In Part I of this series, I explained what Every Door Direct Mail® (EDDM) is and how it came to be introduced by the USPS. To understand how it works, it helps to keep in mind that EDDM is essentially a flyer distribution service that bypasses most of the USPS’s mail processing infrastructure. It also helps to remember that EDDM was originally designed to be a self-service solution for local businesses that only needed geographic targeting. As EDDM has matured, some printers and mail service providers have developed end-to-end services. The cost for their services is essentially a trade-off between the time it takes for you to learn and manage the process yourself vs. having someone else do it for you.
Is EDDM complicated? Not really. If you’re doing it yourself, it just takes more time than some other direct mail alternatives plus an understanding of process and the tools provided by the USPS and EDDM-specific service providers. One question people often ask is “How long does it take to get an EDDM mailing piece delivered?” The entire process from the moment you begin creating a design until it’s actually delivered can be between two and four weeks. EDDM is a longer process compared to alternatives like a targeted mailing so you should plan further ahead if you’re interested in repeat flyer distribution.
To use EDDM as a self-service, you need to use the USPS’s online tool. Following is its nine step process.
- Create an account. To create a mailing, you must create an EDDM or Business Account with USPS. (If you’re not using the USPS, you do not need to create an account.)
- Select Carrier Routes. Every zip code is divided into Carrier Routes. Select one or more that you believe have a high saturation of potential or actual customers. Saturation is important because you have to deliver a piece to all households in a Carrier Route. I’ll explain more in my next post.
- Create a delivery piece. It's important to create a clean design with a clear message. Also, EDDM has specific size requirements so you need to check these out first. There are minimum quantities you must mail and even a maximum per zip code per day that you cannot exceed.
- Find a printer. Some printers will assist you in formatting, designing, printing and preparing your mailing. The printer you choose should be able to provide an EDDM indicia because this is required.
- Choose your drop off date. Plan the date you'll drop off the mailings based on how many deliveries you'd like and where you plan to send them.
- Prepare Mailing Bundles. In order to mail, you must bundle your mailings into 50-100 pieces. Your bundles may not be higher than six inches.
- Fill Out Processing Forms. You'll need to include a facing slip on top of every bundle, which tells the USPS how to process and deliver your order.
- Pay for Postage. Finally, pay for your mailings. Charges are based on the type of account you have and the number of pieces you are having the USPS deliver.
- Submit Your Mailing. Take or send your mailing to a Post Office for delivery.
As I have pointed out, EDDM is a flyer distribution service originally developed to meet the needs of local businesses who only need geographic targeting. Distributed pieces are not personalized or addressed but do require a valid USPS EDDM indicia. Though it is a longer process than some alternatives, it is very suitable for some types of businesses. In my next article, I will explain why it is vital to understand your target audience and keep it top of mind when using EDDM. Failure to do so will cause you to waste money and dramatically lower your return on investment.