Below is a list of the top five questions you need to ask a Direct Mail Marketing provider before you consider purchasing from them.
1. Do you have an on-site post office?
It’s important you know who is in charge of processing your mail. If the vendor doesn’t have a USPS worker on premises, then who is verifying your mail to ensure accurate processing, and can they provide proof of mailings when they’re sent out?
2. What is the total, all-inclusive cost per piece?
All too often direct mail vendors quote their clients based on each element of the project or forget to include critical elements of the job such as design, addressing costs, etc. However, what really matters is what the total cost per of the job is. It doesn’t matter if Vendor A charges more for addressing compared to Vendor B if Vendor B is less expensive on job overall.
You can avoid hidden charges by asking one simple question: “Can you provide me with my total net cost per piece for the entire job from start to finish, inclusive of everything that I need to have this piece designed, printed, and mailed based on the specifications I provided?”
Asking this question will ensure that you know exactly how much your project will cost, and it will make it much easier for you to compare bids you have received from other vendors.
Don’t forget that quality, reliability, and customer service are just as important as price, so be sure to factor in these other aspects in addition to the overall cost.
3. Who owns my design?
If the vendor designs your mail piece, do you own the artwork and have full rights to use it in the future? If their answer is no, you simply don’t let them design your piece. You don’t want to pay someone for a design that you won’t own and wouldn’t be able to use without paying more.
4. What method are you using to send out my mail?
If you are sending bulk mail by saturating carrier routes, you must ask which method of delivery they are using. Are they using the USPS EDDM BMEU method with a generic mailing label, or are they buying a list of physical addresses and ink-jetting them on your mailers?
Keep in mind that EDDM will limit your ability to remove unwanted addresses such as apartments, drop addresses, college addresses, and more. EDDM will also limit your ability to remove your list of current customers from your mailing, so if that’s important to you, you’ll need to find a vendor who will bulk mail them for you.
5. Can you provide me with references?
The answer to this question may or may not be helpful to you since every company is going to provide you references from customers they know are happy. However, if the company hesitates to offer references, that’s a red flag.
For example, Mail Shark can provide as many references as you want. All that we ask for is the time to contact our clients for their permission since we hold our clients’ accounts in strict confidentiality.
What rate of return can you guarantee me?
The reason this is a trick question is because it’s impossible to guarantee a return on any form of advertising. There are simply too many variables involved to be able to guarantee a return. If anyone promises you a specific return rate, they’re dishonest, and you should politely end the call or meeting.
Also, be wary of marketing companies that talk about returns that are far above industry averages, unless they can back it up with data.