Direct mail costs may seem daunting compared to online and email marketing program budgets. Yet direct mail continues to be much more effective at reaching and converting potential customers or donors. In 2015, the DMA Response Rate Report found that direct mail to a prospect list achieved a response rate of 1.0%, 10 times higher than the response rate to email campaigns. And the direct mail response rate to a house list was even higher, at 3.7%.
It’s a tried-and-true sales tactic: when you get a product in someone’s hands, they are much more likely to buy. Direct mail brings your organization straight into prospect and donor homes with a physical, tactile presence. There’s no comparison between the 70% to 80% of recipients who open their mail and the abysmal open rate of email marketing.
While it’s true that direct mail is a substantial investment, there are many ways you can reduce your direct mail costs. Here are a few to consider:
- Design a cost-effective piece. Your direct mail costs will increase significantly if you’re designing and mailing a piece with odd shapes and sizes or expensive stocks and finishes. Be sure to keep postal regulations and insertion clearances in mind.
- Research printers specializing in your campaign’s production type. Once you’ve compiled a solid list of four to eight printers who specialize in your type of printing, request bids from each. Carefully review each bid to check for differences in paper quality, postage charges, spoilage, or set up fees – the lowest bid isn’t always the best deal.
- De-duplicate mailing lists and verify addresses. Poorly managed mailing lists quickly drive up direct mail costs due to multiple or undeliverable mailings.
- Use postal logistics to slash direct mail costs and increase productivity. Participating in the USPS’ work-share program can provide substantial postage discounts. Commingling and drop shipping are extremely effective savings vehicles. And you can participate in commingling even if your project isn’t large enough to meet drop shipping delivery minimums. Commingled mail provides large volume discounts and expedited mail delivery, and our sister company even provides complimentary mail tracking!
- Employ annual planning strategies. Think ahead and determine potential gang printing and contract pricing opportunities. We recently found that clients using annual planning should expect to save 10% on print production costs, and mail shop charges should drop too.
For more detailed strategies for significantly reducing your direct mail costs, download our free eBook “Cutting Your Direct Mail Production Costs to the Bone” or call us at (410) 290-0667. With 20 years of comprehensive production management experience serving agencies and nonprofit organizations, we have the passion and capability to make your cause our effect.
Expert direct mail production management that saves you time and money —
you’re going to love working with PMG Direct!