USPS EDDM Tools: A Complete Guide
Can EDDM Work for Your Marketing Strategy?
You’ve heard about USPS Every Door Direct Mail(EDDM), and you may have even considered incorporating it as part of your broader marketing strategy. The problem is that you're not up-to-date about it, and no matter where you look, you haven’t found a comprehensive source of information on how to package and ship EDDM mailings.
Finally, your search is over!
At Scout, we specialize in EDDM campaigns, and especially EDDM postcards. Plus, through our years of experience, we have earned a strong reputation as an authority in the industry. We make it a point to share knowledge and help others reach their marketing goals.
With that in mind, let’s dig in.
WHAT IS EDDM?
EDDM stands for “Every Door Direct Mail®.” Provided by the United States Postal Service, this bulk mailing option is ideal for businesses looking to reach potential customers without the need for addresses or a mailing list. Instead of using a targeted mailing list, companies can target zip codes and postal routes based on the specific demographic information of recipients on each route.
EDDM may very well be the best kept secret in traditional direct mail marketing. Large corporate companies know the benefits, but it sometimes takes a while for small businesses to realize the advantages of EDDM.
Not only is this fast and easy, but it's also the most affordable way to reach thousands of potential customers with direct mail marketing. Primarily, this savings comes in the form of reduced mail preparation and postage costs.
All you need to do is create a design for your postcard or flyer. Then select the zip codes and delivery routes that best match your target demographics and ship them out. It’s that easy!
Sounds great, right? So, what’s the catch?
Simply stated, EDDM does not offer personalization. Today’s best marketing strategies thrive on their ability to create a personalized customer journey for every prospect. Not here, though. While you can use demographic filters, this is not the same thing as personalization. Don’t allow yourself to confuse the two by mistake.
With EDDM, you design one postcard for all recipients on your selected routes.
If you’re still reading by this point, you’re likely wondering, “Do I need EDDM?”
Every company’s situation is different, so I can’t say for sure what's best for you. But, in this article, I will provide you with the necessary information you need to create an effective marketing plan.
One thing to keep in mind is that you may want to consider hiring a full-service agency for your direct mail campaign. There's basically two reasons. One, so that you have a partner who can handle postcard design, and two, to handle the following requirements for EDDM: postage permit, facing slip, return address, and making sure to cover all other steps in the mailing process.
First, we’ll go over the benefits and potential uses for EDDM. Then we’ll review six different online targeting tools that can help you earn a high return on investment.
So let’s begin!
Nine Indicators That Your Direct Mail Marketing Campaign Can Benefit from EDDM:
- You don’t have a mailing list.
- You need to target specific demographics.
- You’d like to target an entire zip code(s).
- You want to target individual carrier delivery routes.
- You are primarily targeting residential customers.
- You’re working with a limited budget.
- You’d like to keep the workflow online.
- You need a marketing method with long-standing, proven results.
- You’re not in a hurry.
Let’s take a look at each one of these in closer detail.
#1 - You don’t have a mailing list.
Remember, the first two letters of EDDM stand for “Every Door.” That means that your flyer will be delivered to every active address on your chosen delivery routes. And since everyone will get it, there’s no need to provide specific names or addresses.
If you’ve ever compiled a mailing list, you know that this can be an exhausting process. It can be an expensive one too if you’re paying an employee to do the work. Every Door Direct Mail® allows you to canvas an entire area without having to spend the time, effort, and money, generating an address list.
#2 – You need to target specific demographics.
Personalization may not be as precise as it with other forms of marketing, but you can still target specific demographic criteria such as age, income level, homeowners/renters, children in the home, etc. Different targeting tools offer different options. But we’ll go over all that in a little bit.
And don’t forget that Scout is always here to help. We are happy to talk with you about how you can make your EDDM campaign as personalized as possible.
#3 – You need to target an entire zip code(s).
Do you need to target a large area that spans an entire zip code or multiple zip codes? EDDM is a great way to blanket vast swaths of the map by merely designating the zip codes where you would like to send your mailers. In direct mail, we use the term "saturation mailing".
While this is perfect for large campaigns, remember that this can cause your printing and postage fees to increase dramatically. Even at scale, it might be best to spend a little extra time selecting the routes that best match your target demographic. This will help to reduce your costs and boost your ROI. Crunch the numbers before you dive into this option.
Important fact: You cannot send more than 5,000 units per day, per zip code.
#4 - You want to target individual carrier delivery routes.
If sending your postcard to an entire zip code isn't right for your campaign, EDDM allows you to select individual carrier routes. Recipient demographics change from street-to-street, and this is a compelling option for choosing the streets where your offer is most likely to have mass appeal.
#5 - You are primarily targeting residential customers.
Here’s an important fact for you to remember about EDDM: You cannot send exclusively to business addresses only. You can, however, send only to residential addresses. And of course, you can send to both business AND residential. But sending to only businesses is not an option.
This is a crucial consideration for a lot of companies. If you’re marketing for a B2B product or service, then EDDM is probably not a cost-effective option for you. You shouldn’t waste money sending your postcard to residential addresses. You’d be better off doing a little research and compiling a mailing list.
And this brings us to our next benefit…
#6 – You’re working with a limited budget.
EDDM requires that you handle the sorting and packaging preparation. It’s not a tough task, but it will take some time and effort. Your bottom line will thank you though because you’ll save a lot of money on postage fees.
In fact, with a postcard mailer, you could save up to several cents per unit compared to a standard first class envelope. When shipping out thousands of cards at a time, this can equate to huge savings!
Just keep in mind that it will require extra work on your part. And if you’re paying an employee to handle this added effort, make sure your net savings still adequately promote your ROI.
#7 – You’d like to keep the workflow online.
Nothing slows down a process like paper-pushing, and with EDDM there’s no need for hassling with paperwork. Keep everything flowing smoothly and maintain proper management of your campaign efforts by keeping everything online and accessible to other key stakeholders. Plus, this will help ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.
Plus, it will also be handy when it comes time to analyze the results of your campaign.
#8 – You need a marketing method with long-standing, proven results.
According to the US Postal Service, less than half of delivered mail gets opened. By sending a postcard or flyer for your EDDM campaign, you increase the chances that recipients will view your offer because a postcard doesn’t need to be opened.
We’ve all done it, right? You know what the junk mail envelope looks like and you throw it straight in the recycling bin. But with a postcard, you’ll at least glance at both sides to see if it might benefit you in some way.
Those glances are what EDDM is all about. With one split-second at a time, you’ll build awareness and interest in your brand and begin to draw in new customers.
#9 – You’re not in a hurry.
Delivery time can be as short as a day to two after arriving at the local post office, but there is no guarantee. It could take more than a week. After all, we are talking about the postal service here. If a potential delay concerns you, then you should either choose a different delivery option or be sure to allow yourself enough time to prepare your campaign adequately.
From a local home services company to a nationwide fast-food chain, EDDM can offer excellent results for businesses of all sizes. It doesn't matter if you are targeting one zip code or an entire county. Every Door Direct Mail® is a viable option to consider for your marketing needs. Crunch the numbers and see what’s best for your business.
EDDM Retail vs EDDM BMEU
There are two kinds of EDDM mailings that you can do: EDDM Retail and EDDM BMEU, which stands for "Business Mail Entry Unit".
The benefit of using EDDM BMEU primarily comes down to the size of your project. If you are mailing to a large number of routes with multiple post offices, EDDM Retail would require you to drop pieces for each route at each individual post office, which is very time-consuming and, as a result, very costly.
EDDM BMEU also has much better postage rates. From USPS website:
"Prices - USPS Marketing Mail Flats up to 3.3 oz:
- EDDM Retail® USPS Marketing Flats currently $0.191 per direct mail piece
- EDDM BMEU USPS Marketing Mail Flats currently as low as $0.164 per direct mail piece"
Suffice to say, these rates are much cheaper than U.S. Postal Service standard mail.
EDDM Postcard Sizes
There are four common USPS approved EDDM® postcard sizes, or you can also contact us to get a quote for a custom size. The standard sizes are 4.25 x 10.625, 4.25 x 15, 6.25 x 9 and 6 x 11.
WHAT IS AN EDDM TARGETING TOOL?
The targeting tool is your biggest asset for selecting the most effective mailing routes for your postcard. It’s a visualized carrier route selection plugin, and it allows you to search the routes in a localized geographic area. With this tool, you can find routes that contain the highest percentage of recipients who meet your specified demographic criteria.
Wow! That was a lot of information all crammed together. Here’s an example that should give you a better idea of what I mean:
If you are handling the marketing for a homeowner’s insurance program, you probably don’t need to target apartment rental properties. Renters don’t need home insurance, right? With a targeting tool, you can see which routes have the highest percentage of homeowners and then send your marketing material only to the addresses on those routes.
Pretty great, huh? We think so too!
What Is The Best Targeting Tool?
Each have their strengths and weaknesses which we’ll go over in detail, but here’s a quick rundown of the top six:
- United States Postal Service – great for regional and nationwide campaigns (and my personal favorite).
- EveryDoorDirectMail.com – perfect for smaller local campaigns.
- EDDM Experts – a helpful supplement for one of the above choices.
- Primo Print – not great, but far from the worst.
- Express Copy – don’t bother.
- Print for Less – my least favorite.
Don’t Be Afraid to Mix-and-Match.
Look, most of these targeting tools are provided by printing companies who offer you the convenience of a one-stop shopping experience. Not only can you target your audience and process the shipping through these sites, but they will also design and print your postcards for you.
On the surface, this sounds like a great idea. However, convenience can sometimes come at a high cost. I have yet to find a “silver bullet” that can effectively (and affordably) handle both the targeting and the printing of an EDDM campaign.
Instead, I recommend that you use your favorite targeting tool to find the zip codes and route numbers that best target your audience. Then send that information to your preferred printer. For the sake of your bottom line, you should take a moment to evaluate all your options.
To help you through the process, Scout has created this free spreadsheet and pricing guide that allows you to compare the per-unit printing costs of various companies. Feel free to use this chart to your full advantage and share with other key stakeholders in your company.
Now let’s dig into these targeting and mapping tools!
First of all, this tool is for targeting only. There is no option to send directly from this site. That makes sense, though. It is the postal service, after all. I highly recommend using this tool to target your zip codes and carrier routes, but you will still need to find a printer and ship the mailers separately.
With that said, here’s what I love about the tool from the USPS…
It’s robust. Seriously, this thing can do nearly everything (except printing, of course).
When you type in an address, it immediately gives you all the possible carrier routes within a one-mile radius of that location. From there, you can hover over the routes to see the demographic data such as income, household size, average age of residents, etc. This is a great way to get the information you need while also being able to visualize where your mailers will go.
What's more, this tool offers a Table View which I love. With this, you can focus on the information for your targeted audience, and you can even search across multiple zip codes at the same time. Plus, you can organize the routes in order of which ones best match your demographic criteria. I’d suggest this for any campaign where the demographic data carries more weight than location or distance from an address.
It’s especially great for nationwide campaigns because you can search up to 14 different zip codes at once. This allows you to find your highest reaching routes across a large swath of the map.
Best of all, the table view also displays the postage costs. Grouped with the recipient data, you can see the price you’ll be charged to ship your mailer on this route. Fantastic!
The EDDM service has a limit of 5,000 mailers shipped from any one zip code per day. This tool has the added bonus of keeping a running tally of this number as you select your routes.
When you’ve finished selecting your desired routes, copy the zip code and route numbers into a spreadsheet and send them to your budget-friendly printer.
This is a fantastic targeting tool. It’s so great, it's been licensed for use at Staples and Taradel Direct as well. If you go to these other sites, you’ll find the exact same tool.
If the USPS option is best for targeting larger geographic areas, I like the EveryDoorDirectMail.com tool for local targeting. You’ll get a comprehensive set of demographic data that allows you to see all sorts of useful information. For example, a children’s toy company can target households based on the number of children living in the home.
The best part about this tool, though is the heat map. This helps to quickly see the areas that you need to target and find the best routes to reach them. Be sure to hover over each route to confirm that it adequately matches your search criteria.
However, with only five colors to indicate how well an area matches your target demographic, the percentage range can be rather broad. For instance, a field colored in deep red might be a 90% match for your audience while another area with the same coloring might only be a 50% match. Still, this is a great visual aide to help in your selection process.
The Drivetime filter is another great feature that can bring real value to your campaign. It designates a street-by-street radius around your chosen address that is within a 5, 10, or 15-minute drive. As researchers and business owners have come to learn, proximity has a vital impact on consumer shopping preferences.
This filter allows you to focus your marketing efforts on people who would be most willing to drive to your location. Of course, if you are targeting a walking city like New York or San Francisco, then this tool will be less useful for you.
A word of caution: Staples is one of your most expensive printing options. If you’re using this targeting tool on their website, be sure to export the information you need and send it to a more affordable printer.
Scout has worked on EDDM campaigns with companies of all shapes and sizes over the years. And, the most important thing we’ve learned is that every penny counts. Even a small price difference can have a significant impact on your ROI.
Similar to the tool from EveryDoorDirectMail.com, other companies have licensed this one from EDDM Experts. You’ll find it in on the sites for Image Media and Sonic Print.
For some reason, the income levels offered here are much less granular than previous examples we looked at. This tool is excellent for targeting specific age ranges, though. So, if income level is your primary concern, then you may want to look elsewhere. But if you’re more concerned with the age of your audience, this may be the best tool for you.
This company offers a heat map as well, but it’s not nearly as helpful as the one from EveryDoorDirectMail.com. It works the same way, but the colors are muted and tough to differentiate from one another. The purpose of a heat map is to make the best routes quickly and easily visible.
Unfortunately, this tool misses the mark.
Where it excels, though is the Table View option. Here you can easily see the percent match much more easily than with the heat map. Plus, it allows you to simultaneously target an entire city and then choose the best routes that have the highest percent match to your demographic criteria. This is a perfect option for campaigns where the demographic criteria are more important than the location or distance from an address.
If you plan to use only one targeting tool, then I wouldn’t recommend using this one from Primo Print. It’s useful for visualizing your targeted area, but the demographic information is limited. However, in conjunction with another more powerful tool, this can be a great addition to your targeting efforts and can help augment your route selection process.
What I like about the visualization is that it automatically highlights all the routes within a one-mile radius of your chosen address. This helps to get a clear picture of your targeted area. Then, by selecting different routes on the map, it shows you the percent match and other information that will help you make your decision.
Again, it might be a helpful addition to your process, but I wouldn’t rely on this tool exclusively.
Printing For Less
Right off the bat, I’ll tell you that this is my least favorite tool for targeting. It simply doesn’t offer the level of information needed to select the most optimal routes.
Although, it might be useful for confirming previously selected routes in a hyper-local campaign. By hovering your cursor over a route, you can instantly see a summary of that route’s information. For campaigns that target a tiny section of the map, maybe this can be a convenient way to confirm your route selections.
I’m not a big fan of this tool, either. The demographic information is minimal. Plus, it forces you to zoom in and explore the routes street-by-street, and this takes a lot more effort than the previous options we discussed. Overall, I don’t recommend this tool. You have more effective and efficient options at your disposal.
We’ve covered a lot of information here, so let me give you a quick recap of my recommendations for targeting tools.
For regional or nationwide campaigns, go with the USPS tool. EveryDoorDirectMail.com is great for local targeting. And if you’d like to augment either of these tools with a third option, I suggest using EDDM Experts.
Here’s a helpful video that our EDDM expert, Jordan, made for walking you through the various targeting tool options to send direct mail postcards.
If you have questions about USPS EDDM tools, Scout is a full-service direct mail marketing agency, and has the experience and expertise with USPS EDDM to answer any questions you might have. You can call or email Jordan, our founder and EDDM tools expert, or chat with him by clicking the chat button (bottom right).