National Clothesline
National Clothesline
EDDM: What cleaners are saying
Last year Every Day Direct Mail made some noise with drycleaners as a cheaper way to mail out your marketing pieces.
James Peuster
EDDM has been around awhile and many owners have caught wind of the U.S. Postal Service’s method of mass mailing bigger pieces to postal route customers. Ranging around 14.5 cents a piece, many got excited at the opportunity to get their name out there at a cheaper rate.
I decided to ask around to clients, prospects and others to see how well this worked for them — much like the buzz Groupon brought on last year. Again, I look for best practices with my clients and others — so don’t shoot the messenger on this one.
Stores. For promoting retail stores, EDDM seemed to be a good way to market to the area around you. I agree. Print advertising is easy and does reach a lot of people.
But think about it. What are you in competition with when utilizing direct mail? You might say other cleaners, but in reality it is all the other direct-mail pieces.
When surveying owners, the discount cleaners appeared to be satisfied with EDDM while others noticed similar results or lack thereof.
The biggest concern was that it really didn’t bring in as many new, long-term clients like they wanted and they only ended up discounting current customers. So you paid for print, mailing and the discount.
Routes. The results here were almost unanimous. EDDM did not bring in enough business to make it worth doing. Even with bigger mailings, owners of drycleaners had the same complaints as direct-mail in bringing new business.
Results tell the tale and I do believe there are some uses of EDDM; you just use it wisely to build your routes.
Why it is not as effective. There are three reasons I believe that it struggles as a successful marketing campaign.
The piece is addressed to a systematic name like “Postal Customer” or other variations. Drycleaning is a personal business. You are better off with target marketing.
USPS heavily promoted it to all business this past year. Guess what — more and more junk mail. Many marketing research companies compare EDDM to TV commercials — a complete waste of money in today’s world.
Businesses rely on getting clients in a three-mile radius of their locations. Many routes are past that, so you have to produce more pieces at more costs and you may be the second or third cleaner to send them.
What to do. Before you think I am completely against Every Day Direct Mail, let me explain how I have seen it valuable for assisting in route building.
First of all, make sure you don’t just sit there and try to build your business by doing nothing. EDDM is a good way to get started, but some have reported new customer costs to be $100 to $150 with a 50 percent retention rate.
So the proper thing to do is follow up with a face-to-face program that piggybacks off your mailing. Make sure the salesperson uses the exact same card that you are mailing.
Second, do not use percentage-off as the incentive. It just doesn’t work anymore. I met with Valu-Pack to explain what I feel their piece should do — bring in customers.
Percentage-off may leave you with some wiggle room to make a profit off the order. But are you looking to discount current customers or bring in new ones?
Finally, use EDDM in those super-gated, no-soliciting communities and get a jump start if you don’t have any customers. It will work, but it still can be a costly acquisition rate per new customer.
Bottom line. EDDM pieces increased dramatically this year. Think about what you do with direct-mail when you get home. Use it for grand openings or if one of your competitors closed its doors.
Also, make sure you measure your ROI on any marketing piece. Usually you have to do it two to three times to truly see results. Then measure the retention long-term to see if it was really worth it.

James Peuster offers onsite training and all aspects of routes. Management, marketing and maintenance are all key components in developing a million-dollar route.  You can listen to his radio programs on
He can be contacted at (816) 739-2066 or