Best place to outsource direct mail?

24 Replies

Where can I get the best price outsourcing direct mail? Click2mail seems great but when I choose the small postcard I can not seem to find anything to choose from. Does anyone have any insight as to why I'm struggling with click2mail? Yellow letter mail is kind of breaking the bank..

Thanks!

Hi @Jesse Conners ,

When you use click to mail, you have to create your own. After you select the small postcard, you have to open it in edit view. If you want graphics and such, it's best to design it in Word, save as a PDF, then upload into the C2M editor.

After that, personalize with text boxes filled with merge fields from the list you uploaded.

I've always found the C2M editor very clunky to use. Can't tell you how many times its glitched and made me start over. The learning curve is very steep and can eat up your time. But that's one reason your yellow letter mail costs more; you don't have to jump through the hoops. It's all done for you.

But if you're not valuing your time so highly and you'd rather spend it marketing then this video should help:

yellowletters.com has close to a one hundred postcards to pick from.   And personally I think the editor is great.  

@Jerry Puckett If I'm not mistaken I heard your name mentioned on the BP podcast this morning. Someone said you print their letters for them.. Anyway, I guess I oughta just pony up and pay yellow letters. Thanks for your reply I greatly appreciate it.

The infamous @Michael Quarles ! I also listened to your bp podcast episodes and you are the man. I did not realize what you offered in comparison and you will be my obvious choice.. Having said that a promo code could go a long way! You are an inspiration man.. Salute!

Originally posted by @Jesse Conners :

Jerry Puckett If I'm not mistaken I heard your name mentioned on the BP podcast this morning. Someone said you print their letters for them.. Anyway, I guess I oughta just pony up and pay yellow letters. Thanks for your reply I greatly appreciate it.

 Yup. I am a direct mail provider as well, though I really had no intention of becoming one. I've helped get quite a few people's marketing machines up and running. That frees them up to do other more important things. 

You pony up one way or another. It's just a matter of how much you value your time and how you'd rather spend it. 

And BTW, I have to agree with @Michael Quarles , his editor is much better and more intuitive than C2M.

Dont outsource it. Find a lady to handle your mailers.

Your response rates will be higher, you will learn so MUCH about mailing and you will save a lot.

I pay 1 cent for my postcard, 34 cents for the stamp and 10 cents to have the mailing address and return address handwritten. Comparatively, it would cost me 69 cents to have this outsourced. 

DO NOT

Originally posted by @Erik Stark :

Dont outsource it. Find a lady to handle your mailers.

Your response rates will be higher, you will learn so MUCH about mailing and you will save a lot.

 Hmmmmmm.......if you're not doing it yourself, but hiring a "lady" to do it for you, are you not in fact out sourcing? Just sayin'. 

Originally posted by @Jesse Conners :

Jerry Puckett If I'm not mistaken I heard your name mentioned on the BP podcast this morning. Someone said you print their letters for them.. Anyway, I guess I oughta just pony up and pay yellow letters. Thanks for your reply I greatly appreciate it.

 Jesse, 

If you are going to do this business seriously and not just dabble in it, then using the best resources is the way to go. Just read the posts of the most successful people on this site. There is no need to re-invent the wheel. I haven't read any one of them say or write that they "hire a lady" or they send just a few cards (that the lady can write in a day). The guys and gals that make tens of thousands, or in some cases hundreds of thousands of dollars a month, send thousands of pieces of Direct Mail. Imagine what would happen to the poor lady's hand! The thing would fall off! :)

Think of it this way. If you were a computer programmer, you would want the best and fastest hardware and software available to write the programs and be the most successful, right? You would not go and put together pieces of a computer in your garage to create something you can buy and already be in business instead of putting the thing together your self to save a $100. You would want to concentrate on your strengths, which is programming- activity that brings your big bucks, versus dabbling in something that is not your strength and something that doesn't make you money.

At the end of the day only you can answer the question whether you want to make big bucks with the best tools/systems/strategies available or you want to write letters by hand your self or hire ladies to do it.

Happy marketing!

Hello, I strongly recommend having someone come into your office to handle your mailers.

I have a virtual assistant manage all of my lists and then a lady who knows how to merge, print, fullfill, stamp and send 

She spends around 8 hours per week doing around 500 mailers

Hi All,

What do you consider as a viable source to order your lists from?

Thank You

Originally posted by @Erik Stark :

Hello, I strongly recommend having someone come into your office to handle your mailers.

I have a virtual assistant manage all of my lists and then a lady who knows how to merge, print, fullfill, stamp and send 

She spends around 8 hours per week doing around 500 mailers

 Hi Erik,

I don't get it. Previously you said:

 I pay 1 cent for my postcard, 34 cents for the stamp and 10 cents to have the mailing address and return address handwritten. Comparatively, it would cost me 69 cents to have this outsourced.

So....a penny per post card....that's pretty darn good. In fact I cant find a deal like that anywhere where you don't have to buy a bazillion of them at once, and even then .03 cents is about the best I can find, which does not include the shipping.  

And your lady is merging and printing....so does that penny also cover the ink, the printer, the maintenance, the time spent buying supplies, etc? Does it include your VA's pay for handling the list? That's amazing!

And this same lady is the one I'm assuming you pay .10 cents per piece to hand address the PC, so does that same .10 cents cover the merging, printing, stamping and hand writing? 

Does it cover the pay roll tax also? If she's working in your office then she is an employee, not a contractor (according to the IRS rules anyway). Does it also include yours or your CPA's time in preparing the quarterly pay roll tax reports and payments?

And finally this lady, whom you pay .10 cents per piece....if she spends 8 hrs preparing 500 post cards per week, she makes $6.25.  That's a buck below the National minimum wage, and almost 2 bucks below the minimum for Florida. If you treat her as a contractor, even less because she'll have to pay all of her own taxes.

So....in the final analysis, it seems to me you are really bending over backwards, creating unnecessary infrastructure just to (MAYBE)  save a few pennies. 

Jerry,

You raise interesting points and I respect them greatly. I look at it as controlling my marketing and understanding every bit of how my marketing operates rather than hand it to an outside office to manage for me. That is what the masses do. I chose not to. 

It seems to be working fine.

I also receive a swipe file every month with everything being mailed in my market. Looks as if everyone is doing a fine job of blending in who uses those companies. 

Im willing to test a mailing campaign of your choice and let your company try and see if it responds the same.

Just bought a machine to fold and insert 5k to 20k per month direct mailers. Obviously, we are doing this much more systematic and on a larger scale than most. All in house and we cannot expect someone to do that volume or even a team to do that volume without cutting into our costs and time constraints. We have negotiated with our vendors and have an invitation style, heavy linen paper, handwritten fonts, USPS permits, all down to approx 46 cents a unit INCLUDING POSTAGE. As we go along, we will renegotiate with our suppliers on costs, but I am not sure we can do much better.  

Originally posted by @Erik Stark :

Jerry,

You raise interesting points and I respect them greatly. I look at it as controlling my marketing and understanding every bit of how my marketing operates rather than hand it to an outside office to manage for me. 

I also receive a swipe file every month with everything being mailed in my market. Looks as if everyone is doing a fine job of blending in who uses those companies. 

Im willing to test a mailing campaign of your choice and let your company try and see if it responds the same.

 Hi Erik,

Very interesting. Yes, I read your blog (rant) post and agree that a swipe file is a great thing to have....that's exactly how I try to stay in front of the curve in the 80+ markets I'm working in. I look at hundreds of pieces from all over the country. 

And yet this entire thread has not been about response or conversion rates, but started out with a simple question on the price of outsourcing. I get it, you don't out source. Good for you.

But after your input, I thought a little discussion on the opportunity cost of an Investor's time would be good for any community member deciding to walk down that same path. If someone is going to walk the path of taking it in house, becoming a jack of all trades, then they need to know all of the costs involved before making an informed decision.

Originally posted by @Annette D. :

Just bought a machine to fold and insert 5k to 20k per month direct mailers. 

 Hi Annette!

Do you personalize all of your pieces with merge info? The last time I looked into folder/inserters I couldn't find one that would match envelope and letter 100%. Sometimes during the printing process we get some pages and/or envelopes out of order. When using an inserter, if even one is off, all the rest behind it will too. How do you over come that?

@Jerry Puckett

 We have one of these machines too and the key is just keeping everything in order. If/when there is a jam you just have to make sure to remove the correct envelope and letter. We've loved it since we got it, saves a ton of time. 

Originally posted by Account Closed:

@Jerry Puckett

 We have one of these machines too and the key is just keeping everything in order. If/when there is a jam you just have to make sure to remove the correct envelope and letter. We've loved it since we got it, saves a ton of time. 

 I'm sure I would love it too! It's not the jams I worry about. Sometimes when the letters are printing, one will slide under another, a duplicate will print, one will go missing....something. A human eye can see when the stack has gotten out of order, and it's easy to correct. 

My fear would be putting in the stack of printed letters and stack of envelopes and just one of either being out of order. The machine cannot match them, so if John Smith's letter goes into Larry's Smith's envelope, each and every letter behind it will also be mismatched, and I wouldn't know until I either didn't get any calls or when I get a call from Larry saying "my name isn't John" 

How do you ensure that everything is in order coming off the printer?

Originally posted by @Jerry Puckett :
Originally posted by @Braden C.:

@Jerry Puckett

 We have one of these machines too and the key is just keeping everything in order. If/when there is a jam you just have to make sure to remove the correct envelope and letter. We've loved it since we got it, saves a ton of time. 

 I'm sure I would love it too! It's not the jams I worry about. Sometimes when the letters are printing, one will slide under another, a duplicate will print, one will go missing....something. A human eye can see when the stack has gotten out of order, and it's easy to correct. 

My fear would be putting in the stack of printed letters and stack of envelopes and just one of either being out of order. The machine cannot match them, so if John Smith's letter goes into Larry's Smith's envelope, each and every letter behind it will also be mismatched, and I wouldn't know until I either didn't get any calls or when I get a call from Larry saying "my name isn't John" 

How do you ensure that everything is in order coming off the printer?

 If I look closely enough I can see through the envelope to make sure the outside matches the inside. I am checking every 30-40 envelopes, I haven't had one mismatch yet though. 

I agree

Im finding I enjoy the marketing more than I do real estate these days

Yes, all envelopes are personalized. Its a matter of just being careful to clear the jam and start on the right letter/envelope. 

@Jerry Puckett

 That's the huge issue with the folder/inserters. The only way to be absolutely certain is to install a camera system that operates with it, which costs tens of thousands of dollars. The other issue is that those machines will not fold to fit in an A6 invitation style envelope, only a 6x9 or a #10. 

Its just a matter of clearing the jam and restarting with matching name and envelope. Happens occasionally. Our printers are the big floor commercial models so we dont get duplicate prints like you would on smaller models. 

Yes, that is right Cody. We are satisfied with our response rate in the 6x9. And we do 4x6 as well.  I assume you have a solution for the 4x6?

Originally posted by @Cody Alexander :

@Jerry Puckett

 That's the huge issue with the folder/inserters. The only way to be absolutely certain is to install a camera system that operates with it, which costs tens of thousands of dollars. The other issue is that those machines will not fold to fit in an A6 invitation style envelope, only a 6x9 or a #10. 

 Yes, that is right Cody. We are satisfied with our response rate in the 6x9. And we do 4x6 as well. I assume you have a solution for the 4x6?

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