In an effort to stimulate direct mail marketing activities and generate revenue from postage on direct mail postcard campaigns, the USPS has been rolling out various programs targeted at small business owners and DIY marketers. An article in the October 2011 issue of Deliver magazine features their latest service offering called Every Door Direct Mail. It’s described as a “simplified mailing process” or an easy way for businesses to target prospects in specific geographic areas, even if they don’t have a list of names and addresses at their disposal.
To a small business owner strapped for time and unfamiliar with direct mail marketing execution, this program sounds like a dream. Unfortunately, the given summary of the program is grossly oversimplified and fails to mention huge flaws.
For starters, small business owners and marketers willing to try the Every Door Direct Mail program will need to make sure their running shoes are tied on securely—because they’ll have to make several trips to their local Post Office. Rather than the four–step process advertised by the program’s description, marketers will have to do a lot to get mail out the door and into local mailboxes.
Step–by–Step Process for Sending Mail via Every Door Direct Mail Program:
- Apply for a Mailing Permit by downloading a form, completing it, and taking it to your local Post Office for processing
- Go online and identify a geographic area to which you’d like to send direct mail (I hope you’re familiar with postal routes… because you’ll be presented with a text list of routes to choose from.)
- Print, then complete, three different lengthy forms to take to the Post Office
- Print another form, the Every Door Direct Mail Facing Slip
- Find a marketing agency, mail service provider, or local printer to help you create a mailpiece
- Print your direct mail postcards and them take them, along with all the above mentioned forms, to your local Post Office for processing
The program doesn’t offer any demographic targeting or allow marketers to fine tune distribution areas. In the end, marketers get zero visibility into who will receive mail pieces. Every Door Direct Mail is just another complex and lengthy process built on top of a legacy system known for its inefficiency.
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So, what other direct mail postcard marketing options are available for businesses? One of the truly quick and simple tools for launching a targeted local postcard marketing campaign is called MapMail®. Within minutes, MapMail users are able to create a direct mail piece, target prospects based on demographics, draw on a map to identify a specific mailing area, and mail postcards—all from the convenience of their computer and without having to visit their local Post Office.
MapMail: Easy List–Building for Targeted Postcard Marketing
No doubt, direct mail is an important part of the small business owner’s local marketing mix. It can be easy and painless to organize. Just find the tools that streamline the process for you, not complicate them.