Direct Mail Marketing

How to Opt Out of Junk Mail: A Step-By-Step Guide

December 17, 2019
Author
Inkit Team

Unwanted mailing may be very annoying. Preapproved credit card applications, insurance offers, catalogs, and flyers often end up in the garbage without a glimpse. The good news is that every US customer can opt out of junk mail and significantly limit its volume. The DMAchoice and Do Not Mail List are the easiest tools to do this. After sending opt-out requests, customers will only receive the most critical and preferred mail pieces that meet their interests. This will greatly improve the odds that the mail piece hits the target.

The DMAchoice and Do Not Mail List mechanisms are very helpful, and not only for consumers. They can significantly benefit business owners that want to optimize their mail marketing campaign and make it more relevant and cost-effective. The truth is that there is no use in sending junk mail to people that will not even check it. Besides, unwanted mailing creates negative associations with your brand and can make it look unreliable and intrusive.

This article is a detailed guide on how to opt out of junk mail. Read on to learn more about:

  • The current situation with junk mail volume (statistics)
  • Types of junk mail
  • DMAchoice, Do Not Mail List, and more: How to opt out of junk mail
  • Why the opportunity to opt out of junk mail is beneficial for businesses

The Striking Volume and Negative Impact of Junk Mail

The existing initiatives for reducing junk mail volume have two main reasons behind them – improved customer experience and ecology. To produce junk mail, business owners and marketers need tons of paper, which even if recycled, is an absolute waste. Unwanted mailing has no marketing value and will never pay off. Here are some numbers proving the negative impact of junk mail:

  • Every household in the US gets on average 6 pieces of junk mail per day.
  • Junk mail production kills around 100 million trees per year.
  • The energy needed to print and deliver a one-day junk mail volume in the US is enough to heat 250,000 homes.
  • The cost of junk mail transportation reaches $550 million per year.
  • $320 of local taxes are spent on direct mail disposal every year.
  • 42% of junk mail is never opened and goes to landfills ignored by customers.
  • Credit card offers are among the least effective junk mail types. Customers discard them in 46% of cases.
(Source: DMA)
  • 44% of Millenials, 29% of 30-59 year-old US consumers, and 27% of 60+ year-old US consumers find bulk mail very annoying.
  • Around 20% of US consumers of all age groups think that junk mail is kind of annoying.
Share of consumers who felt annoyed by bulk mail/direct mail advertising in the United States as of May 2017, by age group (Source: Statista)

These statistics prove the importance of the DMAchoice, Do Not Mail Lists, and other opt-out mechanisms. Although they won’t completely solve the problem of unwanted mailing, the mail pieces will become more effective and relevant. This will allow companies to lower the overall junk mail volume for better customer service and reduced environmental impact.

Types of Junk Mail

What is junk mail? Junk mail is unsolicited direct mail pieces, such as promotional or marketing materials. They are usually delivered randomly without taking into account customers’ preferences and relationship with the sender. For example, some credit bureaus provide preapproved credit card or insurance offers to people who haven’t requested them. Let’s take a look at the most common types of junk mail:

  • Charity solicitations
  • Newsletters
  • Credit offers
  • Product catalogs
  • Marketing flyers
  • Irrelevant coupons.
  • Phone books.
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All these types of junk mail have one thing in common – customers have never wanted and asked to receive them. There is a huge difference between a catalog you are subscribed to and a random catalog you will never open.

DMAchoice, Do Not Mail List, and Other Tools: How to Opt Out of Junk Mail

Fortunately, you can always opt out of junk mail. The uncontrolled delivery of marketing mail has led to the emergence of several tools that allow to quickly do that. Using them, customers can refuse certain types of mailing at a reasonable cost or absolutely for free. How do they work? Such services cooperate with mass mailers and provide them with continuously updated Do Not Mail lists. The mass mailers check these lists against their database and remove the necessary names and addresses. When customers indicate that they want to receive a mail of specific type, this is also reflected in the corresponding mailing lists.

DMAchoice

DMAchoice is a mail preference service managed by ANA, an organization for direct and data-driven marketing. ANA helps non-profit and commercial organizations build healthier relationships with consumers by offering them better control over mailing.

To register for DMAchoice and opt out of junk mail:
  • Complete the online registration at https://dmachoice.thedma.org/ or mail this form to DMAchoice, ANA, PO Box 900, Cos cob CT. 06807. Online registration is the simplest way to remove your name from unwanted mailing lists. In a few simple steps, you’ll be able to enjoy quality mail for the next decade. An online registration processing fee for 10 years is just $2, whereas offline DMAchoice mail-in form takes a $3 processing fee.
  • Also, consumers can register for ANA’s eMail Preference Service, Telephone Preference Service, Deceased Do Not Contact list, and Do Not Contact list for Caregivers. This will allow them to reduce the volume of junk marketing materials across other channels.

Note that after the registration, you will continue to receive direct mail but it will be much better filtered. You may receive materials from the companies you do business with or from the businesses which don’t use the DMAchoice.

National Do Not Mail List

National Do Not Mail list offered by DirectMail.com is an analog to the National do not call registry with phone numbers of people that have opted out of telemarketing services. Do Not Mail is supported by a private company that wants to help customers manage unwanted mailing. Similarly to the DMAchoice, DirectMail.com cooperates with mass mailers to provide them information on customers’ mailing choices.

To register on the National Do Not Mail List and opt out of junk mail:
  • Fill in the form available at DirectMail.com. It’s necessary to indicate your name, detailed address, phone number, and email. The email will be used for additional confirmation of the opt-out requests. This allows DirectMail.com to prevent fraud and achieve additional security.

Again, the National Do Not Mail List cannot harbor all unwanted nonprofit and commercial mailpieces. Still, it eliminates the major part of junk mail. Most companies aren’t interested in sending mail pieces that don’t produce the expected effect and choose to use such Do Not Mail Lists.

Catalog Choice

Catalog Choice is a non-profit organization aimed at decreasing the volume of unwanted catalogs to save nature. They have worked for 8 years so far and created an online tool with a simple registration procedure.

To register for Catalog Choice and opt out of junk mail:
  • Click Sign up on their main page and provide the requested information. They have around 10,000 titles in the database, including clothing brands, NGOs, charities, and other organizations that often use direct mail marketing. Once you sign up, Catalog Choice forwards your opt-out requests to merchants which may need some time to process them.
  • This service can also be used to refuse catalogs on behalf of other people, such as deceased family members or previous homeowners.

Catalog Choice stresses that it has no impact on mail from prospecting lists and local USPS. Therefore, it’s better to combine this service with the DMAchoice tool for better results.

OptOutPrescreen

OptOutPrescreen is a resource run by Innovis, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, four credit rating giants. It allows consumers to opt out of credit card solicitations online or by phone. You can opt out permanently or for five years:

In both cases, you will be asked to share your name, home phone number, date of birth, and social security number. The service guarantees full confidentiality of the provided information.

Why the Opportunity to Opt Out of Junk Mail Is Beneficial for Businesses?

The more you know about your customers, the better you can tailor your marketing strategies. Opt-out mechanisms allow people to speak their minds and tell business owners what kind of direct mail is appropriate and what mailing annoys them. As a result, companies get a range of economic and marketing advantages, including:

Mail Opt Out Advantage #1: Improved Direct Mail Personalization

The DMAchoice, Do Not Mail List, and other similar tools provide businesses with very clear information about their customers’ preferences. Based on the feedback, companies can switch from junk mail to personalized marketing. The positive effect is significantly boosted with trigger-based direct mail campaigns. Today, you can easily launch such campaigns with direct mail automation software, such as Inkit. Inkit integrates with a range of third-party tools for multi-channel marketing, supports variable data printing, and other features for advanced personalization.

Mail Opt Out Advantage #2: Reduced Cost of Mail Printing and Delivery

When customers refuse the junk mail, it helps your company to optimize expenses. This way, companies invest in the mailing that pays off instead of wasting money on useless bulk mail. Thanks to this, they spend much less on printing and postage.

Mail Opt Out Advantage #3: Better Quality of Marketing Materials

The mechanisms used to opt out of junk mail are signposts that show in what direction marketers should move. When people refuse direct mail, this doesn’t usually mean that they hate all kinds of mailing – it’s mostly about the quality of mail pieces. Therefore, this response of consumers is an excellent feedback source to improve the quality of your marketing and build mutually beneficial relationships.

Mail Opt Out Advantage #4: More Responsible and Sustainable Marketing

In the modern business world, the image of a company heavily depends on its good deeds. In this respect, junk mail and tons of trees used for its production definitely won’t improve your reputation. The reduced mail volume along with the use of recycled paper and eco ink show consumers that the brand cares about the environment and deserves their trust.

Even if your customers don’t use opt-out mechanisms, you should continuously analyze the relevance and effectiveness of your mail. Note that Inkit’s direct mail automation with extended customization and analytics capabilities can effectively help you with that.

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