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

Database Marketing – Quick Tips for Database Bliss

Database Marketing starts with a database.  Database tips for our friends in direct mailing marketing.

Here at CSG Direct, we’ve seen every type of “database” you can think of, from mailing labels copied into PDF files to multiple relational SQL monstrosities. We’re always dealing with new challenges and finding new solutions for making your database the powerhouse it can be.

So here are a couple of tips from our data team

Even though Excel is a spreadsheet program, it is one of the most widely used mediums for database storage. I can hear you now, saying, isn’t that the same thing as a database? Well not necessarily… “A spreadsheet is a computer application that simulates a paper accounting worksheet” Excel is designed to quickly handle financial calculations, numbers and formulas. Therefore when using it as a database, there are a few precautions one should take.

1) Sorting: “So let’s see if I’m in the database” you say and quickly highlight the last name column and hit the A-Z button at the top, you see your last name, figure “ok! Good enough” and hit save. This is one of the most common and most destructive mistakes that can be made in Excel. What just occurred is that all your other fields stayed exactly as they were, while the last name field was placed in alphabetical order by itself. Now everyone in the database has the wrong last name.

2) Numbers: Remember that Excel is a spreadsheet! It loves to perform calculations and “properly” format numbers for you. Quick things to keep an eye out for, would be: Account numbers being formatted oddly, east coast zip codes missing their leading zero, cash amount fields having differing decimal places, even phone number fields having math done on them (something like 775-852-9777 turning into -9854)

3) Line breaks: In the final stretch of putting the finishing touches on your Excel database, then you realize this record has a secondary address, so you just place a carriage return and put the secondary address in the same cell below the first. In an Excel Cell its easy to add a line break, the problem is that when exporting a database out of Excel most database programs won’t recognize odd characters within a field and either jumble the record or completely leave it out. When in doubt it’s always better to just add another column.

4) Coding: There have been many great looking spreadsheets out there with colors that dazzle, but remember that when you use cell colors to delineate between multiple tiers of a database, they won’t translate over into real databases. It’s always best to use a separate field and populate it with whatever alpha-numeric signifier you might need! That way when the database is moved out of Excel it’ll still be there!

Until next time… Keep the data flowing to CSG Direct Mail

Variable Maps

Variable Maps for Personalized Direct Mail

old style direct mail map

old style direct mail map

We’ve all placed a static map on a direct mail piece or on a brochure or website to help a prospective client understand where we are and help them find us.  Depending on where we are and how far out we are mailing to we might show great local street detail or just a star on a national map to indicate where we are on the country.

Variable Maps Sample

Variable Maps Sample

 

In this modern age of internet, GPS and live driving directions why not personalize this experience and provide a map for each client that gives very specific turn by turn directions to your facility, branches or event locations?

Direct Mail Maps program

CSG Variable Maps program

At CSG Direct Mail we built our own proprietary programs licensed with MapQuest. We built these systems here at CSG so we can customize these maps in many ways.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS

We produce “licensed for print” MapQuest personalized map images and personalized driving directions for each mail piece.

Personalized driving directions and a physical map on your direct mail makes your offer more actionable and keeps your brand in your clients hand for the entire trip.  These maps add value to the direct mail piece beyond the easy driving directions.

You engage on a personal level that few marketing mediums can reach.

Variable-Maps-Sample

Variable Maps Art Sample

We can also beautify this variable map graphically by sizing them to match other graphics and layering them into other art elements. This sample map art is layered into a dashboard GPS.

Variable Direct Mail maps are rare, leading edge and licensed for print.

 


CSGurl

Our variable mapping is also supported by our url conversion and tracking systems. CSGurl converts lengthy url strings like:  http://www.csgdirectmail.com/blog/index.php/2011/07/personalized-printing/ to a string like: http://csgurl.com/print

This is the easiest way to pass digital driving directions on a direct mail piece.  Direct mail recipients can use smartphones, tablets and desktop computers to see full detailed driving directions and a live map online.

You can also embed the variable CSGurl string into a Quick Response barcode.

Database Artists

The print and mail industries have merged in the last decade creating a lot of “full service” vendors.  However, if you peeled away the layers of marketing you would discover there are really 2 types of vendors in the industry.  There are “printers that mail” and “mailers that print”.  CSG Direct Mail is a “Mailer” at heart and a “printer” second.

We print some amazing projects on some crazy materials at record speed. But we are also building some beautiful databases that drive some amazing projects and recording details from all interactions with a campaign.  We really are database artists.

Putting ink on paper is the easy part. Printers have been doing it for hundreds of years and since we are primarily a digital printer it is a fairly simple task. Printers struggle with the part of the business we like most, database driven everything.  This helps us excel in the difficult world of high tech delivery systems, barcodes, tracking, personalized printing and US Postal Service regulations.

If you’re doing direct mail projects you want a “mailer that prints” like CSG Direct Mail.

DATA DRIVEN

data-driven

data-driven

Being a database driven company keeps us on the bleeding edge of the newest direct marketing systems. That is where the greatest results are coming from and we live and breathe in this category for you.

We make it all seem simple and seamless so you can enjoy better results fast without sweating details.

DATA MINING / ANALYTICS

Are you pulling a list of names that meet a criterion or are you mining your data to find customer patterns and create new categories of customers you can market too?  When you live inside database and do personalized printing you think differently than someone that just pulls mailing lists for a distribution of materials. When you track and record results into data sets you also think differently about what you are looking for inside a database during a marketing campaign.

We help you get better results fast by identifying customer trends.

A great example is a grocery store chain we worked with to identify customer attrition. Using the membership card tracking of 1 store location we identified which customers were increasing their monthly purchases in meat and dairy categories and which customers were reducing their average spending.  By doing this we were able to retain high income by not offering discounts to shoppers increasing spending. We were then able to focus on the only 16,000 people that represented declines in monthly meat and dairy purchases. Those people represented the entire reduced sales of the store and we were able to target relevant coupons and offers to drive increased sales from that group.

DATA APPEND SERVICES

If your database is a flat file with very few details then we need to add some details about your customers to help you customer trends to market with so you can keep costs down and results up. This service is call data-append.

We work with several comprehensive consumer databases that give us hundreds of fields of data we can match to the records in your database. We can find buying habits, age of children, marital status, ethnicity, special interests, credit ratings, type of car driven and so much more.  We use some of the same data sources as homeland security.

Once we append the selected data to your database we mine your top clients to create patterns that we chase through the rest of your data. This helps you identify other top clients.  We could also then build additional marketing data-sets from outside data sources to match your top clients.  Then we use all of these special data fields to drive variable content in your personalized printing campaign.  This is where the term “database artists” comes from.

NATIONAL CHANGE OF ADDRESS

17% of the US population moves every year on average (US Postal Service statistics). So your database is ‘aging” every day and your results are going down every day like a sinking boat. If you don’t keep your database updated with where you customers have moved your results are eventually to just wasted money being thrown in the dumpster.

National Change of Address (NCOA) is a light data-append service that compares your database to the US Postal Service National Change of Address registry.  The US Postal Service stores this information for a maximum 48 months and they now require your list be scrubbed against the NCOA database within 90 days of doing a mailing if you want lower postage rates.

Once your database is cleaned we can help you get it back into your primary data source to save you the headaches and labor cost of intensive data entry.  You need to keep your database up to date but you don’t have to pay a fortune and work long hours to do it.

MAPPING

Once we have your beautiful database built we build maps to display your data for your post forma reporting and historical marketing results binder.  We are also known for our personalized variable direct mail maps and personalized driving directions.

Mapping

Map tools in CSG Direct Mail Portal

Direct Mailing is still the Best Marketing

Direct Mail

At least with CSG Direct is it !!

Even as new forms of direct marketing emerge in this new era, direct mailing is still setting the bar in response, results and accountability in marketing. Most every other media cannot get you out of the most expensive parts of marketing – prospecting. In Fact, most advertising dollars wasted on broad shotgun prospecting.

Direct Mail is very focused on sales and generating revenue.

Experience will tell you that there are 2 levels of marketing.

The first level is the most expensive and that is to find out who is interested in your product or services.  Prospecting or acquisition marketing is where you spend money to broadcast who you are to the public and see who responds with interest in your product or service. This is commonly done with Television, Radio, Newspaper, Billboards, Websites, Yellow pages, Magazine ads, Telemarketing and sure Direct Mail of course too (however it is more direct, personal and accountable in prospecting).

The second level of marketing is what you do with all the customers and prospects that contacted you with any level of interest. This is where all your long-term income is made. You see, once you have a list of people who like what you do you can build long-term relationships with a direct sales approach. This includes direct in-person sales, tele-sales, direct mail and email. (I will save social networking for a later topic – it follows email)

That is the proper order for results too:
1) In-Person sales cost the most and sell the most.
2) Tele-Sales still utilizes personality and relationship but you are easily pushed into voicemail hell.
3) Direct Mail is something they have to see and touch and they can save it and share it with others in the home or office.  They can keep it for later too. Direct mail costs much less than in-person or tele-sales but you can sell a proportionally less amount too.
4) E-mail, currently the lowest form of marketing. Sure, if you have a relationship and are working on projects with a client it is great.  But for sales and marketing it is the easiest to avoid, delete and annoy.

So the main point is that long-term SALES happen in a DIRECT approach not in broadcast prospecting or print ads. So decades of experience say you build a comprehensive database (or many) with as much detail as you can. Then you send very specific offers to very specific people.  You then follow that up in-person, via telephone and personal emails too. IN THAT ORDER FOR BEST SUCCESS!!

Only go back to prospecting when you have maximized your current list of interested customers and prospects.  Why would you go talk to 1000 people that are not interested when you have 100 that are and you haven’t sold them anything yet?

We can help you build a business plan for successful marketing too! Your first step is to contact us or let us give you a direct mail quote to start.

Direct Mail Services now on Facebook

We sure do have a lot of fun friends on Facebook. I bet you didn’t know direct mail could be so fun! Try our fun facebook direct mail quiz and see if YOU know direct mail.

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When you’ve created as much success for your customers as we have, you are bound to enjoy yourself. After creating some of our Countries greatest personalized database marketing, we hang out with our friends on Facebook and share our joy.

Why don’t you join us for a while, you might just learn a few things that help you grow your business and increase your companies sales.  Direct Marketing is.. well.. very DIRECT, so I am asking you to become friends with CSG Direct and bring us all your direct mail questions and projects.

At least with Facebook you get to hang out and get to know us first.

If you would like you can also skip all that fun and get your direct mail quote right now.  But we’d sure like to get to know you better!  The more we know about you and your goals, the more we can provide you the same high level care and support all our best customers have grown their businesses with.

That is the best way to get success with direct mailing companies like CSG Direct, Inc.  You have to get us in the game and put us shoulder to shoulder with the rest of your staff so we can get you the big gains.  It is never best practice to keep us in a corner as an outside vendor only.

Nobody wins by putting direct mail in a corner.  lol

Database Marketing, Direct Mail vs Email

As someone that has been in database marketing for over 2 decades I have had my share of deep experience in both direct mail and email variable data driven forms of direct marketing.

Email is a dying service and is going to go away in it’s current form.

We started by building our own email broadcast and link tracking tools back in the late 90’s.  We were in email marketing from 1995 to 2005 as an add-on to our direct mail services. Back then it was HOT and NEW and everyone wanted in, but so few people knew what they were doing so we enjoyed a decade of great prosperity.

But then in 2005 we got out all together just as a swarm of vendors and competitors were getting in. There was still a lot of money to be made in email after we got out but we recognized the fight those vendors were entering into.

There is a real ugly truth about email marketing that the companys buying the service do not know that definitely hurts them.  When you send even 1 message it has to go through multiple firewalls, mutliple virus scans, multiple email processing rules and multiple spam filters.

If it makes it past all those gatekeepers and lands in your prospects in-box they can tag you as SPAM that very second. That action affects all those same gateways and spam filters for each message that follows it.

Then, 10 minutes later you send an email to your customer to ask them about an order you are working on and your email message gets blocked by their spam filters. All because now you have been recorded as a spamming company. I guess the rule of thumb is if you don’t want to be treated like garbage marketing, don’t put your message next to the garbage in someones inbox.

We saw this coming, it was getting bad years ago and the writing was clearly on the wall. Email results are also at historical record lows too.  Low responses and a technical nightmare are not a recipe for success.

I have been talking about this for months with my peers but I guess I decided to blog about it today because I spent 3 hours removing an email virus from someones computer. What a pain in the ass and an uneccessary use of everyones time. There are so many other ways to communicate that don’t risk your entire it investments.

As someone who manages a firewall, one of the biggest security breaches we deal with on any given day is EMAIL. Email my friends, will not be around in it’s current form and I would not invest any current dollars moving in that direction.  For real electronic success you should chase SEO combined with social media like facebook marketing as well as others growing in popularity.

Then, really get to know your direct mail program. Direct mail is the most courteous of all forms of non-electronic marketing. It is still also the most focused, trackable, adjustable, shareable, savable, copyable, calcuable form of marketing.

But beware, there are spammers in direct mail too.  There are more spam marketers in direct mail than there are true direct mail marketing companys. These vendors will make you look bad and get your message thrown away just like email can be.

Nothing makes me sadder for a company then when I lose a bid by $100 to a printer and that company loses thousand$ in response and the direct mail information that comes with it.  Lowering their prices is the only tool in a printers bag compared to a real direct mail company that offers full service and full results.

Find out where your vendors core focus is. If they are primarily a printer or a print broker, forget about it.  Find database junkies, variable data printing and response pros. That is our niche, that’s where real direct mail lives and breathes. Experienced direct mail people know it and their businesses thrive off their direct mail results.

Real direct mail marketing isn’t broadcast print, it is made up of multiple data sources, multiple data-relevant messages, calls to action, results tracking and offer adjusting based on results.

You don’t get that from a printer, that’s direct mail baby.

Casino Marketing Direct Mail Campaigns

I often have people ask “What is the best Casino Marketing Direct Mail Campaign?”.

There really is no easy secret formula or special tricks for getting the most impact out of a mailing. The best direct mail campaign is simply the one that gets maximum results for the lowest cost. In determining what will work best for each customer, the marketing professional must ascertain what the customer wishes to accomplish, whom the customer wants to communicate with, what the incentive is for the recipient to respond, determining a strong call to action, and producing the project in a cost-effective and efficient manner. It is crucial that the mailer takes advantage of the lowest postage rates available – as postage is often the most expensive aspect of the project.

The next question is: “How do I know I am maximizing my direct marketing efforts?”

This is where the experience pays off. Seasoned marketing professionals will seek out the mail marketers who are innovative, versed on postal rules and regulations, and focused on getting maximum results for their customers. Companies such as CSG Direct are in high demand due to the experience and innovation that they bring to the direct marketing industry.

While many printers and small mail shops may have the ability to put an address on a mail-piece, they do not have the ability to track delivery. They cannot ascertain the “in-home” timelines, analyze the market penetration, or track results in a comprehensive manner. Less experienced mailers do not have strong quality control systems in place, MQC Certified employees, expert data programmers on staff or the systems to expedite the projects efficiently.

This is nearly always followed by: “What type of direct mail piece is most effective?”

Once again: This is determined by the type of results that the customer expects, the type of offer that is being presented, and the demographic that is being pursued. One wouldn’t send a postcard as a high-end wedding invitation….however, they might send a “save-the-date” card prior to sending out the formal invitations.

This is the type of strategy that often increases results. Sometimes a postcard with coupons is the most effective, low cost medium for specific campaigns. Sometimes a personalized letter makes more sense, and can easily be tailored to the individual’s interests or purchasing traits. Self-mailers are often a great alternative, especially if one desires a lot of “real-estate” to get their message across. The type of mail-piece will vary with each project, and should be determined by demographic, content and end strategy.

Marketers should realize that a direct mail campaign is exactly as it sounds: a campaign. A single mailing is not a true campaign. In most cases, it makes more sense to mail to one-third of your top prospects three times than to mail to all of your prospects a single time. Repetition is the key to any campaign. With proper planning and implementation, the cost for a multi-tiered mailing campaign is very reasonable. With a strong offer, proper incentive and an effective call to action…your customers and prospects will react in a positive and timely manner.

In summation: Too often individuals plan, ponder, partially develop and ponder some more about their marketing campaigns. It is a “ready – set – wait” scenario. As the event or promotion draws closer, they are forced to react. At this point the campaign is pushed out late and valuable time is lost. Early planning and implementation will make for a smoother campaign. It is no coincidence that in most cases, the well planned campaigns are the most effective campaigns.

By approaching the objective ahead of time and applying a plan – develop – implement” strategy, your mailings will be received by your potential customers in a much more timely and effective manner. By working with an experienced, competent mail shop – you will have the proper tools to analyze your campaign (and you will sleep better at night).

Effective direct mail marketing….it’s as easy as C-S-G!

US Mail Tracking

It has been over a year now since we designed our first tools for US Mail Tracking using the US Postal Services Confirm Services. The US Postal Service got the ball rolling with the new Intelligent Mail Barcodes and we ran with it to create some of the nations most innovative US Mail Tracking Tools to-date.

Today we launched a website that takes this innovation even further. www.trackdirectmail.com is the launch of what will become the nations most publicly accessible US Mail Tracking tools in the nation.

At Trackdirectmail.com you can demo the live mapping tools that are incorporated into CSG Direct’s Direct Mail Portal for live project tracking. You can also directly track any Live tracking numbers that CSG Direct has assigned for your mailpieces.

Last but not least, We have also launched our 3rd and most impressive US Mail Tracking Widget.

With this US Mail Tracking widget you can have IMB based direct mail tracking embedded into any website in the country. This takes direct mail tracking to the next level.

If you would like US Mail Tracking embedded into your website or if you would like to be one of our additional beta sites just contact me and we can arrange it.

Does Direct Mail Experience Matter?

During difficult economic times, I find that the marketing professionals that I work with are more price-conscious than ever. Budgets are slashed, staff is reduced and expectations on marketing teams are raised. How do you do more with less?

Well, first of all you want to partner with a team that has A LOT of experience in dealing with direct mail marketing. Direct mail is the most targeted and trackable form of advertising. Savvy marketers have learned that having experienced vendors/partners is crucial when budgets are tight.

The anguish of having a budget overrun due to postage upcharges or undeliverable mail is an experience that has destroyed more than one career. One needs to analyze the true value of experience and leadership in their marketing campaigns.

You wouldn’t hire an attorney or surgeon based on price. The end results are just too important. The same philosophy holds true on your marketing – the lifeblood of your company. A vendor who is less than qualified to properly assess, critique (really), analyze, and process your mail probably is not going to save you any money on your overall campaigns.

A Direct Mail specialist, such as you will find at CSG Direct; is trained and versed on postal regulations, design elements, USPS rules and regulation changes, and targeted marketing strategies. Our staff of fully certified USPS MQC (Mailpiece Quality Control) specialists often find design elements, size constraints or data problems that would get past the most experienced of mail shops.

We also offer creative solutions to save our customers money on production and postage rates, which sometimes makes an individual project less profitable for us… but we are here as a partner, for the long haul. Your projects deserve the experience and expertise that comes from seasoned mail professionals.

Let your competitors work with the inexperienced, fly by night companies while you shop for a company that makes you shine.

You will look better for two reasons:

#1) Your campaigns are effective because you found the true value of experience and expertise. The mailings are dropped in an efficient and timely manner to the intended recipients. You can track your mail through the mail stream (a CSG Direct exclusive) to identify when your target markets are receiving their mailings. You have confidence that your projects stay within budget, and are offered the tools to fully justify the mailing.

#2) You sleep well at night because you know you are working with detail oriented partners who care about your success and are certified in every avenue as meticulous professionals.

The next time you plan a mailing campaign, take a moment to reflect on who you are working with. Are you getting true value?

Are you comfortable with the experience level of your direct mail partner? Are you taking advantage of all of the benefits of a great response and postal discounts that are available?

Either way, get a quote from us so you can compare your vendors to the benchmark in direct mail. You deserve a good nights sleep!