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Without proper maintenance, your data can become outdated quickly.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