Before deciding on a mailing services provider it pays to undertake some serious research: The working relationship a direct marketer builds with a direct mailing services company is critical to the success of their direct mailings so choose with care. There are a number of factors to take into consideration when looking for the perfect mailing company…
Do some background checks – ask for references -any reputable direct mailing company will be happy to provide you with these. Contact their customers in order to find out how they rate the mailing company and ask how long they have been using the mail fulfilment house. Put recommendation top of the list when selecting a mailing company.
Are they DMA registered?
Successful applicants will gain DMA membership and will then have then has to work within the codes of practice laid down by the organisation. Presently there are 120 UK direct mailing services companies registered with the DMA. In order to find one visit the DMA website or simply ask a fulfilment house if they are a member.
Is location important? When deciding on a mailing services company it’s not a necessity to select a local one – it often happens that businesses have to look farther afield when requiring a mailing company capable of taking on jobs involving more complexity or with larger volumes. If you do decide to select a fulfilment house which is at a distance make sure you take into account extra costs of transporting materials. Choose a mailing company which has is readily accessible from main motorways.
What types of services are on offer? Some fulfilment houses can deliver the full direct marketing package including design, print, mailing and fulfillment. Decide how much work you require the mailing company to take on for you. Maybe your business only needs to outsource parts of the direct marketing process; or, you may require a direct mailing company which can take on the majority of the work. Most mailing houses will offer good rates for using more of their services. Also worth bearing in mind is that when you only have to deal with one supplier this means less paperwork with invoices from just the one place.
Cost – how much the mailing company charges for its services will be one of the main factors you need to consider. But remember basing a decision solely on cost could be a false economy. Paying slightly more could get you better service and reliability from your mailing house which will enable you to get higher cost rewards in the longer term. You can keep costs to a minimum by selecting a mailing company which passes on its trade discounts; direct mailing houses can buy materials such as envelopes and labels wholesale and should quote you competitively when you need supplies.
Always work with a mailing house which is licensed to use Royal Mail’s postage discounts – not all mail houses are able to offer you services such as Mail sort – a delivery service which can save you up to 25% off your postage costs. A reputable mailing services company will be able to inform you about all your postage options including those offered by Royal Mail’s competitors, if you are unclear.
Choose a mailing house which is committed to using responsibly sourced materials and is recycling its waste. Many mailing houses are attempting to achieve or already have achieved British Standard Accreditation. Find out whether they offer customers the option of using, for example, the 100% biodegradable packaging materials which are available nowadays.
Very importantly your mailing house must be expert in handling data and has to be registered at the Information Commissioner’s Office under the terms of the data protection act of 1998.
Check to see whether a direct mailing company makes investments in new technology. The best mailing houses will be able to offer you the most up-to-date data merging software, PDF management facilities and the option of being able to vary your colour print. If your mailing company has access to the newest technology you will be able to deliver greater personalisation than before thereby giving you the best chance of successful direct mailings.