How Much Does Direct Mail Cost: An Inside Look | Farming Cards

How Much Does Direct Mail Cost: An Inside Look

Direct Mail Tips | 30 Dec, 2020

by Jeffery Li

Reading Time: 3 Minutes

mailbox_containing_direct_mail_from_business

Photo: Updraw Illustration Library

Have you considered using direct mail to reach potential clients? It's important to understand the actual costs of your effort, especially if you're thinking about getting started in luxury real estate. Direct mail is a useful resource, but not if the right people aren't hearing from you. Reaching your clients with important well-crafted mailers is a part of mastering good marketing and interpersonal skills. Hopefully, these insights will help you design postcards to yield a hefty clientele while keeping things affordable. Getting good at this is all a part of learning the ropes. If you want to work in this business, understand direct mail the way insiders understand it. See what they see.

It's important to understand these costs:

  • Mailing lists

  • Printing

  • Design

  • Addressing

  • Postage

5 Factors that Determine the Cost of Direct Mail

Here's a handy road map to understanding direct mail costs.

1. Mailing List Costs - Don't Cast a Wide Net

Direct mailing lists allow you to reach addresses based on specific demographics. You don't have the time to market to everyone, so make sure you're only getting through to the people who will benefit from your service. Make sure you're thinking about demographics: income, zip code, occupation, new homeowners or home value.

Why broadcast to the world when you already know not everyone is interested? Thankfully, you can turn to mailing list compilers, which are companies that put together direct mail marketing lists for you. Even better are vendors who can help you navigate this process step by step, brokering a better deal for you when purchasing mailing lists from compiling companies.

It's worth the startup cost to pay for a good direct mailing list. But if that's out of your budget, you can start from scratch. It will take time, just stay organized managing your contact list.

2. Printing Costs - Be Choosy About Paper

The lowest price isn't always the deciding factor when it comes to paper, so ask the right questions. The best way to do that is to know what to look for ahead of time before you pay. 14-point card stock is the industry standard for thick postcards that can bear the brunt of traveling. Ask for this to avoid cheap-looking, flimsy postcards that could harm your reputation.

Also, ask about glossy printing. It may cost extra, but will give you a sharp, professional look. Glossy paper has the added benefit of standing out in a pile of flat matted paper mail too.

3. Design Costs - Don't Skimp on Design

It's not uncommon for direct mail companies to outsource their design work to freelancers. While this doesn't always mean lower quality, it can present a risk that you may or may not be willing to take. Your postcards should look fantastic and strongly communicate your message. They should generate calls, leads and even sales.

The best designs lead to responses. It's your responsibility to find out how much revisions will cost, because it will take more than one iteration to get the perfect postcard. Even better is when companies offer unlimited revisions. Otherwise, expect fees based on a variety of potential factors: per revision, per hour or a flat fee.

4. Address Costs - Remember to Budget Addressing

This may come as a surprise, but you'll most likely have to pay for having your postcards addressed. After considering some of the more obvious costs, like printing and postage, this one often slip through the cracks.

Be proactive: Either ask about this beforehand so you can avoid a surprise fee, or spend hours addressing on your own.

5. Postage Costs

Postage will account for your largest marketing cost, believe it or not. If you're working with a direct mail marketing company, buying postcards in bulk could bring down your postage costs. Otherwise, look into Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) if you're marketing yourself.

This is a program by U.S. Postal Service offers to send business mail at a discount to a specific area based on zip code. It's geographically limited, but can be a great way to get started. Now that you know about the types of costs you'll encounter, you can more easily navigate the exciting world of direct mail.
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