Guide to sustainable direct mail

Posted in: Guides

This guide will help you consider the various opportunities available for making your sustainable direct mail more environmentally friendly. We’ll challenge some myths along the way – like thinking all paper products are bad or environmentally-friendly light shines out the backside of their digital counterparts. We’ll explain how different methods can work together without having to choose just one approach.

Direct mail can often be a tough sell, as its often seen incorrectly as:

  1. Junk (if it’s not targeted well enough)
  2. Environmentally damaging (it’s not been asked for therefore it’s a waste)
  3. Time consuming (if you’re blue inking and licking stamps)

These opinions are all closely linked and interestingly, involve these three roles:

  1. The marketer
  2. The printer
  3. The recipient

We will look at their responsibilities as we seek a solution that will solve these common mistaken opinions not to use Direct Mail and how we can seek a sustainable direct mail solution.

The Marketer

What is your priority?

Of course, reducing you carbon footprint is important but it’s not the only thing. Your business’s commercial goals are your number one objective. So, in effect, you should compromise your business goals with the carbon cost of your direct mail campaign.

Marketers are looking at maximising their return on investment. This means they need to understand their target audience and make sure anything they send to them is relevant to the customer. If the mailing isn’t relevant, it’s not going to be effective. That’s not only a waste of their budget but can also damage customer relationships.

In the past, some businesses have employed a scattergun approach, sending out direct mail hoping that some of it will reach their target audience. Their hope was that if they found enough customers it would all be worthwhile. But, as technology advances and budgets become tightened, most marketers are working hard to make sure that every penny counts.

Use Clean Data

This not only reduces costs but also reduces waste. People move home, change jobs, change their name etc. It’s important to stay on top of your data, because not only does it create waste but also puts your business’ reputation in jeopardy.

Galloways can assess the carbon impact of your next mailer and offer any recommendations to reduce this further. We can advise on mail merges, paper choice, print techniques mailing options and can carbon offset your campaign. You can still get a great looking, high-impact piece of direct mail without sacrificing any of its effectiveness.

Read here for more information on direct mail

The Printer

At Galloways, we can provide a 360° sustainable direct mail solution. We can sort your data and perform the mail merge. We will print the campaign and provide hand fulfilment of envelopes if required. Whether it’s a small one-off campaign or a regular mass mailing we can help you maximise your response rates with personalised direct mail.

We utilise tracking technology to ensure your post is sent, delivered and redirected if required.

Our design partners can review your creative and suggest any tweaks to ensure your sustainable solution stands out in the letterbox, on the doormat or the kitchen table.

Whilst advising on creative and formats, we will use our knowledge of postage, packing and delivery to ensure your sustainable mail is eligible for the most economic postage.

All the while, giving you environmentally friendly options:

Paper Choice

Unlike many other materials, paper can be recycled again and again and used for something new every time. However, there are options to make your eco-friendly direct mailer more  sustainable.

The type of paper affects its recycling credentials.

Uncoated paper allows ink bleeding into its surface, which creates a softer look. This type of printing material yields more fibre for recycling than their coated counterparts.

Whereas coated papers are great for producing sharp, vibrant results but they can’t be recycled as often because the ink has been absorbed by these materials.

Whilst both types of paper are recyclable be careful of the type of coating used as this can affect its recyclability.

For more information on types of paper for printing read here.

Print Techniques

Depending on the size of your print run, there are two viable options:

Litho printing
Digital printing

Both have advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost and each will suit different paper stocks and inks. Digital printing is a modern technology that allows for the production of small print runs, where no plates or screens are needed. This makes it much more cost-effective than traditional methods like lithographic printing which requires large quantities in order to be economical .

For more information on print techniques read here

Galloways are proud to hold the following sustainable accreditations:

We measure the entire CO2 output across the company and your individual job

We support healthy forests, strong communities and thriving businesses.

We support the not-for-profit, TwoSides, an organisation that informs consumers about paper, print and paper packaging.

With over 150 years of experience in the world of print and mail, we work with all of our customers to ensure all mailings are produced in a cost-saving, sustainable, efficient and engaging way.

The Recipient

Customers are more environmentally conscious these days and it’s having a major impact on how businesses operate. Customers increasingly base their purchase decisions based off how carbon-friendly they perceive a business to be. But how can you do this in your direct mail?

Encourage recycling

Recycling is a big contribution to building the circular economy. It’s important that we choose materials which make recycling easy and encourage customers after they’ve used your product or service, so you can minimise waste by using recyclable products as much possible!

        Image may contain Logo Symbol Trademark Tennis Ball Tennis Ball Sports and Sport

These two well-known symbols indicate an item can be recycled. The second implying that 75% or more of local authorities across the UK. These act as a friendly reminder to take responsibility for our environment.

Carbon Offsetting

While your focus should always be on reducing the carbon cost, if you can’t avoid any remaining costs, then offsetting could be the answer. Galloways calculates and offsets the carbon emissions associated with your order and offset more carbon than was generated.

Read more information on carbon balancing here

The Right Balance

The right balance between your commercial goals and environmental impact is key to finding success.

Following the steps in this guide will put you in the right direction. But simply knowing about what your printer can achieve is a useful place to start.

A better understanding sustainable mail campaigns will help keep our world green for future generations. Together we can reduce your carbon footprint and make a big difference towards a more sustainable future.

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