Once you have created the mailing, defined your proposition, planned the campaign and identified your target audience you then have to get the mailing printed, packed and dispatched. Fulfilment or mailing houses can manage all of this services / stages for you – a one stop shop, leaving you free to concentrate on following up the mailing and dealing with responses. You will need to brief the fulfilment house to ensure that the dispatch of your mailing runs smoothly.
If you are using different suppliers for printing and mailing, ensure that each supplier is aware of the timings and their role in the process of getting the mailing out of the door. You may have put a time sensitive offer in the mailing, such as a coupon or deadline. You may not be around when the mailing hits. You may not have a call centre standing by to take calls from mailing recipients.
It is usually wise to allow a 10 day contingency to cover for any unforeseen delays.
Postage can form a high proportion of the cost of a mailing campaign so it is important to weigh the mailing piece to accurately calculate the total postal costs. In some cases the fulfillment house will pay the postage as part of the service but they will usually ask you to pay up front for this part of the cost.
Decide whether you want to send your mailing First Class, Second Class, Mailsort 2 or Mailsort 3 – you can save up to 30% on postage by using Mailsort from Royal Mail. The fulfilment house will discuss the options with you. Generally Mailsort requires a minimum number of items to be posted at one time as it is a bulk discount.
The fulfilment house should also discuss returns with you. These are undeliverable items, where the postman has been unable to deliver them. Mailing to persons now deceased. Mailing to people that do not want contact rom you and have scribbled return to sender on the envelope, posting it back to you. There are a multitude of different types and reasons for a return. Again the fulfilment house will want to discuss this with you – will they manage them or will you put your return address on the outside of the envelope.
Other things to consider and this isn’t a comprehensive list will be the envelope type, (manila, plain), quality of paper to print on…..