How to Choose a Print & Mail Dealer

A direct-mail campaign is EXPENSIVE! There are many ways to cut the cost of your mailings. Bulk mail, SASE's, and many other ways. One of the best ways to lower your mailing costs, though, is by using a PRINT & MAIL DEALER.

Print & mail dealers do exactly what their name describes. They can take your ads, usually 8 1/2 x 11 flyers, print them and mail them to names drawn from a mailing list. Their services are quite inexpensive, sometimes costing close to what your local printer would charge for printing alone. How is this?

A print & mail business runs something like this. When the dealer receives an order from a customer, for example, 1000 8 1/2 x 11 flyers, printed & mailed, he will print the flyers on one side of the paper, with HIS flyer on the back.

Thus, anyone who receives the customer's flyer will also get the dealer's flyer. This cuts his advertising costs. Then, he will assemble a group of different orders together into one mailing. This could as little as two pages, to as large as 50 pages. These are bulk mailed to names drawn from a mailing list, usually of opportunity seekers or mail order enthusiasts. They could also be mailed out to those who have responded to ads the print & mail dealer has placed.

How can you be sure a print & mail dealer will do a good job for you? There are four things you should do when dealing with a print & mail dealer for the first time. The first two should be done when shopping for a dealer, the other two are done after your first order is placed.

First, send the dealer a request to be added to his mailing list. You should then receive his next mailing. If you don't want to wait for a bulk mail, send a few first-class stamps, and you'll probably receive it quicker.

Look through the mailing and observe the printing quality. Is it smudgy, smeary and hard to read, or is it crisp and clear? If the printing straight, or crooked?

Keep in mind, the quality of the mailing you receive will probably be the quality of YOUR flyer if you use this dealer. Do this for a number of dealers and you will quickly be able to determine which will give you the best print quality.

Second, find out what type of names the dealer is mailing to, and where they come from. For best results, make sure the dealers name are fresh. The best mailing lists in mail order are made up of people who have bought within the past 30 days. Anything over 90 days old shouldn't be used. Reputable print & mail dealers shouldn't have a problem with providing this information.

Third, when you place your printing order, request a checking copy. This is a copy of the bulk mailing, sent to you. You can then see exactly how your printing came out, the other offers surrounding yours, and your position in the mailing.

Finally, you should also request proof of mailing. When you mail a bulk mailing at the post office, they will provide you with a receipt listing the date and the number mailed. Request that a photocopy of this be mailed to you with your checking copy. Not all dealers will do this, but the reputable ones should have no problem with it.

If everything looks good, and you sent a good offer to be distributed, you should get favorable results. This report is not meant to say that a lot of print & mail dealers are disreputable. Most use high quality lists and produce top notch printing. Otherwise, they'd never get return customers. Just be sure that you "look before you leap."

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