USPS, Valpak Target Small Business

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Valpak Direct Marketing Systems Inc. partners with the U.S. Postal Service in a direct mail campaign dropping today to small-business owners.


The goals are to help small-business owners develop direct mail programs, drive them to direct mail specialists and educate them on direct mail's benefits.


"We have been pretty aggressive about explaining the benefits of using direct mail to small-business customers," said Rod DeVar, manager, advertising and promotion, USPS. "But for many small businesses, taking the next step and actually producing a piece and getting it in the mail can still be a little bit daunting. That's why we need to engage our partners, like Valpak, to help the customer take that next action step and make it as easy as possible for them to get into the mail."


The campaign is part of a larger effort centered on the postal service's Simple Formulas series of informational brochures that educate small businesses about advertising through direct mail. The brochures were first offered to nearly 1.3 million small-business prospects as part of a direct mailing in spring 2002.


The mailings being sent today are the merchant partner component of the campaign and include discount offers from Valpak.


According to messaging on the mail piece, recipients have the chance to get "your offers to customers and increase your company's visibility with a shared mailing" from Valpak. They are offered one of four options: They can buy one Valpak mailing and get 50 percent off the second; buy two mailings and get one free; buy three mailings and get the fourth free; or get $100 off the first mailings with a minimum mailing of 20,000 homes.


Recipients can sign up for the offer, which ends Dec. 31, by visiting valpak.com/usps or by calling a toll-free number.


Also as part of the offer, small businesses that order more than 500 postcards from the postal service's NetPost Mailing Online Premium Postcards Service, which lets mailers create and send postcards from their desktops, get an additional 50 postcards for free.


To get the offer, recipients visit usps.com/netpost/premiumpostcards.htm. The offer runs until Dec. 31.


Mailings are being sent to two groups.


One goes to 380,000 small-business prospects. It encourages business owners to opt in via a business reply card to receive the Simple Formulas Starter Kit as well as special offers from Valpak. These recipients get a self-mailer that explains the offer and features stories from two small businesses that have been successful using direct mail.


It also includes a BRC and letter from Marshall F. Emery, manager, product marketing, USPS. The letter invites recipients to visit usps.com/directmail to find more ideas on "growing your business with the U.S. Postal Service."


The other mailing goes to 17,300 businesses that received the Simple Formulas kit earlier this year and opted in to receive information and offers from the USPS. These small-business owners will get another set of brochures called Simple Steps along with details of the offer and a letter specific to them from Emery.


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