Apr. 29, 2019
Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) is available from the US Post Office. Each printed qualifying piece is $0.187 to mail, originally designed for publications has found a home in the world of postcard bulk mail. For less than 19cents the Post Office will deliver a postcard to a recipient along a mail route. For complete instructions on creating a USPS account, printing requirements, and indicia visit https://www.usps.com/business/every-door-direct-mail.htm
The catch is you have to deliver it to each home address and business along the route (approximately 200 - 1000 addresses). Another requirement is that the "postcard" not qualify for the postcard rate, that means it is oversized and costs slightly more to print. The mailpiece must measure larger than 11-1/2"x 6-1/8" and can be as large as large as 15" wide x 12" high, and be printed on 10 points or heavier cover. Personally, I choose 16 points because it's got a heavier feel and usually doesn't cost more.
So what goes into creating a mailing piece, one that is specifically for EDDM?
Design a postcard specifically for EDDM, there are different rules than traditional postcard mailing regarding what can be printed and where. For one, you have much more room to print your ad or promotion because you can pretty much print anywhere on the areas traditionally off-limits by the post office. Once your design is complete, I strongly recommend especially on the first time taking a mock-up to the post office to make sure your design is okay. Remember to design the "postal indicia" for landscape mode.
Now that you have your design you have to select your potential audience, you need to know how many postcards to print. Log on to the US Post Office (see link above), create an account, and select mailing routes.
Your first option will be selecting a Zip code (see  photo to the right). Zoom in (using the +/- ), selecting the magnifying glass will reset your zip code selection) so that you can make out the street names. Move your mouse over the map (see ) and you will have access to some great information. The highlighted area represents the postal route, how many residential and business addresses, you can select an age range and it will show the percentage of people on that route, number of residents, and an estimated income level.
If you click the route your cart will show you the number of routes, how many post offices you will have to drop off the mail at, the total number of pieces and the total postage cost (see ). You can make multiple selections from multiple zip codes be aware you may be visiting lots of post office locations, and it does take time to drop off the mail. Each zip code requires a separate selection since you can only access one zip code at a time.
Once you have completed your selection, you will confirm and choose to pay now or when dropping at the post office. You can also save your progress for later.
If you didn't order your postcards yet, don't pay for the postcards, let your printer know you are doing the mailing and he should be able to give you an estimated delivery date (I would add a couple of days).
After your purchase, you will be required to print out a couple of sheets of paper (you can come back later and print them or save them to your device). The first three sheets contain information for the post office, and you will need to complete one of those sheets before dropping at the post office to speed things along. The next sheet(s) is/are specific to each individual mail route.
With your total number of mailing pieces, you can now contact a printer and request a quote for the number of postcards needed as well as the need for the correct paper and weight requirements, as well as the banding in '50s or 100's. Most printers should be aware of EDDM since it has been around for several years, so they should be able to help you.
Each mail route gets its box (provided by the post office), and the postcards must be banded in 50's or 100's, personally, I choose 100's its a lot easier in regards to the paperwork. Each bundle from the route gets a copy, so if you have 457 pieces your would bundle 4 packs of 100 and 1 pack of 57 (5 copies, instead of 10 if it was 50). Each one of the sheets is already coded for the mail route you need to mark what the count is in each bundle (all 100 except the 57) and mark them 1 of 6 in this case, 2 of 6, etc. Each sheet must be attached to each bundled pack.
Drop off at the post office is next, with each "postal box" containing one free printed sample, bundled pieces each with its sheet attached - route sheet (1 of _). If you've paid online, the paperwork will be coded as such, and all you will need to do is drop it off and wait for the post office employee to inspect your mail and give you a receipt.
Based on previous experiences a mailing of 10,000 postcards going to multiple postoffice locations can take anywhere from 2-1/2 to 5 hours for the first time. The good news is if you target the same locations, the next time it will take at least 30% less time. What I've found to be the most difficult is the actual selection of mail routes within a zip code because of the differences in the number of residential to commercial listings, age groups, and income levels. I have also created templates to import the USPS documents and complete them by computer to cut down on time and errors.