What is EDDM & How is it Different Than Direct Mail?

Stack of real estate postcards

(EDDM) is a service by the US Postal Service. EDDM is a service on top of regular direct mail that saves mailing customers time from having to create/buy leads with mailing addresses.

Regular direct mail requires mailing customers to come up with a list of their own mailing addresses. Mailing customers typically compile leads from their customer data or by “renting” lead lists from companies that manage massive consumer databases. Generating a list of mailing addresses can be challenging for newcomers.

On the other hand, EDDM is a postal service that allows mailing customers to do direct mail without generating a list of mailing addresses. The USPS allows mailing customers to do mailings based on USPS “routes”:

  • The mailing customer chooses routes
  • Orders the printing for the number of mailboxes on the routes
  • The USPS delivers those routes.

Benefits of EDDM over regular direct mail

EDDM enables more companies to get involved in direct mail by removing a major part of the mailing process—sourcing mailing addresses. Instead of having to purchase, clean, and organize leads, EDDM customers can focus their attention on the rest of the mailing process, like designing postcards.

The USPS EDDM application clusters together mailboxes into “routes” through an easy point-and-click interface. EDDM customers can also see breakdowns of residential versus businesses depending on what their target audience is. Creating a list of leads can now be done in a matter of minutes instead of hours (and days)!

The other aspect of EDDM that is unique and different than regular direct mail is its geo-centric nature. Regular direct mail is a list of customers curated from many different sources—every list is different in how its addresses were compiled. EDDM on the other hand, is geo-centric: mailers can tailor their list based on geographic regions. And—because the lists are compiled based on “routes”—the web application lets you drill down deeper than neighborhood groupings into street-specific groupings.

This makes it easier for mailers to canvas neighborhoods and parts of neighborhoods with mailings. If you have a sense of the differing demographics of different neighborhoods, EDDM lets you focus your mailings on more relevant neighborhoods.

The benefits of regular direct mail over EDDM

Regular direct mail gives mailers more control over their leads list—this leads to higher conversion rates and better campaign analytics. In EDDM, mailers give up a degree of control over their lead management—they give up fine-grained control for simplicity.

Regular direct mail is especially powerful for high-quality leads, because you can collect metadata to help you sell better to each lead. With this extra metadata, mailers can segment their mailing lists into very targeted lists.

Each design can be tailored to sell very specifically to that segment. This opens up the possibility of significantly better conversion rates (i.e. sales) than “canvasing” a region.

Moreover, variable data printing allows each mailed piece to be tailored to each customer. Each piece can be customized from the customer name, the kinds of products they prefer, the colors they like, their personal information, and more!

Again, this personalization frequently results in significantly better conversion rates.

Remember also: there is nothing preventing you from doing both EDDM and regular direct mail! EDDM allows you to simplify your direct mail work. Regular direct mail allows you finer-grained control to boost the performance of your campaigns!

How to get started with EDDM

The process for doing EDDM is pretty straightforward:

  • Go to the USPS EDDM application to choose your routes get a postage quote. (Note: I had trouble opening the application in Chrome and had to use Internet Explorer).
  • Gather your production and shipping information: how many pieces do you need to print, and which post offices do you need to drop your mailers off at
  • Design and print your mailers according to EDDM specifications (see the “related information” on the EDDM page)
  • Drop off your printed pieces to your local post office
  • Track your sales to see what worked and what didn’t
  • Repeat the process!

Below is an example of EDDM application within San Diego:

Map of San Diego that shows EDDM application via USPS

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