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Royal Mail VS Greener Mail: The D2D Sustainability Battle

Royal Mail VS Greener Mail: The D2D Sustainability Battle

This blog places Greener Mail head-to-head with the Royal Mail. Who provides a more sustainable door-to-door service?

The insights on Royal Mail are gathered from extensive research, including analysis of their eco-friendly practices, sustainability reports, and existing knowledge of their processes. 

It's worth noting that this blog will be periodically updated to ensure relevance (including price fluctuations) and to keep you informed about new sustainable solutions. 

So why should you do your campaign with us rather than going direct?

Surely it's cheaper, and the process must be simple? And surely, Royal Mail has a sustainable option? 

Read on as we reveal all...

Round 1: Eco-Friendly Leaflet Distribution

Greener Mail and Royal Mail prioritise eco-friendly distribution methods, aiming to reduce environmental impact while effectively reaching your target audience. 

According to Royal Mail's Steps to Zero page, they intend to be net zero by 2040. In fact, they already have 5,000 electric vehicles in service today (more than any other UK parcel operator), and almost all their buildings are powered by 100% renewable electricity.

At Greener Mail, we, too, are improving our operations and facilities. We offset 100% of our energy output through the World Land Trust. Further, our lighting is now 100% LED, and we are imminently installing solar panels and electric charging points for our fleet. As part of the SME Climate Pledge, we also have a net zero pledge for 2050.

And, of course, both Greener Mail and Royal Mail offer nationwide distribution services.

So, how do we differ?

Royal Mail: Direct engagement involves a cumbersome registration process and strict deadlines for material submission. They do not provide print direct, so you must courier your leaflets to their appropriate WBC.

Greener Mail: We streamline the entire process for you, creating the artwork, targeting the right postcode sectors, printing on 100% carbon-balanced paper, handling all the paperwork and bookings, and couriering your flyers to the correct WBC(s)—all as one complete package—a stress-free experience.

Round 2: Pricing

Both Royal Mail and Greener Mail provide shared door-to-door distribution. Therefore, your flyer could be delivered with up to four other non-competing flyers and the post.

Royal Mail: Offers competitive rates at £69.95 per 1,000 (+ vat) for the minimum order quantity (<25k), £65.26 per 1,000 (+ vat) for 25k-100k and just £62.58 per 1,000 (+ vat) for 100k-200k, with variations based on weight. 

Remember, this does NOT include designing, demographic targeting, printing (be it sustainable or standard), boxing, palletising, collating, printing labels or couriering to their WBC (or multiple WBCs). You're expected to do ALL of this when you go direct!

Greener Mail: The distribution element of our pricing mirrors Royal Mail's standard rates, with an additional cost covering design, carbon-balanced printing, preparation of materials, couriering, etc. Our complete service also ensures that your entire campaign aligns with sustainable practices.

Round 3: Artwork/Design

Design is make or break for your marketing, especially with leaflet distributions. If your design is boring, bland, 'safe' or all about you - then forget about seeing a strong return! 

Your flyer design must be on a size, shape and weight of paper that will stand out. Content wise, you need:

  •  A striking headline which resonates directly with the receiver, 
  • An eye-catching image that inspires the receiver and
  • A compelling call to action that entices the receiver to take prompt action.

And if you think those points could be achieved by watching two tutorials on Youtube, then I'm afraid our graphic designer with 3 years experience in printing, who sees hundreds of flyers every year, will definitely disagree with you! 

Royal Mail: They don't offer design services directly. Instead, they have a partners page with a list of companies that can potentially provide artwork. Still, the list is literally hundreds of businesses, with no way of filtering to meet your specific needs. 

A standard marketing agency or graphic designer (and certainly not a printer!) often doesn't specialise in leaflet design. As a result, they create something that looks nice but doesn't encourage prompt action. The biggest mistake they usually make is making it informational rather than actionable.

Greener Mail: Boasts an in-house team of flyer design experts dedicated to create visually appealing and actionable artwork to ensure maximum impact. Moreover, we can feature eco credentials on the design, such as the World Land Trust logo, Love Paper logo and our Greener Mail logo.

Round 4: Demographic Targeting

Effective targeting ensures that your flyers resonate with the right people.

Royal Mail: If you contact them directly, they provide a free audience targeting service (thanks to CAMEO and Experian), which enables you to find the right audience based on distance, location, and demographics.

Greener Mail: We use Experian's Mosaic and Kantar software, which is very similar to Royal Mail. However, the software's effectiveness hinges on understanding how to maximise its potential. Our expertise lies in helping you determine the most relevant demographic criteria to consider, select appropriate locations, and interpret the generated reports.

Round 5: Sustainable Printing

Choosing the most suitable printing materials and techniques contributes to reducing environmental impact. There's a lack of clarity around sustainable, eco-friendly print. To help clear things up, read The Power of Carbon Balanced Print. 

Royal Mail: As with design, they do not provide this directly. Instead, they once again point you to their long list of partners, whom you can manually contact and receive quotes from. There doesn't appear to be any filter to establish which printers provide a genuine sustainable print option.

Greener Mail: We offer very 100% carbon-balanced print with fast turnaround times, ensuring your materials are ready for distribution sooner while minimising your ecological footprint. 

In fact, with every print job, we send you a certificate demonstrating how many m2 of endangered tropical habitat you have protected and restored and how many kg of CO2 you have balanced (offset).

Round 6: Coverage

Typically, an independent leaflet distribution company will cover a set radius from their premises or outsource to other independent companies when asked to go further afield.

Royal Mail: They boast nationwide coverage, reaching almost 30 million addresses. This is a huge USP, as no other company can compete with this logistical masterclass. You could have some of your flyers distributed to the far-reaching Orkney Islands in Scotland while others that week go out near the coast in Cornwall!

Another aspect we admire about the Royal Mail's coverage is their tenacity to deliver to every house - even those with mile-long driveways and scary guard dogs!

Greener Mail: Partnering with Royal Mail enables us to provide our eco-friendly distribution service nationwide to the same 30 million addresses.

Round 7: Transparency and Accountability

There was once a time when proof of doing the distribution seemed to dominate customers' minds more than the actual effectiveness! Sadly, this is due to so many dodgy dealers in the industry paying 'self-employed' people pitiful wages (well below minimum wage). Thankfully, most of those are no longer trading. 

Still, proof (or trust) is an important factor to address. As a result, many companies provided GPS tracking. However, even that is of little value if not live, as the dodgy traders simply sent out maps of other people's distributions!

Royal Mail: It doesn't offer tracking capabilities; instead, it relies on the integrity of its workforce. When you consider these staff are paid well above minimum wage with proper employment contracts and benefits, and they are aware it's a sackable offence to dispose of mail or leaflets, the likelihood of any issue is very low.

Greener Mail: We utilise Royal Mail's distribution service and don't provide GPS tracking either. However, we do not see it as necessary for the same reasons as above. On the odd occasion that a client raises an issue, we investigate promptly and ensure a fair resolution.

Round 8: Booking and Campaign Consultation

Would you prefer to figure out the complex procedure of creating everything for the Royal Mail, booking it all in, and getting everything across in time, or hand it over to a company that does it day in, day out?

Royal Mail: Once you've interpreted their 'Area Ranking Report,' you must determine your next steps. This involves completing their extensive booking forms and adhering to their 11-point instructions outlined in section 4 of their terms. Failure to comply with these instructions could result in your flyers not being delivered at all. However, things do become more straightforward once you've completed the setup process.

Most printers may encounter challenges meeting the requirement to package your flyers in boxes weighing no more than 10kg – a relatively small size box. Additionally, these boxes must be appropriately labelled, palletised (when applicable), and delivered to the designated WBC, which may involve multiple locations if your target areas span across WBC boundaries.

Greener Mail: We offer hassle-free booking with consultation from a dedicated Account Manager. The manager handles every step of the process for you, ensuring a simple and smooth experience.

And the Sustainable Choice Is...

As much as we would love to slate Royal Mail and claim Greener Mail wins the battle as the top sustainable door-to-door provider, that's simply not the case.

Instead, the two companies work together perfectly. Unless you deliver as many leaflets as Lidl, Royal Mail would probably prefer you go through a company like Greener Mail. 

Greener Mail provides everything leading up to the actual distribution more effectively than Royal Mail, and thanks to our World Land Trust Carbon Balanced Printer status, it's so much more eco-friendly, too. 

Yet without Royal Mail, we'd be reliant on outsourcing to independent distribution companies, which is a huge risk and often more expensive. Thankfully, Royal Mail provides an incredible distribution service; hence, we use them for the fulfilment element.

Our goal at Greener Mail is to help businesses build their brands sustainably. Contact us today to start a hassle-free, eco-conscious door-to-door distribution campaign.

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