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Direct Mail 101

Direct Mail is a form of direct marketing, a branch of marketing and advertising that brings the message directly to an individual consumer. Direct marketing can be done through email, postal mail, telephone, fax, even cell phone text-message. The most common and accepted form of direct marketing, however, is postal mail.

The basic concept is simple: an advertising message is mailed through the postal service to a large number of people at once. Because the advertiser is sending the same type of mail piece to a large quantity of recipients all at once, the mailer often qualifies for significant discounts on postage. These discounts normally offset the cost of hiring a professional direct mail marketing company like JWM Direct Marketing to handle the preparation of the mail.

The type and size of the mailing can vary greatly and often depends mostly on the audience and the budget. There are 4 major types of direct mail marketing pieces:

  • Cards and Postcards
    The simplest and cheapest type of mailing. These are two sided pieces printed on heavy paper stock. Cards that are smaller than 4" x 6" qualify for postcard rate postage which is even more discounted.
  • Self mailers
    Like a postcard, but normally has one or more folds to allow more information to be sent at once. Self mailers can often include reply cards or tear-off order forms.
  • Letters
    A sales letter is drafted and each one is individually printed on company letterhead. Along with the recipient's name and address, the letter can have more personalized information like a greeting.
  • Dimensional
    These include tubes, boxes, padded envelopes, etc. They are often the costliest mailings to produce but yield the highest response rates. Giving away freebies in the mail is one sure fire way to get noticed!

There are four major steps to producing a direct mail marketing campaign:

  1. Planning and design
    During this first step, we help you determine what your offer or message will be and who you will target. If need be, our professional designers can help you layout and design the perfect mail piece.
  2. List rental and preparation
    If you are sending to existing customers we can help you export your customer file from your in house software. More often, though, you'll be mailing to prospects and will need to rent a mailing database. JWM Direct Marketing is a licensed list broker and can help find the exact targeted list.
  3. Printing
    Although we are not commercial printers, we have strong relationships with many local printers and we would be glad to be your one-stop-shop for your entire mailing. We can handle printing of the entire job.
  4. Production and mailing
    After the printing arrives and the list is purchased, we will begin production of your mailing. If you are mailing multiple lists, we will remove duplicates to ensure recipients receive only one. We will address the pieces and sort them for postal discounts. Once prepared, the mailing will be held until the exact day you wish it to be mailed, when we will deliver it to the post office.

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