While budgets and cost estimates are important, price shouldn’t be the deciding factor when selecting a direct mail printer. Instead, with printing and related direct mail services, marketers’ biggest concerns are usually:
- Printing quality
- Services offered
- Customer service
Top 7 things to consider in a direct mail printer
Whether you’re working with a commercial printer in your backyard or across the country, you’ll want to ask certain questions to make sure the printer is a good fit for your direct mail needs as well as your budget. Here are seven key topics to cover:
- Ask for samples of printed pieces that are similar to yours. Check for printing and paper quality. Do they meet your needs and standards?
- In addition to printing, what direct mail services does the company offer (if any)? For example, does the printer offer in-house graphic design, list procurement or in-house mailing options? Some marketers like to work with printers that can manage the entire project while others prefer to assemble their own team of specialists.
- What is the typical turnaround time for a job like yours? You want to know upfront if the shop can meet your timeline — especially if you’re in a hurry.
- Request references, then call them. While it’s safe to assume that sales representatives aren’t going to refer you to unhappy customers, you still want to ask what customers like and don’t like about working with each printer and how the printer handles problems.
- Whom will you work with at the printer? You want one point of contact who will keep you informed throughout the process. Are you comfortable with that person’s communications skills?
- Discuss each printer’s biggest customer service challenges. What problems have they encountered recently and how did they handle them? Did they implement new systems or procedures?
- Ask for a detailed cost estimate that outlines what each service or step costs. Itemized estimates allow you to make accurate comparisons.
Selecting the right printer can save you time and money — and may even increase your response rate when you get good advice. Taking the time to ask the right questions now can help you select a long-term direct mail partner.Direct Marketing 101, Small Business