Wednesday, January 27, 2016

How To Make A Solid First Impression

Guess what? That big networking event you’ve been gearing up for is right around the corner! All your favorite movers,
shakers, influencers and gurus are going to be there. What will you wear? What will you say? And, most importantly, how will you make a solid first impression? All valid questions to ask yourself before the big day, but the key most important question is the last — ‘how will you make a solid first impression?’ Having a quality, well designed business card is a great place to start. This is the one thing that people will physically take away from you, and if it’s a card that really stands out, it can be an awesome conversation starter as well.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Maximizing Your Marketing in 2016

In an effort to help businesses reach new prospects, the United States Postal Service (USPS) launched the Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) program in March 2011, and it has grown steadily year after year. The EDDM program allows businesses to focus on specific neighborhoods as a way to expand their customer base. Statistics show that on average, consumers spend 85% of their disposable income within five miles of their homes — which means your best customers may be very nearby.

The EDDM program’s primary benefit for businesses is allowing them to send informational or promotional mail-pieces to every address on a particular carrier route without having to address each piece. This means you don’t have to buy a mailing list. And the best part is that the postage is only 16 - 18 cents each. It is the lowest postage rate option available.

How it Works

The Every Door Direct Mail program, or EDDM, is designed to allow your business to reach every home on any given carrier route anywhere in the United States. You simply select the neighborhoods you want to target, and a USPS letter carrier delivers your mail-piece with the day’s mail. It is not necessary to know the names or street addresses.

A mailing with these characteristics is very efficient for the USPS to process bypassing several steps within the postal service by going straight to the individual letter carrier. As a result, the USPS assigns a very low postage rate to these mailings and they’re delivered as fast as first class mail.

Benefits of EDDM

Here are several benefits of EDDM for business owners.

  • No mail list is required. This saves the cost of acquiring a mail list, the cost of addressing the mail piece, and the cost of maintaining the mail list.
     
  • Small mailings can be quickly produced. Most city carrier routes are 400-600 addresses. By eliminating the time to gather a mail list and address the mail piece, and with Creative Characters digitally printing the mail piece, a small mailing can be in the hands of prospective customers in just a few days.
     
  • No postage permit is required. Most discounted postage rates require a permit. For EDDM, the USPS waives this requirement.
     
  • The mailing panel can be very small. Because the mail piece does not go through normal mail processing, there are few requirements for the location and size of the area containing the return address, indicia, and outbound address.
     
  • The mailing can be directed to residents only or residents and businesses. Even though a carrier route or zip code may have a mix of residents and businesses, you can exclude the businesses and only send mail to residents. However, EDDM cannot be used for business only mailings.


Size of EDDM Mail Pieces

It’s important to note that all the eligible sizes for EDDM mail pieces are what the USPS defines as “Flats” and larger than what they define as “Letters”. This means that some sizes that are typically used for direct mail like 4” x 6” postcards or 4” x 9” brochures do not qualify for the EDDM program.

In order to check the size eligibility of a mail-piece you would like to use, contact our EDDM expert – Marya Kaye, 215-923-2679 or Marya@creativecharacters.com.

Some popular EDDM eligible sizes are:
  • 4.25” x 11”
  • 6.5” x 9”
  • 6.5” x 12”
  • 8” x 10"
  • 8.5” x 11”
  • 9” x 12”
     
The EDDM flat mail requirement opens up a lot of very interesting size possibilities for the direct mail-piece that will:
  • Make it stand out from the rest of the mail
  • Provide more room for the advertising message, and
  • Be cost-effective to print
     

Uses for EDDM

The USPS designed EDDM for small to medium size businesses that don’t use direct mail marketing due to cost. By eliminating the need for a mail list, simplifying mail preparation – EDDM is an affordable marketing tool. It is especially effective for local businesses whose customers and prospects come from the area near the business.

Here are a few kinds of businesses most likely to benefit from EDDM:
  • Civic and Community Associations
  • Restaurants
  • Dry cleaners, Salons, and Barber Shops
  • Automotive Service and Repair Shops
  • Jewelers and Vapor Shops
  • Gyms, Yoga Studios, and Child Care Businesses
  • Spas, Massage Therapists, and Nail Salons


The EDDM program has been very successful for the Washington Square West Civic Association allowing them to mail their newsletter to most of Washington Square West, rather than just members, resulting in an increase in membership. For new businesses, EDDM is a great way to tell neighbors about the business and invite them to a grand opening.

When it comes to deciding how often to mail, EDDM is no different than any direct mail marketing program. Mailings need to be periodic and ongoing to be effective. We can help you determine the best frequency for our mailing. The results of regular, repeat mailings are cumulative – the more you mail, the more likely the recipients will remember your name and utilize your business when they have a need you can fill.

Here are a few ways you can put Every Door Direct Mail to work for your business:
  • Invite customers to a grand opening or to a newly renovated or expanded space.
  • Include special offers or “neighborhood only” deals to make customers feel valued and appreciated.
  • Announce events like clearance sales, kids’ days, anniversary celebrations, and holiday promotions.
  • Publicize your participation in community events.
     

Design, Print and Mail

Because EDDM has lots of requirements and restrictions, it’s a good idea to use experts like us to design and print your mail-piece. We will guide you through a series of questions to help formulate the sales message, and call to action. We will provide an eye-catching design with the proper balance between text, graphics, and white space.

For businesses that regularly mail newsletters or postcards to their customers, EDDM may be a way to prospect for new customers who are the neighbors of existing customers. With all these possibilities, EDDM is a great marketing tool for many businesses. For more information and to discuss how EDDM might benefit your business or organization, call Marya at 215-923-2679 or email Marya@creativecharacters.com.

Q&A: Why should I use Creative Characters for EDDM?

We can’t think of a simpler way to put it than this: we’ll do it all, correctly, and on time. We won’t let an emergency, or lack of time, or unexpectedly absent employees get in the way of taking your EDDM mailing to the post office on the day you specify. In addition, we’ll:
  • Help you determine which carrier routes to include in the mailing
  • Verify counts for each carrier route
  • Make sure the mail-piece complies with all EDDM requirements
  • Design and print the mail piece
  • Count and tie bundles and add proper facing slips
  • Prepare all USPS paperwork
  • Transport the mailing to the post office
We will charge a fee for the mailing services, but the bulk of your costs will be for printing and postage. For just a little extra cost for mailing services, you can turn your attention to the things that only you can do in your business, and leave the printing and mailing details to us.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Use Demographics to Get Better Results

Basic demographic targeting can greatly increase the success of a mailing. A targeted mailing will result in higher response rates as well as higher conversion rates. Luxury products, real estate, and insurance services are examples of types of businesses where targeting is essential. Demographics are less important for certain types of restaurants and services, but still potentially beneficial.

The USPS provides demographic information for each carrier route. The following information is available when selecting routes to target:
  • Number of Business and Residential Addresses
  • Average Age
  • Size of the Household
  • Approximate Income
This information can be used to your advantage so that you get the best response possible. For example, a high-end jewelry store, furniture location, or luxury auto dealer could benefit from targeting carrier routes that have an average household income of $75,000 or more.

60% of a mailing’s overall effectiveness is dependent on who receives the mail piece. By using demographics to better target your mailing’s recipients, you can dramatically increase your response rate. Contact us to discuss using demographics for your next mailing.

We are EDDM Experts

The Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) program helps businesses grow by enabling them to send direct mail to every address in a specific area. It’s an inexpensive and effective way to make your presence known which leads to an increase in foot traffic, phone calls and sales. EDDM works particularly well for businesses whose product or service has broad appeal like – restaurants, doctors, spas, hair salons, auto repair, gyms and fitness, home improvement, tax services and dry cleaners.

Creative Characters is one of very few companies capable of doing EDDM nationally, in any city in the US. It’s been very successful for our clients. They tell us the postcard we design, print and mail brings more people to their events than store signage, newspaper ads, flyers, radio and online advertising combined! They tell us the increased attendance has boosted sales exponentially.

Increase sales in 2016 with an EDDM campaign for your business by calling the experts at 215-923-2679 or email info@creativecharacters.com.