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The 3 Biggest Direct Mail Time Sinks that You Need to Eliminate ASAP
November 16, 2016

The 3 Biggest Direct Mail Time Sinks that You Need to Eliminate ASAP

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Shrav Mehta

Successful businesses are built on maximum efficiencies. Amazon’s warehouse operations is a great example of how companies are using technology to improve the speed and precision of their operations. One area that some companies spend far too much time on is their direct mail campaigns. While direct mail is an effective form or marketing, it can consume large quantities of your team’s time. But if you’ve never assessed your direct mail operations, you might not be aware of all the direct mail time sinks you risk falling into.

If you are running direct mail as part of your marketing strategy, sit down and determine if these time inefficiencies have entrapped you.

Updating Excel Sheets

Traditional direct mail vendors require you to create and maintain your own spreadsheet. When it’s time to send out a mailer, you need to send this spreadsheet to your vendor to send out the mailers. If you only have to do this once, it’s a process you might be able to get away with. But if you’re sending out a high volume of transactional mail, this process can take up a great deal of your time.

Couchsurfing uses postcards to verify user addresses. Each week they would have to manually update a csv file and send it off to their direct mail vendor. This weekly task took up time and often would have errors in the formatting, which lead to more problems.

Eliminating the need to manually update a spreadsheet freed up time for Couchsurfing employees. Don’t bog down employee time with manual labor that is no longer necessary.

Here’s what to do instead:

  • Build a list that you can manage, update, and cross-reference through an application programmable interface (API) instead of manually.
  • Setting up a direct mail integration to programmatically send the mail, so you are in control of your mailing

Preparing Your Mailers

There’s a great deal of physical labor that has to go into preparing your mailer. Some campaigns require folding letter and stuffing envelopes. Other mailers are more intricate and require more time to assemble. Any mail you send needs postage to be added. In other words, it can be time intensive to prepare a mailer.

This doesn’t have to be the case. You’re not sending out personalized, handwritten notes. You’re sending out the same mailer, over and over again. Templates are your best friend in direct mail.

Find a tool that helps you customize a template and that will automatically create your mailer. No need to pay someone to sit in a room with a bunch of envelopes to stuff.

Here’s what to do instead:

  • Work with a designer to come up with a set of templates that you can use across multiple marketing contexts.
  • Include variations of mailers that you can use for optimization and A/B testing
  • Continue to optimize your mailers with enhancements over time

Going to the Post Office

Direct mail involves physically sending mail through the post office. That means you have to take time out of your day to load a vehicle with all your mailers. This could take multiple trips. Then you have to sit in traffic as you make your way through town to get to the post office. You’ll have to take as many trips from your car to the post office, as it took you to load your car. Now you’re ready...to sit in inevitably long line at the post office, waiting for the postal worker to get to you in line.

That’s a lot of time. Round trip, you’re looking at hours spent just going to the post office. That is time you don’t need to dedicate to your direct mail campaign.

Here’s what to do instead:

  • Automate the purchase of postage through your API
  • Track mail through the USPS at scale, without any manual effort

Save Time With Automation

These three issues don’t have to continue to suck up all your time. Thanks to new automation technology, direct mail can be as easy as managing an email marketing campaign.

Lob offers direct marketers the ability to automate direct mail campaigns with the same capabilities digital marketers have enjoyed throughout the years. You can run an end-to-end campaign that sends out personalized mail without ever having to handle the mail.

You merely set up your templates and campaign triggers with a few clicks, then you’re ready to focus on other tasks while your direct mail starts to be sent out. For a primer on how automation makes direct mail better, check out this primer on the Lob blog.

Having old fashioned direct mail in your marketing strategy doesn’t mean you have to send it like previous generations. There are tools out there that can help you regain control of your time and maximum productivity when it comes to sending out direct mail. If you’re still wasting time with any of these three areas of direct mail, it’s time to reassess your tactics and discover tools to help you better send direct mail.

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