When you think of sending out your company’s mail, promotional, or marketing material, you probably think of it as a one-way street. After all, who wants to deal with returns and missed deliveries? But as every business knows, not all communication is pleasant.
Direct mail is one of the best ways for a business to get its marketing material to its intended audience. With open rates as high as 90%, it’s clear how savvy marketers have completely reshaped their marketing strategies with direct mail. But like all successful campaigns, direct mail marketing campaigns require a lot of planning, not to mention the countless hours spent on research, development, testing, and implementation of different strategies.
With so much to do, you might want to outsource some parts of the process to a professional direct mail fulfillment company. So how do direct mail and fulfillment work? Here’s a quick rundown:
What is Direct Mail Fulfillment?
Direct mail fulfillment is the process of receiving, storing, and shipping direct mail for a client. It deals with handling, processing, and delivering mail directly to the consumer. If you have ever used a direct mailing service before, you may be familiar with some of the services involved in direct mail fulfilment.
- Shipping/ mailing (Mailings can include flyers, postcards, letters, and more.)
- Data collection and management
- Marketing Automation
Not long ago, marketing fulfillment was 100% manual - everything was done through manual effort. Today, marketing automation allows you to send specific messages to your customers based on their behavior. In return, your direct mail campaigns become more targeted and successful.
For instance, you will be able to see how many customers follow up with your company after receiving your mail. With this information, you can send more personalized messages that resonate with the customer and potentially result in conversions.
Mail Fulfillment Preparation Tasks
Getting your mail fulfillment up and running may seem like a daunting task, but once you've checked off these key items, you'll be well on your way.
Have a Printed Material Provider
Printing material service providers are at the epicenter of your direct mail fulfilment strategy. These mail fulfillment services make it possible to create the core message of your mail on a large scale.
A good print material provider can also reserve stock for your future direct mail campaigns. This will be kept on-site so that everything is in one place and ready to go. The provider must ensure that your items are in good hands and deadlines will be met.
Prepare the Materials
Mail fulfillment preparation dependS a lot on the availability of materials. If you are going to offer a free gift, you need to have it in stock or be able to get it quickly. If you plan to include an invoice or other printed material, you need to have it ready. If your product is a magazine subscription, the first issue must be available within a very short time after you receive payment.
- Do a physical count of the number of products and materials you have on hand
- Determine if you need to order more products or materials so that you can complete the project within your schedule
- Make a list of any problems with your products and materials. These problems may include missing parts, defective items, or other issues that may affect the quality of the finished product
Obtain Accurate and Updated Customer Address Information
What good is a mail piece if it never reaches its intended recipient? Inaccurate addresses result in undeliverable mail and higher postage rates. Mailing lists must be scrubbed against a reliable national address database to ensure that they contain only valid addresses and current zip codes.
Addresses with incomplete information should also be identified and either corrected or removed from the list. This ensures that your mail reaches its destination without delay, eliminating the negative impacts of poor address data and increasing the likelihood of a successful campaign.
Planning and Management
Planning and management are all about defining your project's goals, budget, and timeline. Stary by identifying who will be involved in planning, production, and execution, as well as how that process should flow. Have a backup plan in case something goes wrong with your fulfillment process.
Foreseeing what resources your mail fulfillment tasks require will ensure that you have everything on hand when it’s time to start the actual work. For instance, variable data printing requires special technology that direct mail fulfillment providers should have if you want to personalize your campaigns.
Make sure you have enough of each item—and keep in mind that if there is a problem with one, such as running out of envelopes or needing more stamps, it could hold up the entire process.
How To Choose The Perfect Direct Mail Fulfillment Service For Your Business?
Choosing the perfect mail fulfillment service for your business can be a daunting task. You need not just to find a reliable partner but also ensure that the company understands your needs and is ready to go the extra mile to meet your expectations.
In selecting a direct mail provider, you should consider the following factors.
Direct Mail Automation
Manually printing and delivering hundreds of thousands of mail in marketing fulfillment is needless work. Not only does it consume essential time, but also drains your efforts. That’s why you need a direct mail partner with the latest automated solutions for your campaigns.
A direct mail automation service like Inkit Send enables you to automate your direct mail fulfilment process from start to finish. This way, you can save time, reduce costs, and increase sales.
Quality of Mailing Lists
The quality of your mailing list will determine what percentage of your mailing pieces actually reach their intended recipients. It's imperative that you partner with a company that has access to highly accurate mailing lists for your target audience. They should also be able to verify and clean your list as part of their mail fulfillment services.
Direct mail isn’t just for the big guys. Small businesses can use direct mail to reach customers and grow their brand just as effectively as larger companies.
Inkit is a direct mail automation platform that enables businesses to send a high volume of personalized postcards, letters, and catalogs. Inkit users can integrate Inkit’s API directly with their own applications to send direct mail in real-time.
Inkit’s direct mail automation system allows marketers and developers to programmatically send direct mail at scale with greater speed, better accuracy, and lower costs.
Whether you are a small business or a global organization with thousands of customers, getting your promotional materials in the hands of your target audience is crucial to your business’s success. A good direct mail fulfillment company will not only help you with the process but also optimizes your campaign and aims to achieve the results you need.