What to Expect with a Best-in-Class Direct Mail Provider

Do you already have a direct mail provider? Have you been working with the same company for years and think, “Things are going just fine, why make a change?” If you are happy with your current provider, great! But it’s always worth asking the question, “What else could I be getting? Am I leaving opportunities on the table?”

Whether you’ve been in direct mail for years or you’re just getting started, here are five things you should expect from your direct mail provider, even if you’ve been working with them for years.

1. Lowest possible postage. Most direct mail houses help you get discounts on your mail, but not every direct mail house is certified to get the lowest possible discounts based on volume, drop-shipping, and mail design. That’s where a “best in class” provider comes in. Best-in-class providers can offer all discounts for which you qualify and have the knowledge, technology, and experience to help you capitalize on them.

2. Expert mail consultation and design. Saving money also means avoiding unnecessary costs. Best-in-class mail providers look for problems that might delay your mail or result in unexpected surcharges. For example, is the indicia placed correctly? Are the folds placed so that the return address falls into the correct place, and the piece is considered machinable by the USPS? We can’t count the number of times we’ve helped clients save thousands of dollars by identifying out-of-compliance designs or tweaking details before the piece goes into the mail.

Note: You might be mailing non-compliant pieces and not even know it. Even if you have been sending non-compliant mail pieces until now, that doesn’t mean that someone at the post office won’t suddenly decide to be a stickler tomorrow!

3. Sophisticated data management. Best-in-class direct mail providers can help you save money by managing your mailing list to remove duplicates, stay up to date with address changes, and fix noncompliance issues. They offer mail tracking so that you know where your mail is in the postal stream and the exact day each piece hits.

4. Electronic Returned/Undeliverable Mail. Regardless of how clean your mailing data is (or isn’t), some percentage of the direct mail you send will be Undeliverable as Addressed (UAA). This could be for a variety of reasons – the recipient may have moved and not filed a change of address; the PO Box may have been closed; the recipient may be deceased; the house, apartment or office could be vacant; etc. ACS (Address Change Service) enables undeliverable and forwarded mail notifications to be sent electronically, rather than via physically returned pieces – even for Standard Class mail! Used in conjunction with Franklin’s FREE FranklinForward ACS system, all of the undeliverable and forwarded mail information that would have cost you money to receive physically is available to download in an easy-to-use format via our web-based client portal.

5. Detailed tracking and reporting. The more tracking and reporting data you have, the more you can plan your timing around other aspects of the campaign. For example, once delivery of your mail has been confirmed, your salespeople can start making calls immediately. You can also time follow-up emails and reminders (Franklin can set up Triggered Email blasts for you, based on piece-level delivery information from mail tracking!), and if you know that mail takes longer in specific ZIP Codes, you can optimize your mail drops to ensure that you hit your target windows. You can even schedule complimentary channels, such as radio advertising, to begin the desired number of days after your mail is in-home.

Working with a best-in-class direct mail provider is more than making sure your mail is delivered on time. It means working with someone with in-depth knowledge of the postal regulations and with deep data, mail design, and consultation expertise who can get you the best results.

Does your mail house do all that? If not, let’s talk.

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