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Remember when our mailboxes were full of junk mail and we only got a few emails a day? The tables have turned. Email boxes now overflow with incoming messages and our mailboxes are typically barren. Businesses that want to garner attention of consumers can take advantage of this with the Every Door Direct Mail ® (EDDM) program from the US Post Office.
The EDDM mailing service allows businesses to choose specific neighborhoods by geographic and demographic criteria and mail to every home in that neighborhood for very low postage rates. Mail is delivered to a full carrier route and you can choose several routes or just one depending on your needs.
The EDDM service works best for local businesses targeting consumers in a small area around their location. Restaurants,mechanics, fitness centers and other types of businesses that attract customers who live nearby are good candidates to mail to all the houses in their neighborhood affordably.
An an example, a golf club decides to offer weekend brunch during the winter to boost business in the clubhouse restaurant during their slow season. Nearby homeowners are a natural target market. An EDDM mailing could reach all the homes surrounding their golf club without the need to buy a mailing list or doing a promotion to capture names and addresses first.
Here’s how to do an EDDM mailing step by step:
Go to www.usps.com. Select Business in the top navigation and then Every Door Direct Mail in the pull down menu.
Type in a zip code or an address in a neighborhood you want to reach. An interactive map will display and you can click on carrier routes. By seeing the routes turn blue you can select where you want your mailing piece to go. It’s really easy - as the routes turn blue you can see on the sidebar how many homes you are reaching and your postage price.
You cannot mail to more than 5,000 homes in one mailing using EDDM. If you are targeting consumers and not other businesses you will want to use the pull down menu on the top of the map to select Residential Only addresses.
A quick note about the demographic information you can see in this pull down menu. You cannot use it to select specific homes to mail to within the carrier route. It is only to let you know the overall demographics of the carrier route.
Once you have selected the neighborhoods you will be mailing to and chosen what day you will drop off the mailing to the post office, click Continue and pay for your postage online. This is a huge time saver later at the post office.
After you pay you will see a semi-complicated listing of each of the various forms you need to print. Read through this information but skip down on the page until you find the “Print all forms” button. Use this to print everything with one click.
You will have a Post Office Locations and Drop Information page that tells you what post office you need to take your mailing to when you are ready to mail. Set that aside for later, you don’t need to do anything with it except use it to get to the right post office.
There is a form on which you need to fill out a few pieces of information such as how many bundles you have and how many pieces are in each bundle. You need to sign this form and take it with you to the post office to drop off the mailing. It is your proof of payment.
You will also have a table that shows how many mailing pieces you have per carrier route selected. You will use this form to determine your bundles and also need to take this to the post office. To figure your bundles divide the number of homes in a carrier route by 75. For example, 473 will make 6 bundles - five with 75 mailing pieces in it and the last one with 98. (5 x 75 = 375 + 98 = 473)
When you get your mailing piece printed be sure to have the printer rubber band them into bundles of 75. You need to put a Facing Slip on top of each bundle inside the rubber band. When you print the forms you will have one of these forms and a few spots you need to fill in information with a big black marker.
On the Facing Slip write in the date of the mailing and how many bundles there are (in this example it is 6). Now make one copy of the form. On just that first copy write 98 in the number of pieces and note that it is form 6 of 6. Now make four more copies of the semi-filled in form. Write 75 in the number of pieces in the bundle and number the forms 1 through 5 of 6.
Fold each of the Facing Slips with that part you just wrote on facing up and place one sheet in the front of each bundle inside the rubber band.
Take all of your bundles to the post office as indicated in a box that you don’t mind leaving there. This is part of why it costs less. You’re essentially doing the first part of the delivery for the post office. Pay attention to the Post Office Locations page to make sure all your bundles go to one post office. If you have done a big mailing it is likely you will have to go to more than one post office.
Specifics of an EDDM Mailing Piece:
It critical to know that there are very specific requirements about the size and shape of the mailing piece that can be sent via EDDM. Details can be found in the Every Door Direct Mail Quick Reference Guide. Two sizes (6 1/2 x 11 and 8 1/2 x 11) are popular because they are common printing sizes that are typically affordable to print.
You also need to print specific information on the mailing panel for the post office. You can see all about the mailing indicia in the Quick Reference Guide as well. You will use the Retail Indicia Example for mailings like the one described in this article.
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