Taking green initiatives has become a respected—and expected—business practice. Not only does it cut unnecessary costs, it improves productivity through more efficient management of resources as well. From list maintenance and effective targeting, to the production and design of your Direct Mail, there are several best practices that your company can implement to reduce its impact on the environment and improve its Return-On-Investment (ROI).
Target consumers more accurately
- Use targeting software for Unaddressed Admail™ to help ensure that the most relevant message reaches the right person. Canada Post’s Data & Targeting Solutions service, for example, allows you to select and target your prospects based on neighbourhood demographic data and choose the most appropriate delivery routes. Learn more about Data & Targeting Solutions.
- Make sure you are optimizing your in-house or purchased list: Apply merge-purge rules to reduce duplicates, as well as the Canadian Marketing Association's "Do Not Contact" service. Learn more about the "Do Not Contact" list.
- Predictive models can be a valuable investment because they can help you target more effectively and improve your response rates, while reducing unnecessary mailings.
Guidelines to keep your mailing list up to date
Regularly updating your database can benefit both the environment and your company’s bottom line. A more accurate list can mean less returned or undeliverable mail, less wasted paper and higher response rates.
Here are some ways that can help keep your lists clean:
- Make data hygiene a priority. This involves monitoring your internal database regularly for incorrect or missing fields, encouraging your customers to update their contact information and creating an in-house “do not contact” file.
- Consider incorporating a mailing returns management solution by implementing back end resources to process the information.
- Maintain an in-house “do not market” list, which lets customers opt out of receiving specific types of marketing material.
- Verify and update your customer information at every contact point (online, e-statements, customer service representatives, sales representatives, etc). Make it easy for customers to update their address.
- Keep your mailing list accurate by subscribing to Canada Post’s National Change of Address (NCOA) service and using it frequently. It’s Canada Post’s address database for Canadians who have moved. The NCOA software incorporates information about movers who have consented to be part of it and automatically removes deceased recipients from your list. Learn more about the NCOA Service.
- Use Return Postage Guarantee with customers who you haven’t heard from in a while, which can help you can update your database.
- Before renting an external list for prospecting, make sure you ask the list broker how recently it was updated.
- Use the Canadian Marketing Association "Do Not Contact" service prior to acquisition mailings in order to remove consumers who have requested not to receive Direct Mail. You will save time and costs associated with trying to communicate with them.
- Use the Address Accuracy Program to validate the accuracy of your mailing list each time you execute a campaign. Also, to improve deliverability, use Address Validation and Correction Software to help repair your lists and put them into standard formats. Accurate addressing eliminates extra handling and redelivery costs, and improves the efficiency of your service.
Use smart mail design and production
Creating environmentally friendly mail is not just about the materials you use, it’s also about how you use them. Making simple changes to the mail you send out can not only benefit the environment, but can also be more cost effective.
Here are a couple of things to consider:
- Examine what you’re currently using as printed marketing materials. Then, where appropriate, test downsized pieces against them.
- Test and use production methods that reduce print order overruns, waste allowance and in-process waste.
- Consider in-line production to increase efficiencies.
- Use pieces designed for maximum paper coverage.
Make socially responsible paper choices
Paper is an important part of direct marketing. Making environmentally conscious paper choices can also contribute greatly toward reducing your overall environmental footprint.
Here are several paper-related things you can do:
- Encourage your paper suppliers to increase wood purchases from recognized forest certification programs.
- Before buying paper, find out from your suppliers where it comes from. That way, you can decide not to source paper from unsustainable or illegally managed forests.
- Choose only paper suppliers that commit to implementing sustainable forestry practices that protect forest ecosystems and biodiversity.
- Require that your paper suppliers document that they do not produce, purchase or sell paper obtained from illegally harvested or stolen wood.
- Evaluate the paper you use for marketing pieces, product packaging and internal consumption. That can help you to identify options that are more environmentally friendly.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a non-profit organization that supports environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests.
Learn more about paper options and about how paper relates to the health of our forests.Top
Choose inks that don't leave a mark on the environment
Vegetable-based ink is commonly used as a substitute for petroleum-based ink. It’s seen to have many positive environmental and practical features, including:
- Lower solvent emissions than petroleum oil.
- Less toxic waste.
- Vegetable oil is a renewable resource.
- Biodegradable and more readily de-inkable.
- Can enhance printing characteristics.
- Good press stability and colour control.
- Can be supplied in recyclable cardboard containers.
Plus, here are some additional things your business can do
- Purchase office paper, packing and packaging materials made from recycled materials with post-consumer content.
- Take advantage of your company’s electronic communication channels, including email, Web and intranet.
- Ensure that all environmental labelling is clear, honest and complete. That way, your organization’s environmental initiatives are transparent to consumers and business customers.
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