Being in the direct-mail business, I deal with a wide variety of clients. Their needs vary greatly, but figuring out the best use of their marketing budgets is a very common challenge.
When discussing the different direct mail options, there are two main topics we typically discuss. The first option is a solo direct mail campaign. This consists of your standard stand alone postcard being sent to either a very specific mailing list of potential customers or selecting specific neighborhoods to target. Depending on the method and postage class we decide to use the cost can vary between $.32 and $.55 per piece.
The second option is participating in a cooperative direct mail campaign. This consists of a group of different businesses advertising together in order to share most of the hard costs, such as postage, mail processing and all of the set up costs incurred. There are a number of companies and formats that provide this opportunity. Companies like RSVP, ValPak, Mailbox Merchants and a number of others can include you in their mailings and your cost will be $.01 to $.08 per household. This allows you to reach a significantly higher number of potential customers for the same amount you would spend in a solo campaign.
The other advantages of a cooperative campaign are that you are able to reach the target demographic you would like depending on the company you work with. Your ValPak and Mailbox Merchants companies throw out a larger, less discriminatory net and are great for mass consumables like pizza, fast food, entertainment, massage, haircuts, smog service, and similar lower dollar purchases. On the same note, companies like RSVP target the more affluent homeowners and are great for some of the higher end versions of the mass consumables listed above and the things homeowners shop for like home improvement, carpet cleaning, pool service, pest control and high end medical beauty services.
I have found that dollar for dollar cooperative direct mail campaigns return a higher return on investment.
I hope that is helpful in your exploration of cost effective direct mail campaigns as you move forward.