The most successful direct mail companies share a desire to excel in their field. But, as they would be quick to point out, desire is simply not enough. Instead, the top providers embrace a more practical view of their industry and strive to provide the very best service in a range of areas. With that thought in mind, here is quick rundown on what the very best direct mail companies deliver to their customers.
1. A strong and experienced operating team
A highly trained in-house team – from designers to print technicians – are all necessary to conduct a successful direct sales campaign. The best vendors employ all of these services in-house and are reluctant to outsource them to third parties so that they can control the entire production process from pre-flight all the way to the mailing process.
Hint: Feel free to ask your direct mail vendor how tenured their team is in each category of print and mail. A strong team should have ten or more years of experience in any given area.
2. Expertise & knowledge across a wide range of industries
Not only must a company understand its own business but also that of its clients. In short, a diverse range of experience and expertise is necessary to ensure that your company follows all industry regulations and complies with any restrictions specific to your industry.
Hint: Is your direct mail company experienced in a handful of industries? For example: insurance, mortgage, automotive, political, non-profit, etc.
3. Attention to detail
A direct mail piece and its associated campaign entails almost innumerable details – ones that you may overlook as your team may overlook as they pay attention to other elements of the marketing campaign. The top direct mail companies take this task off your plate and allow you and your employees to focus on your own core competencies.
Hint: Does your direct mail company check for any misspellings while proofing the art work, make sure the color build is correctly set up for press, or catch any elements that might not be approved by the USPS?
4. The right equipment
The technology of direct mail services is constantly evolving. To produce the best finished product with the highest return on investment, your vendor should understand all the “ins and outs” of such diverse processes as 6-color offset printing, variable data printing as well as finishing and fulfillment options.
Hint: Does your direct mail company invest in new equipment on a yearly basis? Companies that do this understand the importance of staying on top of the industry’s latest printing technology trends.
5. Fast & accurate data processing
Does your mailing company offer de-duping, NCOA, and Cass Certification as a data management standard? After all, if your mailings go to the wrong place, they’ll probably get thrown away, and you don’t want to mail to people who’ve passed away.
Hint: If your direct mail company cares enough to standardize great data management, you’ll save money and get more responses.
6. On-site USPS verification access
While the service offered by the USPS is often described as “snail mail,” the organization itself is constantly changing its regulations for direct mail to achieve greater efficiencies for everyone. It makes for a very confusing situation unless a company gets verified and keeps up with the process on a daily basis. In the long run, USPS verification will save an enormous amount of time and money for your company.
Hint: Is your mail piece guaranteed to pass USPS regulations once it gets dropped off at the USPS port? Or will it get sent back to the direct mail company for a re-print because it doesn’t meet regulation? This is a very important question to have a solid answer to.
7. Top-notch customer service
This characteristic is really the factor that differentiates the very best direct mail companies from their competitors. Clients want a personalized touch that includes a single point of contact to resolve issues and make changes. Being able to call your sales rep or customer service reps direct line and get an answer is invaluable. Make sure your direct mail companies have reliable team members that will help you find answers fast!
Hint: Having a personalized FTP account will make most of the file-sharing seamless, causing less stress in the long run!