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Hudson, NY 12534

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If we told you there is an easy way to send direct mail pieces without having to buy a mail list, would you be interested?

Let us introduce the United States Postal Service (USPS) program Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM). Originally launched in March 2011, it has been steadily growing in popularity as a direct mail tool.

Definition of EDDM

So what is EDDM? It is a mailing sent to every dwelling unit (house, apartment, condominium or mobile home) and business in a specific geographic area.

The geographic area is one or more USPS letter carrier routes or one or more entire ZIP codes - basically a specific neighborhood, ZIP code or city.

Because the mail piece goes to every single dwelling and business, the USPS does not require that each piece have its own address. Rather, it only has to have a single designation that applies to all the dwellings and businesses, usually Postal Customer.

In mailing parlance, an EDDM mailing is a saturation mailing using the simplified address format. A mailing with these characteristics is very efficient for the USPS to process because it bypasses postage cancellation, address correction, and mail sorting steps and goes straight to the individual letter carrier. In recognition, the USPS assigns a very low postage rate to these mailings.

Benefits of EDDM

There are several benefits to an EDDM mailing, especially for business owners with a very limited marketing budget and very little time to spend on marketing.

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 by using digital equipment for 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. Regular presorted mailings require use of a permit to mail at discounted postage rates. 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 no requirements for the location and size of the mail panel (the area containing the return address, indicia and outbound address). Note, however, that there are requirements for the wording of the indicia and the simplified address.

The mailing can be directed to dwellings only. Even though a carrier route or ZIP code may have a mix of dwellings and businesses, it is possible to exclude the businesses from the mailing and send mail only to the dwellings.

One limitation of EDDM is that it cannot be used for business-only mailings unless 90% of the addresses in a specific carrier route are businesses and there are at least 200 businesses in the carrier route. Since this is a very rare condition, it is simpler to consider EDDM for dwellings only or a mix of dwellings and businesses.

Size of an EDDM mail piece

The USPS has established a classification system for mail based on physical characteristics - height, length, thickness, weight, shape and flexibility. Simply stated, mail pieces are classified as letters, flats or parcels.

Letter mail has a maximum dimension of 6 1/8 high x 11 ½ wide. Some familiar sizes for letter mail are a #10 envelope and post cards measuring 4 x 6, 5 x 7, 5 ½ x 8 ½ or 6 x 9.

Flat mail is a mail piece that exceeds the maximum dimension for letter mail in either the height or width. The maximum dimension for flat mail is 12 x 15 inches. A 9 x 12 or 10 x 13 envelope are examples of flat mail.

Parcels exceed the height, width, thickness, weight or flexibility limits for letter or flat mail.

Because of existing postal regulations for processing letter-sized mail, an EDDM mail piece must meet the physical characteristics of flat mail. This means that some mail pieces commonly used for direct mail marketing - such as 4 x 6, 5 x 7, 5 ½ x 8 ½ or 6 x 9 post cards, trifold brochures or #10 envelopes - don’t qualify for the EDDM program. (They could, however, qualify for reduced postage rates using a presort discount.)

So what size can be used for an EDDM mail piece? The first requirement is that the length of the mail piece must be greater than its height, and its overall measurement cannot be more than 15 inches long and 12 inches high. The next requirement is that the mail piece must be either greater than 10½ inches in length or more than 6¼ inches in height. This means a mail piece measuring 8½ x 11 qualifies for EDDM, as does 6½ x 9.

Uses for EDDM

The USPS designed EDDM to appeal to smaller businesses that haven’t used direct mail marketing in the past because of the cost. By eliminating the need for a mail list, simplifying mail preparation, and offering a very low postage rate, EDDM is an affordable marketing tool, especially for local businesses offering a product or service that people use regularly and whose customers and prospects come from an area adjacent to the business.

Here are the kinds of businesses most likely to benefit from EDDM: fast food, dine-in and take-out restaurants, dry cleaners, beauty and barber shops, automotive service and repair shops, drug stores and pharmacies, clothing and department stores, banks and real estate firms. The target audience could be in a residential neighborhood where the convenient location of the business is a selling point, or in a mixed residential and business area for businesses offering services that workers might use before and after work or during lunch.

EDDM can also be used for community service or other legal notices when the object of the mailing is to reach a dwelling unit or business rather than a specific individual. For new businesses, EDDM is a great way to notify neighbors of the business’s products and services and to extend an invitation to a grand opening. In some instances, EDDM may also be appropriate for political mailings (even though the mail piece will go to all dwellings without knowing whether residents are registered voters).

Design and printing of EDDM mail pieces

If you would like to try an EDDM mailing, you can use us for design and printing of the mail piece. This provides several advantages over doing the work yourself. We will guide you through a series of questions to help formulate the sales message, with emphasis on the fundamentals of direct mail marketing - an answer to the question What’s in it for me? from the perspective of the mail piece recipient; a call to action; a sense of urgency; and an eye-catching design with the proper balance between text, graphics and white space.

For businesses that regularly mail newsletters or post cards to their customers using standard addressed direct mail, 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, contact us at 518.828.3278 or email us with the address below!