what is eddm from usps

EDDM vs. Targeted Direct Mail: Which Print Marketing Method is Right for You?

Written by: Randy Kies, VP of Business Development

If you’re a person who thinks direct mail marketing is outdated, ineffective, and altogether dead – think again.

Direct mail makes an impact in ways digital marketing simply does not. For example, up to 90% of direct mail gets opened, while only 20-30% of email gets opened. This is likely due to the lower volume of marketing messages the average person finds in their mailbox compared to their inbox (the average household receives only two pieces of direct mail a day compared to 157 emails). And it may come as a surprise that 82% of millennials view messages printed on paper as more trustworthy than digital. 

The case for direct mail is certainly strong, but what options does a business have when it comes to direct mail, and which is the most effective choice?

This post will uncover the differences between the two main types of direct mail marketing: EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail) and targeted direct mail. Each has its own set of pros and cons, and ultimately the one that’s best for you depends on your available time, resources, and ultimate goal. 

What is EDDM?

Every Door Direct Mail is essentially what it sounds like. Direct mail postcards are delivered to every home along selected mail routes. The program, commonly referred to as “blanket advertising” was developed by the USPS as a way to reach all members of a given neighborhood or zip code. Let’s look at the benefits of choosing the EDDM route.

Advantages of EDDM Service from USPS

EDDM is a logical choice for brick and mortar businesses that depend on having local customers who live in the vicinity of the business. Up to 85% of these business’s customers come from the five-mile radius surrounding it. With EDDM you can target specific USPS mail routes and blast out your brand message to every person along those routes.

1. Cheaper Postage

A big advantage to EDDM is its low postage cost per piece. Because you’re sending in bulk, the USPS offers significantly discounted rates (sometimes as low as 17.5 cents per piece). Also, unlike targeted direct mail, EDDM mailings typically do not require a costly postal permit.

2. No Mailing List Required

Another huge benefit of utilizing EDDM is the fact that you don’t need a list of any names or addresses to mail to. This is a huge time-saver and ideal for businesses that don’t have much customer information or the budget/time to buy a list of individuals with relevant demographics. The EDDM mapping tool allows you to be somewhat strategic with which routes you choose by showing the average age, household size, and income for residents on a given route.

3. Less Time Investment

As eluded to in the last point, EDDM saves you time by being straightforward and more generic. The USPS has specific EDDM guidelines regarding size, weight, and thickness. While this restricts what you can mail, it also makes your design decisions much easier and quicker.

Plus, you never need to spend time sifting through mailing lists, creating personalized content, or applying for postal permits.


What is Targeted Direct Mail?

Targeted direct mail is when you mail marketing material only to the targets and prospects you want. Recipients are not targeted merely by location, rather they are targeted based on a number of demographic factors including location, gender, age, education, income, and occupation. 

Advantages of Targeted Direct Mail

Targeted direct mail is a more precise tactic compared to EDDM as it utilizes mailing lists (or your own customer data) in order to deliver a brand message only to those that you’ve deemed as relevant and worthy recipients. This allows you to focus your time and money towards only the individuals whom you believe will have the highest conversion rate.

1. Higher Response Rate

With over four times more responses, targeted direct mail (4.4% response) garners a significantly higher average response rate compared to EDDM (1%). Since this is likely a key metric you’ll use to determine the effectiveness of your mailings, it’s perhaps the strongest argument for utilizing targeted direct mail. 

2. Creative Flexibility

Unlike mailers that are part of an EDDM program, targeted mail pieces are not limited by size or quantity restrictions. Since targeted direct mail pieces are treated more or less like regular mail, it opens the door for thicker tri-fold or quad-fold designs, special UV treatments, and even larger packages.

3. Personalization Possibilities

Along the same lines, targeted direct mail allows you to create highly personalized marketing material that speaks directly to its recipient. This is surely a major reason for the higher response rates to targeted mail. Not only does the recipient’s name appear on the mailing address, but you can also include it in a headline or salutation using variable data printing.   

If you really want to be strategic, you can segment your target audience by, say, industry. Then, you can tweak the copy and imagery to better relate to that group of people.

Which is Better? 

Determining which mail marketing method is best depends entirely on your business and the amount of time and money you are willing to spend. If you don’t have much customer demographic information and you are simply focusing on brand awareness, the blanketing EDDM method might be the smarter choice. If you do have or are willing to buy demographic information, and you are seeking a specific response or action from your recipients, targeted direct mail is the obvious choice. 

Start with Content & Design

Lastly, keep in mind that even if you choose the most optimal mailing method for your business, it will not be effective if you fail to create a mail piece that grabs people’s attention and concisely tells them why they should do business with you.

Achieving this important first step requires expert copywriting and creative graphic design that will keep your mailings out of the trash. 

From concept and creation to printing and delivery, the multi-faceted teams at Leverage Marketing and Leverage Digital Imaging can handle everything needed to accomplish successful EDDM or targeted direct mailing campaigns. Let’s start the conversation.

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