6 Direct Mail Mistakes That Could Cost Thousands
5. Postcard Design
First Class postcards enjoy a low postage rate with speedy First Class service. However, there are many limitations on the design of these pieces and, while they are an awesome medium in which to convey a message by mail, failure to properly design them can result in some big postage penalties. Here are some rules to keep in mind:
- The maximum size is 4 ¼" x 6", and it has to be a single card (unless the second-half is a reply card).
- Designers must allow enough room (around 3.5" wide x 2" high) for the barcode and address.
- The USPS mandates that either the entire right half or the entire top half be reserved for the return address, indicia/stamp and outgoing address. Technically, no other copy is allowed in that area. If you violate this rule, you could be charged higher "letter-size" rates.
- Do not design vertically (6" high x 4 ¼" wide).
- There is no "postcard" rate for Standard Mail. If you are a commercial mailer (not a non-profit), you should mail First Class when mailing a postcard. You will actually save a couple of cents and get faster, more predictable service.
6. Poor Merge/Purge or List Hygiene
Most folks want to believe their databases are clean and free of duplicates or other trash. Data processing (DP) experts in direct mail testify otherwise. It is a huge waste to mail two pieces to one person or to be mailing to outdated or bad prospects. Mailers should be allowing time for the DP team to process the list and provide results so that issues can be corrected before the mailing. In many mailing environments, DP work is done the day before the mailing and National Change of Address (NCOA) results are not even examined nor merge/purge results checked. Each piece of wasted mail can easily cost 50 cents to $1 each in plus the missed opportunity of sending non-deliverable mail. Allow more lead time for data processing if you want to make changes to your database prior to mailing.