With the large postage rate increase scheduled for August 29, 2021, finding ways to save on postage for the rest of the year is even more important. Do you have a planned strategy to not only save money on postage but really stand out and increase your response rate?
USPS Postage Saving Promotions:
- Mobile Shopping Promotion – This program runs August 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021. It uses direct mail to highlight the connection between the mail piece and the digital shopping experience. It is designed to enable customers to conveniently go from the mail piece, directly to a mobile-optimized online shopping experience. You can use QR codes, imbedded digital watermarks, augmented reality or voice assistant prompts. By adding mobile technology to your mail that allows your customers or prospects to make a purchase or other online shopping experiences, you can qualify to save 2% on your postage.
- Informed Delivery Promotion – This program runs September 1, 2021 – November 30, 2021. Use this program of Informed Delivery, which will send an email to people with a color picture of your mail piece to let them know what is coming in their mail box that day. You can even provide a clickable link so that people can start purchasing right then. You can save 2% on your postage.
You can participate in both promotions, but only 1 per mailing. Each promotion requires registration to participate and reporting after the mailing is complete, but they are worth the savings. Get more info here.
Now let’s look at some other ways we can save on postage to get the most bang for your buck. Postage is like airline tickets. Some people pay more than others. The USPS offers significant postage discounts to mail pieces that are designed and addressed properly for processing on automated equipment.
- Mail to the right people: By targeting your lists to reach only those people most likely to be interested in your product or service.
- Clean In-House lists: Reduce undeliverable mail by updating your lists at least every three months. There are many data hygiene resources available to keep your list up-to-date.
- Size matters: For lower postage rates, keep your mail piece at letter size. Which is minimum 3 ½″ high by 5″ long and a maximum 6″ high by 10½″ long. Mail pieces larger than that fall into the flats category and have a significantly higher postage rate. The maximum allowed is 12″ high by 15″ long. Flats can cost more than twice as much per piece as letters.
- Watch your Aspect Ratio: Letter size automation mail must be rectangular. The aspect ratio (length divided by height) has to be from 1.3 to 2.5. Mail pieces that fall outside those ratios could cost twice as much.
- Location, location, location: Make sure the address and barcode block on letter size mail fits into the USPS OCR read area. If it doesn’t fit, you pay for it with additional postage. We can provide you with a template to guide you.
- Stay centered: Tri-folded self-mailers must be addressed on the center panel to qualify for discounted automation postage.
- Fold it right: On all folded self-mailers the final fold must be either below or to the right of the mailing address. Any other fold configuration will result in additional postage.
- Watch your weight: Whenever possible keep the weight of a folded self-mailer under 1 ounce. You can use minimum 70# text paper and 1 inch tab closures. When your mailer is over 1 ounce you must use minimum 80# text paper and larger tabs. Mailers over 3.5 ounces must go in an envelope.
- Thin is not in: Mail pieces that are too thin will cost more postage. Keep your piece at least 0.009″ thick and you can save 25 cents or more per piece. Maximum thickness for letter size mail is ¼″ and for flat size is ¾″.
- Stay horizontal: The delivery address on letter size mail must be parallel to the longer dimension of the mail piece or, you guessed it, more postage.
- Extra room: Allow a large enough open area for the address and barcode. We recommend a 4×2″ clear area.
- Image is everything: Avoid dark paper stock or printed images in the address area. Make sure they are light enough to meet USPS reflectance standards. Postal address reader machines must be able to discern the barcode against the background or you pay more postage.
- Smooth out the bumps: Automation compatible mail must be regular in shape and thickness. Avoid protrusions or enclosures such as pens, pencils, or loose keys or coins that cause the thickness of the mail piece to be uneven. Clasps, strings, staples, buttons, or similar closing devices are also prohibited.
- Keep it consistent: All mail pieces within a single mailing must be uniform in size and weight. Use the same paper stock for all pieces in a mailing to avoid postal weight verification problems. The Post Office weighs a sample batch from each mailing to verify the number of pieces in the mailing. If their sample batch weighs more, they will charge you for more pieces. That means additional postage.
An ounce of prevention can save you a pound of headaches. It is important to thoroughly check your mail pieces for postal regulations before you print. Your mail service provider can help you with this. Don’t waste money on postage. Are you ready to start saving?