Comparing shared mail vendors is like comparing apples to apples.

Evaluating Shared Mail Vendors: What to Look For, What to Avoid

Shared mail offers economy of scale and distribution, but at what cost? With so many shared mail vendors to choose from, you need to partner with one who can maximize your every door direct mail (EDDM) spend. For example, you wouldn’t want your shared mail bundled into a promotion that didn’t hit the mark with your geo and demographic target. Before you invest your direct mail dollars, explore these do’s and don’ts of partnering with a shared mail vendor.

DO be realistic about shared mail

Shared mail can reduce your distribution costs by as much as 30% of traditional direct mail options. It lets you share the cost of mailing with other direct mail advertisers; distributing many promotions within a single package. It’s a cost-effective way of getting your direct mail advertising into as many EDDM households as possible. While it offers geographic and demographic targeting at the household level, you cannot reach a specific person within that household. You also must consider that your mail is competing with other inserts in the shared mail package. It’s easier for consumers to compare your offering to competitors in the shared mail package. So, be sure to work with a vendor who is willing to help you to avoid inclusion in any shared mail that’s incompatible with your brand or goals.  At Target Direct — a division of Upper Valley Press, we work with our clients to ensure best shared mail placement for their budget, geo targets, demographic, and brand needs.

DON’T get caught off guard by quantity requirements

The economy of shared mail for EDDM distribution is attractive, but it’s important to remember that this direct mail advertising tool is a bulk mail pay. A minimum quantity of 10,000 direct mail inserts is required for each mailing. If you’re trying to reach a niche audience or if you don’t have the budget to produce 10,000 inserts, shared mail might not be the best choice for you. Be sure to look for a vendor who can offer you other options to get in on the shared mail economy. For example, Upper Valley Press lets you run an on-page ad on the outer wrap of a shared mail package. This gets your message in front of a shared mail distribution of 10,000 or more recipients—and it’s an economical way for new shared mail advertisers to test distribution before investing in the full program.

DON’T make assumptions about the distribution

The reality is, shared mail can’t reach all zip codes in the United States. Some rural routes aren’t accessible, and if you’re trying to reach these households, shared mail might fall a little short of your goals. TV and radio advertising can be used in conjunction with shared mail to reach households inaccessible by shared mail promotions. Be sure to seek out a shared mail vendor who is upfront about your distribution and who will work with you to ensure the best fit for your needs. For example, Upper Valley Press offers a wide range of postal zones to choose from, with frequency discounts to help you keep costs down.