How To Achieve Success With Your Direct Mailing House

A good mailing house should be a direct marketing professional’s biggest strength. Developing a great working relationship will result in direct marketing campaigns which run to schedule, keep within budget, and give you the highest chance of making the required return on your investment. Direct marketing professionals want excellent service from their mailing house; in order to make this happen the mailing company must receive effective communication from its clients. Use the following points to help as a reminder of how to build a strong relationship with your direct mailing services company.1. Always visit your mailing house – this will provide you with inside information about the way in which their business operates and also allow you to put names to faces. Use the visit as an opportunity to ask questions about ways in which any technical processes work – plus – being able to see their technology close at hand will enable you to have a better understanding about timings. Your visit may also give you inspiration about ways in which technology could make your direct mail shots fresh and innovative – you may find there are better ways of folding inserts, or personalising your mail pieces.2. To get the most out of a mailing house it makes sense to try to co-ordinate your production schedule with theirs – if you are willing to fit in with their schedules you may be able to get cost reductions. Allow a mailing house enough time to complete the work satisfactorily, remember they have other customers whose needs are also time sensitive- so be fair with timings and get them agreed beforehand. If a number of third parties are involved in aspects of your direct marketing campaign factor in these timings in a logical order. It may help to allow for some slippage time to cover you in case of delays.

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3. Make sure you only supply a mailing house with materials it can work with – there is no point sending your mailing services company items which need to be inserted by hand if they do not offer this facility. Be very specific about the weights and sizes of materials to be supplied to ensure they are technically feasible for your particular mailing house.4. Consider what would be the best make use of your mailing company’s resources -do you want a one-stop shop? Or only to outsource one or more parts of your direct marketing processes? Discounts are often available if you let your direct mailing services company handle more of the direct marketing for you, but your company may insist on keeping most of the work in-house. In any case its worth finding out about the various services your mailing company has to offer- maybe you could persuade your company to run a test mailing in order to find out whether by outsourcing more direct marketing processes you can get better results.5. By depending on one mailing house to take on all your direct mail you are likely to get discounts, but make sure you are completely sure your mailing house is financially stable. For peace of mind check that the mailing house is a member of the Direct Marketing Association – if they are their company will have been given a positive financial bill of health.6. Communicate with your mailing house in order to update them about any new developments within your organization – and plan ahead as much as you can: being forewarned is forearmed. Your mailing house will benefit from any information you can give them about new company products or new markets you plan to target; your mailing services company wants to know and understand your company so that they can give you advice which is tailored directly to you.7. Make sure you and your mailing house work within a set of ‘best practice’ guidelines. Agree on which party supplies what, and when, and who is responsible for the payment of various items – these are all things which must be sorted out at the start. Quotations and estimates (including any amendments) need to be put in writing as well as instructions. As business partners you should be clear about who has responsibility for signing off, for example, proofs before the start of production.

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8. Nothing stops a good working relationship in its track as much as late payment – so pay on time! Always make sure terms are agreed with the mailing company right at the start then make sure they are adhered to. If you haven’t already set up a purchase order system it’s a good idea to do so, in order to help to keep an eye on purchases-this will help reduce problems for both parties when it comes to sorting out the figures.9. Think about reviewing your mailing house’s performance at regular intervals. In this way you can make sure you are still getting a good deal. Also is your mailing house updating you on new processes in terms of helping you become more efficient in your direct mailings? Getting feed back in terms of the opinions of employees at the mailing house is a way of gaining valuable information about whether improving communication could help speed up processes and increase efficiency.10. Lastly: Unfortunately it very occasionally happens that you and your direct mailing company fall out. If you have chosen a DMA registered business as your mailing house then the DMA can become an adjudicator and can work to produce an outcome based on mailing industry guidelines. However by sticking to the points such as these you are unlikely to experience this situation – so, best of luck with your direct marketing campaigns!