Mailing advice?

If you have not used a mailing house to send out your information before you might be a bit unsure about what to expect from the process. The Q & A session below should help to point you in the right direction.

Question: What are the costs for direct mail? Each job is quoted on an individual basis. But what we can promise you is that by using our services you will ultimately pay significantly less for the mailing than you would if you prepare and post it yourself.

An example of the typical costs to post 1000 mail-merged letters and a A5 sized leaflet supplied in a C5 window envelope including 2nd class UK postage: 40p + VAT per item.

Compare this price to the 54p alone for a 2nd class stamp, or the 36p postage cost alone thorough your franking machine? Why would you want to stuff it yourself?

If this posting was in excess of 4000 UK letters then the cost could be as low as 30p + VAT all inclusive.

An example of the typical costs to post 1000 mail-merged large letters and an A4 sized 8 page newsletter in a C4 window envelope including 2nd class UK postage: 63p + VAT per item.

Compare this price to the 74p alone for a 2nd class large letter stamp, or the 63p postage cost alone thorough your franking machine? Again, why on earth would you want to stuff it yourself?

We can effectively do the mail-merge personalisation laser printing, supply the envelope, stuff it and post it for the same price as your franking machine postage costs alone.

I bet the franking machine rep didn’t tell you that when you signed on the dotted line…

Question: What are the best direct mail designs? This depends entirely on what it is that you are sending, and who you are sending it to. We can wrap your newsletter in clear bio-degradable polythene, personalise your letterheads for window envelopes, or we can print the addresses directly on to non-window envelopes or postcards, to save sticking hideous wonky labels all over your beautiful design.

Question: What are the direct mail postage costs? You will know that Royal Mail offers first and second class services, but with higher volumes (4000 letters or 1000 large letters) they also offer a ‘third class’ service which attracts much cheaper postage rates. They also offer some discounted rates for mailings of over 500 items. And then there is ‘downstream access’ to consider. Although Royal Mail is the only company that actually puts the envelopes through the letterboxes there are several companies that can offer better rates due to their buying power from Royal Mail. Companies such as TNT and UKMAIL offer a 2nd class service but at the Royal Mail 3rd class rate, with Royal Mail still doing the final delivery.

Question: Can you help me with direct mail design? With 20 years in the business we’ve seen a mailing design or two! If you would like assistance with designing you mailshot then give us a shout. We can help you to avoid many of the design pitfalls that occur without the benefit of hindsight.

Question: Can you arrange my direct mail print for me? We work with a number of printers, brokers and design agencies. We can find you the best prices and the highest quality guaranteed.

Question: What do I do next? If you are sending a direct mail letter then email us a word document or pdf of your letter and an excel data file and we can sort it from there. Or if you’d just like a chat about it then call Rob, Lee or Saby on 01332 348593. It really couldn’t be simpler.

Question: Why shouldn’t I just do it myself? Your competition are probably using a direct mail company to get professional results, if you start cobbling it together then it will look just that, cobbled together. By using the services of a professional mailing company the irony is that what we can save you on postage will usually more than cover the costs involved in printing, stuffing and posting it. In essence you save money by using us. The overall cost will be lower than doing it yourself.

Question: What’s the minimum quantity that you would be happy to work on? We don’t really have a minimum quantity as such, but we do need to cover our admin costs so we have a minimum job charge of £25 + VAT (excluding postage costs).

Some other thoughts for you to consider, general mailshot hints and pointers….

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going” Times are tough and tough decisions need to be made. Are you going to batten down the hatches and hope to ride out the economic storm, or are you going to take advantage of your competitors lack of vision and capture their lost business by actively marketing your products and services?

Always measure your response: The main benefit of using direct mail is that you can measure its effectiveness. With the inclusion of response codes such as “quote DM123 when you order “ or specially allocated free-phone numbers and  e-commerce tailoring, you know exactly who is replying to what offer and therefore whether the offer was effective or not.

Always test your mail piece: But what if it didn’t work and you have blown your entire budget in one go? It makes sense to trial your mailing. Send out a few hundred or a few thousand and see what sort of response you get. If it’s not right then change it and send out a few more. Start with your existing clients and customers, see what impact it has on them. What happens if you mail to them more regularly? And if it did work, mail it to them again. You are likely to get another 50% of your original response rate the second time around.

Test different formats of mailshot: Some offers may be more suited to a formal letter and brochure approach in a window envelope. Newsletters may have better impact in clear poly-wrap, enabling the receiver to see the exciting new thing that you have to offer them. Consider postcards or one-piece mailers ink-jetted directly with names and addresses if you want to make bold headline statements without the need for opening anything.

Wording of  your offer: Although the overall presentation is important, it is vital to grab your readers attention immediately. The headline is the thing that the eye is immediately drawn to, so make it straight to the point. Clever headlines that challenge the readers intelligence can be a real turn-off if you make the reader feel inferior.

Always sell benefits and not features: People generally don’t care about what you do, but how it makes their life better.

Breaking-even is good: If you don’t immediately make a killing from your mailing you may be tempted to think that it was not a success. Work on the ‘break-even principle’. So long as it covered its costs, then you have got your name in front of a lot of potential new clients. Those that do place orders will hopefully bring in repeat business in the future. To calculate your break-even point divide the overall cost of the mailshot by the value of your product. This will tell you the number of orders you need to receive in order to break-even.