The following case studies are real examples of mailings and will give you
an idea of why not knowing the basics of mailing in large volume can increase
your direct mail costs. Remember: Machines are used to stuff inserts in your envelopes.
- Mailings That Went Over Budget and Why!
- Clients Who Have a Better Cash Flow
- How Accurate is Your List?
- Practical Advice for Merging Lists
Case Study #1 High profile motivation firm sent a one page letter in envelope to 8,000.
Problem: The letter was folded in the shape of a Z and could not be inserted by machine.
Result: Letter had to be hand inserted in the envelopes costing $80/1000 versus $20/1000.
Extra costs: 8 x $60 = $480.
Solution: Fold all inserts with a "clean" edge to enable machine insertion.
Case Study #2 A large computer firm sent an ad to 30,000 in a 9" x 12" envelope.
Problem: The envelopes had an open end flap that could not be stuffed by machine.
Result: Ad was hand inserted. Price for stuffing: $80/1000 versus $20/1000
Extra costs: 30 x $60 = $1,800
Solution: Buy envelopes with an open side flap that are machine insertable.
Case Study #3 A shoe manufacturer developed a brochure to be mailed to 40,000 customers.
Problem: The size of the brochure was 1 mm below the minimum mailable dimensions and was accordion folded.
Result: The client had to purchase 40,000 envelopes plus pay to have them
hand inserted because the brochure's fold did not have a clean edge.
Extra costs: Total $6,400 (40x$100=$4,000 to buy envelopes plus 40x$60=$2,400 extra for hand insertion.
Solution: They designed a larger brochure and sent it as a self mailer. (no envelopes or inserting!)
CLIENTS WHO HAVE A BETTER CASH FLOW DUE TO LETTING US FIND SOLUTIONS + WORK TOGETHER
- A Vancouver marketing firm mailed a promotional novel to 6,000 prospects and planned to pay parcel postage rates of
$15. Through discussion and consultation we saved them $54,000 in postage by using the Dimensional Personalized Mail option
no one even knew existed!
- A children's book author was going to rent a list of schools in British Columbia. We found him a free list online,
suggested some marketing tips and processed his mailing at a much lower cost than he expected.
- A well known IT firm used to send out their newsletter in an envelope. After consultation, we saved them $1,800 per mailing 4 times a year by telling them about the self mailer option for advertising mail.
- A large corporation's 350,000 piece mailing was time sensitive and had to be divided into files of 20,000 to be mailed over a period of 17 weeks. The customer service staff had to handle calls from 4 time zones without spikes or lulls in taking responses. We segmented the files so that each 20,000 piece mailing contained a proportionate amount per time zone and all went well thanks to pre-planning and database skills.
- A company in China was planning to seek mailing services in the U.S., Canada and Europe to send their 50,000 piece
mailing out at the most economical postage rates. The envelopes and inserts had already been printed.
They were surprised that it could all be done by one company and our international service saved them
shipping costs to 3 destinations. They reduced their coordination time and only had to deal with one person!
- A recent client had a list that was full of duplicates and addresses that would not pass the accuracy test - facts
they were not aware of. We alerted them to the situation and took out 3,000 records. Cost of postage and mail
production of about $1.00 each, they save $3,000 each time they mail now!
- A firm in Rhode Island mailed 1,200 pieces to Canadians and had their inserts and envelopes printed and mailed through us. We were able to decrease their mailing costs by printing the postal indicia on the envelopes, they paid Canadian dollars for printing and took advantage of a postage rate of $.48 Canadian instead of $1.25 US. How much did they save? At least $924 in postage plus plus!
Whatever the size or type of mailing you have, give us a call - we love new challenges.
Call Lorraine Duclos, BULK MAIL CANADA, 604-379-5309, Toll free in N.America 1-888-275-5475
HOW ACCURATE IS YOUR LIST?
80% of businesses overlook or underestimate the value of accurate address information
in their mailing lists. To get your message delivered the address must be correct!
Quality data entry and following input guidelines consistently generates accurate
street, city, province and postal code information. Consistent data entry also
improves the ability to match records and eliminate duplicates.
The post office uses high speed scanners to read postal codes and process
first class mail as well as machineable bulk mail. Not only should the postal
code be correct, but it must not be obstructed by graphics or stickers AND the
postal code must be located within a specific location on your envelope.
Common Postal Code Reading Errors
• Obsolete postal codes
• Invalid or missing postal codes
• Improper postal code formatting
• Unusual characters and unnecessary punctuation
• Unscannable position of postal code on envelope
• Graphics or stickers in postal code reading zone
Many rural areas have been restructured by Canada Post and now
include the civic address and/or have been assigned a new postal code.
Therefore, addresses that were once correct may now be
out of date.
ADDRESS, CITY, PROVINCE AND POSTAL CODE ACCURACY
What may look like a correct address in your list may not be true. There is a
computer process called “Address Correction” that will compare the address
information in your list against the master database of all addresses in Canada.
To find matches it is important that the format of your address input follows
the guidelines preferred by Canada Post. Here are some factors that could
affect finding a match:
• Unusual characters and punctuation in the address - # , . @ *
• No street direction included in address
• Numbered street name entered incorrectly
• Spelling errors
• Station qualifiers missing for post office boxes and rural routes
• Non address information in address fields
How current is your list?
Did you know that the province abbreviation for Newfoundland
has been changed from NF to NL? Do you still have 4 letter abbreviations for
the provinces like Alta for Alberta (it should be AB) or B.C. for BC?
This type of input needs to be updated because it could ultimately affect
whether your mail gets delivered quickly or returned to you as "undeliverable".
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO CLEAN UP YOUR LIST
1. Create quality data entry guidelines and maintain consistency of data entry in office, online, POS system.
2. Keep your list current and have it run through the Address Correction process
at least once a year. This procedure will "correct" or "reformat" most addresses.
Have your database updated through us and mail more efficiently. Send us your file to complete a NCOA service.
PLEASE NOTE: For bulk mailings greater than 5,000 pieces, it is a postal requirement
that every list be run through Address Correction and a percentage of accuracy be
determined. Based on that percentage you will be liable to pay a penalty of 5 cents more
in postage per piece for addresses below a 95% rating.
You could end up with poor results when designing a direct mail campaign that combines your inhouse list with one or more rented lists. Merging lists generates a set of conditions that you may not have thought about at the conception stage. It is better to face the challenges before finalizing your design and strategy to avoid last minute alterations that so often occur. Once you determine your strategy, we strongly suggest you rent your lists early and work closely with the personnel handling your data processing.
Preview the lists before agreeing to rent
Before renting lists, ask to see a sample of the output, not the field layouts, but actual samples of data. Watch for the following:
Rent more names than you need
- Field names. A field called "Title" does not contain the same information as "Position". Ensure the list contains the right level for contact.
- Field content. Confirm you will capture all the information you need. The copy you create has to blend with the data for the target audience and personalization
- Style of data entry. Some lists may cause you grief (first name and last name in the same field, city and province in the same field, initials only in the first name field, missing name segments). Good data processing can repair most of these problems, but there will be records that cannot be amended and that will take away from the success of your campaign.
- Consult with the personnel handling your data processing and ask them how they can work with the data to generate variables and personalization.
- Look for quality of input. Abbreviations in titles or company names make extra work for the data department.
You will have duplicates when all your lists are merged and depending on your sources you may find up to a third of your names being duplicates.
Run merge, purge and address correction early to determine your valid mailing quantity. This will avoid a last minute scramble to get more names and/or establish the right number to print.
Code each file before merging
After doing a duplicate check, the code will enable you to track responses as well as determine the rental source to get a refund on unused records.