Here is a link to a good article about direct mail. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barbara-morris/back-to-the-basics-why-di_b_3659032.html
The TN Department of Safety announced last Thursday a new safety feature that links emergency contacts to your TN drivers license in case of an emergency where you are not able to tell the police who to contact. Here is the link to sign up. linkhttps://lnkd.in/e9n5HJT
Most nonprofit organizations know that a spring appeal and a Christmas appeal have the best chance for success. A lot of my nonprofit customers are already gearing up to mail in April and May. It is a great time for everyone to mail because after April 10th, 2016, the postage rates will be going down. Start working on those direct mail projects.
In the print world when you print more than one, for instance a post card, on one sheet that is called ganging. It saves money and the post cards can be different. On our digital press we can gang four 5.5×8.5 post cards, that are the same, and print variable data such as the address and a personalized message..all on one pass of the press. This is for runs of 5000 or below. At our shop, larger quantities can be ganged but the variable data has to be added after they are printed.
My how things have changed in printing. It used to be that a customer took their job to the printer and the printer told them when they could come back and get it. The digital age has changed even the way that printers receive the jobs. It is downloaded from an FTP site or uploaded to the printer’s FTP site. Sometimes the file is emailed to the printer along with the mailing list. The customer never has to leave their office. A proof is sent to the customer and mailed at usually the date the customer has requested. What you can’t mail it today? What is so funny, is that sometimes we do print and mail it the same day, although that is not the norm. It is good for the ink to dry before addressing. That sort of thing usually happens when we are in the middle of political season. I just love political season, it is even better to me than deer hunting season is to the good ole boys who hunt in Tennessee. Create the political mailer, print it and mail it..all at a very fast pace. Yee haw! Several years we had a bumper sticker to print and the ink was not drying fast enough. It was a sunny day so we laid the bumper stickers out in the vacant flat lot that we own next door and let them dry in the sun. We were able to deliver the job, on time in a few hours later. I have a picture of that somewhere. I got carried away with that political thing didn’t I?
The things that printers need besides a good printing department is graphic design, copywriter/editors, list acqusition, database management, and what I think is most important is mailing. Mailing has certainly been good for my company and I think good for my customers. Having all those services is like running three businesses in one. The nice thing is that they all are integrated nicely with each other and the work flow is much easier when they are all under one roof.
We could ask my husband, Ken, what it was like to be in printing when he started out 46 years ago but unless you are close to his age, you probably wouldn’t believe it. We are both glad that things have changed, for the better, in printing. These changes have allowed us to have a unique business.
I did not start out to be in the Direct Mail business. I did not find the Direct Mail business, it found me. Actually, I started out in life wanting to be a nurse and actually went to nursing school (that is what we called it in the 1960 era). Oops, I am telling my age but I digress. You may find this hard to believe but in the 60’s you could not be married and remain in nursing school. I was in love (still am, working on 47 years of marriage this year) with my high school sweetheart, so we got married and kept it a secret. We even went to a nearby county so that the announcement would not appear in the paper. As you can imagine, my living in the dorm and Ken at home was not an ideal situation so I left nursing school and Ken and I moved to Florida where the space program was going strong and jobs were plentiful. I worked for Pan American Airlines for 5 years until our first child came along. We eventually moved back to Knoxville, had our second child and when she was in school, I decided to go back to work. My last job before joining Ken in the printing business was Vice President of a local Toyota dealership. With two daughters in college, I took the plunge to join Ken full time in our own business. I had a quotation from Fredrick Wilcox that I carried in my billfold (still do). “Progress always involves risk, you can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first”. It took me several months to leave that safe job to go into the unknown. I borrowed $20,000 and put it in the bank, just in case. To pay for little things such as tuition, mortgage , food etc., if I did not make it full time with our business. I never used that money.
So here I am out selling printing, which at the time, I knew nothing about but that did not stop a seasoned salesperson. I just had to become familar with the product. An advertising executive, that I am acquainted with, told me that I had learned the printing business faster than anyone he had ever seen. Well, he had never seen anyone with as much motivation as me. Two kids in college, mortgage, business..you get the picture.
I am getting to the mailing business part now. A large aluminum company had moved their marketing and communication business from Pittsburg to Knoxville and I was lucky enough to start doing printing for them. They knew that I am from this area (Knoxville, TN) so when they wanted to know where they could purchase a product or service, they would ask me. One day, they ask who stores things and mails them out. That one I did not know. I would later find out that the terminology is fulfillment, but hey, I wasn’t in the that business so I did not know. The next thing that they said was what got me in the mailing business. “We have money to spend and no one in town is willing to do it”. O.K. remember that I am new in the business, two kids in college and hungry. I almost felt like shouting, I will, I will but I wanted to go to Pittsburg and see what the company who has been doing fulfillment was all about. I visited the company in Pittsburg, with their blessings, and found that they were doing what we do now, which is graphic design, printing, mailing and fulfillment at one location. I came home, rented a warehouse and moved their literature fulfillment into the warehouse. After seeing the Pittsburg company, I told Ken we need to be in the mailing business and start a graphic design department. I thought it would create a niche that would set us apart from other printers. That was in 1991 and we have been in the mailing business ever since. We no longer warehouse literature but we continue to handle fulfillment projects.
Mailing and printing have been a good fit for us as they compliment each other. Throw in graphic design and it is a turn key solution for direct mail. You know, in looking back, had I known how much there is to learn about mailing I probably would have been scared to death but they say that fools rush in where angels dare to tread. Have you ever taken a look at the United States Postal Service Domestic Mail Manual? It is about 4 inches thick and lawyers have nothing on them when it comes to writing things that are hard to understand. Speaking of lawyers, that is what my daughters became. I think they got tired of the printing business when they were in high school and college. When they learned how to drive, they became the delivery person and other very uninteresting things such as collating booklets etc.
With really good staff, it has been a lot of fun and we have gone from knowing nothing about mailing 18 years ago, to giving seminars about how to do direct mail correctly. Doing it correctly is what it is all about. Would I go into the mailing business again? Absolutely, but sooner.
We have yet another change in mailing specifications coming March 29, 2009 and it is an important one. In our seminars we have instructed our attendees that this was coming but for those of you who did not attend, this is the pertinent information. It requires that all mailers place delivery addresses in the top half of all Standard Mail, Package Services and Periodical flats mailed at automation, presorted, or carrier route prices. Additional standards relate to address characteristics and apply to all commercial flat-size pieces, including First-Class Mail.
This means if your mail piece is a flat, an example would be an 8.5×11 newsletter or a 9×12 envelope. The area where you place the address must be at the top of the page or in the first 5.5 inches of the right hand side if positioned as a landscape .
If not addressed in the correct area, it will slow your delivery because it will not be machinable at the USPS and you will not receive bar-coded automation rates. Below are the postal rates if done correctly and incorrectly;
Automation: Postage – .496 Non Automation: Postage .558
Non Profit Automation: Postage .362 Non Automation: Postage .424
On a mailing of 10,000 the difference between placing the address in the correct position vs the incorrect position is $620.00 in postage.