The Truth About EDDM (“Every Door Direct Mail”)

Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) is a massive effort by the USPS to rebrand a level of mail that has been around forever and was commonly referred to by experts in the direct mail industry as “Simplified Mail”.

There are no new special postage discounts or rates relating to EDDM that were not available prior to the USPS’s big marketing push.

There are no new special postage discounts or rates relating to EDDM that were not available prior to the USPS’s big marketing push.

EDDM is old wine in a new bottle.

But that doesn’t mean it’s bad wine.

For some businesses, it’s good.

“For others, not so much. “

Let’s get into it.

What EDDM Is Not
To start with, it isn’t the case that EDDM means you can simply have 5,000 brochures (or some other quantity) printed and brought to the USPS so they can deliver them to area residences.

Uh-uh.

The USPS has very strict standards of how that brochure mailing needs to be prepared and there is specific paperwork that needs to accompany the mailing campaign.

That’s why if you read the small print on the USPS literature or website they advise you to contact a printer or mailing service for help.

The rate they are touting is simply their lowest rate to mail what they classify as a “Flat” which is a direct mail piece larger than 6 1/8 in height or 11 1/2 in length and is mailed to every address within a carrier route.

Also, the mailing campaign needs to be entered at that post office for those zip codes the mailing pieces are going to.

It’s terrific that the USPS is finally making local area businesspeople aware of how economical it is to use direct mail to promote sales and how effective mailing to prospects can be.

If you go to the USPS website there is all kinds of useful data about how direct mail actually outperforms other direct marketing venues like email or print.

In fact, they have real demographics of who is likely to open and respond to a mail piece on YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2d1ZJcEnZ64.

Our friends at the post office have made EDDM appear easy enough.

They have a very cool tool that allows you to look up all the carrier routes in a zip code to help you locate your geographical location of interest and determine how many addresses there are for you to mail to.

They even have tools to help you design a mailing piece. They provide a listing of service providers who can print the brochures or cards and enter them into the local postal office and take care of all the mandatory preparation and paperwork.

But you do not need to use one of their approved vendors.

All mailing services that have USPS postal permits are approved. They just didn’t sign up to be on the USPS website.

In fact, you will want to find a mailing service or printer whose business is located near the area you are planning to mail to.

For instance, if you go online and find a printer in New York and you have a mailing campaign going into Chicago that New York provider will need to ship your campaign to Chicago in order to get that low postage rate. The service charges found online from companies to print and mail a brochure range between .30 to .90 cents per mailer (plus 14.5 per piece for postage) depending on the size of the mailing piece and quantity you want to mail. You can also use your own printer to print a brochure and probably save money. Then all you need to do is have that printer deliver your brochures and a mailing service. That may be the most economical way to get your campaign in the hands of prospects. If you do not know any mailing services, ask your printer as these types of services usually partner up.

So is using EDDM mail better or more cost effective than the direct mail you are use to seeing in your mailbox everyday? Yes and no. The biggest difference is that with EDDM the mail piece will not have a name or address as it will wind up in every mail box within your chosen geographical area.  Therefore, you save the cost of that list which ranges from .02 to .04 cents per name but, you loose all of the household demographics of the folks that live in that house. That may or may not make a difference if you own a dry cleaner, as it would make sense that everyone in your neighborhood is a potential customer.  But, what if you owned a day camp or a beauty salon. Before you spend let’s say .75 to 1.00 per mailer you would want to know if there are children or women residing at that address.  Also most folks like to see their name on a brochure, because it’s more engaging and personal. Without a name, it may loose appeal. Years ago the whole direct marketing industry changed it’s way from the shotgun approach of mailing to everybody to “target marketing” and if you visit the YouTube video above, the USPS talks about these valuable demographics.

Another difference is the mailing piece you print must be larger than 6 1/8 in height or 11 ¼ in length. This is because the USPS does not allow smaller size mail to be entered at a local post office. Entering mail yourself at those local post offices eliminates processing the mail at the large bulk mail processing centers (BMEU) and those large postal trucks you see going from post office to post office. Thus, less cost for them, lower postage cost to you.  The issue with printing on larger formats such as 8 ½ x 11 versus a post card is the cost of printing. You may be paying 50%-65% more for these larger formats and its pretty well known that your mail piece only has a couple of seconds to engage a recipient. Large mailing pieces that require too much content may be a turn off readers.

At the end of the day, for certain businesses, EDDM may make sense. But the ROI may suffer.  The best advise is to talk with a company that specializes in all types of direct mail and explore all your options. You may want to use a service that not only prints and mails but also has an affordable design team that can help you create a compelling mailing piece that will ensure success.