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The Mailworks

Business, Content + Copy, Employee Spotlight, Print 101, Tips

Data & Direct Mail = Killer Campaigns. Here’s How Our Team Perfects Your Lists and Makes Your Mail Shine

This month’s Expert Insight Article is written by one of our prepress experts, Scott Rogers. Scott began working at The Mailworks in fulfillment and became passionate about the logistics of the process. With over 17 years of experience, Scott now works heavily with data management and file preparation and ensures our customers obtain the best postage rates and print output for their direct mail campaign. From data hygiene to Variable data printing (VDP), here are some prepress tips and insights that will generate a successful direct mail campaign!


NCOA (National Change of Address)

Without proper maintenance, your data can become outdated quickly. Keeping your database up to date reduces undeliverable mail and re-mailings. With the NCOA service, your database is run through a dataset consisting of names and addresses of individuals, families, and businesses who have filed a change-of-address with the USPS. This allows your database to be updated with USPS verified addresses and the confidence of reaching your target audience.

Variable Data Printing (VDP)

Whether you are personalizing text, images, colors or artwork, VDP within a direct mail piece allows you to catch the attention of your customer. Using values within a database can change text-based fields like a salutation or an entire themed artwork background. The triggering of these personalized assets is controlled by the database/list supplied. VDP provides personalization from one digital printed piece to the next on the fly.


The use of standardized direct mail products, imposition, hot folders and internal software is key for production efficiency. Utilizing imposition, which is the number of ups arranged on a designated paper size, allows faster printing and reduces paper waste. Hot folders contain these imposition settings and are used to queue files for print. Once files are in print, our internal software is able to track print speeds, remainder of print and a number of daily/weekly/monthly reports. With these combined, the flow of direct mail products throughout production is consistent and reliable.

Data Hygiene and Best Practices

Supplying a clean and uniform database will increase final mail delivery and simplify additional data work requests. Having your mailing list saved in XLS, XLSX, or CSV format is ideal. For mailing purposes, required fields would be Recipient Name, Address, City, State, Zip and any other variable fields separated out by columns. Once in this format, we are able to process your data through CASS standardization and NCOA. CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) will format and correct each address and zip code per the USPS requirements. 

For example, addresses will become shorter and have updated suffixes such as St, Ln, Ct, instead of Street, Lane and Court. From there, we are also able to remove duplicates, suppress records based on criteria, select a radius of records based on zip, merge additional lists and format data.

Not sure where to start with your next database or list? No worries. The Mailworks has a downloadable template you can use to get started!

Thank you for reading this month’s expert insight article. Follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn and Tik Tok @themailworks to get the inside scoop on all things direct mail marketing!

Business, Employee Spotlight, Social Media

Get to Know our CEO, Brianne

This month’s blog is all about Brianne, our President and CEO. Day to day, she can be found making things happen at The Mailworks along with her restaurants Rosanna’s and Dove + Deer located in the center square of downtown Albany. 

Pam, Brianne’s mother, began The Mailworks in her basement back in 1984. Over the last 35+ years, led by two smart, strong + creative women, The Mailworks has evolved into a successful direct mail marketing company that buzzes with brightness and positivity from all around. 

Keep reading to learn more about President + CEO Brianne Baggetta 

What role did you play within The Mailworks before you transitioned into the CEO position?

I grew up in the business. In high school I worked in Production to make extra money. In college I helped in production and also did light administrative work in the office. After college I worked in New York City and South Africa in Marketing. I came back at 23 (2007) and entered a role of sales and new business development. I took over as President in 2012 when my mother retired. CEO 2020.

What is one thing about the direct mail industry you wish everybody knew?

Direct mail is its own industry and should not be lumped together with commercial print.  We often see people get poor direct mail results because they use a commercial printer rather than a dedicated direct mail partner.


Putting color on paper is only part of what we do. Handling the variable data, acting as a liaison with the United States Postal Service, etc, helping devise a winning direct mail strategy…. It takes a dedicated focus to succeed in this industry.


What is your favorite machine on the production floor at The Mailworks? Why?

The W+D inserter. It delivers the reliable intelligence we need to have every single insert match the correct envelope.

What is the one piece of advice you’d give to women in a male dominated industry?

Know the worth of your company, what you represent, and yourself. Armed with this confidence you can negotiate any deal or difficult encounter on equal business stature.

The Mailworks has been in business for over 38 years. How as a business owner do you welcome change and keep pushing the envelope?

You have to be willing to change to survive. At The Mailworks we are in a constant state of reinventing what we do to meet the needs of our clients and to remain competitive. Our ongoing focus of working on the business allows us to embrace change rather than to fear it. 

What is an ‘All Hands Meeting’?

I think this might vary based on the company holding them. At The Mailworks, we hold a quarterly All Hands Meeting virtually that is shared with all employees. During this 45 minute event, we provide company updates, share what the leadership team is working on, review suggestions, celebrate anniversaries, and host a live Q&A so employees have a voice.

What’s a passion project you’re working on right now?

I’m helping my oldest daughter master her math skills. 

How many pieces of mail did The Mailworks hit in homes this week?

1,188,078 pieces

Do you have core, company values at The Mailworks? What are they?

We do! We have an acronym to remember them… FLASH’D. Forward Thinking, Loyal, Accountable, Solution Focused, Helpful, Dynamic. That’s what it takes to be a successful member of our team.


Thanks for taking the time to read about Brianne. Interested in starting a campaign? Head to to get started!

Marketing, Tips, Trends

Getting Your Mail Piece Opened is Only Half The Battle: 6 Steps to a Hearing Health Mail Piece That Performs.

This month’s Expert Insight article was written by one of our hearing health experts, Sarah Hodges. When it comes to direct mail marketing, Sarah is a master of her craft. With over 10 years of experience, you could say she knows her stuff! Sarah works closely with her clients to create and execute effective direct mail campaigns that keep them connected with patients, create new relationships, book more appointments and of course, sell more hearing aids. 


We already know people like receiving mail–up to 90% of direct mail gets opened. How do you finish that conversion and actually get a qualified prospect to schedule an appointment? Here are our tips for developing direct mail that will generate leads for your practice.

Make A Connection

A professional headshot, a short biography, or brief mention of your involvement in the community will start to build your relationship with a potential new patient. Inviting them to connect with you on some level will make them feel more comfortable about picking up the phone. 


Address Obstacles

People will often write off the symptoms of hearing loss when they aren’t ready to face facts–waiting an average of 7 years before seeking help. Speaking to the real world challenges a prospect may be experiencing because of hearing loss, particularly with regard to their relationships with friends and loved ones, can help them move past their denial to address their difficulties.

Remove Barriers

The hearing health sciences are complex. Your specialized training has prepared you to address the needs of those with hearing loss, and you want to continue to educate your community–but the majority of prospects won’t have the knowledge and experience that you do. Explaining concepts and procedures in straightforward, easy-to-understand language will make it more accessible and less scary. Simple information is enough to lay the foundation for further education during and after a consultation.

Create A Sense of Urgency

When a prospect reads your mail piece, give them the motivation to act immediately. Don’t let procrastination intrude! Offer firm dates (we recommend 3 to 5 days) or exclusive, limited availability for events. Creating a sense of urgency spurs a reader to call and set an appointment right away, and reduces the chance that their invitation will be set aside and forgotten.

Have A Clear Message

You have a passion for your field and as you speak to potential new patients, it can be tempting to over communicate. When you are developing a prospect mailing, think about your primary goal for the campaign: driving qualified appointments to your practice. Your message should support your goal without distractions. 

Have A Call To Action

Provide your prospect with a direct and consistent next step that again supports your campaign goal–scheduling an appointment. Your call to action should be concise, with at least your phone number and website easy to find even if your mail piece is only being skimmed by the recipient.  

The Mailworks team has decades of experience developing effective hearing health mail pieces, supported by real response data from markets nationwide. If you’re interested in direct mail, reach out or schedule a call today!



12018 DMA Response Rate Report

2HLAA, Do You Think You have Hearing Loss

Business, Content + Copy, Direct Mail School, Industries, Tips

5 Most Common Real Estate Direct Mail Marketing Mistakes

Most realtors know that direct mail is an essential way to market themselves within an ideal location. What they might not know is how to stand out amongst other realtors doing the same exact thing. As a realtor, you want to show your potential clients that you are personable, know the current market and care about buyers’ and sellers’ goals. Direct mail is the perfect way to increase your brand awareness and help build long term relationships if you have the right campaign strategies. Keep reading to learn about the five most common direct mail mistakes to avoid.

Not Being Consistent

With direct mail, consistency is key. Sending mail sporadically won’t keep you at the top of your audience’s mind. Sending your target demographic multiple mailings is great. Sending your target market multiple mailings consistently for six months up to a year is even better, why? Because timing is everything. You never know when someone could be ready to buy or sell. If your direct mail has been hitting their home consistently, it’s likely they’ll think of you when they need a realtor. Your face is familiar to them.

Small Mailing List

Direct mail is scalable. What you put into it, is what you get out of it. If your quantities are lower, you will likely not get the responses/results that you need in order for your campaign to be as successful as possible. The minimum quantity per drop is suggested at 1500 recipients. Mailing to your SOI is great. You can do that and also farm certain areas. The possibilities are endless with direct mail.

Lack of Variety

Sending the same postcard over and over again can get old very quickly for the person receiving it. Once they’ve gotten it for the third time, they’ll keep in mind to never use you. Stand out from the crowd by sending a variety of mailers. The Mailworks has a catalog with all types of real estate products that can add a bit of spice to your marketing plan. Send a self mailer with information about yourself and helpful homeowner tips. Or give your audience an idea about what the housing market is like at the moment. Informing/educating them is a great way to build solid relationships and giving them useful content helps engage with them more.

Not Doing Multiple Mailings

Direct mail is proven to work when there are multiple and consistent touches within a campaign. Only doing 1 mailing results in less brand awareness and response rates.  You don’t have to send the same postcard or mailer every time. You can send useful resources that your audience can hold onto, such as calendars or holiday recipes. According to research, it takes between 7-13 touches to close a sale/receive a response. These touches can all be connected through different channels, such as direct mail, social media, and email. 

Not Enough CTA’s

Your direct mail needs to be clear and to the point. The calls to action should reflect the purpose of the piece of mail. For example if you want your recipients to fill out a form, or visit your website, a QR code will bring them right there.  There should always be multiple calls to actions, and ways to get in touch with you. Some CTAs that are sure to work are, QR codes, RSVPs for events, a contact email and a phone number. 

The world of real estate moves too fast to waste time on direct-mail campaigns that don’t work. These mistakes are easy to avoid if you have The Mailworks by your side every step of the way. Interested in creating a kick ass campaign? Schedule a call with one of our Solution Specialists.



Trends, Uncategorized

The Then and Now of Santa Mail

If you think back, you have definitely written a letter to Santa at least once. I mean, how else was he supposed to know what you wanted for Christmas! You addressed your letter, added a stamp and trusted it with the mail service. Some years you heard back, other years you didn’t. That was okay though because deep down you always knew that your letter got safely delivered to the North Pole and into Mr. Clause’s hands. As you grew up and understood that your letters might not have made it to the North Pole you ask yourself, where did it actually go? Keep reading to find out the history and what it’s like today to write a letter to Santa!

Let’s Go way Back

In the 1820’s, children weren’t known to send letters to Santa. Parents would write to their children pretending to be St. Nick and discuss their behavior over the past year. It was a clever tactic to encourage kids to behave before he came with gifts and treats. When children started writing letters to the North Pole, they thought of creative and magical ways to send the letters along. For example, some kids were known to leave their written letters by the chimney, they would supposedly turn into smoke and go straight to the North Pole, into Santa’s chimney where he would receive the letters.

Processes Throughout Time

At first, any letters that were sent to the North Pole were returned to the sender, or sent to the Dead Letter Office because they were considered undeliverable. The post office didn’t get a great reputation for rejecting the letters, as it made them look like they didn’t believe in Santa Clause. Many charitable organizations wanted to take on the responsibility of responding to the letters, but there were concerns and many people questioned if this was the best use of the organization’s time and resources. The post office also distributed letters written to Santa to individuals to respond to for “philanthropic purposes.” The process for people responding to the letters was included into the Postal Laws and Regulations for a more secure and streamlined approach. Ensuring that certain personal information was not being abused.

The USPS finds a way to share the Christmas Spirit by Creating Greetings From The North Pole.

In 1989, The USPS gave St. Nick his own zip code and created a program called “Greetings from The North Pole.” This thought out system sends a response to children who write a letter to Santa and address it to the North Pole. The letter they receive looks as though it came directly from the North Pole. Parents and guardians can write a response letter and send it in with their child’s letter to Santa. From there, Santa’s helpers in Anchorage, Alaska will send the response letter to the child postmarked from the North Pole! For more details and information check out the Holiday News Page on the USPS website!

With all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, writing a letter to Santa is something that brings joy to many children. Looking back, we recognize all of the hard work that went into the early days of holiday mail, ensuring that the spirit of Christmas was kept alive. We’re thankful for all of our postal workers and Santa’s helpers who ensure our cards, gifts, and packages arrive on time during this time of year. We want to encourage everyone to thank your local postal worker this holiday season.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Your Friends at The Mailworks



Business, How To, Tips

Five Ways to Use Direct Mail During the Holiday Season

It’s no secret that direct mail is at its peak during the holiday season. Businesses are sharing discounts, invitations and greeting cards are being sent to friends and family, and communities raise money for those in need. Why do all of these different groups use direct mail? It’s the most personal way to reach customers, family, and potential buyers. Here are five different ways to utilize the postal service this holiday season and connect with those who matter most! 

Holiday Cards for your Business

The first way to use direct mail during this season is to send holiday cards to your employees. After the last few (difficult) years, it’s important now more than ever to show those who keep your business going that you are thankful for them. With business gifting becoming popular amongst different establishments as well, sending a gift along with a personalized card is sure to put a smile on your employees’ faces.


Promotional Holiday Mail

The holidays are full of sales, discounts and specials. Since the pandemic, people are using mail as a contact free way to shop and connect. According to the USPS “77% of consumers sort through their physical mail as soon as they get it.” When offers and discount codes are sent out, it ends up directly in the hands of potential buyers and stands out amongst the digital noise. It’s great when your direct mail reaches homes, but what should be on it to encourage customers to take action? A clear message and call to action will have them placing orders instantly. Qr codes are also a great way to send someone directly to a link.


Current Customer Appreciation

Retaining customers is very important and showing your appreciation is crucial. Direct mail is a great way to keep them engaged! For example, an end of year letter that talks about updates and exciting goals for the upcoming year. Or even giving out an exclusive offer that nobody else will be getting. How can you as the business make them feel valued, and encourage them to return? Getting personal with regular clients can help build stronger relationships as well.


Community Outreach and Business Initiatives:

The most wonderful time of the year includes giving. During this time, nonprofit organizations will be collecting donations for the community and businesses participating in initiatives to give back. Organizations will send out direct mail to spread the word and encourage people to contribute. At The Mailworks, we offer multiple products that nonprofits use for fundraising and promoting events. One product example is a letter mailer with a reply card and number 9 envelope. The letter communicates the goal and initiative, and the reply card and envelope makes it convenient for someone to mail in their donation. Many organizations also put on events during the holiday season. It could be a fundraiser, holiday party, raffle or auction. In preparation, invitations are sent out. An invitation mailer with an insert reply card and A2 envelope is a great way to get RSVPs, or any other kind of information needed for the event.


Holiday Cards and Seasons Greetings

Business aside, many friends and family look forward to receiving gifts and cards in the mail. They also look forward to sending their own out to loved ones. At The Mailworks we have many card products to choose from that can be 100% customizable. Don’t have a card designed? No problem. We have graphic designers that will work with you to create the perfect holiday card for you and your family. The Mailworks also offers special enhancements like foil to add a touch of sparkle to your card. People find sentiment and value in sending and receiving a physical printed card. Many friends and family save them, or hang them up on display!


These tips and tricks are sure to help you engage with your target audience. Whether for personal or business, direct mail is an effective way to get noticed, spread the word and make someone feel good this holiday season. You can accomplish all of these tips and tricks through The Mailworks. Not sure where to start? We have people who are ready to assist you with your next mailing or project! For inspiration, industry insights and more follow us on social media @themailworks!




Press Release, Tips, Trends, Updates

Industry Update: Paper Shortages

Current State of The Industry

Paper supply is vital to the health of the print and direct mail industry.  The COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend global supply chains and impact operations across all areas of business. The paper industry is no exception. Without this key resource, the expression “stop the presses” takes on new meaning, literally.

The good news is that the desire to reach consumers in their homes using direct mail has skyrocketed. Unfortunately, this combined with other factors has caused a worldwide paper shortage. 

This new reality has “sent shock waves through the industry and created a mad dash as printers fight for resources.”

How Did We Get Here?

Throughout the Pandemic, the need for personal hygiene products and packaging papers increased. Simultaneously, the demand for graphic arts papers decreased as companies marketed less during the shut down period. Mills adjusted their production lines to produce the products with the highest demand and sold “off inventory” for the lower demand products. 

When the economy reopened, demand for graphics arts papers surged! Mills are now facing the balancing act of producing  multiple product lines at record rates. Inventories are depleted and there just aren’t enough production hours to keep up with the current demand. Combine this with the nationwide labor shortages, import delays at our nation’s ports, and transportation logistic issues –  the situation has grown dire.  

This new reality has “sent shock waves through the industry and created a mad dash as printers fight for resources” says President and CEO of The Mailworks, Brianne Baggetta. The impending holiday season only makes securing stock especially difficult with the rise of online shopping,  as many mills have converted some to most of their manufacturing lines to make corrugated packaging papers.


What The Future Looks Like

Currently, there is not enough paper to meet the demand. Unfortunately, the market is not expected to return to normal until mid 2022 or even the beginning of 2023.

As a result, mills are tightening allocations (the amount of paper allocated to each customer). They are working with existing customers to try and get them a percentage of what they usually order. In addition, prices are raising across the board. These limitations put a heavy strain on most businesses’ ability to serve their clients, leaving them searching for alternatives to meet their needs.

Helena Nichols, Procurement Specialist at The Mailworks has been working around the clock to secure stocks, even if that means reaching out to new vendors. She’s had to think outside the box, saying “It’s broadened our perspective on how to source our supply needs. We are building new relationships with mills and paper distributors, strengthening our ties with current suppliers and more than ever, planning and communicating frequently. We are working to be more strategic than tactical when sourcing for supplies.”

Industry experts still recommend planning as far in advance as possible to secure deliveries. They also note as a general consumer, this shortage will reflect far wider than the print industry. Expect to see limitations and price increases on common goods such as wrapping paper, toilet paper, boxed goods, etc. When asked about The Mailworks approach for the future, Baggetta shared, “Our goal is to secure as much of our primary stocks as possible, while finding cost-effective alternative paper stocks for our customers.”

The Mailworks will continue to stay ahead of this situation as much as possible by planning with customers and forecasting future needs. We recommend you plan your marketing budget for the coming months proactively.


An Update from The Mailworks: Hearing Aid Marketing Merges with The Mailworks

For nearly 10 years, Hearing Aid Marketing has been owned and operated by The Mailworks. The Mailworks is a full service direct mail marketing company helping a variety of industries nationwide.

Hearing Aid Marketing was once a customer of The Mailworks, outsourcing its print and mail production to The Mailworks’ facility. We became one team in 2012 through an acquisition that helped us better serve our customers through increased efficiency. Joining together allowed us to streamline our process, tighten our turn around times, and pass along more aggressive pricing. During this time we have continued to operate under Hearing Aid Marketing. Although, internally we have been working as one team, The Mailworks. 

I am excited to take this next step. Starting September 7th, the Hearing Aid Marketing brand will be officially operating as The Mailworks. 

What Changes:

  1. Our emails and signatures
  2. The logo you see on our portal 
  3. Invoices will now come from The Mailworks/ Data Network Marketing LLC

What Stays The Same:

  1. The team you have come to rely on will still be there for you. We will continue to offer our unique expertise in the Hearing Health Industry.

What You’ll Gain:

  1. Introduction to The Mailworks Store
  2. Additional service models
  3. The ability to have postage paid separately on your invoice beginning Quarter 4.

The service and standards you’ve come to rely on will not be changing. If you have any questions or concerns and would like to speak with me directly, please do not hesitate to reach out. You will be hearing more from your Account Managers over the coming weeks as we make this transition.


Brianne Baggetta
President and CEO


An Update from The Mailworks: USPS Postage Increase

The USPS has implemented a postage increase that will begin on August 29th, 2021. This mid-year increase is a part of the USPS 10 year plan to achieve sustainability and service excellence. USPS does not expect an additional increase in the beginning of January 2022, as is normally present.

  • First-Class Mail is increasing  $0.03 to $0.58
  • First-Class postcards increase $0.04 to $0.40
  • USPS Marketing Mail and Nonprofit is increasing anywhere from  $0.015 – $0.034

As always, we strive to provide the lowest postage rates possible, and customers will continue to pay the actual postage rates – free of hidden up-charges. You can contact us at any time with questions or concerns about the postage price increase.

Direct Mail School, Guides, Tips

The Ultimate Direct Mail Checklist

Direct mail works and we make it easy. We’ve put together a checklist to make it even easier for you! Did you know you can build entire campaigns through our online store? Direct mail is your opportunity to connect with customers like never before. Download and save this checklist for when you’re getting ready to send out your next direct mail campaign. Then head to our online store to get started!