Sean Griffin is the President and Owner of Cornerstone Services Inc. a mail house located in New Paltz, NY. Tel: (845) 255-5722 ex. 100 EMail: firstname.lastname@example.org
As many of you know by now, the USPS’s well-established Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) service grants direct postal customers significant postage discounts to send flat-sized cards to nearly every address in a specific geographic area. It’s been 5 years now since the product was launched, so it’s worth checking in for an update.
From its initial launch in 2011, the website (www.uspseverydoor.com) has gotten better with age. It has a friendlier UI, fewer crashes and a more intuitive sign-up wizard. A quick review of the benefits real the obvious continued attraction and adoption:
· A costly USPS bulk mail permit is still not necessary. EDDM was, and is, “retail” product established primarily for consumer and small business postal customers.
· Simplified Address = no addressing for the designer. You don’t have to buy correct names and addresses or pay to have that information affixed to each piece of mail. Just by pre-printing the words “Postal Customer” on the right side of the piece and having the pre-printed Retail permit indicia (http://crst.net/images/
· Postage rates went down this 2016 year — a rare event — reverting per piece costs back to a prior rate of 17.6 cents per card.
· Although you are strongly encouraged to register on-line, establishing a USPS account prior to mailing, post offices won’t turn you away with hand-written forms, found on the web at https://about.usps.com/forms/
· Although the USPS does not guarantee mail delivery (yes you read that right), we have yet to find a post office that sat on an EDDM presentment for more than 1 – 2 days. For most post offices, there is no reason why EDDM mailings need to sit around the post office, and so, they don’t.
· You can pay both on-line and in person with a credit card, a great boon for small businesses.
Although you may not target specific recipients by name, you can choose to mail only to residential addresses, or include businesses for a full saturation. You may further select recipients by ZIP code, by carrier route, or even by PO Boxes only to test response rates.
It is important to know what is entailed by a “saturation” mailing approach. Here are some important points to consider:
· The cons of saturation: EDDM mostly does mean every door which is both OK and perhaps not OK. While there is a manual option to suppress select addresses from receiving your cards, there is an unintelligent, one-size-fits-all quality to EDDM. Yes, you can review additional carrier route (street route) macro-level and amortized statistics such as estimated household income, age range percentages and people-per-home counts.
However, the carrier routes themselves for delivery often defy logic and look more like gerrymandered than consciously conceived. In other words, if you are trying to hit a specific neighborhood, USPS carrier routes (city routes and rural routes) often go in and out of (said) prime neighborhoods, diluting the value of targeting in target marketing.
[Note: at Cornerstone, we don’t even consider EDDM target marketing nor view it by its namesake, “direct mail”; rather, we feel it is more akin to “indirect mail” to coin a phrase. This again may all be fine as long as you use it with eyes wide open.]
· The EDDM site upgrade is now tablet friendly (a 2015 enhancement) for iPad, Kindle and Android platforms. However, you still need to log on and set up an account to use the mapping tool.
· More post offices are increasingly familiar with EDDM and more helpful than 5 years ago in accepting mailing presentments. In comparison in acceptance for traditional presorted bulk mail (commercial and non-profit) presentments, local postmasters seem more forgiving when accepting EDDM mailings.
· Still no EDDM Retail Non-Profit rates. This means that you can’t use EDDM Retail for 501(c)(3) Non-Profits. However, Cornerstone assists not-for-profit organizations with saturation non-profit rate presentments, getting postage rates EDDM qualifying pieces down to 7.9 cents postage per piece. To get these postage rates, simply send an email email@example.com or call (845) 255-5722 ex. 101.
SUMMARY / ASSESSMENT
Five years out, we continue to see EDDM as a viable tool, but mostly for small businesses and rarely for non-profits (given cheaper, better options). Some of the commercial EDDM customers through our offices have been landscapers, contractors (e.g. HVAC/handyman/plumbing), pet grooming, restaurants, dentists, accountants, flea markets, farmers markets, craft fairs, garden centers and hardware stores. The occasional non-profits include churches and museums, although we have largely steered those groups toward other options.
The best responses people have gotten have been from our unusual shapes, styles and and simple but great designs. Remember – you have less than 2 – 3 seconds to grab someone’s attention – make it count.
Sean Griffin, CMDSM/MDP