A Guide to Direct Mail



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(1) Is DM for you?

(2) Choosing your list

(3) The Offer

(4) Call to Action

(5) The Package

Introduction
The Outer Envelope
The Letter
The Brochure
The Order Form
The Return Envelope
The Self-mailer
>>Your Printer<<

(6) The Copy

(7) Testing

(8) Tracking

History of DM
Links

Contents
Paper
The Press
Press Checks

When discussing mailers, you eventually have to come to the topic of printers - who is going to print the mailer for you. You probably already have a business printer, so I won't spend but a few sentences here. The big cost is paper.

Paper
Generally, paper runs 60% of the entire printing bill, give or take. Your printer will help you choose paper stocks. They will have a paper supplier they prefer. The paper supplier will have given them sample books which you can look through and feel. The printer might also have a house paper - like a house wine in a resturant - some paper they use a lot and get a good price on.

You geneallly have coated or glossy stocks and matte or flat stocks. Priting prices rise as you use more colors. 1 color is inexpensive, and 4 color process is much more so. 4 color process is required to reprodiuce the full spectrum of color in a color photograph. You can even print more that 4 colors if you want special PMS ink mixes of a certain exact color. But at that point, you are probably wasting money. Make sure once you settle on your paper that you cut out the sizes you will be using on your mailing and mock up a mailer to make sure that you aren't overweight. Be sure to add in a 100th or 50th of an ounce for the dry ink. I have heard cases where the paper was just under an ounce but with the ink, it bumped it over.

The Press
It used to be the only way to print a medium size mailing was on an expensive big shhet fed press where you paid considerable costs to get negatives and make plates. Now, however, there are tons of ways to print a job that beat a lot of these fixed costs. I personally prefer medium sized printers - big enough that thye have a few different kinds of equiptment but small enough where I can go in and inspect th epresses and people know who I am .

Your printer can give you a good suggestion for the mail house or vise versa. I like it when my printer and mail house know each other well - the mail house can tell the printer he was short on some piece or the printer can make usre the piece will work on the mail houses equiptment. So, if you have one and not the other, defintiley consider the suggestion of the vendor you know.

Press Checks

A press check is a good idea for large print runs.

Five-piece mailer:
The Outer Envelope
The Letter
The Brochure
The Order Form
The Return Envelope

The self-mailer:
The Self-mailer