How to Save Money on Postage
When done correctly, direct mail can be a very cost-effective way to reach targeted prospects and customers. Your return on investment typically exceeds most other forms of marketing. However, inefficient list targeting and poor mail piece design can cost you a lot of money. Because postage rates are rising every year, it is very important to keep your postage rates as low as possible. So now, let’s help you maximize your ROI in your direct mail marketing.
Lists: Save Postage With Good Lists
- People: Sending to the right people really matters! Target your lists to reach only the people most likely to be interested in your product or service. There are many tools available to help you to better target people. You can profile your mailing lists utilizing the amazing amount of information accessible today on households and businesses. This will give you valuable information to know exactly who your best customers are and find prospects just like them.
- Clean: How old is your data file? You can reduce your undeliverable mail by updating your lists at least every three months. There are many data hygiene resources available to keep your list up-to-date, such as Delivery Point Validation to eliminate invalid or incomplete addresses, National Change of Address (NCOA) to get updated addresses for people who move, “Do not mail” purging to eliminate those who prefer not to receive mail, Deceased recipient purging and many others. You can control mailing waste, save on postage and printing. Continue to reach customers even after they move so you do not lose out on sales.
Postage is not the same for everyone. Some people pay more than others. USPS offers significant postage discounts to mail pieces that are designed and addressed correctly for processing on automated equipment. The following tips will help you to insure your mail qualifies for the lowest postage rates.
Design: The Wrong Design Can Cost You a Fortune
- Size: For lower postage rates, keep your mail piece at letter size, which is a minimum of 3 ½” high by 5” long and a maximum 6” high by 10½” long. Larger mail pieces fall into the flat category. Flats can cost more than twice as much per piece as letters. The maximum allowed size is 12” high by 15” long.
- Aspect Ratio: Letter size automation mail must be rectangular. The aspect ratio (length divided by height) has to be from 1.3 to 2.5. Mail pieces that fall outside those ratios could cost twice as much in postage.
- Address: Make sure your address and barcode block on letter size mail fits into the USPS OCR read area. If it doesn’t fit, you pay for it with additional postage. Your mail service provider can give you a template to guide you.
- Panels: Tri-folded self-mailers must be addressed on the center panel to qualify for discounted automation postage.
- Folds: On all folded self-mailers, the final fold must be either below or to the right of the mailing address. Any other fold configuration will result in additional postage.
- Weight: Whenever possible, keep the weight of a folded self-mailer under 1 ounce. You can use minimum 70# text paper and 1 inch tab closures. When your mailer is over 1 ounce you must use minimum 80# text paper and larger tabs. Mailers over 3 ounces must go in an envelope.
- Thickness: Mail pieces that are too thin will cost more postage, so keep your piece at least 0.009” thick and you can save 25 cents or more per piece. The maximum thickness for letter size mail is ¼” and for flat size is ¾”.
There are many more methods, but these are the most common ways for you to save on postage. Keep your direct mail at the lowest postage rates possible in order to maximize your ROI. If you are unsure of a new design, consult with your mail service provider before you print it. Many times, the only way to get a poorly designed mail piece to be accepted by the post office is to put it into an envelope. This is a waste of a pretty mailer, as well as a waste of money. Start saving on your postage now.
A blog about Direct Mail Marketing, tips, tricks and what not to do.
Summer Gould is President of Eye/Comm Inc. Summer has spent her 23 year career helping clients achieve better marketing results. She has served as a panel speaker for the Association of Marketing Service Providers conferences. She is active in several industry organizations and she is a board member for Printing Industries Association San Diego, as well as a board member for Mailing Systems Management Association of San Diego. She is also a committee member for Visionaries in Philanthropy which benefits San Diego Meals on Wheels.