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direct mail

What is USPS Full Service intelligent Mail

Full service Intelligent Mail® is a technology that is required for automation discounts and allows for extensive tracking of your mail campaigns.  Automation mail is barcoded for the USPS' processing equipment. Intelligent Mail® uses barcodes to assist the USPS in sorting mail therefore allowing the sender to receive a discount on the mailing. 

The discounts associated with Full Service Intelligent Mail® are $0.001 per piece in addition to the additional postage discounts associated with presorting mail.

The benefits of utilizing Intelligent Mail® are two-fold. Firstly, the sender will be able to take advantage of the discounts indicated above.  Action Mail passes these discounts directly onto our clients. Further, the increased tracking capabilities of the mail will give you the power to follow every piece of mail to delivery. If you are interested in tracking services an additional code will need to be inserted into the barcode to enable this tracking service.  With improved tracking you know exactly when each piece of mail is delivered. In addition, this tracking allows you to coordinate your direct mail campaigns with follow-up campaigns to develop the integrated nature of your marketing efforts.  Action Mail applies Full Service Intelligent Mail barcodes to all mail that qualifies and gets you the lowest postage rates your mail piece qualifies for.

 Please contact an Action Mail representative at 760-480-2323 to see if your mailing qualifies for automation and the Intelligent Mail® discounts.

High Value Direct Mail

Direct mail can be a great tool to target large quantities of people but it can also be a great tool to target your most coveted prospects.  For these high value prospects it is best to put together a more elaborate mail piece which will be sent to a few high value prospects.   These prospects will most likely also be touch be email, phone, and in person communications but a well designed mail piece will put you front and center.  If done well this is something that could stick around for a while and be a constant reminder of your company and brand.  For these prospects the mail piece should be upscale, high quality, highly personalized, and be sure to stick out.  These will also have to get past the gate keeper and into the decision maker's hands.  Sending a package, sample products, or a gift are great ways to draw the attention of your prospect and ensure your company gets the prospect's attention.  

These campaigns are often more expensive, but in the long run they pay for themselves and more if they are done right.  The piece should be complicated and expensive, but you should only be sending these to your highest value prospects so the quantity should be small.  The list will also be highly customized to ensure you are only targeting the prospects that will generate the highest returns.  Employing these strategic marketing practices will also alleviate the time and energy your sales team is using to get in the door allowing them to focus on closing deals.  Using direct mail is much more cost effective and has a larger reach than having sales people go door to door.

 High end high value direct mail pieces are a great way to get in the door and attract high value prospects, but the campaign will need to be run strategically with a creative and valuable offer.  Just think if you were to receive a gift in the mail would you not want to know more about who sent it to you, what else they may be able to offer you, and at the very least sit down for a phone call?

Identify you Target Audience Before you Launch Direct Mail Campaigns

Direct mail is a great marketing medium for targeted messages because you can be very specific in the characteristics of your target customer.

Identify your target audience for marketing success

Spending money on a marketing campaign that does not reach your target customer can destroy your return on investment (ROI). A significant part of planning your campaign should focus on who the target audience is. Narrowing down the characteristics of your target market may be a challenge at first because it is hard to know where to start. Below are ways to identify and narrow down the characteristics of your target customers.

1.       Identify key customer characteristics: Work to identify the demographics that you will use to segment your target market. Aspects such as geographic location, income level, and interests may help narrow down your target audience. First identify what these characteristics are, as we move down this list you will identify the specific characteristics of your target customer.

2.      Look at your current customers: Identify who your best customers are and note the similar characteristics of those customers. It is highly likely that your best targets have similar characteristics to your best customers.

3.      Imagine a perfect customer: This will take some brainstorming. Work with your team to build an imaginary perfect customer. What are the characteristics of a perfect customer?

4.      Look at your competitors: Observe what markets your competitors are focusing on. It is likely that similar markets are strong candidates for your marketing messages. However, keep in mind the differentiating factors between you and your competition, just copying their moves will always leave you two steps behind.

5.      Test your hypothesis: Once you have established the demographics of your target market test your theory. Deliver marketing messages to that audience and track your response rate. You should never be satisfied with your results and you should always be looking to hone in on the specific audience that will take your business to the next level.

Contact one of our representatives today to see what marketing list characteristics we can obtain for you. Give us a call at 760-480-2323 or email us at

Get your mailing noticed

  The key to a direct mail piece is to get your target audience’s attention.  Whether you are sending a marketing piece, financial statement, invitation, or other communication it essential that the piece is noticed when it is collected from the mail box.  To be effective, direct mail needs to stand out from the “junk mail” and get the attention of the target audience. Below are some tips to make sure your direct mail piece gets noticed.

Size does matter:  If you are sending a postcard, send a large postcards.  The most effect sized post cards are 9”x6” or 8.5”x5.5”.  These larger sizes do not cost much more to mail, but really stick out in the mail.  They also allow for more room for messaging, and provide enough space so your message is clear and highly visible

Taglines: Including a tagline in a letter helps ensure that it gets opened.  Taglines are short messages that are printed directly on the envelope.  They should grab the target’s attention but leave enough mystery so that the envelope is opened. Additionally using different color envelopes or branding envelopes will help them stand out in the mail.

Self-mailers: Self-mailers are great ways to add draw the attention of the recipient while still being able to provide sufficient information. 

Personalization: adding personalization, whether it is in a tagline on an envelope or directly on the piece will dramatically increase response rates.  With variable data printing you have the ability to print personalized information throughout your mailing.

Clear messaging: Clear concise messaging on the portion of the piece that the recipient will see is essential. Similarly to an elevator pitch you will only have a few seconds to get the respondents attention.  Make sure your pitch is clear, easy to read, relevant, and enticing.

Target Audience:  Selecting the right demographic and audience to send your direct mail piece to is essential.  If you target the right group, your message should speak directly to the recipient and your message will be more relevant and peak their interest. 

Whatever you decide be sure that your piece gets noticed, opened, and read.  You will have just a few seconds while someone is looking through their mail to grab their attention, make sure you take full advantage.

Reducing Direct Mail Turnaround Times

Getting your direct mail piece out on time and on budget is our priority.  If you have a rush job there are a few things you can do to help expedite processing and get your order out as soon as possible.  Action Mail’s turnaround time for mailing jobs is generally 2-3 business days after you have approved samples and authorized the mailing for standard mailings.  Jobs that involve printing usually take an additional 3-5 days, though depending on the size, type, and urgency of the mailing we can expedite processing to meet your needs.  Please contact one of our sales representative for rush turnaround times to see how we can meet your deadlines.  Please also keep in mind the tips below to reduce turnaround times.

Data File Preparation

Receiving data files that are ready to be put into production saves time on revisions and back and forth.  Data files should be sent in an excel document with the name, address, city, state, zip code, and any other data that is to be mail merged into the mailing clearly labeled in the header records.  Data should be clean and uniform to avoid additional time, costs, and inaccuracies associated with bad data. 

Pre-processing information

The more information available before the mailing the faster the setup and processing of the job. Please provide the piece size, paper weight and type, clear directions for inserting, class of mail, and any other instructions or request when placing an order.  Additionally providing directions on what to do with CASS (undeliverable address) and NCOA (addresses that have moved and provided a new address and addresses that have moved and not provided a new address), will reduce back and forth after the processing of data.

Print File Preparation

Art files for printing should be sent in high resolution PDFs.  The art should by in CYMK and have full bleeds in order to expedite printing.  Art should also be provided to one of our sales reps during the creative design process to ensure that the design meets postal regulations.  We will provide a proof of the printed piece, and a quick response and approval will help increase printing turnaround times.


Many times jobs are ready to go but we cannot mail without postage.  For rush jobs make sure you are ready to add funds into your permit or provide a postage check as soon as we process the job and calculate postage, in order to avoid delays associated with waiting for postage to arrive.

Advanced notice

The more advanced notice we have the more efficiently we can schedule the job and decrease turnaround times.  Even if you do not have the data, art, or materials, let us know your timeline and needs so we can prepare for and schedule the job.

First Class

Another option to decrease the time necessary for the mailing to reach the target audience is to mail first class.  Postage is considerably more than Standard Mail but your mail piece should reach homes and businesses in 1-3 days.

The best way to reduce turnaround times and get your mail out as soon as possible is to prepare as much as possible for the mailing.  The more information you can provide the faster we can get the piece out.  Planning your mail far in advanced is always the best way to mitigate rush mailings, but this is not always possible and there are often delays and changes during the planning process.  We recommend planning as much as possible and providing as much information to us as possible as soon as possible.  This will help us quickly process your mailings and meet your deadlines.

Five things to consider for a direct mail campaign

When designing a direct mail marketing campaign there are certain points that you must think about to optimize your mailing.Prepare for your direct mail campaign by considering the following characteristics:

1.       Your Target Audience

With direct mail you have the ability to target a specific audience. This is the most important part of your mailing, no matter how amazing your piece is if it is not sent to a target client it will not be successful. When considering where to send your direct mailing, consider your ideal client. Break down as many characteristics of that client as possible (i.e. income level, geographic location, homeowners, etc.). With these characteristics you can obtain a list that targets the best prospects.

2.       Your budget

It is important to set a budget for your direct mail campaign. There are many different aspects of a direct mail budget including: list acquisition, postage, services, printing, etc. Make sure to identify the aspects of your mailing that are most important to you. For example, if the type of paper used is more important than the colors used, you can save money by going with black and white while still using a high quality paper.

3.       Your goals

You must set goals for your direct mail campaign. Goals should be set aggressively yet realistically. Your goals are integral in ensuring that you maintain focus on the most important marketing aspects while creating your direct mail campaign. When setting goals make sure to consider multiple aspects including but not limited to desired client response, response rate, and brand awareness. Note that it has been proven that you need multiple mailings to achieve optimal results. Make sure to plan your overall mailing strategy and don’t be afraid to test your ideas with smaller sample mailings before you commit to a larger mailing.

4.       Your Piece

Once you have identified your target audience, budget, and goals you must design your piece. When designing your piece there are many things to consider. Firstly, you must decide what type of piece you want to mail (postcard, letter, etc.), what size you want, etc. In addition, you must consider what message you are trying to get across and what the call to action of your mailing will be (i.e. visit your website, come in to your store location, or fill out a survey). Be sure to keep your budget and goals close at hand when designing your piece.

5.       Your marketing integration

Like any marketing communication direct mail cannot be utilized in a vacuum. When designing your direct mail campaign reflect on how it will be integrated with your overall marketing campaign. Make sure to keep a consistent message throughout your marketing channels focused on achieving your overall campaign goals. It is also important to consider your follow-up strategy after your mailing.