I'd be willing to bet there aren't many businesses out there that want to pay top dollar these days to market their business through direct mail. So don't. These simple tips will show you how to save money while marketing your services to new customers.
You'd like to send a postcard or folded flyer to prospective clients, and you think you will save time by addressing and stamping all the mail pieces yourself. WRONG. There are many variables that go into putting a piece of mail into the mailstream at the most discounted price. Let's take a look at some of the factors that can affect the cost of your mailing.
One of the first ways to save time and money on mailings is to make sure your piece is constructed according to United States Postal Service requirements. Do you have the correct postage amount on each piece? Will your labeling cost you unbudgeted funds? For instance, if the orientation of your mailing label is incorrect, the post office will either charge you up to 20 cents more per piece, or refuse the mailing altogether until changes are corrected. Check your seal, or tabbing, of your piece. Is it okay to go folded and tabbed or should it be in an envelope? The criteria changes constantly, so much so that the Post Office often can't keep all of its own requirements straight.
Are all of your addresses valid? The United States Postal Service estimates that at least 8% of all mail is undeliverable due to incorrect addresses. If you have compiled a database of names yourself, or are working from a listing that is even a few months old, you will waste a percentage of your materials and postage due to worthless addresses-resulting in lost opportunities, lost sales and wasted money. Make sure you have a valid address on each piece; otherwise it will be thrown-out or returned by the Post Office. Presort providers can run each address through the National Change of Address (NCOA) system. The NCOA system is updated to reduce undeliverable mail by identifying and correcting addressing errors before the mail enters the mailstream.
Another benefit a presort provider can offer for your marketing mailing is zip code and carrier route coding. You want to give the post office the best possible scenario when you hand over your bulk mailing, which will in turn aid you in receiving the best discount on your postage. Zip code and carrier route coding enhance the saturation of the mail routes, which can drop postage rates, as can mailings to high density areas. Carrier route coding basically assigns the same code to a group of addresses to aid in mail delivery. When you prepare your mailing according to USPS guidelines, including meeting the saturation criteria, it makes the post office's job easier. It reduces the time-consuming coding and sorting that is part of the USPS's mail delivery process.
You want to make sure your mail gets where it's going, and you also want it to get there ON TIME. If you've got a sales offer or coupon you're including in your marketing mailing, you want your piece to reach your customers in a timely manner. You need to know your dates in relation to the Post Office delivery times versus your mailing time. Standard mail delivery is an estimated 7-14 days, while first-class mail delivery is an estimated 2-3 days. This timing applies, of course, depending upon the time of year (Christmas is an example), the route coding, and the volume of mail the Post Office is dealing with at the time of your posting.
So, the advantages of mailing bulk with correct post office requirements will save you both time and money. What kind of money? Let's take a quick look:
If you send 500 folded flyers, and stamp and label them all yourself, you would pay 44 cents per piece. At a bulk rate, you'd pay 27 cents per piece. If you have the correct zip and carrier route coding, you pay as little as 19 cents per piece!
So you're sold on the idea of saving money, but how? Check with the company that printed your pieces in the first place…many offer mailing services as well as printing and design services. They can take your finished pieces and have them sealed, addressed, sorted and mailed to the specific market you're looking for…and you can spend the time and money you save servicing all those new clients!