Every Door Direct Mail® vs Targeted Direct Mail

When planning a direct mail campaign for your business, determining how you’ll get those gorgeous postcards, flyers or letters to the recipients is critical.

The U.S. Postal Service offers business people two alternatives to traditional snail mail.

The differences are akin to the two types of real estate agents:

  • The generalist
  • The specialist

While the generalist agent will take any client that happens to come along and tends to market to both buyers and sellers, specialist agents have carved out a niche for their real estate practices and focus on one or even several real estate specialties.

Like real estate practices, both EDDM® and targeted direct mail have their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s dive in to the pros and cons of each.


EDDM® is the generalist of the two mail choices. It’s a simplified approach to direct mail that takes the "shotgun" approach. The shotgun, with its wide spray pattern, indiscriminately covers a wide area, as does EDDM®.

With EDDM®, the name says it all: Your real estate marketing pieces will be delivered to "EVERY DOOR" in the neighborhoods or ZIP Codes that you specify.

EDDM® is the lower-cost alternative and it exposes your brand to more people. It’s also easier to get started, since you won’t be using mailing lists, so your campaign will get off the ground sooner than if you decide to use targeted direct mail.

This option does have size restrictions, however. "Standard Mail flats are the only type of mail piece [sic] that can be used with Every Door Direct Mail®," according to USPS.com.

Targeted Direct Mail

Although it’s not an official acronym, we’ll refer to targeted direct mail as TDM. It is exactly what it is named – a method of using targeted mailing lists to mail specific marketing pieces to those addresses.

It requires a mailing list of your chosen prospects. Depending on the list company you choose, you can specify addresses by a number of criteria including (but not limited to):

  • Age
  • Marital Status
  • Homeowner tenure
  • Adsentee owner
  • Income level
  • Nearby properties to a home you recently listed or sold

With AI-powered data companies you can laser-focus your audience, such as divorcees, probate properties, homeowners behind on their taxes, homeowners with a certain amount of equity, new parents, homeowners performing home improvements and more.

Because it’s targeted direct mail, the response rate will likely be higher than the shotgun approach of EDDM® (one study places the response rate at twice that of EDDM®).

Finally, as mentioned earlier, the size of your mail pieces matter if using EDDM®, but not TDM. This is important if you’re on a tight budget because it means the standard postcard size is acceptable for TDM, which will save you money on printing costs.

Overall, if it’s important for your direct mail pieces to be personalized, and you want them hyper-targeted to specific groups, TDM is ideal.

Keep in mind that a TDM campaign will take longer than an EDDM® campaign to initiate, so plan on at least four weeks, from start to finish, for your pieces to be delivered.

And, remember that you’ll need to repeat the process until your recipients have viewed your brand at least 7 times.

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