USPS Every Door Direct Mail vs USPS Saturation Mailing: What’s the Difference, and Why Does It Matter? 

Savvy direct mail marketers know that there are two bulk mailing methods to send postcards to targeted areas. The options are USPS Saturation Mailing or Every Door Direct Mailing (EDDM). You can manually run either type of direct mail campaign or contract a full-service agency mailing campaign.

At Grow Mail, we leverage both EDDM and Saturation Mail. There are pros and cons for both mailing options to consider. We’ve rigorously evaluated them to increase the postcard campaign’s conversion rates while reducing the postage for their postcard marketing campaign.

Failure to choose  the correct postage method will hurt your postcard’s performance while increasing your costs of customer acquisition. Here are some tips for helping you understand some of the critical distinctions between EDDM and saturation mailings.

USPS Every Door Direct Mail vs. USPS Saturation Mailing


Direct Mail has been an effective way of generating new customers for decades. The biggest problem is that executing a postcard campaign was too difficult and complicated. That’s why the United States Postal Service® founded Every Door Direct Mail. The goal of EDDM is to encourage small businesses to send more marketing mail.

EDDM reduces the hurdles of sending a postcard campaign by eliminating the necessity to procure a mailing list. The Former President & Chief Marketing Officer of the USPS, Paul Vogel, explained the reasoning for it in 2011, saying “Direct mail has long been a proven advertising tool of choice of successful large businesses and Fortune 500 companies to promote products and drive sales. Now it’s easier and less expensive for small businesses to grow using direct mail.”

However, just because EDDM doesn’t require a mailing list, it’s not exactly more cost-effective than saturation mail. In fact, you’ll pay a 10% higher postage rate for EDDM Retail compared to a fully addressed saturation mailing to the same geography.

USPS EDDM mailings are delivered to each household on a targeted carrier route. Each Zip code is broken into carrier routes. That means you don’t need to mail to the entire zip code. EDDM enables you to send a targeted mailing to just a single route, or multiple routes, depending on your budget and objectives.

It can be a hassle as the postcard bundles need to be delivered to individual post offices or Business Mail Entry Units (BMEUs). After that, the carrier will deliver your postcards to every address on their route.

Options for USPS Every Door Direct Mail

USPS Every Door Direct Mail has two mailing options: EDDM Retail and EDDM BMEU. Aside from using a mailing piece that meets the standard mail saturation flat dimensions and mailing all active deliveries on a carrier route, the two types of EDDM have differences:

USPS offers two ways for marketers to obtain household counts to generate the correct number of postcards:

  • Delivery Statistics File: Used by larger mailers and available from the USPS for about $1,000 a year from PostalPro.
  • EDDM’s Interactive map: It’s costly to procure the Delivery Statistics File so most smaller mailers use the Postal Service’s mapping tool for limited geography searches which is limited to 5 miles around a single address.

Also, keep in mind that more than 1 million seasonal addresses (beach houses or mountain houses) are included in EDDM. As a result, your response rates may be reduced. That’s because you sent mail to an undeliverable home since no one lives there during that particular season. Be careful as seasonal residents make up more than half the carrier route in some geographies.

EDDM may be a compelling option if you’re targeting geographically instead of demographically or psychographically (for example, if you just opened a restaurant and wanted to spread the word to anyone who lives nearby).

If your strategy involves “going wide” instead of “going deep,” or don’t have the time or resources to either build or purchase a mailing list, then EDDM may be the better option for you.

USPS Saturation Mailing

The goal for both USPS Every Door Direct Mail and Saturation Mail is to reach an entire neighborhood or area at a discount. Unlike EDDM, Saturation mailings don’t necessarily need to hit every mailbox in a ZIP Code or city, carrier route, or radius. This makes them much more targeted and focused than EDDM mailings.

Many knowledgeable direct mail marketers take advantage of the targeting, demographic selections, mapping and other technologies available. A mailing list with good data hygiene will remove addresses that are vacant, or are on the “do not mail” file, meaning you can save money by printing less.

However, preparing for a saturation mailing requires more preparation and will likely cost you more up-front. Unlike USPS Every Door Direct Mail, USPS saturation mailings must be addressed directly to a household and labeled with a zip code. That means, if you can’t procure your own, you need to purchase a mailing list.

The good news is that direct mail software, such as Grow Mail, makes sending postcards through saturated mail as simple as sending an email. You may have an awesome offer and creative, but your campaign won’t be successful if you’re mailing to a poorly targeted audience. As an added bonus, GrowMail helps you target the right people.

Postage costs will also vary considerably in USPS saturation mailings. Since  there are no limitations on the size of your mail piece(s), pricing is based on the size and weight of your materials.

USPS Saturation Mailing Pricing Facts

The USPS also provides discounts on saturation mailings that are unavailable for EDDM mailings. These discounts can save you up to $0.09 on each mail piece, which is not an insignificant sum. Still, there are requirements that must be met. You must send the campaign to at least 90 percent of residential addresses. Another option is to send to at least 75 percent of the total number of residential and business addresses on a carrier route.

You also need to sort your mailing in “Walk Sequence” order. That’s the actual sequence in which the postal carrier walks the route. Sorting your mailing in Walk Sequence order saves USPS time, labor, and money. Additionally, they pass these savings back down to you. So when purchasing a mailing list, make sure it is in Walk Sequence order (they usually are).

Beyond just savings, saturation mail confers a particularly significant advantage: it’s targeted. Whereas EDDM goes “wide,” saturation mailings can go “deep,” only targeting recipients who fit a specific demographic or psychographic profile (which you define).

Key Differences Between USPS Every Door Direct Mail and USPS Saturation Mail

EDDM only empowers marketers to target based on income, home value, and age demographics. Advanced direct mailers are able to incorporate variable components based on individual attributes of each household.

Unlike EDDM, these capabilities enable you to send a different postcard to an existing customer than a prospect would receive without spending more in postage. The result is a much higher probability that people who’d be interested in your offer will receive your mailing. Such a formula is likely to result in more leads, and ultimately more sales.

Finally, with saturation mail, you can use an appended name on the address label — which adds a level of personalization to each postcard. This generates a better response by making the postcard appear more relevant to the recipient.

The GrowMail Effect

GrowMail has built postcard marketing software that makes targeting an area and sending a postcard campaign easier than ever before. This allows  you to drive more traffic, leads, and sales so that you can grow your business faster.

Postcard marketing software makes your campaigns more efficient and cost-effective. That’s because of our commitment to precisely targeting and monitoring our campaigns from start to finish. Here’s how:

First, we assist our clients in establishing goals for their campaigns. That’s done by identifying their audience and using tools that enable you to precisely target households. Then, we then develop captivating designs and print postcards that speak to that specific audience. After that, our software automatically finds postal efficiencies so that you can mail for 30% to 50% less.

Start Developing Your First Direct Mail Campaign With GrowMail Today!

We’ll choose the right type of postage, whether it’s USPS Saturation Mailing or USPS Every Door Direct Mail. You may even be able to leverage one of our discount zones. Grow Mail can even help you track the performance of the campaign. Reports can help you monitor response rates by tracking phone calls, lead forms, web visitors, and text messages sent to your business. Your competitors are likely already seeing results from direct mail campaigns, so reach out to Grow Mail today to learn more about starting one of your own!