicting goals. If we don’t get our mailer opened and read we will get a poor response rate so let’s focus on getting customers to open our direct mail today.Get Direct Mail Opened

Here are a few tricks to get your mail opened.

  • Use a shocking or awe inspired headline

There is a reason why every band does their “last tour” every few years. It creates shock to their fans and creates deep interest in the event. Find something spectacular about your event worth creating some drama about like “biggest jackpot ever” or this is a very rare event or last of it’s kind.

  • Use mystery to make them curious about your mailer

Curiosity is a powerful tool.  If you use some lead-in text on the address side of your mailer (the primary side they see), you can tap into their curiosity and get your mailer opened.  Try a snipe like “You’ll never guess who is coming” but make them open the mailer to find out. Your mailer open rate will increase incredibly.  They could guess, but its more natural to open the mailer and see the answer.  It is a similar technique as a scratch-off for getting your piece opened.

  • Use a scratch-off on the outside to compare on the inside

If you design your scratch off with a compelling offer and easy to understand design they work very well.  You can create a nice scratch-off on the outside and have them check the inside of the piece to see what they have won.  You can create scratch-offs with variable numbers too so make a game of your mailer and it will have a much higher open and interaction rate than the rest of the mail that day.

  • A box-mailer always gets opened

Any box place inside your customers mailbox is the most important thing in the mailbox. If we are talking strictly open-rates than there is no higher interaction rate than a box mailing.  Higher open rates translate into higher response rates. You should definitely do some box mailings throughout the year and compare the post forma math to your other mailers.  You will be very pleasantly surprised by the increased response which can more than justify the additional expense.

  • Send relevant offers about things they like

The difference between direct marketing and junk mail is if you’re sending relevant offers to someone about what they like or want. If you send a country and western invitation to a rock ‘n roll person you are pushing that client away with things they don’t want (aka junk mail).

You want to be a property that has the things they like so you are their favorite place to go.  Code your database well so you can personalize relevant offers to the right person and you’ll always get your mailers opened and higher response rate too.

Personalized Digital Variable Book Printing

We’re printing our first digital booklets! Digital variable data printing at CSG Direct Mail has never been more alive! The idea of a press that prints multiple paged personalized booklets, gathers the pages, folds, stitches together, and finally does the 3 sided trim is an incredible dream come true.

Before this investment we had to print separate pages and then offline stitch and trim. That was not a great way to do personalized mail by a long shot. Too many pieces got destroyed in the process and the offline process increased costs and timelines. We’re highly focused on quality and speed!

Direct mail is a details business. Demand quality if you want success. We’ll help you find ways to balance cost and speed from there. Knowing what you’re dealing with is half the battle.

If you are printing booklets for your organization and would like to see samples printed on our new presses get in touch with us or get a quote.

Increase Direct Mail Response Rates By Learning To Fish With The Right Bait

I was invited to a charity fishing derby and was excited to go. It was a local fundraiser where every fish we caught and released earned a bonus for the charity. I wanted to catch lots of fish, so I grabbed my father’s tackle box, rod, and reel and headed to the event. I didn’t bring any special bait, so I just reached into the tackle box and pulled out the fanciest lure I could find.

This particular lure was large and full of beautiful colors. It was almost as large and colorful as a casino event postcard (hint). It caught my eye and appealed to me, so I was confident it would catch lots of fish that day. I cast my fancy lure into the pond and waited for my first response … uh, I mean fish. While waiting for my first fish to bite, I watched another guy do something very interesting. He started digging around near the edge of the water and caught a couple of small bugs. He pulled out some string and tied a lure that looked just like those bugs the fish were already eating.

To my amazement, he pulled fish after fish out of the water that day. I caught a few fish too, but I was intrigued to watch this great fisherman get such a high response to his bait that day.

It was a simple strategy: he used bait that would appeal to who he was trying to attract – I used bait that was attractive to me. He used information that was literally right in front of him.

So, how do you get a better response rate as a casino
marketer? I’ll break it down into two steps:

  1. Focus group testing
  2. Utilizing what you have learned from the focus group
  3. Testing with variable data printing

Step 1: Focus Group Testing
Just like fishing, direct mail marketing is a science of proven techniques. The one direct mail marketing science that has been proven time and time again to have huge payoffs is focus group testing (like the fisherman used to build his bait). In focus group testing, you survey your clients with different styles of images, messages, taglines, and calls-to-action to find out what is most appealing to them.

In the past, we would do this to determine the most commonly chosen items so we could design a single mailer that would suit the largest cross section of customers. That is still a solid idea, but with the advent of personalized printing, we can easily take this to a whole new level of success.

In a survey process, your guests tell you exactly what brand messages and images they want. Once we have that information, why would we send them anything else? Your clients tell you exactly how to get the best results from them and now you just have to make that happen. You can get better results fast!

The right casino initiatives can easily improve response rates for years.
The closest most casinos get to a focus group is the new guest signup survey. Let’s leverage this survey for the highest results by making some simple changes to it. Don’t be concerned about what type of gambling they will be doing because you can get that from the tracking system later. What you want to know is information to affect the visual bait that they will respond to most. Perhaps you tell them that you are considering a new tagline for your property, like “Every Player’s Best Odds” or “Stay Here, Play Here.” Give them a list of options and ask them to choose the one they like best. Then, give them a series of themed graphics, like spa services, sports, concerts, blackjack, dance club shots, and others that relate to your individual amenities so they can choose their favorite.

For the final question, maybe present 4-5 different color themes and ask which they find most appealing. For the call-to-action, you want them to tell you what message they will respond to most. This can be done many ways and could be an entire article by itself. Let’s use an example of asking guests if they like things like “last minute deals,” “monthly getaways,” “girls’ night out,” “pizza and beer,” “sportsbook parties,” “VIP parties,” or other themes.

With this simple survey your guest has designed their own mailer by choosing their own images and describing in detail your best brand and bait for them. So instead of printing one piece that you hope will please everyone, use digital variable printing to send mailers with the best bait. With rotating graphics, taglines, branding, and calls-to-action your guests chose, you can create a highly personalized appeal for each of your guests. When you communicate with guests in this manner, your results go way up.

Create an ongoing contest for your active guests as well and let them update their own style preferences as often as they want so you always send the best bait. If you do this as an ongoing game and make it fun, your marketing messages can get peak response rates.

Step 2: Utilizing the information gathered with Variable Data Printing
What is it? Well, it is not your grandpa’s mail merge! We were doing mail merges in the 1980s with word processing programs. In the late ‘90s, we started using fancy seashell and cloud fonts for fun. That was cool, but it is not relevant to modern casino marketing. Modern, advanced variable direct marketing is a graphics and database programmer’s dream. The options are truly endless and can be set up to be very simple, yet still highly effective. Everything can be different on every mailer! You can now send every single guest a direct mailer with all the bait choices they personally picked out with you. Everyone gets their favorite colors, brand messages, themes, images, and variable art. This same data can be used for variable themes, images, and calls-to-action in all of your emails and every other direct marketing effort as well.


Let your customers design your messages

Did you know that banks now let you choose what image you would like printed on your credit cards because they know you will favor it more if you design it yourself? They let me upload a picture of my dogs and now that credit card is my pride and joy. The riskiest thing you can do is to send your guests an untested, broad appeal, single branded message. Letting your guests design their own brand experience with your property individualizes the experience for each guest and maximizes your property’s direct marketing results and profits.

That is how you fish with the right bait in casino marketing!

This Article was featured in Raving’s Strategic Solutions Magazine.
Download a copy of it here.

US Mail Tracking systems at CSG Direct Mail

Our proprietary US Mail Tracking systems have successfully tracked over 45 million pieces of direct mail advertising through the US mailstream online, in real time. That’s 45 million pieces followed across the country individually, like you do packages.

Using our new proprietary system, coupled with the USPS’s new Intelligent Mail Barcodes, a business can finally track the progress of its mail campaign using its own customer ID or account number.

Some of the system’s more popular features are the interactive reports as each piece crosses the country. Bulk mail can now be tracked just like more expensive alternatives such as UPS and FedEx.

Additional tools and applications are being built around this new system to make this new innovation accessible for every direct mail customer in America. Track Direct Mail’s uses seem endless. The technology allows database-marketing companies another level of strategy to reduce postage, find lost mail and help customers that may experience problems with the nation’s mail stream.

With all of these innovations it was only a matter of time until we put all of our CSG Direct Mail Tracking tools on the iPhone and iPad. CSG Direct Mail for iPhone was released into the iTunes App Store May 7th 2010. Track every aspect of your direct mail projects with Live Project Tracking from the CSG DIRECT MAIL Processing plant and Live US Mail Tracking as your pieces travel through the US Postal Service.

This has been THE DREAM in direct mail for decades and we made it a reality! These newest innovations are built on our proprietary Direct Mail Tracking Systems. We continue to redefine the Direct Mailing industry! CSG Direct Mail brings you Better Results Fast!

CSG Direct Mail and Mailing Lists

One of the most effective innovations provided by the USPS has been access to all National Change of Address (NCOA) records to update your mailing list. Unfortunately you have to twist some companies arms to do this service for you. That is why the US Postal Service has decided to make it mandatory.

17% of your database moves every year on average and when you mail Presorted Standard (old 3rd Class) this mail is thrown out by the Postal Service unless you pay to get it sent back you.

The value of recovering even 5% of your database is huge, let alone 17% for 1 year or 40% if you haven’t done it yet at all. We have been doing this so long (early adopter) that we have some very specific tools and methods to take it to the next level for you. Database Marketers know the value of the cleanest data possible and you will too.

If you want to maintain response rates from 2-7% you must be on top of your game and NCOA Link® is one of the tools we pros use everyday.

Direct Mailing Innovations and the best Variable Data Printing from CSG Direct Mail get you Better Results Fast. Find out how our newest innovations and decades of proven results make us the direct mailing services partner and variable data specialists you are looking for.

Ak us anything or give us a call at 800-881-2150.