The majority of the money you spend on direct mail will be on postage. But if you are paying the full price for postage, you are certainly throwing money away. Finding a way to reduce postage costs can significantly lower your cost per lead.
Though US postage costs fluctuate frequently, it has seen an overall increase since January 2018. The percentage to which this will increase the costs for small businesses depends on the amount of mailing your business does. Although the cost of a first class letter increased from $0.49 to $0.50, and for a postcard from $0.34 to $0.35, most mailing services have been raised on average – 1.9%.
So yes, postage costs have definitely increased. But, it is still possible to keep your postage costs remarkably low. Where can you find these savings?
Large Batches of Mailing
First, you can get great discounts for large batches of mailing. Postage prices for EDDM are a fraction of the cost of presort standard bulk mail. This option is perfect for businesses that target entire neighborhoods. And you don’t have to purchase a mailing list!
For maximum discounts, you need to follow the “90/75 rule”. This rule says that in order to have the lowest saturation rates you must target either 90% of all residential addresses or 75% business and residential addresses within a single mail route.
Additionally, to take advantage of these special prices, your EDDM direct mail piece must be more than 6 1/8“ high and more than 11.5” in length and smaller than 12” high and 15” long.
Presorting & Automated Processing
A presorted mail piece means less work for the post office, so they’re able to pass the savings on to you. One way of using presorted mail is to print IMBs (Intelligent Mail Barcodes) on labels, envelopes or insert pages, which allow for automation discounts.
Other things that should be taken into account before getting these discounts::
- Folding and tabbing, stuffing of envelopes, stamping using tools, machinery, and muscle power to get the job done.
- Large and irregularly-shaped pieces of mail should be bundled in stacks of 50-100, then placed in mail sacks.
- Smaller, letter-size mail, should be placed in covered trays. Each tray or sack will go to a specific sorting facility and must be labeled using a very specific format.
- Sacks must be tied with cord and trays should be tightly strapped closed. The sacks or trays for individual jobs must be coded accordingly.
And of finally, your mail should be handed in at the post office with proper documentation, a postage statement about the weight, the number of pieces and address destinations, all used to calculate the postage amount.
USPS prices for EDDM postcards are $ 0.15 – $ 0.17 per piece.
Improve the list deliverability
You can reduce your targeted mailing costs, working first with your mailing list. If you have mailed to the same list more than once and your list keeps producing returns continually, like “Undeliverable as addressed” you should update your mailing list.
Checking it with the NCOA (National Change of Address) service for an additional small fee ($5.00 per thousand records) will allow you to increase your list deliverability, that means removing anyone that has moved or gone out of business recently. This will save you from paying for the printing and postage for these dead leads. Or you can avoid this requirement entirely by adding “Or Current Occupant” to every address.
Next move for updating your list is to pass it through CASS Certification software that standardizes your delivery addresses and add the zip codes for additional postage discounts.
Large Parcels of targeted mailings
The second way to lower your postage is to produce larger parcels of mailing. A minimum parcel that qualifies for discount mailing is 200 mail pieces prepared according to the USPS requirements. However, there are price breaks for large quantities of mailing. The more you mail, the lower the price per piece.
Another tip for you to save big on your mailing is to plan ahead and produce large quantities of mailing, then use them over the course of several months. This way you can also reduce the cost per piece for your campaigns.
The Postal Service has been offering mailing promotions and incentives since 2012, and each year more mailers invest in innovative ways to add value to their mail while gaining postal discounts.
But in 2018 USPS didn’t launch any promotion because the proposals hadn’t met the approval of the USPS Board of Governors. Fortunately, they have been approved for the next year. Six promotions have been planned and voted for 2019. Here are the 2019 Promotions Calendar. The registration for some of them starts in December 2018. So, don’t miss the registration deadline.
Following these specific USPS mailing requirements, you can qualify for 2-5% discount of eligible postage.
The “look and feel”
The Tactile, Sensory and Interactive Promotion aims to leverage the latest technologies within the print industry, providing marketers with exciting ways to enhance sensory engagement with a mailpiece.
To be approved for this program your mailpiece has to feature at least one of the following technique: specialty inks, specialty papers or interactive elements using folds or other dimensional elements.
Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion
If you have a monthly appointment with your client through your bills, you can capitalize on this opportunity and offer them new special deals. Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion incentivize mailers to invest in color print technology, and use personalized messages and dynamically printed color on bills.
Another way to save on your mailing is to send invoices by mail and insert ads and promotions for other products and services you sell. The ad gets to ride along for free as long as the weight of the paper it’s printed on doesn’t bump the cost of the mailing into the next rate range.
Direct Mail Integration
You can get great discounts for direct mail integration with new technologies. USPS offers seasonal promotions for supporting the integration of direct mail with new technologies, like mobile outreach.
Through the Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion, USPS encourages new mailers to incorporate technologies like augmented reality, new filed communication, video in print, and other digital features in their direct mail campaigns as part of their marketing mix.
With Mobile Shopping Promotion your mail piece must feature a QR code or other print/mobile technology that can be read by a mobile device and lead recipients to a mobile-optimized page.
All USPS Promotion Programs for 2019 are under consideration by Governor’s approval. You can consult the proposals in the draft form.
Let’s face it, direct mail can be costly and require a considerable financial commitment.
But making efforts to decrease the costs of direct mail is rewarding. Get help from an expert (I mean Accurate Mailing Service) that understand the USPS regulations for automation postage and your ROI will be higher than you can expect.