Frequently Asked Questions
PDM has listed some of the most commonly asked questions regarding direct mail marketing. PDM also includes answers to your questions in our quarterly newsletter - PDM Passport - in the "Ask the Expert" section.
If you have a question, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Why Direct Mail?
Direct mail is the most powerful advertising medium available, returning on average $13 in sales for every $1 invested (DMA). There are several reasons for these results:
Reach: The penetration of PCs in the home is now about 50% of households. Approximately 80% of these households access the Internet on a regular basis - less than 20% frequently. In addition, the average Internet user has 2.2 mailboxes. Targeting the right mailbox and avoiding automated Spam eradicating software makes hitting your mark even more challenging. On the other hand postal direct mail can reach every household and business in America and beyond.
Demographics: The demographics for mediums like email are not well developed. Most of the information is gathered voluntarily and the majority is not verified. Other mass-market mediums like television and print advertising represent a shot gun approach to marketing. Conversely, the demographics for direct mail lists are very well developed. In fact, you can tell a tremendous amount about the socio-economic status and buying habits of a direct mail recipient just based on their zip code.
Customer Acceptance: Several research studies have confirmed that if consumers have to receive advertising they prefer to receive direct mail. Direct mail is not only an accepted part of American culture, but those who receive it also feel in control - they decide whether to read it or not and when.
Legal Considerations: Over half the households in American are now listed on the Do Not Call Registry. New laws in the United States prohibit Spam (unsolicited email) - it is also universally despised. Soon to be enforced FCC regulations will make it illegal to send Fax advertising to a recipient without their signed permission. Direct Mail remains a legal and effective way to reach prospective customers.
How Can I Save Money on Postage by Using Direct Mailing Service?
There are a number of different ways to save money on postage. PDM will assess your project, and determine the best mailing method to suit your needs. In addition, by making certain your mailers are in compliance with postal regulations, you can qualify for discount rates that can potentially save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
What is the minimum amount of pieces that I can mail and qualify for a Presort Standard Mailing?
All you need is 200 pieces or 50 pounds for Standard Mail.
I cannot locate the rates for Non-Profit Presorted First Class mail.
That is because there are no discounted rates for non-profit groups for First Class; it is only available for standard mail.
Does the size of the mail piece matter?
Absolutely! The Post Office has established many categories according to size and thickness of mail pieces. The following types are the most common; however you can mail many other sizes as well.
Postcards - 4.25 x 6 maximum
Letters - 6.125 x 11.5
Flats - Over 6.125 x 11.5
I want to send a letter, coupon and a business reply envelope for the cheapest rate, which is Presort Standard, correct?
Yes, Presort Standard is the lowest rate assuming your outer envelope is automation compatible as well as all the response vehicles enclosed. You must have FIM Bars and a Barcode preprinted on you BRE or BRC to mail at the lowest presort rate.
I was told that if I mail Presort Standard, my mail would not be forwarded to the new address, as it would be with First Class mail.
That is correct. However, PDM can correct all of the names in your file that have moved in the last three years. This updating process is known as NCOA or National Change of Address and is an invaluable tool used by PDM.
What is CASS Certification?
One of the post office current goals is to clean up all addresses in the United States. This standardization will ultimately result in more accuracy and faster delivery of all mail through the system.
Technically speaking, the Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) was designed to check the integrity of addresses. CASS is not concerned with the specific people who live at these addresses, just the correctness of the delivery address. When an address passes through the CASS process, it is verified against a national database containing every delivery address in the United States.
The address is matched, then cleaned if necessary and four digits are appended to the end of the five-digit zip code. Two extra digits are added to a separate field created in the database in order to prepare a barcode for automation mail discounts.
With automation, you get faster delivery of the mail at considerably lower postage rates. The CASS certification is mandatory to take advantage of barcode discounts offered by the USPS.
What Kind of Envelope Should I Use with Large Volume Mailings?
While many businesses and organizations spend a great deal of time creating the perfect letter to include in their large volume mailings, many don't even consider the type of envelope that will be used with these mailings. Yet, selecting the right type of envelope is one of the most important decisions you will make when planning for large volume mailings, as the type of envelope you use will have a direct effect on your bulk mail rates. In addition, selecting the right type of envelope and creating an attractive envelope design will help encourage the recipient to open your letter and read more.
What is the difference between bulk mail and first class mail?
Bulk mail is now called Presort Standard mail. It has a lower priority in delivery and some addressed will be declared UAA (Undeliverable As Addressed). First-class Mail(FCM) will always have an attempt to deliver made. Critical mail should use FCM, where marketing mail would be suitable for Standard. Individual situations may vary that, and we suggest consulting with PDM beforehand.