How to reduce the environmental impact of direct mail

Businesses and consumers are increasingly recognising the need to reduce waste and preserve the world’s natural resources. In fact, businesses today have a social duty to reduce the impact that their business activities have on the environment.

The UK’s Direct Marketing Association has long been spearheading a campaign to reduce the environmental impact of direct marketing. Reducing your environmental impact can prove to be cost effective and can assist in reducing direct marketing costs. Also, potential customers may be more responsive to your business if they can see it making efforts to reduce environmental impact.

If you use direct mail as a promotional tool, you can easily ensure that your business is reducing wastage by using the following mechanisms.

1) Using the Mailing Preference Service

The Mailing Preference Service (MPS) allows consumers and businesses to register their wish to limit the amount of direct mail they receive. Simply checking your data lists will ensure that you do not mail those who have opted into the MPS, and so avoid unnecessary wastage.

2) Cleansing your lists

Cleansing your list will ensure that you are targeting a more specific audience. Improved targeting reduces the risk of “Junk Mail”. No business wants their mailings to be perceived as “junk”, and a targeted approach can reduce unnecessary costs to your business and an unnecessary waste of resources.

3) Review the format and design of your mailings

Could you mailings be simplified? It is important to review your mailings and consider whether your message is being sent in a powerful yet environmentally friendly way. Pages and pages of information are often preventable, and can actually deter the end receiver from reading the mailing. Could you reduce the amount of information in your mailings? Similarly, are you sending information that includes avoidable inserts? Regularly reviewing the content of mailings can both minimise the environmental impact and also ensure that your business is producing effective content.

4) Recycled or Recyclable?

Can your mailings be sent on recycled paper, it is important to remember that “recycled paper” can mean anything from 100% recycled to 1% recycled! If this is not something that you could consider, can your mailings be recycled? A small proportion of mailings are not recyclable. Staples are acceptable for recycling, but some glues used in binding for example, mean that the whole mailing will be rejected for recycling.

Direct marketing techniques can provide a range of benefits to your business, but you need to keep a careful eye on its environmental impact now more than ever. Don’t forget that if you are using direct mail to either existing or potential customers, the quality and accuracy of your data needs to be up to standard, to avoid wastage and get the best possible results. So make sure you invest in data cleansing and quality lists from only the most reputable of sources. Never be tempted to cut corners by using out of date lists or buying in low cost poorly targeted databases.

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