Direct Mail

6 Ways to Save Money on Your Direct Mail Campaign

A common complaint we hear from clients new to direct mail is that it has a high up-front cost. While it does require a higher initial investment than some of the alternative marketing channels, the ROI and customer retention rates make it well worth the cost. That doesn’t mean direct mail has to cost a ton, though. Here are six easy ways to save money on your next direct mail campaign.

Start with Quality Data

Be sure to order your mailing list from a quality list provider. The data should be regularly updated and hygiened to avoid mailing to old addresses or duplicates. Read more about data waste and how you can have your data quality assessed in our blog post, “Data Waste – Are you Flushing Marketing Dollars?”.

Plan Ahead

Avoid “rush” charges and give your data provider, printer, and mail house adequate time to complete their portion of the campaign. Contact them ahead of time for an estimated timeframe for job completion and to get on their schedules. For reference, if ANS is your data provider and your printer/mail house is one of our preferred partners, it will take 7-10 business days to get data ordered, off to the printer, and drop the mail pieces. This is assuming all other parts of your campaign are set in place (mail piece design completed, you’ve scheduled your slot with the printer, etc.).

Order Data for Multiple Mailings at Once

Most data providers have a minimum order of 5,000 records. Even if you order less than 5,000 records, you will likely be charged the minimum fee. To avoid “minimum order fees,” order data for multiple mailings at once. For example, if you are hosting a series of live events that will all be on different dates, order the data for two or three events at a time. Your mail house can hold the pieces for the later events until your scheduled drop dates.

Use Postcards Instead of Envelopes

This requires planning before your mail piece is designed. Most postcards require less postage to mail than envelopes. Check with your printer and mail house for exact pricing on print and postage.

Use Presorted or Standard Mail

Opting for Presorted mail saves roughly 20% on postage with the same delivery time as First-Class mail (two or three days for local mail and four days for national mail). The requirements for Presorted First-Class are:
• Mail pieces must meet the basic content standards and physical standards as regular First-Class mail
• Minimum of 500 mail pieces
• Addresses must be grouped by zip code (your printer should be able to take care of this)
• Mailing addresses must be NCOA updated and CASS certified

Standard Mail, also called “bulk mail,” is an even cheaper option, but it doesn’t come without potential disadvantages. Save roughly 30% on postage compared to First-Class because this mail is low-priority and delivery dates are subject to the current workload. National mail can take 1-3 weeks to be delivered using Standard Mail. For this reason, mail pieces with a time-sensitive offer should not be sent via Standard Mail. It’s also important to note that there is no mail forwarding service included with Standard Mail delivery. Any pieces with undeliverable addresses will be discarded. Requirements for Standard Mail include:
• Minimum of 200 mail pieces
• Mailing addresses must be NCOA updated and CASS certified

Choose a Combined Print and Mail House

When choosing a printer, check to see if they also provide mail house services. Opting for a combined printer and mail house can save money because you’re paying commission to one company instead of two. Occasionally they are also able to print the mailing addresses at the same time as the rest of the mail piece, meaning you would only pay for one print run instead of two.

Lindsey Lefevor, social media manager, ans, direct mail campaign, marketing tip, save money

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