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6 Benefits of Shared Direct Mail Opportunities
March 16, 2020

6 Benefits of Shared Direct Mail Opportunities

Shared mail is a somewhat new concept in advertising, rising to popularity throughout the ’80s and ’90s. Around this time, the United States Postal Service passed a rule that stated multiple advertisers could share the cost of mailings. This was done by combining advertisements into a single package. Due to this, direct mail marketing services enable businesses to effectively reach current or potential consumers. For many, the costs associated with advertising in shared direct mail packages are surprisingly low. In fact, under ideal conditions, shared mail opportunities can be pushed to the masses for pennies per home.

How does shared mail differ from standard direct mail offerings? Who should you choose to advertise with? Are there benefits associated with hiring out the mailing process to a third party marketing service? Read on for more.

Shared Mail Versus Direct Mail

Believe it or not, shared mail is a facet of direct mail. Almost all shared mail is direct mail, but not all direct mail is shared mail. However, with shared mailings, your mail pieces are sent in a package where you can split the cost with other businesses.

What makes this unique? As we alluded to above, shared mail serves to lower the total cost of small business marketing. This helps to increase return on investment for your advertising. However, one thing that remains the same is the ability to target specific sets of consumers.

The USPS’ Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) program makes it simple for direct mailing businesses to target based on many factors. Opportunities to reach your target market include:

  • Saturation of wrap zones, which are sets of zip codes in an area.
  • Targeting of specific zip codes in an area.
  • Splitting of a zip code based on demographics, income levels, property values, and more.
  • Targeting specific carrier routes (groups of addresses that carriers deliver to in a day).
  • Messaging targeted as focused as a household-level if needed.

Effectively, through EDDM, your local business can get its message blanketed to every mailbox in a city!

The Benefits Of Shared Direct Mail

There are many benefits associated with shared direct mail marketing campaigns for small businesses. They are one of the most cost-effective marketing options available for companies. Despite this, they offer reliable marketing coverage across local geographic areas. In addition, the targeting opportunities are vast, focusing on geographic regions and homeowner demographics.

Many shared mail advertising services provide all-inclusive pricing that covers design, development, printing, and mailing. Although it’s a more old-school approach, this effective local option helps businesses obtain more substantial name recognition. Plus, it allows for collaboration with other local businesses. If you have a business where your customers are local, direct mail is a fantastic solution to increase sales.

Cost-Effective Mailing Option

Direct mail is cost-effective, period. Shared mail, by nature, is even more cost-effective. Businesses can quickly and effectively develop eye-appealing and colorful graphics just as they would with digital campaigns.

However, from there, shared mail services can take these digital images and turn them into thousands of printed copies. With the drop in print media in the past ten years, the cost of rapid-fire printing is cheaper than ever.

In addition, mailing services can mail smaller quantities as a test of direct mail viability in specific areas. Digitally, this is known as split-testing or A/B testing. Once a business has determined the success of their mailing campaigns, they can increase volume in the next run. This ensures subsequent mailings have a higher rate of success.

Impressive Marketing Coverage Across Geographic Areas

If you’re looking to canvas an entire geographic area, shared mail and direct mail are by far the best options. While advertising opportunities such as billboards are still effective, nothing beats putting your brand right at consumers’ doors.

With the massive geographic targeting options available with direct mailing, the possibilities are truly endless. From individual mailing routes to entire cities, direct mail provides opportunities to reach anyone and everyone. There’s no limit to benefitted service industries as well. Everything from house cleaning to car dealerships to restaurants and beyond can experience a boost in revenues.

Surprising Targeting Based On A Variety Of Demographics

Targeting your advertisements in the digital marketing space is complex. However, things such as geo-targeting and geofencing, they’re available by default with direct mail marketing and shared mail.

Saturation mailing lists will target every single residential and commercial address in a carrier route. As a result, you can select specific carrier routes to exclude or include based on a variety of factors. You can eliminate PO boxes, seasonal homes, businesses, drop addresses, and more with shared mail.

In addition, you can filter carrier routes based on demographics including:

  • Average household age
  • Population density of an area
  • The net worth of households
  • Average home value on a route
  • Number of children
  • Whether the home is owned or rented
  • Multi-family units or single family
  • The average level of education

This targeting is all available with some of the cheapest and most basic saturation-focused mailing lists. They have a low cost per household and an even lower postage cost. If you utilize a direct mail service, all you need to do is request specific targeting requirements. Then, let them do the legwork to ensure your message reaches the appropriate audiences.

Most Shared Direct Mail Services Offer All-Inclusive Pricing

There are many things involved with the process of developing a shared mail flyer, postcard, or insert. First, you need to develop your design. Once you do this, you need to research the most effective combinations of mailing routes for your message. After this, you should find other local businesses that show an interest in advertising on that same route.

When you finally have enough local business interests, you must gather their payments and obtain their graphics. Then, it’s off to the print shop, where thousands of copies of these mailers are printed. Once this is complete, to utilize the USPS EDDM program, these mailers need to be boxed into sets of 50. The boxes must be labeled appropriately and then trucked to the relevant post office.

Or, you could hire a dedicated shared direct mail service to take care of things from start to finish for you. After all, you’ve got a business to run. As a result of the numerous steps involved, many shared mail services offer all-inclusive pricing for companies.

An Old-School, Effective Marketing Approach

“Snail mail” may be considered old school; however, it still works wonderfully for many businesses. But here in the digital age, how can this be?

In the end, everything comes down to how we’re wired. We process material things far more efficiently than digital things. Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to read an actual book than an ebook on a tablet? Mail works the same.

Per researcher and writer Roger Dooly, shared mail is simpler to process mentally. It also utilizes less cognitive effort than digital alternatives.

Typically, physical media will result in stronger emotional responses compared to digital media. It can also can lead to significantly improved recall, as well as a far more memorable overall experience. Compare this to words and images on a screen, which are far more likely just to be skimmed, then forgotten.

The Ability To Network With Cross-Niche Local Businesses

One of the unexpected benefits associated with sharing direct mail inserts with other local businesses is the networking that results. If you own a pizza parlor in a medium-sized suburb, you won’t want another pizza place on your flyer. That saturates the message and introduces direct competition into the marketplace.

If you’re in thousands of mailboxes, you likely paid good money for that placement. Having direct competitors beside you on your mailpiece will eat into your bottom line.

Conversely, it’s essential to network with cross-niche local businesses instead. A cross-niche business is an industry that has some overlap with your own without being a direct competitor. For example, a car dealership, oil change and service station, and a mobile auto detailer can (and should) share a page. Various home services can share space as well, including home cleaning, gutter installation, and pressure washing.

By mingling with these associated cross-niche businesses, you, as a small business owner, can also capitalize on relevant sales traffic. Referrals are possible and probable as a result of this direct mail campaign.

Our Final Pointers on Direct Mailing

Still wondering if utilizing shared mail is a good decision for your business? Many businesses use shared mail services to advertise products or services and do so to great success. From chains to local companies, you’ll be hard-pressed to find companies that aren’t using direct mail.

There are plenty of services available in almost any region offering shared mail services. Having trouble finding one? Consider going in with a few similar businesses and developing your own postcard-style advertisement.

Are you looking for more strategies to get the most of your advertising dollar? Please consider subscribing to the Fora Financial newsletter.

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].