Launching your first ever direct mail campaign could be tricky, even if you’re doing it together with a direct mail vendor. First, how do you make sure you’ve ordered the best possible kind of mail services for this specific campaign? There are also numerous subtle factors that become more and more critical as the cooperation continues. Maybe, the automation capabilities of a direct mail company don’t cover your needs or their delivery system has no backup plan and you risk facing a disaster in the middle of a project. But once the preparations have been done and the campaign has been launched, changing a direct mail vendor will not be easy and will lose you a lot of time and money. On the other hand, continuous use of the low-quality services will yield significantly lower results. Sounds like a dead-end, right? To prevent such issues, make sure to evaluate direct mail vendors beforehand – by the batch size, automation, and other important criteria.

Inkit is committed to customer-oriented high-quality mail services. Therefore, we regularly monitor third-party direct mail vendors to learn from them and become better. We know which mail campaign flaws adversely affect the return on investment and what makes them work. Continue reading to discover what factors you should take into account when analyzing direct mail service providers. These tried and tested tips will help you choose the best direct mail partner for your marketing campaigns.

12 Features of Quality Direct Mail Vendors. Use Them To Estimate Any Direct Mail Company

#1. Level of Expertise of These Direct Mail Marketing Companies

It’s always better to work with professionals that have sufficient experience in a specific field. When it comes to direct mail marketing, it’s also the same. Make sure to choose a direct mail company that focuses on direct mail as its core specialization. The thing is that many business owners offer mail products only as one of their services. As a result, they may lack the understanding of mail campaign ins and outs. Such direct mail vendors won’t be able to give you the quality advice on what mail piece to choose and how to achieve maximum return on investment or response rate.

#2. No Batch Sizes

Whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise with thousands of customers, at some point, you may need to change your marketing strategy. The absence of specific batch sizes allows you to do that. If you find a direct mail company that offers such flexibility, your marketing campaigns will become better customized. Besides, this will significantly improve your customer satisfaction. For instance, with Inkit, users can send a personalized thank you notice to one customer or surprise millions of customers with a New Year postcard.

#3. Transparency and Data Security

Direct mail marketing companies often process sensitive information, such as personal data, contact information, financial records, health records, and similar. You need to understand that your reputation depends on the security provided by your subcontractors. A data breach always results in severe financial losses. According to recent statistics, cybercrimes are expected to cost $6 trillion by 2021. Moreover, small businesses are highly likely to suffer from cyber attacks with 43% of the overall cybercrime volume. Therefore, make sure a third-party direct mail company cares about data security as much as you do. They need to be transparent about all their data processing practices and privacy policy.

#4. Full Service

Find a direct mail company that can cover the entire mailing process, from mail piece design to delivery. This will eliminate the need to coordinate several subcontractors and will significantly speed up shipping. Choose Inkit to access a custom postcard builder with numerous templates and enjoy seamless design printing and delivery. You just need to create a mail piece, upload a mail list, and click the Send button. Inkit will take care of the rest. With such backup, you’ll be able to focus on your core business activities and forget about routine mailing tasks.

#5. Eco-Friendly Solutions

If you hesitate over using direct mail, you need to know that it doesn’t necessarily harm the environment. Have you heard about green printing? It’s an ecological trend, which is currently gaining its popularity. Direct mail printed on FSC-certified paper with eco-friendly inks is a great alternative to traditional mail products. If the ecology is something you worry about, try to find a direct mail company that shares your principles.

#6. Easy to Understand Pricing

Price can be a decisive factor when you browse through the offers of various direct mail vendors. 58% of buyers claim that pricing is what they want to talk about during their first sales call. It’s no wonder that budget is so crucial in the modern market conditions where the return on investment often defines the overall success of marketing campaigns. Choose the direct mail company that provides detailed information about pricing and offers several plans. Also, make sure to discuss the possibility of a discount or, vice versa, a price increase in the future.

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#7. Automation and Technological Advances

Look for a direct mail company that keeps abreast of times and leverages technological novelties. Despite a common misconception, there are multiple ways to boost direct mail with technology. Limit your intervention to design issues and mail lists, entrusting the rest to third-party software. This will cut down expenditures, reduce the delivery time, and upgrade your marketing. In addition, automation will make your marketing efforts better coordinated and help to combine direct mail with digital marketing. So, when choosing a vendor, you need to consider direct mail marketing companies that provide automation tools.

#8. 1–1 Personalization

Mail marketing campaigns are more effective when triggered by a recipient and based on variable data printing. The reason is simple – everyone wants to feel special. According to the Personalization Development Study, 79% of retailers increase their return on investment with the help of personalization practices. Mail marketing materials are often sent to all people without any difference in design and timing. So a vendor that can personalize your direct mail newsletter is a powerful ally in the battle against competitors. Also, pick a service that in addition to variable data printing supports CRM integration. This way you’ll get a chance to synchronize your direct mail with other marketing channels. The CRM functionality can also be used to manage the data of recipients and tailor direct mail for their expectations. Inkit is compatible with Drip, HubSpot, Sailthru, Iterable, and other CRM tools.

#9. Variety of Mail Options

Despite the popularity of every door direct mail offered by the USPS, many business owners prefer third-party mail services. The official postal service has strict requirements to mail dimensions and layout. They also usually just blanket an area based on zip code or mailing route. Remember that the right third-party direct mail company has a lot to offer. Look for a vendor that can hypothetically and practically cover all your mail needs, from local leaflets to worldwide delivery.

#10. No Order Minimums

Some direct mail vendors establish limitations on the minimum number of mail pieces you must send every time you mail. They try to secure their revenue without realizing the importance of flexibility in the modern market. Unfortunately, with such a vendor, you won’t be able to test your direct mail or customize it. Find a direct mail company without any order minimums. The opportunity of A/B testing offered by Inkit is an effective method to predict your mail campaign success. For example, you can send a few mail pieces to two groups of recipients and measure their response rate. As a result, you will have a much clearer picture of your mail campaign and rely on the accurate data in your future steps.

#11. 24/7 Customer Support

If you are about to choose a direct mail company, most probably, you don’t know much about direct mail. Hence, you need reliable customer support that can answer your questions and provide assistance anytime you ask. This will make your cooperation more effective and allow you to gain experience from professional mailers. Moreover, they will recommend how to optimize the expenses and attract the attention of the target audiences. In case the chosen vendor provides a direct mail tool, the customer support can also advise on how to make the most of its functionality.

#12. Worldwide Delivery

If you are a small business operating locally and never plan to expand, this requirement may be less relevant. Yet most companies target people beyond their country striving to increase income and engage more customers. In case you decide to run an international mail campaign, it may be very hard to print and mail postcards without professional help. Delivery within different countries requires sufficient expertise in the standards of postal services and other subtleties. Try to pick a direct mail company that offers worldwide delivery to have a reliable foundation for your growth. Inkit can send your mail pieces to anywhere in the world. End recipients will receive the direct mail within 3-6 business days after you click Send.

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