direct mail

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by tborchers1, Jun 25, 2003.

  1. tborchers1

    tborchers1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    could someone explain to me direct mailing and how it works, and how much it costs, etc?

  2. studentlawn

    studentlawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 117

    basically.. you pay to buy/rent mailing lists, buy postcards, pay for printing on them, then have the service take the postcards and your mailing list and send them out. Most mail services do all these steps for you all in one. Im looking to do this also in the spring thanks to the advice of green in idaho. I think on about 10,000 pieces my estimated cost was aroudnd $1,500.
  3. Green in Idaho

    Green in Idaho LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Messages: 833

    Good luck with that S.L.

    Another thing to consider is a 1% response on 10k would be 100 calls in a short amount of time (might be within a week or so). That is A LOT of calls to deal with.

    Best is to get the mailer to go out in intervals. 2,500 this week, 2,500 next week....

    Or to acquire the same 100 accounts break it into 3 mailers. For example do in early fall, one in real early spring, and then one in late spring. Do all three mailers to the same households. For 'expected' response rate should go up with each additional mailer. People who intentionally passed you up on the first one may be more likely to buy on 2nd or 3rd. -- Also helps for cash flow. Ponying up $1,500 at one time hurts! And you may find in increments that the first one hits a bump (like a typo), and then you can adust for the 2nd or 3rd.

    And 10K home is a big geographic area. Best is to concentrate on one area and dominate it.

    I would rather do 5 mailings of 2,000 each than 1 of 10,000.

    The best thing about direct mail is you can TARGET your recipients. I can get mine down to, "I want these 25 streets: a,b,c..."

    Tborchers, try the "search" function on here. It works wonderfully.
  4. The Green Way

    The Green Way Banned
    Messages: 45

    You can also consider getting a bulk rate postal permit and do all the mailing yourself to save money. To find out more about this, go to your local post office and talk to someone at the counter about getting such a permit. They will explain it to you and you are good to go. I think it costs about $80 or so.
  5. Rustic Goat

    Rustic Goat LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,194

    Mailing lists that you purchase, suck!
    They include apartments, duplexes, rent housing, and usually can't tell the difference on the list.

    You can create your own by using a criss cross directory, available on CD. Allows you to look up all names on a given street, area, zip code, etc. Also tells you how long name has been living there, residential or commercial, about 20 different factors all together.

    Bulk mail rates may be different in different areas, but I'll briefly explain my experience.

    No one at any substation can help, they can only furnish a contact name at your towns main post office. Call there first, ask for name of person in charge of bulk mailings. Talk to that person, they'll give you brief explanation of what it's going to cost. From that conversation, if you decide it's something you want to do, make an appointment, take your money in and kiss it bye bye.

    Facts to consider for purchasing bulk mail permits.
    You MUST know exactly how many pieces you are going to be mailing.
    You MUST mail at least 200 pieces at a time.
    They MUST be presorted.
    The appointment you set up will be at least an hour to an hour and a half in time. It takes them this long to tell you all the other MUST do's that you have to follow to keep your permit. Remember your permit has a number, every piece of mail is tracked by it.
    The amount of your permit is decided by the total number of pieces you are going to be mailing.
    You MUST pay that amount and the postage amount (maybe 22 cents) for all mail your planning on mailing right then and there. Then you get a permit.

    To mail 5,000 pieces, I would have 'saved' $500. total in postage fees.
    I would have spent $2,000 in man hours getting the mail ready by Post Office requirements.

    Your choice.
  6. Green in Idaho

    Green in Idaho LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Messages: 833

    Ditto the Goat.

    That is why I recommend using a service to do it all. I say I want single-family households, they filter apartments and businesses. They use their bulk permit, I pay their rates. I get a confirmation they WERE mailed. They have updated lists, so I don't mail to bad addresses. For a premium price, I can select high income, or new homeowners, etc. Whatever I want. I just balance the price. It's mailed to "Grasscutter or Addressee" or any title I choose.

    I really like the direct mail as you can tell.

    But the KEY is having a good ad. The ad has to be GREAT! And the follow-up has to be GREAT! I'll admit my ads were marginal IMO but still gave good results.

    Not answering, not returning messages, or "Hello. Ya, I do lawns" as a phone response really CUTS the selling rate.

    I just attended a YellowPages seminar today, and it balanced my opinion. More on that latter.

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