What are direct mail services?
Direct mail services encompass the design, coordination, printing, distribution and tracking of marketing and promotional materials to targeted postal recipients to achieve marketing and sales goals based on data-driven metrics. Like anything else, it can seem complex and even overwhelming, at the beginning. The following is a helpful rundown of the direct mail marketing process, including what it entails, and what to look for in a provider.
Direct mail services can be organized into four main categories: pre-mailing, printing, distribution, and post-mailing support. Furthermore, core components include: design, database management, printing & imaging, and mailing & fulfillment. Here's a useful breakdown of these key aspects:
"Design services encompass it all, from the conceptualization of the art and mailer to the creation of the proof, formatting, color specifications, and even printing accuracy."
The look, style, and aesthetic appeal of a direct mail campaign can go a very long way. The perfect pieces will attract recipients' eyes, catch their attention, and convey its message with absolute precision. Consequently, developing and executing the ideal design is critical, and can make or break the campaign's effectiveness. Design not only includes the artwork, colors and layout of mail pieces, but everything from the font size of lettering to even the exact scale, dimensions and measurements of each individual mailer. Typically, all direct mail campaigns start off with a proof/master stencil outlining all these facets, which also serves as a guiding template. Thus, design services encompass it all, from the conceptualization of the art and mailer to the creation of the proof, formatting, color specifications, and even printing accuracy.
Foundational to all direct mail campaigns is the mailing list—a compilation of contacts primarily including the names, viable addresses, and sometimes phone numbers as well as a variety of data points of intended recipients. Regarded as a database, uploading this information into a spreadsheet or specialized computer program can help organize, update, modify, search, and otherwise customize these contacts to maximize the accuracy and effectiveness of direct mail campaigns. Ensuring the mailing list is as up-to-date and correct as possible is critical to success, often measured in response rates which directly correlates to the return on investment of the mailing. Database management services can improve, curate and enhance such lists, and consequently, positively impact corresponding campaigns. A high-quality direct mail services provider, such as Design Distributors, will offer a wide range of data processing services and utilize the National Change of Address (NCOA) database, Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) Certification program, and NIXIE Report, among others.
Printing & Imaging
"Whether a postcard, flyer, catalog, brochure, newsletter, or even poster, aligning the proper content with the most effective mailing can amplify a campaign and boost responses."
Ensuring the messaging and artwork of a direct mail campaign is expertly printed onto the stock, grade and medium most likely to attract and convert recipients into customers, and even evangelists, of the products or services at the center of your efforts is another factor paramount to overall success. Whether a postcard, flyer, catalog, brochure, newsletter, or even poster, aligning the proper content with the most effective mailing can amplify a campaign and boost responses. Two popular printing processes are digital and offset. A direct mail provider offering both will help guarantee success, no matter the size or scale of your initiatives. Design Distributors, for example, enlists an array of web and sheet-fed presses to print customizable mailers limited only by your imagination, among these: the HP PageWide Web Press T240 HD, Ricoh color digital systems, six-color Mitsubishi, and eight- or 10-color Muller Martini Variable Press.
Mailing & Fulfillment
It's critically important your direct mail campaign reaches its intended targets on time and on budget, with the design and print work you envisioned. To get there requires seamless postal services with a proven track record of expediency and accuracy. From strategizing optimal postage rates and assembling and verifying addresses to helping determine the best carrier and mailing method, Design Distributors ensures every mailer hits its mark, each and every time. Computer-verified, match-mailing and address verification services, a lettershop specializing in test to large-volume rollouts, and a vast spectrum of packaging, bindery, and fulfillment services—Design Distributors has it all!
Post-Mailing Customer Support
"The timing of your in home dates will allow maximum accuracy in planning follow up communications such as email, and telemarketing"
You want to know your direct mail pieces are being shipped to their intended recipients. No better way to do so than to check their status, each step along the way. So, once your mail pieces have been shipped, it is time to track them and measure results. This vital feedback will inform your next campaign, guide modifications to fine-tune the process, and maximize efficiencies and results. Also the timing of your in home dates will allow maximum accuracy in planning follow up communications such as email, and telemarketing. Design Distributors specializes in collecting and compiling these all-important analytics to help you achieve success, through IMB Mail-TraX services, which utilize machine-readable intelligent mail barcodes (IMB). Among other benefits, this reports the sender, delivery point, serial number, time, date, along with other valuable information, such as real-time last scan locations and other details as mail pieces are moved by the U.S. Postal Service.