EDDM or Saturation List – Which is Right for Your Direct Mailer?


Local businesses often rely on direct mail campaigns because they’re a great way to engage with the prospective buyers in their neighborhood. Often, these mailings are completed using Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) lists or saturation lists because of their flexibility and cost effectiveness. However, knowing the difference between these types of lists and when to use each can be a bit challenging.

Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) is a program that was designed by the USPS to be an easy, cost-effective way for businesses to reach their customers by eliminating the need for mailing lists. Depending on the quantity needed, lists can be acquired directly from the USPS or a direct mail vendor, and they can be filtered based on certain criteria or SIC codes. As the name implies, mailpieces sent with EDDM are then delivered to every door within a given carrier route that matches the selected criteria. 

There are some limitations to EDDM though when it comes to the type of mailpiece that can be sent. It is limited to a defined size of standard flat mailers, as well as parcels, periodicals and bound print material. Visit the USPS website for more clarification. If looking to mail a letter-sized piece or other material not available through EDDM, you would need to consider a saturation list.

Like EDDM, saturation lists also target local carrier routes, eliminating the need for maintaining mailing lists. However, it has some limitations as well. For example, you can choose to exclude all businesses, but you cannot pick and choose which types of businesses like you can with EDDM. Also, obtaining a saturation list is not as simple as visiting the USPS website. You will need to work with a vendor.

Saturation lists are a great option for letter-sized mailpieces such as brochures, postcards, flyers, letters, catalogs, etc. This approach provides much more flexibility in the types of materials that can be sent.

Mailpieces sent with either of these lists are delivered with a blank address block. One advantage to this is that it provides more flexibility in design. Because you are not competing with room for a full address, you can use the space for other attention-getting design elements. However, the obvious downside is that the piece will not be personalized to the recipient. With so much emphasis being placed on personalization in today’s marketplace, you will need to decide if using this approach aligns with your marketing strategy and goals.

Saturation and EDDM lists are ideal for small to medium sized businesses that want to engage with their local audience. The direct mailer could be delivering coupons, announcing a store opening, or sent as a supplement to a larger national campaign. The low-cost postage, flexibility in design, and ability to heavily saturate a given neighborhood has the potential to deliver a strong response if done correctly.

If interested in learning more about saturation lists or EDDM, or if you’re wondering if it’s a good option for your next mailing, contact our team. We’re happy to help you develop a direct mail strategy that will align with your goals and provide the most potential for a positive return on investment.

Learn more about Direct Mail with Suttle-Straus

About the author

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Rob Hanks

Rob Hanks

Rob Hanks is a inside sales representative at Suttle-Straus and has more than 25 years of experience in direct mail. Rob is a Certified Direct Mail Professional and a Certified Mailpiece Design Professional though the United States Postal Service and serves as the Industry Co-Chairperson for the Greater Madison Area Postal Customer Council. Rob enjoys the challenges of mailpiece design within postal regulations and helping clients save on postage costs.
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Topics: Direct Mail