Choosing Your Postal Carrier Routes

Deciding who receives your EDDM® postcards is an important step - one that has a direct effect on your campaign's success. Take two minutes to learn about carrier routes and how to pick the ones that are right for your job.

EDDM Carrier Route Map
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Choosing Your Postal Carrier Routes

An important step in your EDDM® campaign is choosing your postal carrier routes (also known as carrier routes or postal routes). This determines what mailboxes your EDDM® postcards will end up in and how many pieces you'll have to send out. Bus what are these routes exactly, and how do you go about choosing them? 

What are Carrier Routes? 

A carrier route is a group of mailing addresses within a 5-digit ZIP code that the USPS groups together to make the mail delivery process more efficient. In the same way that ZIP codes divide up the country into different areas, carrier routes divide up those ZIP codes. There are an average of 15 carrier routes per ZIP code, although that number will typically increase with larger ZIP codes and decrease with smaller ones.

How to Define Carrier Routes:

  • Each is identified by a 9-digit code, with the first 5 digits identifying the ZIP code. Example: 60473-C006
  • They include residential, business, and PO box addresses. You can choose to exclude business and PO boxes from your mailing.
  • They are on average between 200 and 800 addresses, although many urban areas have carrier routes over 1,000 addresses.

Carrier Routes and Every Door Direct Mail®

EDDM® marketing projects are growing in popularity because they provide an easy way to identify and target your market without purchasing a mailing list. They also offer the maximum postage rate discount from the USPS.

When printing and mailing EDDM there is not a minimum order quantity, although the post office does require that you mail at least one whole carrier route. This means that you cannot divide or break up a route in order to mail to a specific street or neighborhood. If you're interest in this type of microtargeting, please see our addressed postcard section.

Selecting a Carrier Route

While many of our customers choose to mail their EDDM® postcards to their closest neighbors, others find it beneficial to research a few different statistics that are available for each route. Every day we help our customers examine routes based on:

  • The percentage of an age range on each route. Example: the percentage of people aged 45 to 65)
  • The average household income
  • The average household size
  • Whether to send to residential addresses only, or to include businesses as well.

Maybe you already have an idea what carrier routes you'd like to target, and you'd like a quote on your EDDM campaign. Or maybe you'd like help researching the different routes in your area. Either way, contact the Direct Mail experts at Excel Printing and Mailing and we'll be your guide.


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