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The USPS and Direct Mail

Date: August, 2010 --

Over the last several months we have discussed some services of other postal systems and their capabilities. Why not the USPS? 

The USPS is forced by the nature of the regulatory environment (that is to say Congressmen, who are vigilant about the USPS competing with any constituent) to be very cautious in the kinds of services it provides. It simply can’t do what theBelgian Post does. Nevertheless it does have some direct mail services and information and a very robust resource for explaining and providing choices with respect to mailing domestically and internationally.

At www.usps.com/directmail it provides good information about what direct mail is, why it's good to use, and how to plan the construction, creation and mailing of the campaign. While much of this material might seem fairly introductory, it could well be useful in explaining direct mail to someone, like a new client or boss, who is new to this area. 

If you are having difficulty explaining why you are using direct mail rather than e-mail, the section titled Benefits of Direct Mail gives you all your arguments:

  • 98% of consumers bring in their mail on the day it is delivered.
  • 77% of consumers sort through their mail immediately on receiving it.
  • 55% of consumers "look forward" to discovering the mail they receive.
And of course the litany of benefits which you know intimately:
  • From letters to postcards to brochures, it is flexible and can be inexpensive and simple to format and create.
  • It's tangible, putting your message in a customer's hand to encourage interaction, which can be reinforced by involvement elements such as stickers and coupons.
  • You can track the success of your campaign because it is all measurable.

Second, the site also helps plan approaches to copy and offer. Nail down the big picture and work from there to make your offer as compelling as possible.

Third, the site guides you through making and articulating a compelling offer, determining your budget and finding your audience. Some of the recommendations on the last step, finding your audience, are often overlooked.

Where do you begin “to find your customers”? By talking to current customers and getting to know them. Do a simple survey to learn about their tastes, pay attention to characteristics such as age and income, and look at sales records showing who bought what and when? So often we forget to do the important “little” things like saying, “Thank you” to good customers without asking for anything in return. 

Also, when it comes to getting your mail into the mail stream, there is a clear explanation of the various Intelligent Mail products and services available to assist you with your mailing. See www.usps.com/business/intelligentmail for more. And not quite the last but certainly extremely important, all of the prices for all of the products are available at http://www.usps.com/prices.

Make sure you talk to your Data Services, Inc. representative to maximize the efficiency of your next direct mail program to the US with services includingAddress HygieneMerge/PurgeNCOAPostal Presorting, and much more.