How much does it cost to mail a letter? There’s no specific answer to that question. In a typical commercial mailing, mailers don’t pay the same amount for every piece, even if all the mail is of identical size, shape, and weight. Density (how many pieces are delivered to a geographic area) determines the rates. Strategic list segmentation can maximize postage savings by increasing density, but effective planning can produce even greater cost reductions.
Surprisingly, some of the most effective postage-lowering strategies don’t have anything to do with the amount showing on a meter impression or indicia. Here are 5 ways to keep postage costs reasonable:
- Address Accuracy – Spending money on undeliverable mail is nonsense. The Postal Service will send that mail straight to the recycling center. Or worse, it will come back and you’ll have to dispose of it yourself. Well-established automated processes correct or eliminate bad addresses in your database before you mail. If you’re using the same list repetitively, post-mailing address correction methods can also be used. Don’t let postal acronyms like NCOA, CASS, or ACS scare you. Mail service providers know all about using address-quality tools to improve deliverability.
- List Filtering – For promotional mailings, remove recipients matching the DMA do-not-mail list. Delete deceased and incarcerated individuals, get rid of duplicates, and refine demographic parameters to select only individuals and households most likely to respond.
- Palletization, Drop-Shipping and Mingling –These terms refer to combining volume from multiple mailers or entering mail closer to the final destination, making postal delivery more efficient. When mailers take these extra steps the Postal Service reduces their postage bills.
- USPS Promotions – The US Postal Service offers postage discounts for mail that meets certain criteria during defined time periods. Planning campaigns to run during promotional periods can lower postage costs compared to mailing the exact same pieces at some other time.
- EDDM – With Every Door Direct Mail postal carriers deliver identical, unaddressed direct mail to every customer on their routes. The postage rate is incredibly low, but of course it’s not possible to finely target or personalize the mail pieces. This program is best for promoting a local event or neighborhood businesses. Though the USPS provides web tools for businesses to set up EDDM mailings themselves, most companies turn the task over to their mail service providers who can make sure all the program requirements are met.
Obviously a mailer can’t employ all these strategies on a single project. Knowing which ones to apply and weighing the cost of workflow changes against potential postal savings are keys to successful postage reduction. If your print and mail service provider isn’t talking to you about lowering postage costs using these strategies, be sure to bring up the topic.
What’s your secret to lowering your postage bill? We’d like to hear from you! Please leave us a comment below!