Direct Mail Custom Branded Marketing Portal

By | Automotive, Design, Direct Mail, Insurance, Mortgage, USPS | No Comments

Influence Direct recently launched another national corporate program utilizing it’s highly successful branded marketing portal.  Since 2016, Influence Direct’s marketing portal solution has allowed companies with a large corporate footprint to provide employees with approved marketing products to use in their marketing program for client retention and acquisition programs.  This solution allows marketers to produce materials such as letters, postcards, snap packs, business cards, and marketing flyers all with the click of a button. These materials can be fully customized based on the individual needs of each client’s specific marketing piece.

Once materials are approved, users of Influence Direct’s marketing portal can go from logging in the website to checking out their job for printing and delivery in 9 simple steps:

  • Step One: Simply log in to our Web2Print site.
  • Step Two: Browse to the product you wish to purchase
  • Step Three: Select any attributes for the product
  • Step Four: Upload a list (for products that require a mailing list)
  • Step Five: Verify that all fields are correct
  • Step Six: Click “PDF Preview” to generate a PDF live proof
  • Step Seven: Insert any special instructions, fill out our approval form, and add the job to your cart
  • Step Eight: Give you job a name
  • Step Nine: Check out the job

If you would like more information on this service, contact us today for a free demo.

2017 Postal Holidays

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Here is a list of days that the U.S. Postal Service will be closed. Post Offices will not be open and there will be no mail delivery on these dates.

Please use this to plan ahead for your direct mail campaigns. We will send you multiple reminders leading up to these dates.

2017 Postal Holidays

Monday, January 2 – New Year’s Day (observed)
Monday, January 16 – Martin Luther King Jr. birthday
Monday, February 20 – Washington’s Birthday
Monday, May 29 – Memorial Day
Tuesday, July 4 – Independence Day
Monday, September 4 – Labor Day
Monday, October 9 – Columbus Day
Friday, November 10 – Veterans Day (observed)
Thursday, November 23 – Thanksgiving Day
Monday, December 25 – Christmas Day

Mortgage Rates Still Low After Slight Increase

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Rates may be on the rise, but it’s still a great time to refinance. Many of our clients have been sending out more direct mail lately due to these rates.

“The most popular mortgage rose to its highest level since late June, after stalling for a month and a half near a record low.” says Holden Lewis in an article posted from Bankrate.

According to Freddie Mac, as of September 15th, 2016 rates are as follows:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.50 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending September 15, 2016, up from last week when it averaged 3.44 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.91 percent.
  • 15-year FRM  this week averaged 2.77 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.76 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.11 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.82 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.81 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.92 percent.


Rates are still historically low when looking at the fluctuation in rates from 1971 to now. Looking back at January of this year, rates were at 3.87%, so 3.50% is still a great rate to refinance into. If you are interested at looking at the rates from 1971 to now, Freddie Mac has a great historical chart to look at.

Lets take that into consideration:

  • John Doe has a $200,000 mortgage.
  • At a 4.0% rate, his P&I payment would be roughly $955
  • At a 3.50% rate, his P&I payment would be roughly $898
  • While the savings is only $57 a month, over the life of the loan he could save over $20,000

I liked this quote from The Mortgage Reports that I read earlier this month: “More than 8.7 million U.S. homeowners are potentially eligible to refinance. And, if you’re buying a home, it’s a good time to be looking. Because of how mortgage rates have dropped, if you could afford a $400,000 home in December, today, you can afford a home for $427,000 — an increase of 7% to your purchasing power.”

2016 Postal Facts

By | Automotive, Design, Direct Mail, Insurance, Mortgage, Uncategorized, USPS | No Comments

Postal FactsThe post office has been around for over 2 centuries and has changed significantly. According to the Postal Facts 2016, they have over 490,000 career employees and over 214,000 vehicles and they processed and delivered over 154,000,000,000 pieces of mail. That’s right…over 154 BILLION PIECES OF DIRECT MAIL!

Their computer network is one of the world’s largest networks. There are nearly 32,000 facilities and they receive more than 11,500,000 legitimate emails a day delivered to more than 214,000 email accounts. Their communications network supports and maintains more than 145,000 desktop computers, 23,000 notebook computers, 81,000 printers, 12,500 smart-phones, 112,000 phone lines and 310,000 hand-held scanners. They have 35 petabytes of storage capacity (which is equivalent to playing more than 88,700 years of songs on an MP3 player with no repeats). There are nearly 1,300,000 email messages blocked monthly due to viruses and more than 210,000 blocked due to content. More than 381,000,000 credit and debit card transactions are processed annually through their IT systems in Post Offices and through They also had 1,500,000,000 page views on

After seeing those numbers, have you ever wondered what a day in the life of the U.S. Postal Service is like? Below are some average numbers for just ONE day in the life of the U.S. Postal Service according to their “Just one day in the life of the U.S. Postal Service by the numbers” post.

  • 227.1 million — revenue received, in dollars
  • 5.9 million  — dollars paid to postal employees in salaries and benefits
  • 509 million  — number of mailpieces processed and delivered each day
  • 21.2 million — average number of mailpieces processed each hour
  • 353,000— average number of mailpieces processed each minute
  • 5,890 — average number of mailpieces processed each second
  • 206 million  — pieces of First-Class Mail processed and delivered
  • 7,184 —  number of letter carriers who deliver mail entirely on foot — The USPS Fleet of Feet
  • 122,000 — number of address changes processed
  • 3,630 — number of addresses added to our delivery network
  • 4.1 million — number of people who visit
  • 758,356 —  dollar amount of online stamp and retail sales at
  • 1.5 million —  amount of money spent on postage for Click-N-Ship labels
  • 146,850—  number of Click-N-Ship labels printed
  • 306,930  — number of money orders issued
  • 1.5 million —  dollars spent at self-service kiosks in Post Office lobbies
  • 0 — tax dollars received for operating the Postal Service

Visit for more information.

Direct Mail Is Not Dead

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“Research shows that 41% of people over 65, don’t use the internet at all. For marketers, that’s a huge segment that can’t be targeted by email or social media.” says Scott Taylor in an article he wrote for the Huffington Post.

A lot of people have been saying that direct mail is dead with all of the social media and internet marketing. I read an interesting article from the Huffington Post and thought I would share a little from it:

“Are you part of the 33% who find direct mail the most effective way to remember a product? How about the 79% of consumers who will act on direct mail immediately? Or maybe you’re part of the 74% of consumers who can’t wait to find out what’s in their letter box? If so, then no doubt you’re already well aware that direct mail is far from dead.

With the online consumer having an attention span of around eight seconds (yes, less than a gold fish), the online landscape exploding into a fierce battle of the brands and email marketing failing to hit targets for many businesses across the country, it may be time to the consider bringing direct mail marketing back into the fold of your strategic marketing plan.

If you’re still skeptical of the results direct mail can harness, here are five reasons why direct mail is very much alive and kicking.”

Click Here to read the full article that Scott Taylor wrote for the Huffington Post

Click Here to follow Scott Taylor on Twitter.


New FHA Mortgage Insurance Rates

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Last week I posted a blog about the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) lowering its high fees for mortgage insurance. This was confirmed by Mortgagee Letter 2015-01 for FHA loans with case numbers issued on or after January 26, 2015. For the majority of buyers, the rate will reduce from 1.35% of the loan amount to 0.85%, which is a pretty hefty reduction.

The letter communicates revised annual MIP rates for FHA Title II forward mortgages and provides opportunity for cancellation of existing case numbers in order to utilize the MIP rates contained in the ML.

Below is an example of the savings one would have:

A $300,000 loan with the minimum 3.5% down payment leaves a loan amount of $289,500.

Loans Closed Prior to January 26, 2015
$289,500 x 0.0135 = $3,908.25                                   $3,908.25 / 12 Months = $325.69

Loans Closed Prior to January 26, 2015
$289,500 x 0.0085 = $2,460.75                                   $2,460.75/ 12 Months = $205.07

That’s a total savings of $120.62 per month just in their mortgage insurance! That does not even include the savings that they will have when lowering their interest rate also! If they went from a 4% rate down to a 3.5% rate, that’s another $82.13 in savings a month for a total monthly savings of $202.75!

There will be a substantial amount of people that will love saving money like this. We already have clients marketing these FHA mortgage holders as of this week with direct mail. We have many letters and snap packs that would be a great fit for this offer.

Head over to our contact page and send us an email or give us a call today so we can help you fill your pipeline with FHA prospects!

FHA Mortgage Insurance Lowered Helps FHA Direct Mail

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According to the Los Angeles Times, on Wednesday January 7, 2015, President Obama said that the Federal Housing Administration will lower its high fees for mortgage insurance, a bid to encourage more purchases by first-time and middle-income home buyers. There has been an increase in FHA premiums since 2011. The increase has been in place to offset losses caused by defaults on mortgages it backed.

President Obama said Wednesday January 7, 2014 that the FHA will lower its fees from 1.35% to 0.85% of the total loan amount to encourage more purchases by first-time and middle-income home buyers.

According to CNN, the typical first-time homebuyer will save $900 a year on their mortgage payments. Existing homeowners who refinance into an FHA loan will see similar savings. They also stated that home values are on the rise, the job picture is improving and foreclosures have fallen to their lowest level since 2006.

FHA loans require tiny down payments compared to other loans, and the credit requirements are night as tight. More details on this can be found here on the Making Homeownership More Accessible and Sustainable Fact Sheet.

With all of this said, now is the time to start back your FHA direct mail campaigns. What a way to start 2015 right? FHA has been a tougher mortgage product to offer with its hefty insurance premiums. As of right now the upfront premium is not changing. With the annual premium changing, now is the time to start back mailing these FHA mortgage holders and allow them to start saving.  Keep in mind, rates are still at historical lows and that will eventually change.

Influence Direct Overview

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We just completed our products and services overview booklet. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Influence Direct puts into action 40 years of combined direct marketing experience to provide our clients with a remarkably strong return on investment.  Our direct mail background spans major industries such as mortgage, banking, insurance, investments, automotive, retail, and business to business just to name a few.  We have at our disposal every tool needed to create any type of direct mail program imaginable.

We can print and mail just about anything such as snap packs, letters, envelopes, custom mailers, brochures etc.

You name it, we can do it!

Why Do I Get Returned Mail?

By | Direct Mail, Mortgage, USPS | No Comments

returnedmailWhen we process the data, our software verifies that the address is valid and deliverable, but if the addressee does not fill out a change of address form to have their mail forwarded, we have no way of knowing.

One of the most common reasons we see mail returned is that the addressee on the mailpiece no longer lives at that address. The USPS will attempt to forward it and if they cannot, it will be returned to the return address listed on the mailpiece. If there is no return address on a mailpiece, the USPS will discard it.

This typically happens because they did not fill out a change of address form to forward mail to their new home or their forwarding order has expired (Not Deliverable as Addressed—Unable to Forward would be the notation on the yellow endorsement sticker).

USPS places yellow endorsement stickers on the mailpiece that are very helpful at finding out why the mail was returned. Below is a list of endorsements from USPS regarding reasons for mail is returned. Source USPS 507 Mailer Services.

  • Attempted—Not Known – Delivery attempted, addressee not known at place of address.
  • Box Closed—No Order* – Post office box closed for nonpayment of rent.
  • Deceased – Used only when known that addressee is deceased and mail is not properly deliverable to another person. This endorsement must be made personally by delivery employee and under no circumstance may it be rubber-stamped. Mail addressed in care of another is marked to show which person is deceased.
  • Delivery Suspended to Commercial Mail Receiving Agency – Failure to comply with 508.1.8.1 through 508.1.8.3.
  • Illegible* – Address not readable.
  • In Dispute* – Mail returned to sender by order of chief field counsel (or under 508.1.0 and 508.2.0) because of dispute about right to delivery of mail and cannot be determined which disputing party has better right to mail.
  • Insufficient Address* – Mail without number, street, box number, route number, or geographical section of city or city and state omitted and correct address not known.
  • Moved, Left No Address – Addressee moved and filed no change-of-address order.
  • No Mail Receptacle* – Addressee failed to provide a receptacle for receipt of mail.
  • No Such Number* – Addressed to nonexistent number and correct number not known.
  • No Such Office in State* – Addressed to nonexistent Post Office.
  • No Such Street* – Addressed to nonexistent street and correct street not known.
  • Not Deliverable as Addressed—Unable to Forward – Mail undeliverable at address given; no change-of-address order on file; forwarding order expired.
  • Outside Delivery Limits* – Addressed to location outside delivery limits of Post Office of address. Hold mail for out-of-bounds customers in general delivery for specified period unless addressee filed order.
  • Refused* – Addressee refused to accept mail or pay postage charges on it.
  • Returned for Better Address* – Mail of local origin incompletely addressed for distribution or delivery.
  • Returned for Postage – Mail without postage or indication that postage fell off.
  • Returned to Sender, Mailpiece Contains Nonmailable Contents – Mail returned to sender due to contents that are nonmailable.
  • Returned to Sender Due to Addressee’s Violation of Postal False Representation and Lottery Law* – Mail returned to sender under false representation order and lottery order.
  • Returned to Sender Due to Addressee’s Violation of Postal False Representation Law* – Mail returned to sender under false representation order.
  • Returned to Sender Due to Addressee’s Violation of Postal Lottery Law* – Mail returned to sender under lottery order
  • Temporarily Away* – Addressee temporarily away and period for holding mail expired.
  • Unclaimed* – Addressee abandoned or failed to call for mail.
  • Undeliverable as Addressed, Missing PMB or # Sign – Failure to comply with 508.1.8.2e..
  • Vacant* – House, apartment, office, or building not occupied. (Use only if mail addressed “Occupant.”)

* Alternative addressing formats may not be used on the following: Priority Mail Express pieces; mail with any extra service listed in 602.3.1.2e.; mail sent with any ancillary service endorsement, except as allowed in 1.5.1b..b.; and mail sent to any overseas military Post Office. When an alternative addressing format is used on Periodicals pieces, the publisher is notified of nondelivery only for those reasons marked with an asterisk (*).

Direct Mail Video

By | Automotive, Design, Direct Mail, Insurance, Mortgage, USPS | No Comments

So we thought it was time to put a quick video together. This is nothing fancy and pretty short, but it showcases a few of our popular direct mail products. The direct mail products in the video are snap packs, letters, envelopes, postcards and custom mailers.

At Influence Direct we recognize that our customers like to be “in the know” when they connect with their prospects and customers. We know the direct mail materials they like and the marketing channel they need. We know our clients choose us because of our cost effective printing practices that we pass directly to our clients and our expertise in mailing which potentially influences the response rate!

We want to be known as the most cost effective and knowledgeable direct mail company in the country!

Influence Direct is a full service direct marketing agency specializing in direct mail printing, mailing, and tracking. For a full capabilities overview, call 866-634-7771.