Five tips to improve your direct marketing results 0

Digital Mail Room

As the world increasingly goes digital, using postage mail for customer outreach has almost become an anachronism. In fact, many small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are using targeted direct mailings alongside their digital efforts to connect with customers. That increased momentum is bringing about the growth of digital mailrooms in offices and companies across the country.

The savvy business owner must move away from old-school thinking that places mailroom staff on the lowest organizational rung. The digital mailroom is no longer a way to save paper; the mailroom is now the central hub of the information technology service.

According to Enterprise Content Management Connection, digital mailrooms are often characterized by a centralized operation that manages a company’s content and documents. It also may convert all incoming physical mail to digital form, and then send it electronically to the right people in the company. The process is still evolving for many SMBs and standards for appropriate workflow are still being established.

Using this distribution method can increase productivity and decrease mail handling and paper costs. Let’s look at how a digital mailroom can play a key role in obtaining your company’s marketing goals.

Combining Digital and Direct

Direct mail marketing efforts usually involve a physical promotional document, such as postcards doubling as direct mail coupons, mailed to a pre-determined database of mailing addresses.

Combining a direct mail marketing piece with a digital marketing campaign is a good 1-2 marketing punch for many SMBs. Identify your target audience and how you’ll measure the campaign’s success before you begin. Many digital mailrooms use distinct tools like Pitney Bowes small business machines and postage meters to help execute the campaign.

Enabling QR Code Technology

Digital mail rooms enable related digital efforts, such as incorporating QR codes. If you’re unfamiliar with QR technology, a QR code is a square barcode that is scanable by a smartphone, and can direct a user to a specific website, and can give the user thousands of pieces of data. Utilizing a QR code on your coupon lets the recipient scan the coupon code, which uploads information into your email database or social network. This is an effective way to convert your hardcopy coupon into a digital database.

Coding is the Key

Label and message coding is the key to successful delivery of postal pieces for SMBs. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology allows users to scan and digitize a document into a digital format. Once the document is digitized, it becomes a linked document that becomes part of a larger system of transactions.

With this digital mailroom step, invoices are linked to products or services, legal correspondences are linked to actions, and all documents are connected to a recipient and an originator. Successful digitalization in a mailroom codes documents into a larger office process. This brings up efficiency and reduces risk of an actionable item being missed.

Billing Costs Money

Individual stamp costs went up to $.46 each in early 2013. Envelopes, ink and paper all cost money, and mailing costs are a significant business budget item. To help tackle these costs, some SMBs are reducing costs by managing their invoice system via cloud applications like Paypal and other online payment systems. Invoices are sent via email, and deadlines are shortened for payment. Digital invoicing gives the recipient the ability to pay quickly without needing to write out a paper check.

More Mailing Tips

Here are a few tips and best practices for managers running digital mail rooms:

Schedule your mailings. A little advance planning can save money on mailing costs. For instance, but allowing plenty of time, your operation can mail using standard-class rates, rather than being forced to mail first class. This can save a substantial amount of money over the long-term.

Avoid service charges. Digital mailroom managers will have to check pre-sorted bulk mailings to make sure the pieces fit U.S. Postal Service (USPS) size guidelines. Otherwise, your company may face extra charges.

Update your mailing list. Make sure your mailing lists are up to date; you’re throwing money out the window if you’re mailing to old and bad addresses. The USPS offers a free, one-time service that updates a mailing list up to 50,000 names with correct, standardized addresses.

About the Author Elizabeth is an award winning co-author of CoupleDumb.com which is ranked within the top 1% of all relationship sites. She has 25 successful years of experience when it comes to running a small business. Elizabeth also co-wrote "Dysaffirmations" book and co-hosts "Relationship Rehab" a relationship web series. You can follow her on Google+. Read more »

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