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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Without proper maintenance, your data can become outdated quickly.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!

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.



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!