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4 Things I Learned About Direct Mail from Debi Friedmann of Blue Dog Printing & Design

Debi Friedmann led an introductory discussion about an overlooked marketing channel - direct mail.
Written by Chuck GolderJune 5, 2019
Est. Reading: 4 minutes

In your current marketing strategy , where does direct mail rank? More often than not, it’s near the bottom or not even on the list. But that might be a mistake as Debi Friedmann, Owner of Blue Dog Printing & Design, explained to us during align.Space’s May Lunch ’n’ Learn.

With roughly 270 billion emails sent worldwide each day, email is now the standard B2C and B2B form of communication. And even though email is cheap-to-free, it’s also much easier to ignore. On average, the response rates of email campaigns fall between 0.2 - 0.6%. Direct mail campaigns average a response rates nearly 10 times email!

Used effectively, direct mail can be a key piece of your marketing strategy. Here are four things regarding direct mail that I learned during her presentation:


Short for Every Door Direct Mail, is a service through the US Postal Service that gives you the ability to target households based on an individual mail carrier route. This is a great option if you’re looking to run a low-cost awareness campaign as the postage for these mail pieces only costs $0.187 per mailer. 

Their Mapping Tool is a great resource that shows you the truck’s route, the household reach, and the total cost for each route. Debi provided the attendees with a great use case. Using the addresses of your most profitable customers, you can target demographically similar households.

However, in order to avoid additional processing fees and keep costs low, EDDM mailers need to be printed and packed in a specific way. You can see the quick reference here or work with your printer.

| align.Space
USPS's EDDM Mapper Tool gives you an overview of the route, the number of households reached (aka the number of mailers needed), and the overall cost. You also get the average demographic info about the route as well.


Pronounced (in-DEE-shuh), this is the box that’s on a lot of direct mail pieces where a stamp normally appears. These “stamps but not stamps” are formatted a certain way and visually represent an entity's permit with the Post Office. This permit is the equivalent of having a checking account at the post office. 

These permits come with annual fees so having one only makes sense if you’re going to send a high volume of direct mail pieces. Indicia’s aren’t required for direct mail but the alternative of attaching stamps to a minimum of hundreds or thousands of  mailers doesn’t sound very fun. 

Fortunately, printing shops (like Blue Dog) give customers the option to use their indica for a nominal fee. Using this service to create  high volume mailings is easier since the permit (which essentially counts as postage) gets applied during the printing process. 

5cf82ddfc316944dd1a74770 indicia | align.Space

High Touch Tactics

You can also leverage direct mail as a tactic to wow qualified prospects. Debi walked us through a five-piece direct mail campaign that she devised for an IT company.

Instead of sending out thousands of EDDMs, Debi did some research and found 50 prospective companies that she believed would have a high probability of becoming customers. Then, using their surplus of marketing materials (like branded pens, mousepads, USBs, etc.) and distinctive packaging, she sent them promotional materials highlighting IT pain points while also giving them a free gift. This campaign ran for five weeks and it all occurred before a sales rep even reached out.

But reaching out is crucial. “Direct mail standing alone, only does so much. You have to do the phone follow-up,” Debi said.


Allocating a portion of your marketing budget to direct mail may seem risky if you don’t develop a way to monitor the campaign’s effectiveness. The easiest way to track a campaign is to use the physical mailer as a requirement for eligibility to a promotion. (Like a coupon)

However, Debi also showed us a few examples of how using Personal URLs, also called pURLs, can simultaneously track a direct mail campaign’s effectiveness and also connect a company’s physical marketing efforts with their digital marketing.

 These unique URLs are linked to the recipient's identity. For example, a mailers sent to John Smith with a call-to-action to visit www.john-smith.example.com, shows customization but it also ties your campaign's effectiveness to "John Smith" based on that URL's activity. In compiling this data you can establish demographic trends that let you optimize your mailing efforts.

To get started with pURLs check out boingnet.com or easypurl.com.

Going into Wednesday’s lunch I knew nothing about the world of direct mail. And while there’s still is a lot that I don’t know, it was  an invaluable experience to be able to learn about just some of the tools and options that are available, as well as understand their effectiveness.

If you’re interested in learning more about incorporating direct mail into your business’s marketing, want to learn more about the design and printing process, or would like to receive a quote to start your own direct mail campaign visit Blue Dog Printing & Design or email Debi via bluedog@getbluedog.com

Every month align.Space hosts a complementary Lunch ’n’ Learn for our Members. Non-members are welcome to attend for $20, lunch is provided. Our next Lunch ’n’ Learn is on Wednesday June 26th, hosted by Kelly Roach of Kelly Roach International where she will teach members ‘Selling with Social Media in 2019 and Beyond

See you there!

Written By Chuck Golder

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