The U.S. Postal Service wants the small business world to know about its direct mail shipping service for small businesses, called “Every Door Direct Mail.”
With Every Door Direct Mail, small businesses including restaurants, auto dealerships and doctor’s offices can send out direct mail campaigns such as postcards and brochures, with postage rates as low as 14.5 cents. The remarkable thing is that you don’t need a mailing list with specific addresses and/or names, or a postal permit. Such items typically drive up the costs and effort in a direct mail campaign.
Instead, the Postal Service’s website provides an online mapping tool. You can choose a city, county, zip code or even a neighborhood (i.e., within a 5-mile radius of a specific address). You just choose the area, and the direct mail will be delivered without the need to affix labels or print specific addresses.
The tool is fairly easy to use. Once you’ve registered your business and learn the tool the first time, thereafter it only takes minutes to schedule a simple local mailing. It walks you through the process step by step. The amount of your postage cost is displayed instantly online. Once you pay, you print out the documentation and take it to the Post Office along with your bundles of direct mail pieces.
This is part of a larger initiative by the Postal Service to use innovation and technology to serve small businesses.
The Postal Service also announced the redesign of its Click N ship site, where businesses and consumers can buy postage and print shipping labels online. The site is a counterpart to the “If it Fits, It Ships” flat rate mantra for Priority Mail packages (see above), where you can get the packaging for free and then go online to pay for the postage, print a label, and even schedule a pickup. No postage scale required!
The current Click N Ship site has been quite successful with small businesses — there are a million registered users and half of them are small businesses, notes Paul Vogel, president and chief marketing/sales officer, U.S. Postal Service. Coming this month (April 2012) will be a dedicated business version of the Click N Ship site, designed for small businesses that ship between 10 and 100 pieces of mail per day. Business Click N Ship will have a desktop app and expanded payment options.