USPS builds direct mail volumes among small businesses

The US Postal Service has encouraged thousands of new businesses into using the mail for local advertising campaigns over the summer, with its new simplified address service. Every Door Direct Mail, as the service is called, was launched back in April, offering businesses an easier way to mail items to every doorstep in a given area, without having to get hold of specific addresses for individual households.

USPS has already been running thousands of events over the summer to raise awareness about the new service among small businesses, and is also set to run direct mail campaigns targeting both small and large businesses.

So far, the service has averaged more than 45,000 visits each month to its online tool, which allows users to simply select an area on a map in order to obtain numbers of households in targeted delivery routes.

Last week, the Postal Service revealed new figures stating that 12,097 customers have registered to use the new service through post offices.

There have been 9,292 retail transactions inputing 7.1m pieces of mail into the mailstream, according to USPS saturation mail manager Dave Mastervich, who said the average size of a mailing was 1,849 pieces, which could cover about four delivery routes.

“Businesses are getting back to the way it used to be – marketing to households in their local area,” said Mastervich, who said the late spring launch of the service lawn care service companies were among the big users of EDDM.

Businesses can use the EDDM online tools to choose which delivery routes they want to include in direct mail campaigns

Although there have been suspicions over the summer that the EDDM service has been effectively poaching customers already using USPS saturation mail services, Mastervich insisted that 98% of those on the retail side of the service were new customers.

The EDDM service also has a separate option for bulk mailers who input mail directly at a USPS Bulk Mail Entry Unit, which allows larger mailers to make use of the simplified addressing.

Mastervich said that while overall saturation mail volumes declined between April and July by 0.7% compared to the same period last year, for those mailers taking part in the EDDM bulk mail service, their mail volumes grew by 6.2%.

“We have processed 365m pieces of this mail at Bulk Mail Entry Units since April 18,” he said.

Direct Mail Hub

Alongside the EDDM service, the Postal Service has also launched a pilot initiative to offer help for small businesses in using direct mail to promote their goods and services.

The Direct Mail Hub offers a platform that can both educate small businesses about direct mail and also help them generate campaigns from start to finish.

The service is currently being piloted in Austin, Texas, and in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina.

Small businesses are offered easy tools to create their own direct mail campaign through an end-to-end system available online. Florida-based DirectMail2Go is providing the online “do it yourself” tools that include templates, mailing lists, printing, postage and mailing.

From next month, the Direct Mail Hub will also offer a second option in which small businesses can find local mail service providers to produce a direct mail campaign for them. The supplier network is being provided by California-based DirectMailQuotes.

Tom Foti, the USPS manager of marketing mail, said the Direct Mail Hub followed up research from a year and a half ago in which USPS found that many small businesses knew little about direct mail and its benefits in reaching local customers.

“They weren’t aware of the effectiveness of direct mail, and they never really thought about how it works and how it can help them,” said Foti, who added that perceptions of direct mail was that it involved a complex process in terms of getting hold of address lists and preparing mail.

“With the Direct Mail Hub we created a solution to do all that for small businesses,” he explained.

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