Mailing 101

Presented by Christopher Holder of the USPS

It’s no secret postage can be an expensive part of any communications campaign. Chris Holder gave an informative presentation to audience members, demonstrating cost saving concepts and educating them how to explore their mail project options ahead of time.

Holder explained that postage costs are determined by:

  • Size/shape/weight of the mailed pieces
  • Automation attributes
    • Are the pieces machinable?
  • Sortation level
    • How much pre-sorting is involved?
  • Location
    • The distance between where the pieces are being mailed from to where they are sent.

“Any of these things that you, the campaign manager, can do ahead of time to make it easier and less work for the postal service will save you on postage,” Holder said. “Any piece that is designed and developed to meet postal service machinability specifications and helps cut down sorting time will cost you less.”

Holder told the audience that it is to their advantage to know and understand those mailing specifications and to “become part of the process” when planning their mail campaigns.

Holder offered examples of cost saving initiatives such as:

  • Consistency
    • Sending the same type of piece from the same location at the same time of month for an agreed upon timeframe. An example of this is a monthly organizational mailing. Doing this, Holder said, may grant a postage discount.
  • Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM)
    • Saturating a selected area or carrier route(s) with your communication piece. These pieces are not personalized, need no address and no sorting or machinability is needed. These are simply consistent printed pieces that are delivered to every address on selected routes.
    • This type of campaign is highly situational, Holder explained. He offered as an example of a local pizza shop or new business saturating a particular neighborhood with their promotional mail piece.
  • Good data
    • Proper data planning is essential to saving money and providing better campaign results, Holder said.
      • Ensure good, accurate addresses in mailing lists.
      • De-dupe lists.
        • No duplicate addresses.
      • Use a professional list service company.
        • Data service provider
        • List broker

Holder also cited mail rate promotions that the United States Postal Service offers its customers.

“I bet you didn’t even know the postal service offers discount promotions,” Holder asked the audience as he presented the year-long calendar. “Sometimes these postal discount promotions are as simple as adding a clickable ride-along to a campaign or a minor design change to a piece”

Holder concluded, saying that even a two-percent discount on a large mailing campaign can equate to saving thousands of dollars for postage. He said it’s always worth looking into or asking about these promotions.