How To Reduce Direct Mail Advertising

How To Reduce Direct Mail Advertising

Abraham Elmahrek

Every week we receive dozens of frivolous mail. Usually, it's an advertisement that isn't really useful or an incentive that just isn't quite appealing. Stopping incessant direct marketing mail is something we deal with every time we move, but sometimes we forget.

In fact, I forgot as well. So I've decided to go through the pain myself and see what works and post it here :).

So, here's a reminder of how to reduce clutter sent to your home or apartment mailbox verified as of July 21st, 2021!

TLDR;

  1. Opt out of Coupon Magazines through their websites. Here are links to two popular senders: https://www.save.com/mailing/delivery-options and https://www.valpak.com/coupons/show/mailinglistsuppression.
  2. Pay $2 and set your preferences at http://dmachoice.org/.
  3. Opt out of credit card and insurance offers at https://www.optoutprescreen.com/.
  4. Have https://www.catalogchoice.org/ help you manage your mail.
  5. Use a paid service like https://www.paperkarma.com/ to take you the rest of the way.

Kinds Of Advertisements

There are really only 2 kinds of mail: the kind you want and the kind you don't want. Unfortunately, the vast majority of advertisements fall into the later category. So, here's a few different kinds of ads I've seen throughout the years:

  1. Credit Card and Insurance Offers (Very Frequent) – Here's an interesting fact: affiliates like nerdwallet.com and creditkarma.com can earn upwards of $100 per sale of a credit card or insurance product. Basically, they make so much money that many sales organizations would rather contact you endlessly than risk losing you as a customer.

    You can opt out of these offers at https://www.optoutprescreen.com/.
  2. Incentivized Local Offers (Very Frequent) – Coupons for local markets, stores, and services is so common that two, giant advertising firms that make this turnkey for businesses: save.com and valpak.com.

    You can opt-out of these advertisements at their websites usually. Here are the links for the two most popular senders: https://www.save.com/mailing/delivery-options and https://www.valpak.com/coupons/show/mailinglistsuppression.
  3. Charitable Cause Donation Requests (Somewhat Frequent) – Some causes find their best avenue to stand out is via good old fashion USPS direct mail. For me, these have been charities I've donated to in the past who are looking for a follow-up.

    Contacting these organizations and asking them to remove you from their mailing list and delete your contact information is your best bet. If that doesn't work, setting your preferences at http://dmachoice.org/ can inform them that you don't want to receive mail. Another option is to use https://www.catalogchoice.org/ to contact them on your behalf. Yet another option is to sign up for a service like https://www.paperkarma.com/.
  4. Catalogs (Somewhat Frequent) – I've received a few different kinds of catalogs. Usually, it's from a local community college.

    Contacting these organizations and asking them to remove you from their mailing list and delete your contact information is your best bet. https://www.catalogchoice.org/ can also help since they'll  contact them on your behalf.

How I Tested

Here is a list of steps I followed:

  1. Remove myself from a business's list by going to them directly.
  2. Set my preferences at http://dmachoice.org/.
  3. Opt out of credit card and insurance offers at https://www.optoutprescreen.com/.

I have yet to try https://www.catalogchoice.org/ or https://www.paperkarma.com/. If the above don't work, I'll definitely give them a go.

Here's a bit about how this impacted my mail.

Coupon Magazines

I receive a coupon magazine from save.com weekly. Most of the coupons were for local grocery or furniture stores. It goes straight to the recycling bin usually, sadly.

A coupon magazine I received from Save.

To stop receiving these coupons, I filled out the form at https://www.save.com/mailing/delivery-options. I'm a bit suspicious about the intent of this website. It asked me for my email address to associate an email to an address, most likely.

The save.com removal confirmation.

I haven't received a new coupon book in over a week. I think it worked :).

Direct Product and Service Offers

I apparently get a few direct marketing mails every week as well. This week, I got one from Fundrise and Sail Internet.

Fundrise direct mail advertisement.
Sail Internet direct mail advertisement.

I've actually been in the market for a new Internet Service Provider (ISP). In fact, I've gone as far as learned how to setup my own Wireless ISP. So I was initially a bit disappointed that I had heard about Sail Internet only by wanting to reduce on my junk mail.

Sail Internet confirmation.

Neither Fundrise nor Sail Internet had obvious ways of removing myself from their system. So, I decided to try to change my preferences at https://dmachoice.org/. It allegedly acts as a central preference provider that marketers use when targeting their audience. You pay them $2 and change your preference.

At first glance, this site seems old and probably broken. However, I found the website is indeed still operational.

Post sign up and payment management screen at https://dmachoice.org

I even received an email confirmation that my preferences will be kept on file for 10 years.

Email confirmation from https://dmachoice.org

When you pay, you automatically opt-out of all types of offers.

I haven't received direct business advertising mail in over a week. It seems like it worked.

Credit Card Offers

One of the most common spam mail that people get is financial offers in the form of new credit cards, bank accounts, insurances, loans, etc.

Provident Credit Union mail offer.

OptOutPrescreen.com says they exist to remedy these problems:

is the official Consumer Credit Reporting Industry website to accept and process requests from consumers to Opt-In or Opt-Out of firm offers of credit or insurance.

According to their website, you can opt-out for 5 years by applying online. Or, you can opt-out permanently by printing and sending a permanent opt-out form to them.

I decided to opt out online. They ask for a lot of information that isn't actually required. For example, they asked for my social security number, but it was marked as optional. So, I didn't give it to them. Just to be clear...

DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER.

OptOutPrescreen.com confirmation.

According to their confirmation page, I shouldn't receive any more insurance and credit card offers for 5 years. However, I may receive offers for the next several months since companies have yet to mail their offers out.

Results

End of Week 1

  • I received 2 credit based mails (CapitalOne and American Express).
  • I started receiving text message based marketing a lot more after filling out the save.com, dmachoice.org, and optoutprescreen.com forms.

I don't recall giving any of the aforementioned services my phone number. I did give them my name and email though. There's a good chance they updated a database I'm in or sent it to a data broker.

End of Week 2

I received...

  • A new coupon book from valpak.com.
  • Another coupon book from save.com.
  • Credit card offers from American Express and Chase.

I have never received something from valpak.com in the past. It's almost like when you unsubscribe from one coupon book, you automatically subscribe to another.

Summary

We live in an over advertised world. Hopefully the above article helps you figure out how to keep your mailbox clean. I'll be updating this article in a few weeks to note down how useful all of the services above have been.

Good luck!

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