ICS Magazine

Target Your Advertising with Every Door Direct Mail

October 1, 2012
mailbox usps mailers eddm

Postcards are a favorite advertising choice for cleaning companies. They’re cheap, simple and they get read. Recently, the U.S. Postal Service launched a new program that makes postcards even better. It’s called “Every Door Direct Mail,” or simply, EDDM.

Here’s the secret…

Many cleaners are finding this to be one of the easiest advertising media they’ve ever used. Targeting specific neighborhoods is highly profitable. The secret is that people in your community want to hire a service within a few miles of their home. Why?

1. They feel you can service them faster.

2. They feel you may service them better.

3. They feel a bit of an obligation to use the “local” guy.

It’s true. Don’t you prefer to use services near your home or office? Even if the service comes to you, you’d rather do business with someone close. This “neighborhood advertising” works very well when you use it to your advantage.

With the new EDDM program, you can send large postcards for as little as 15 cents per house. You pick the neighborhoods you want to target. Unlike bulk mail, no permit fee is required. And yes, it’s an easy program to use once you understand the rules. But first, you need to know how to make it work.

With EDDM you’ll mail to every home in an entire mail route. A single mail route typically consists of 200-1,000 addresses. Many neighborhoods will have all the homes on the same mail route, but on some occasions the neighborhoods will be split.  Depending on how the routes in your city break down, you can often eliminate mailing to apartments and some of the less desirable neighborhoods.

How does EDDM work?

1. Click the following link and get your USPS account https://eddm.usps.com/eddm.

2. Sign up for EDDM retail by clicking “Get Started with Retail.”

3. Choose your location and the mail route you want to target.  

4. Send the appropriate sized postcard or mailer printed (see below).

5. Label the postcard according to the EDDM guidelines.

6. Bundle the postcards into groups of 50 or 100.

7. Take at least 200 postcards (no more than 5,000) to your post office.

There’s no need to purchase a mailing list. You don’t even need to know the streets and addresses. The only thing you need is the route number, which can be looked up on the USPS website. You should make sure your mail-to label contains the words “Residential Customer” for residential deliveries. City, state and five-digit zip codes are recommended, but not required. And lastly, when your mailer is greater than 10.5 inches (which it is with most postcards), include “ECRWSSEDDM” on the label.

The mailing label must be on the top half of the mail piece. The proper EDDM retail indicia must show up in the address stamp area that normally includes “PRSRT STD ECRWSS US POSTAGE PAID EDDM RETAIL.” The mail piece must contain “ECRWSS” in the address or within the permit indicia. I recommend you include the mail-to address information and postage indicia on all your postcards during the printing process. This way, you don’t need to bother with labeling after the printing is done.  Doing this will make the mailing process much easier.

Getting your sales message down

Your sales message is the most important part of the mailer. And since you’re using a large postcard, there’s lots of room for it. This is the biggest reason I love EDDM. Standard postcards leave too little room for a sales message. But EDDM sends very large postcards at a small cost. In fact, part of the requirement is that the mailer be somewhat large. It needs to be greater than 6.125 inches high and less than 15 inches long. The mailer needs to be at least 0.007 inches thick, which is about the thickness of most thin postcards. While single sheet flyers are too thin, postcards are ideal for this program. Common postcard sizes (in inches) include 6.5 x 12, 6.5 x 9, 8.5 x 11, 8 x 6.5, 8 x 10, 9 x 12, and 9 x 11.

Keys to make EDDM work best for you:

  • Use a compelling, benefit-driven headline.

  • Explain your unique advantages over your competition.

  • Don’t be afraid to use all the space available to tell your story.

  • Use bullet points and sub-headlines.

  • Use pictures only if they further tell your sales message.

  • Include an irresistible offer with a deadline.


EDDM isn’t just limited to postcards. You can also send small packages and multi-page booklets. Just make sure the mail piece is less than 0.75 inches thick and weighs less than 3.3 ounces. This would be great for something like a large newsletter or an educational booklet.  


Once your postcards are printed and properly labeled, bundle the mailers up with rubber bands in groups of 50 or 100. At the top of each bundle, place the facing slip provided on the EDDM website at https://www.usps.com/business/every-door-direct-mail.htm   


Last, take your postcards to the post office that services the mail route in which you are sending. You’ll need to do this small bit of legwork in order to send mailers for 15 cents apiece. Then you’re all done. See what I mean? It’s a piece of cake once you understand a few basic rules.


As with any direct mail campaign, don’t stop with one mailing. Mail to the same neighborhood in a three-step sequence: Mail once today, once a week later and once a week after that. If they haven’t responded to your offer by then, wait a few months and then send them a different offer. Farm the neighborhoods you really want, and in the long run you’ll reap the rewards of being known throughout the community.