How to Deliver Direct Mail On Time and On Budget
When you consider that a direct mail piece is your calling card to a potential or existing client—sometimes the only chance you get to promote your business—it has to be perfect. That means not only eliminating typos and address errors but ensuring that your design and mailing format conform to U.S. Postal Service (USPS) requirements and delivers the greatest cost savings available.
To get started, check out the wide range of information and tools the USPS offers online, including the Domestic Mail Manual and Advertise with the USPS website. You’ll even find a Business Price Calculator that lets you estimate the cost of your direct mail, depending on the format. You’ll also learn important information about bulk and non-profit mail options, and design regulations.
Mail Categories & Classes
There are five key mail categories, including postcards, letters, self-mailers, booklets, and flats. The USPS provides clear guidelines about stock, aspect ratio, thickness, and size. There are four common classes of mail, including first class, standard, bulk and nonprofit. The combination of the category and the class you select will determine the cost of your postage. Remember to use the Business Price Calculator to estimate the cost of your direct mail.
Bulk Mail Regulations
If you want to send large quantities—500 or more pieces of the same type of first-class mail or 200 pieces or more of standard marketing or promotional mail—consider bulk mailing services. Most advertising, newsletters, and magazines are set using bulk. With bulk mail, you can realize significant savings, but keep in mind that you’ll need to get a bulk mail permit.
Did you know that beyond lost time, the cost of reprinting direct mail because of design errors can be 35 cents or more per a piece? When you’re mailing hundreds—maybe thousands—of pieces, the cost compounds quickly. Use the Domestic Mail Manual to ensure that your direct mail conforms to USPS design guidelines. You’ll find many sizes and styles of direct mail as well as templates.
One last step, before you print in bulk, bring a sample of your direct mail to your local USPS office or mail service provider to ensure it conforms to current regulations.