Direct Mail help

Can anyone reccommend a company that is good to use for a low cost mailing program, I have looked around and am confused about the services and costs.
I want someone who can print and mail around 5000 pieces at a time.
Also, should I mail a menu or just coupons, or both?

In my market d-mail is almost unheard of. There are not direct mail companies that do this, so I have everything printed myself. There is a Xerox that prints my post cards for about 10 cents each, and I have a bulk mail permit with the post office.
I have 3 printers I run to print the addresses directly from my database. It takes 2 days at the printer, and 5-6 hours to get all the addresses printed. The time involved to drop off my data to Xerox and feed the printers in not that much.
You can save a bit of money printing the post-cards yourself, but having them done is much more painless, and really not much more than what I was spending on ink before farming my printing out.
Set up a regular 30-60-90 day marketing post card and you will see results immediately. Your lazy customers will order more. A one shot bulk mail deal will get you a pop in sales, but over the long run a well though out, planned, marketing system will help your business more than just about anything.


I have a better solution for you than Direct Mail / Coupons etc. you can email me at or call me at 404-630-3541

Im not really interested in Eintouch right now, but thanks. I need new customers, because I am new.

I have done more direct mail campaigns than I can count! My business is software, but mailing for a pizzeria is the same.

You need three parts to put together a direct mail campaign:

  1. A mailing list
  2. A printed item to mail
  3. A lettershop to do your address standardization, de-duping, carrier route pre-sort and postage application.

The list can come from any of the companies on the Internet that do this. I have used InfoUSA before, and they seem to be as good as any. The list quality was better than other suppliers I have used in the past. Search for “mailing list” to get the info.

You need to decide what to mail. A post card sized piece is the least expensive to mail, but the size of the card is pretty small to be able to effectively get your point across. A larger piece will cost you more to mail and print, but should be able to get a better response. Companies abound in the Internet that will print huge numbers of mailers for a very low cost. Search for “printing” to find these companies. I have used - their quality, service and price are good.

Finally, the lettershop is the company that puts it all together. They will process your mailing list against USPS standards to be sure that every address in your list is deliverable. Then they sort the list into carrier routes to get the best postage rate possible. Finally they print the address on each mail piece and prepare and deliver the mail to the post office. A lettershop can normally save more in postage costs over the do-it-yourself method than you will pay them for their service.

Now the big question – Will a 5000 piece weekly mailing deliver enough customers to make the activity profitable? It seems that you would run out of addresses to mail to very quickly. Your market area is limited to the number of residences and businesses in your delivery area or within driving range of your restaurant. The bare minimum cost of a post card mailer with mailing list, design, printing, lettershop and postage will be in the neighborhood of $.50 each.

You might try some of the business-generating ideas posted by other forum participants. There are more affordable ways of getting the word on the street. Coupon packs, for example, have a far lower per-prospect cost.

Wow Jeff. That was one of the best posts on d-mails I have seen here on the forums. I have a few questions about your methods if you don’t mind:

1.) What response do you see from the different types?
Post cards
Large Post cards

2.) How big is the response rate from database mailers compared to buying a list purchased from another company?

3.) Do odd shaped mailers pull a better return? As in pizza sliced or round mailers?

4.) Do you have actual data on the price change from getting a bulk mail permit and doing it yourself over hiring a mailing house(lettershop)?

I am running at about $0.50 per piece for my d-mails now. .10 for printing and .40 for postage. I use my database for addresses though.

Anyone else with some hard numbers or data please hop in as well, and thanks in advance for your input.


All you need is a few people to sign up for your email club in the beginning, the refer a friend option they will receive on your emails will get you a lot of new business.

You may also want to try a Company named Rewards Network. They have literally hundreds of thousands of member across the country that seek out new dining places to go to. This will certainly “bring in new clients” the only restriction being you have to be a restaurant that accepts credit cards. In addition to their member email mailing lists they are linked to about 40 Rest. Dining sites that your store would be listed on and being tied in with the Major US airlines you can get a lot of play. I know one of the principals of the Company if you want someone to contact you, not sure where your restaurant is located but feel free to contact me

PS: You will get better results and save a lot of money putting flyers on autos in parking lots and getting permission to place them on doors or in offices in apartment/condo complexes. I have been in the Rest. business for 25 years and I can tell you direct mail is an antiquated expensive and obsolete way of advertising that gets you a 2% return at best. AFter all don’t you trash those things when you go to your own mailbox? Especially those mailers that have coupons, they may come in one time, but will go to the next place that advertises the a coupon the next month. All you wind up doing is giving away free food. You need to build a repeat and loyal customer base. Email Marketing does this by rewarding people so they keep coming back.

Thanks for the input snider, but my d-mails pull well upwards of 16%, and they have the best ROI of any marketing I do. Email on the other hand has the worst. I will give you the point that email is easy and essentially free, but not comparable to d-mails in my market.

THanks for the great replies guys, Ive decided to do a menu drop insert w/ a coupon magazine it is only 59dollars per thousand which includes printing and insertion and delivery, it’s about my best bet for the capital I have available right now. I’ll post the response later in August.

Selecting the size and shape of the mailer depends on the offer, the amount of explanation it needs, the cost of the mailer, the anticipated response, and the amount of benefit the response gives to the company sending the mailer. In other words, don’t spend lots of money on a mailer (or a campaign, for that matter) if you can’t get enough response to make it profitable. That said, I prefer BIG, colorful, exciting mailers. I have a better opportunity to get my prospect’s attention and make a sale.

I think a more important point for most businesses is that even if you can’t do it big and beautiful and perfect, you still need to DO IT.

The effectiveness of an in-house list of current or past customers cannot even be compared to a list from a database company. Your list knows you. Your list has, at one point or another, spent money with you. The number everyone throws around is that it costs five times more to get a given amount of revenue from a stranger than it costs to get it from a current or past customer. That’s why it’s so important (and profitable) to get and maintain a customer database.

Attention-getting mailers get a better return because they grab a prospect’s attention. More people hearing about your offer means more people taking you up on your offer. The limitation is what the post office will accept for the mail. You get the best postage rates when your mail is automation-compatible. Odd shapes and sizes aren’t.

For a letter, the best rate you can get on your own is about .28 per piece. This involves sorting the mail by zip code which is relatively easy. Your POS system should even be able to print out the mailing labels sorted by zip code.

The lowest rate with automation-compatible mail and carrier route presort is about .20 per piece. You can’t do this yourself unless you have the same software the lettershop uses, which is pretty expensive to buy and maintain. In practice the break-even point with a lettershop is between 1000 and 2000 pieces.

An interesting side note here is that your mailer can weigh up to about 4 ounces (or more) and qualify for the same postage rate. The difference in postage cost between a letter-sized post card and a BIG mailer is zero!

Here’s more information on bulk mail (now called standard mail) than you even knew existed:

This thread should have a sticky.
Thanks for all the help.

Thanks for the reply Jeff. More food for though.

You really don’t need a lettershop to get this rate. I do ECRWSS (Enhanced Carrier Route Walk Sequence Saturation) drops all the time.

You can buy an Occupant List from Melissa Data for less than 1 cent per name. They’re cheap because you won’t get any demographic information, i.e. you just get the Name and Address. But that’s good because that’s what you want. You can buy as little as 1 Carrier Route at a time… roughly 500-600 people. So you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a big list, you can just buy as you go. Do two routes per week and your talking about $10-12 in list expense.

The list will come in Excel sorted by Walk Sequence, which is what you need to qualify for the lowest rate. You just have to keep them in order when you print them. The list will also come with a CASS Certification letter. You include the date of that letter on your USPS bulk mail sheet and keep it on file.

The only other obligation on your part to get the best rate is that you mail to at least 90% of all residential addresses or 75% of all residential and business addresses on the Carrier Route.

The above only applies if you are mailing to City Routes. If you are mailing to Rural Routes you don’t have to do any of this to get the Saturation Rate. You just address them to “Our Neighbor” and then city, state and zip. Count out how many you need for the route (you can get that info at Melissa Data too, for free) and bring them to the Post Office.

The above assumes that you already have a bulk mail permit. That allows you to print your own indicia. (That’s the little thing where the stamp would go that says "US Postage PAID, Permit #, etc.) The bulk mail permit will cost you $150 per year.

I was so confused by bulk-mail at first, but you’ll be able to figure it out. Ask your local post office where the BMEU (Business Mail Entry Unit) for your area is. That’s where you’ll need to get your permit. Ask to speak with the bulk-mail specialist there and they will give you tons of help.


WOW! 16% return. I 'm lucky to see 4-5%. Seems like the e-mail thing might be worth a try.