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Frequently asked questions for Direct Mail 


If you want Direct Mail Advice, then you’ve come to the right place!


Whether you’re producing your first direct mail campaign or you’ve done this before, you might have some questions. Here you’ll find the answers to frequently asked questions on everything from costs and data issues to response services and other direct mail advice.

How can you help with my direct mail campaign?

We offer a range of products and services for businesses wishing to market themselves by mail. Whatever the size of your mailing, we have tailor-made solutions to help you send it out, and a range of response services that will make it easier for your customers to respond. We also have specific services for distributing magazines, fulfillment and lightweight 'teaser' mailings.

What is the postage cost of sending a direct mail campaign?

The cost of your direct mail postage depends on the size and scope of your campaign and on the geographical areas involved.

What response services are available and how much do they cost?

Our response services range from formal business reply envelopes to a freepost name that you can write on any envelope or card. Which service you should choose depends on the aims of your campaign and the nature of your market.

Can I send direct mail overseas?

Yes. We have a number of services for international direct mail campaigns. Including an international postal consolidation service that covers every country in the world. This uses our unique overseas postage optimisation software designed to provide you with the best postage rates per country.

What other advice on direct mail can you provide?

As one of the UK's leading direct mailing providers, we can give help and advice on using direct mail to both new and experienced users. We will guide you through every stage of planning, developing and dispatching a direct mail campaign.

How can I ensure my customer data is up to date?

Targeting is a complex process, but when done properly it produces substantial rewards. We can provide you with a free data audit that will give your data a health check and advice on how to cleanse it.

How much does it cost to run a direct mail campaign?

That depends on several things: the nature of your mailing, how many people you are trying to reach and whether you plan to do the work yourself or use specialist supplier like VDP Direct who will ensure your costs are kept under control.

How do I know if my customer database is good enough to use for direct mail?

An accurate database can avoid costly wastage in print & postage. It is always worth asking you mailing house to audit your data. You might think it's up-to-date but you'll be surprised how quickly your data can become inaccurate. For example did you know that each year 1,500,000 households move address? We can audit your data and then cleanse it for you at a fraction of the cost of the wastage you otherwise might incur!

Will I be able to see a proof of my mailing before it gets posted?

Direct mail is a powerful communication tool that, if badly produced, can destroy a company's reputation. Mistakes in your direct mail are not just annoying, but can damage your brand and cost you money. So as soon as we receive your mailing specification and customer data, we will produce a proof which will be emailed to you as a PDF for your approval and what's more, you will not be charged for any author's amends!

I have a large mailing; will I get any discount on the postage costs?

Yes, once we know the specification of your mailing, we will run your customer data through our clever routing & postage optimisation software, and then we will advise you of the best option to use, and the postage discounts you can expect. We send hundreds of thousands of items through Royal Mail every week and our close working relationship ensures that we can achieve the best prices and best service for your mail.


I've heard of Royal Mail's Bulk Mail Service; what does it mean?

Royal Mail delivers a wide range of savings for high volume mailings. Their Bulk Mail Service works according to a straightforward principle, the more you sort the more you save. But with five types of Bulk Mail Services each with their own set of options, this can offer a bewildering choice of options when using Royal Mail. But you can leave it to us to take you through the details so you can make the right decision.


What is Variable Data Printing?

Variable Data Printing technology allows you to personalise your marketing message for each customer; allowing you to deliver your message in a way that connects with them on individual basis to improve their response. It is a form of mass customisation that allows you pull information from a database or external file to effortlessly change not only text but also graphics from one printed piece to the next, personalising the communications according to the recipient.

We are experts in variable data printing and will be pleased to provide you with more information on how it works.

How much should I try to personalise my mailing?

It's widely accepted that the more you personalise your direct mail, the greater response you will receive to your campaign. The recipient should always feel that you're talking to them and they're not just part of a large generic mailing. Despite what you might think, clever personalisation in direct mail is neither complicated nor expensive. If you let us know what information you have on your database, we'll happily advise you on the various personalisation options open to you.

I have several different customer databases; can I use them together for one single mailing campaign?

Yes you can. It's a relatively straightforward process to merge different databases together for a mailing. However, you could find that your databases contain different data fields and may also be in different formats. We have the necessary data processing skills to merge them together, filtering out any duplicates and reformatting the fields where necessary to create one single mailing database.

Is Royal Mail the best choice to deliver my mailing campaign?

Royal Mail certainly offers the largest selection of postal service options, offering discounts for large volume mailings. But with certain types of mailing, some clients prefer to use Downstream Access Providers such as Citipost or TNT for example. DSAs can provide guaranteed two day delivery times and proof of delivery online. We send hundreds of thousands of mailings every week using both Royal Mail and Downstream Access and have close working relationships with both.

What are Downstream Access Providers (DSA)?

When the UK Postal service was deregulated in 2006, this ended the monopoly of Royal Mail and opened the market up to alternative postal service companies. The 'final mile' of delivery is still provided by Royal Mail post men, however many alternative mail companies now provide the collection and delivery to the local Royal Mail offices. This service is known as "Downstream Access", and for some mailings of certain sizes and weights, even further savings can be made by using downstream access providers up to the final mile.

What is the Mailing Preference Service (MPS)?

The Mailing Preference Service (MPS) enables consumers to have their names and home addresses removed from lists used by the mailing industry. Consumers can register with MPS to limit the amount of direct mail they receive. Professional mailing houses that meet the Royal Mail's stringent quality assurance processes are required to use MPS to suppress mailings to people who have registered. VDP Direct is one of these professional mailing houses.

What is Advertising Mail?

If your mailing consists mainly of advertising or publicity messages then you can qualify for discounts on postage using Royal Mail's Advertising Mail service. However, Royal Mail has laid down strict addressing specifications & mail sortation criteria to qualify for this new service. To qualify for the Advertising Mail discounts, it's vital that you mailings are correctly prepared. VDP Direct are fully qualified & equipped to help you get the maximum possible savings by using Advertising Mail.


Should I be concerned about the security of my customer data?

Yes, it's important to deal with mailing suppliers that operate under the terms of The Data Protection Act and who have secure systems in place. We take the confidentiality of our client data very seriously, so all data handling is carried out under the terms of The Data Protection Act. Client data is always kept secure and is never divulged to third parties.

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