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Choosing a Valuable Printer for Your Direct Mail Marketing Blog Feature
Angela Medlar

By: Angela Medlar on February 22nd, 2018

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Choosing a Valuable Printer for Your Direct Mail Marketing

Marketing | Direct Mail

Thanks to a number of different factors, direct mail has become one of the most engaging marketing tactics. One of those factors – technological advancements – has given marketers incredible control and flexibility to best connect with their prospects and customers. From customization and personalization to targeting and automation, direct mail is nothing like it was in its “heyday.”

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Before you roll out any kind of direct mail campaign, you want to make sure that whichever printing partner you work with has the tools in place to launch your campaign without a hitch. Searching for the best-fitting direct mail printing and mailing service often be a challenge, however.

One company may provide terrific printing options, but may lack an ability to manage your mailing needs. Some businesses want the best of both worlds, but other marketers prefer a more manageable and cost-effective relationship with a printer that provides all the direct mail printing and mailing services they need.

There are many more elements to choosing the right printer than an ability to print and ship, though. So we’ve compiled a list of four key factors you should consider before choosing a printer to help you execute your direct mail marketing campaign.

Understanding Your Goals

Any printer can produce mailers for you, but a company that takes a vested interest in what you’re trying to accomplish will stand out over one that is just trying to feed their equipment.

If your partner doesn’t understand what you’re hoping to accomplish with a campaign, they can’t do much to help you achieve your goals. Providing the best recommendations that aid your efforts is dependent on a partner’s willingness to invest in learning your needs. Of course, their ability to understand your goals and identify the best-fitting solutions is a skill in and of itself.

Comprehensive Experience

Especially if you’re striving for big results from your direct mail campaign, the value an experienced printer can provide can be the difference. A partner that has experience printing and mailing for companies in your industry may be able to share ideas or recommend options you may not think about.

Typically, the more experience the better, especially when it comes to the content, timing, mailing list, and design of the mailer. Producing thousands of assets gives a printer valuable insight into the success and failures of different campaigns, and that’s information worth leveraging.

A printer or startup that’s yet to fully understand your industry may not be your most reliable choice, even if their prices are more cost-effective. Without years of developing expertise, such a partner can’t add the same value to your strategy and execution as a time-tested provider.

Technologically Savvy

The latest printing technologies and modern capabilities of printing and mailing teams often surprise businesses. Today’s processes are far more interactive than in years’ passed, and knowledge of the most suitable technology can be a significant differentiator.

Digital printing processes afford the ability to better target your message with personalization, and they offer they ability to track the timing and engagement of your direct mail pieces. With this evolution, a new direct mail best practice is to provide your recipients the opportunity to engage with your brand online.

Make sure your partner can provide you accurate and reliable data to measure your campaign. Such tracking capability leads to the kind of insight that not only proves the value of your investment, but helps you maximize the effectiveness of your future campaigns.

Quality of Work

Now it’s time to assess what your printing partner ultimately creates for you (and your target audience). Your partner must be equipped with the requisite materials and resources to craft an attention-worthy direct mail piece, as well as the skill and techniques to do so.

Some of the most important factors to consider are:

  • Proofs – Before your mailers are ever sent to your prospects, you want to see a sample of your piece to ensure it’s what you expected (or better). If you’re unable to review a proof of your mailer, it’s generally a major warning sign.
  • Color – Color is the essence of a print piece – really, digital assets too but unlike digital work, print work requires that your printer has the ink to match the exact colors of your brand and design.
  • Variety of Materials – There are many papers of different weights and textures that give your mailer different feelings – literally and figuratively. You won’t need every option a printer has to offer, but having them at your disposal can let you be more creative to engage your prospects.
  • Finishing Touches – As important as any other elements, the final cuts, folds or collating of your piece are equally critical to producing an eye-catching mailer. Even the best design is ruined by a poor cut or smeared ink.

The quality of your partner’s work also extends to their mailing abilities. Ideally, your printer is performs the address and mailing services in-house, rather than shipping materials to a separate partner. Not only will this be more time- and cost-effective, but it minimizes the risk of an additional stakeholder failing to live up to the quality you expect. After all, shipping a mailer to the correct address is kind of an important step in the process...

Maximize the ROI of Your Direct Mail Marketing

When it comes time to choose a printing and mailing provider, you want to be confident that your partner will live up to your brand standards and leave a great impression on your prospects. Delivering a direct mail piece with the right look and feel can be the difference between exceeding your ROI and falling well below expectations.

It helps to work with a partner that can manage all of your campaign logistics, too. No matter your specific needs, you need to use those requirements as the basis of your decision. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box with your campaign, and look for a partner who can help you further your creativity. In the end, you’re looking for a partner that can help you best engage your recipients and make the most of your marketing budget.

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