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Direct Mail Course

Direct Mail Course

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Published by Dick Page
A 10 chapter course on mail covering planning, creative,copy, mailing lists, response analysis, testing, mail shop services, postal software and regulations. Author has been a Marketing Director, Agency Principal, Mailing List Broker and mail shop owner
A 10 chapter course on mail covering planning, creative,copy, mailing lists, response analysis, testing, mail shop services, postal software and regulations. Author has been a Marketing Director, Agency Principal, Mailing List Broker and mail shop owner

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Published by: Dick Page on Jun 24, 2009
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The Direct Mail Course
Training in direct mail marketing: planning, creative, copy, computer, lists, mail shop and postal issues.
By Dick Page
Direct Mail Training

Copyright 2008 by Direct Mail Training a Division of Page Marketing, Inc


Warranty Information is subject to change. Direct Mail Training makes no warranty implied or expressed of the accuracy of the information. Specifically any implied warranty of merchantability and fitness for particular purposes. Direct Mail Training shall not be liable for any damages in connection with the furnishing or use of this information.


3 USPS Mail Design and Creative 4 .4 Testing III Offers and Propositions III.2 Arithmetic and Analysis 11.3 Process II Marketing and Planning II.CONTENTS Introduction I Mail as a Medium I.2 Tips on Copy and Creative IV.2 Popular Offers IV Copy and Creative IV.I Motivators III.2 Elements I.1 Characteristics I.3 Response Rates 11.1 Mail Costs II.1 Direct Mail Letters IV.

1 The Printer and the Mail Shop VIII.2 Basic Equipment VIII.3 Selections VI VII Computer Processing VII.1 Database Marketing VII.2 Self Mailers V.4 Sizes of Standard Envelopes Mailing Lists VI.3 Envelopes V.3 Job Control and Scheduling VIII.V Samples of Sizes and Formats V.2 Types of List Businesses VI.4 Pricing 5 .2 Postal Processing VII.1 List Types VI.3 Software Packages VII.4 Personalized Digital Printing VIII The Mail Shop VIII.1 Card/LTR/FLAT V.

IX.4 IX.7 Postage Payment Method Postal Discounts/Automated Mail Size. Shape and Weight Address Quality and Updating Postal Rates – Profit and Non-profit The Business Mail Entry Unit (BMEU) Postal Explorer – Navigating the USPS Websites X. Political and Non-profit Mail X.2 Non-profit  Epilogue 6 . Postal Issues IX.1 1X.6 IX.2 IX.3 IX.1 Political X.5 IX.

creative. award winning creative agency. You will have a better overview than is normally available from any one specialist such as a postal person or a lettershop executive. owner of a mail shop. copy. started and led the Florida Direct Marketing Association. The author of this manual. find approved postal software programs. Page Mailing Services 7 . There are lots of classes of mail and postal rates – see all the rates. in the computer room and the list guy who makes the winners. This manual is somewhat unique in that we will study mail to include a mix of disciplines. has done it all: Marketing Director (client). elected to the Hall of Fame. Here you get to learn about planning. Not an accident. Dick Page. Learn about lists and get a count yourself. Page and Associates. marketing. the postal rules. Follow links to a depth of details. Find out what a Mail Design Analyst does and then find your own. the details of the mail shop.INTRODUCTION There are many views of mail when seen from a variety of angles and positions by a variety of skills and experts. Think about DM letters and you get to read a great one.

Direct mail offers often involve happiness.which he took into the age of automation. a recognized list broker. speaker and moderator and now he puts all that deep thought and dirty hands into this manual. Take a look. with this manual – when you complete the study. walk the walk. So too. you will talk the talk. wealth and health. Have some fun! 8 . beauty. look better and probably even dance better.

Mailers are trying to avoid the premium prices for larger pieces and are succeeding.5%. showed a greater increase in pieces and revenue for standard mail vs first class mail – 3. outdoor. Expensive on a cost per thousand (CPM) of exposure. representing a total expenditure of over $50 billion dollars. According to the latest Postal Report. magazines or cable TV. you will also be mailing less FLATS and getting the best possible postage prices. You can get more name recognition or brand exposure for less money per thousand. The mass media have cost rates lower than $100 CPM.6% vs 2. Interesting in light of material you will read about size and shape of mail. Mail As A Medium  Characteristics A major advertising medium based upon expenditures. Outdoor (billboards) often about $10 9 . than the same quarter previous year. Generally. about $59 billion in 2007.1% while revenues decreased only 2. the amount of FLAT (larger than standard letter) actually decreased by 13. accepted data places mail ahead of radio. first quarter of 2008 fiscal year.I. As you study this.5%.

Commercials on TV such as the Super Bowl are actually not very expensive as a factor of the number of viewers – audience. As mailers we target a definite market and then use persuasion and appropriate offers to get him to take the action we want – to inquire. With few exceptions. Expensive. Maybe only $20 per M. The selection aspects can be geography. This argues against using mail to “get your name out” except in the very limited geography such as a very immediate neighborhood. donate or come to a sale or rally. buy. subscribe. interest or business position.000 CPM.60 – 1. age. that total cost of mail including postage can be . It is far better to mail to the 500 right people than a random 5. income. Expressed another way.00 each. mail should be used for action not awareness. Action! 10 . It is selective – only certain names or addresses receive your message.CPM of traffic count.000. Mail is commonly 500 – 600 M and sometimes as high as $1.

These elements interrelate so that each must be appropriate for the other two.. you must send the right message to the right people with the right offer. 11 . always bear in mind the required interaction of the elements. Elements The basic elements of a mailing are the : Package List Offer The package is the mail piece. lists and offers. To do it right. You will see in this manual types of: mail pieces. The offer and package that is appropriate for a given target group should also factor the age and income profile of your list selection. The package with the right look and tone for opera lovers is almost certainly not right for fishermen or campers. the list the target universe and the offer is the proposition or reason for acceptance of the call to action.

The creative process happens in conjunction with and simultaneously with the list research. selection and purchase. a goal and the route. The selection of format of the mailer and the pieces that combine for a successful package. The list is processed. Remember – they must be appropriate. where addressing and mail processing results in the addressed pieces being placed in trays or sacks. It then is trucked to the local Business Mail Entry Unit to mail. The Process It begins with a plan. 12 . It leads to art which then moves to the printer. be it self-mailer or an envelope kit with a choice of type and number of inserts is the beginning.. The printed material is delivered to the same point – the lettershop. The list is ordered and is sent on line to the computer center of the mail shop. presorted and sent to the “back room”.

what kind of list. Creative. offset. Mail Costs Mail shops often hear the question: “How much does it cost to do a mailing”? The query is made in good faith by a business just getting started in direct mail. art and production may or may not be an out-of-pocket expenses but is always a cost so too are the “allocated fees” of labor burden. mail. Now is the time for communication and collaboration of the participants – art. There are many variables involved in a mailing. Let’s consider an “average” or typical costs involved using numbers from the Postal Customer Council with a source of the DMA Statistical Fact Book. The project should determine the type piece and that will lead to equipment and process. do you have a list yourself? The individual costs are: creative. printing. list. print. It is almost impossible to give even an estimate of approximate costs but we are going to try. how many colors. The basic issues are: the number of pieces to be mailed. Marketing and Planning . list. Size run is not as much a factor with digital. Pricing is very different with digital vs.II. mail shop cost and postage. computer processing. 13 . what kind of piece.

For example.35 2.88 % of Job 10.15 23.16 12.81 4.The total expense comes out to just a little short of $1 per piece.025 12.58 10.61 11.00 96.72 2. Here is the breakdown: Costs Per Piece Creative Art & Preparation Printing Mailing Lists Computer Processing Letter Shop Fees Postage Total 10.48 23. the postage estimate is very high for non-profit mail and very low for any first class program.90 23.87 11. 14 .25 10.50 23.74 100 % These statistical “averages” will not be identical to your experience.73 4.

000. perhaps quite different.000.400 Pieces mailed 100. For him the average sale is more then $5.000 Per piece 1. While any specific project will be different.67 Cost per lead 15 . His universe and database about 100. Our presumptions are: Pieces mailed 100.$1.000 Responses – 2400 = 2.4% Response Rate = $41. not all shoppers will buy. the estimate of $1 per piece is a simple number for our formulas..00 Shoppers/Responders 2400 Orders 200 Total Sales.200.000 Total Mail Cost $100. Arithmetic and Analysis The starting point is to determine your total cost and cost per piece as shown above. Let us consider a fine furniture store that is running a sale to all former customers and visitors.000 Responses – 2.000 Total cost $100.

000 Orders 200 = Average order $6. While this represents a loss on this program it may turn out to be profitable based upon an estimated or known lifetime value of a customer. A cost per lead. Do not necessarily expect any level of sales or response rate until you do your own tests. At times the cost per order may be greater than average sale. Of course. 16 . our goal should be a profit on each mailing. The customer may buy 2 or 3x or even 10x’s the initial order.4 response – but every program is unique and must be computed on its own merits. when converted to sales should produce enough sales to represent a profit. Note on “Averages” Sales to cost and response rates are used here are common – 12 x cost or 2.000 Number Sales 200 = 8.000 The cost per order of $500 may also be cost to secure a customer but for our theoretical high ticket that is very acceptable.3% Conversion rate = $500 Cost per order Total Sales 1.Number of Sales (orders) 200 Number of Responses – 2400 Mail Cost 100.200.

000.Costs of mailing is not as important as cost per order or per lead. Adding more personalization through laser processing or digital printing can add to costs and responses. The owner of Décor Shoppe should be very happy with sales of $1. even at sale prices so he enjoyed a profit of $300.000 investment. The results are the return on marketing. Adding an insert to the mailing can help as can a more expensive list.000 on his $100. The very fine Shoppe probably has profit margin of 25%. The total ROI – return on investments is THE significant point not the cost of the mailing. Printing 2 color or 4 color usually give better response than 1 color.2 million dollars on an investment of $100. 17 . It is sometimes wise to accept a higher cost per piece to get more responses/orders.

For cash with order on a large ticket item or a highly qualified lead on a major capital item. The USPS commissioned a study that indicated an “average” response rate to direct mail of 2. the profit point can be under 1%. When I first executed this bank check promotion in 1980 over 35% did use the checks.0001 to . Recently these bank cards have been so ubiquitous that old response levels have dropped significantly but still a high rate. A high end condominium builder pays $800 per unit 18 .41. There are offers that should produce over 20% such as bank issuing checks to you (cash advances) during the Holiday seasons. Traffic promotions involving a premium or gift will do much better than the same promotion without the gift.75 – from a very small fraction of 1% to 50 or even 75%. Be wary of “averages”. This is an average of actual rates from .Response Rates Perhaps the most common question at seminars and conferences is “What is the expected response rate in a mailing”? The correct answer is that there is no one number that can apply to all offers or programs.

A more important question is. The breakthrough was actually putting 2 pennies in the letter and displaying the pennies threw a second window.2 million new subscribers 19 . beating the pants off other magazines which were mostly under 2%. it started at the Digest in 1957. They mailed 20 million pieces (later they would mail even more) so 6% gave them 1. Keep trying to beat any previous best. First a couple of samples from history: The famous Readers Digest Two Penny Letter. “How do I improve response rates”. food and cocktails. the “average” really doesn’t matter. I did this once and had a show rate of 80%. You can get far greater numbers of responses on a premium offer. you must learn the actual or anticipated response to your offer through testing.through the door. So. for him 1% is good enough. We see a lot of pennies and nickels now. The wonderful “Ancient Persian Poet” letter copy was producing a 6% response for subscription. The inclusion of the pennies increased response from 6% to 9%. Invite residents near a new marina for an Open House with FREE music.

still a fine result since the unit sale was $20.000. In the late 1980’s. increased response by 50% by including database information such as model of car. a digital personalized card for a car dealer promoting business for the service department. it’s time to get your car back for service.but 9% resulted in 1. Then it cost about $10. The premium was a one ounce silver round. date of last service and odometer reading. it jumped to 6%. 20 . When I introduced a premium. I was generating leads for land sales. In a current program.8 million – 600.000 more customers because of the pennies. now it would be over $20. The lessons in this manual may help you with a “breakthrough”. I was beating the others in the field with a 3% response. It made a very strong argument: Marlene.

21 . Each element – package. A campaign that employs multiple lists should assign codes so we know which list to continue and which list to discard. You do not try to do a copy and list test simultaneously. Copy A vs copy B again all else is constant.. A code on the response vehicle identifies the specific version of copy or format or envelope. track and test. Will the market accept a price of $79 as well as $99 or $199? Keep everything the same except the price. so we code. So too we test the format – large card vs smaller card or a copy test. In the simplest form. Everything is constant except the envelope. you mail an equal number of pieces with code A and code B and easily determine the winner. It could be 50% off or buy one-get-one free or for a penny or other price of the product or service lends itself to testing. and offer – can and should be tested. Testing It is the measurable medium that produces what Claude Hopkins called “traceable results”. The offer introduces areas of great imaginative possibilities. list. Each list is directed to the identical package. The package can split names from the same list to test one envelope against another.

Some general information generated by industry tests – January is the best month for response. A is a definite winner. if $199 produced more revenue than $99 might . Time interval between mailings is useful information.. it is whether the difference between A and B is greater than the square root of A + B. I did a lot of testing to compare results of the same mailing 22 . it is equal but A is 49 and B is 32. The major mailers who know all the rules – like Publisher Clearing House or Readers Digest flood your mail box in January. Example: We get a total of 81 responses – if A is 42 and B is 39.$249 or $299 be even better. e.What we learn from a test can give direction both to continuation or rollout or the next test. If so we have a winner. There is a formula to know if your difference between A and B is statistically significant enough to be meaningful and predictive of future actions or if the spread is so close they are realistically equal – the “margin of error”. For the numbers person. The square route of 81 is 9 so the difference between A and B must be more than 9 to be predictive for future programs. Some top mailers view every mailing as a test that can lead to the next test.g.

so lets call it the Page Rule of Time Interval Between Mailings. 23 . Do not know of any other mailers who have worked this area. So you had 200 women came to the shoe store trunk show. if you repeat 10 days later you will get another 100. It is very predictable. as you had on the initial drop. That response deterioration decreases gradually up to 6 months when enough time has past for a mailing to do as well the second time. 2 months etc. the second mailing will produce 50% as much as the first mailing. When you repeat a mailing after 10 days. Break: End of Chapter! Not ready to tango yet but you may sound better at the karaoke tonight. I once did the follow-up letter with “COPY” on the letterhead and yes we added 50% to the first mailing. You might want to make it clear that it is a second mailing.done at various time intervals between mailings. What is useful is when you take that second mailing as giving another 50%. What is the effect on response of repeating a mailing after 10 days or one month.

III OFFERS AND PROPOSITIONS  Motivators The motivators in marketing are very much the same as those found in life – love. covetousness. Marty Conroy continued to be guided by the lessons in the Baltimore Catechism learned in Parochial school even into retirement on Captiva Island. nonextreme side to every one of them where you can see how good and honest people act and react. envy. the deadly sins are all bad and all extreme and all no-nos. He saw much of human behavior and motivation in the Catechism lessons. Of course. nice 24 . The great direct mail copywriter. “If you’re trying to find out what makes people tick. ego and greed. But. gluttony. you might take a look at the Seven Deadly Sins from the old Baltimore Catechism. On the sunny side of sinful pride. Remember them? Pride. anger. FL. lust. for example. and sloth. there’s an unsinful. fear.

We will mention Martin once more in the discussion of direct mail letters. the Seven Deadly Sins are worth a look. Short of envy. unsinful satisfaction in what they are and what they have. Instead of sinful lust. If you want to know that makes people act like people. Without raging in anger.people still take normal. there’s a very human yen to do as well as the next guy. 25 . Short of deadly covetousness. Without getting into gross gluttony. people have an understandable desire to possess some of the good things in life.” He was a brilliant fun guy. normal men and women can have a normal appetite for good food and drink. who isn’t happy to learn an easy way to do things. And as for sloth. there’s good old love that makes the world go round. good people can still feel a reasonable annoyance with bad people and bad things.

OFFERS We offer an incentive for a prospect to take the action we want: buy. subscribe.refreshments 26 . All offers can be JUST For You. For traffic to an outlet we might offer: Prize – or Prize Drawing Premium Gift For the buyer he can receive: A Discount Beat the Price Increase . For sales leads it is: Information Literature Registration for Future Benefit For Appointment with representative: Luncheon – dinner Seminar .A Special Sale (Just for you) First Issue Free Buy One Get One Free Buy One Get 2 Free etc. Some offers can be somewhat intangible such as Membership. Charter Privileges or such special status. purchase or leads. traffic. visit or inquire.

Short. However. Max Sackheim who spoke at the first Florida Direct Mail Day said it very well. everyone agrees that if we bore our reader it doesn’t matter how long or short it is.000.000 words by all means use a 1. 27 . simple words. Use subheads to break the copy. “I wouldn’t read all that copy and I don’t think anyone else will”.” But even if you do use long copy. don’t let it look long or forbidding. They will actually read long copy if you tell it well and it is a subject of interest. This means that if he really is a prospect long copy will work. no paragraphs more than 6 or 7 lines. almost every direct mail master believes strongly in long copy – a good 4 page letter gives better results than a good 1 page letter. “If you can say it in 10 words – fine but if you need 1. Of course. Use very short opening sentences and opening paragraphs. Tell the whole story but no more.IV COPY AND CREATIVE  Direct Mail Letters OK – Opening question – “How long should copy be?” Most people and advertisers argue for short copy usually saying.

Benefits to the reader – specifics adds to verisimilitude – the appearance of truth – “Almost 1. yes always use a P. Always. In getting sales leads for Florida land the Double Postcard worked well. It is probably the most successful direct mail letter ever written.Details and Specifics. On copy length – lead generation does not need as much detail as a sales document or a traffic promotion. “The more you tell.S. a four page letter in a non standard envelope (#11 vs #10) did very well. the more you sell”. sometimes only a letter but never only the brochure. It was the letter used by the Wall Street Journal to get subscribers for 25 years. Emotion outsells intellect every time – the picture and story of one hungry child is immensely stronger than the facts about the World Health Organization. Claude Hopkins said.000 people move to Florida every day”. 28 . An envelope package may contain a brochure and a letter. when the same developer wanted to get people to see a house. is not nearly as powerful as “Last year 789 people moved to Florida each and every day”. However. Read ONE direct mail letter now.

The great copywriter was Martin Conroy who you may remember from his Baltimore Catechism. short words. He passed away in 2006 at 84. www..com/billion. I discussed the Baltimore Catechism with Martin in Tampa and learned from him. a story that captures your attention in the very first line. Yes. 29 . Denny Hatch is also found in our bibliography. short sentence and paragraphs. Read and enjoy it.dennyhatch. Denny Hatch interviewed the Wall Street Journal who acknowledged that 55% of all WSJ subscribers acquired over 25 years came from this letter.

They sent the pennies to 50 million people. Tips On Copy and Creative * When writing copy. The pennies built a new clubhouse and for the Boy’s Club the new clubhouse was FREE. Walter Weintz said. He practiced his lesson. * “Soft” leads and subscription offers usually are more effective than a hard response. So they sent the envelopes to the Mount Kisco Boys Club. FL. in fact. For a sales lead it is the difference between “Rush my portfolio” vs “Send your 30 . * The POWER word – FREE. The youngsters removed the coins and the pennies went to the Boys Club.000. When I asked if he could improve on it. The US Mint shipped 100. At a conference at Key Biscayne. he replied – “FREE”. The Readers Digest subscription mailer – The Two Penny letter – has a great history in direct mail. Mail returns? They were forbidden by law to destroy US currency and the labor to outsert the pennies would have been a greater cost than the coins.000 pennies on flat bed trucks to the mail house. the best headline and envelope copy was “Yours FREE”. he created a mailer that not only was FREE but gave everybody two pennies. try to address your copy to some person you know and use the tone to fit the person.

31 . The hard lead is justified when there is a very limited sales capability to handle leads. greatest. “Rush me ----’’ – “Yes. a bill me now. . For subscription it would be a complimentary (FREE) issue vs. With the “soft” response you get all the hard very qualified and committed responders and many.salesman”. But no one mentioned it until Claude made it a major advantage. We are direct mail people not advertising agencies. He toured the brewery.I want to save”. got lots of information including the fact that they sterilized bottles at very great heat. They never mentioned that in advertising because everyone else did the same thing. many more. * Avoid the meaningless superlative – best. * Max Sackheim (again) tells us that what we are selling should be a bargain in some form. * Find a preemptive advantage – sometimes called a unique sales proposition. finest – get verisimilitude with specifics. Claude Hopkins (again) in Scientific Advertising handled the Schlitz beer account about 90 years ago. * Normally use “you” in copy but switch to “I” in the order form or reply.

e. * Consider starting your copy by doing the reply or order form first. I want a FREE copy” or “I am not making any commitment. Make it easy to say “Yes” and always “Rush” instead of “Send”. “Yes. 32 . Here the copy can change from “YOU” to “I”. I am just requesting information”. “Rush my portfolio”.much more. This way you know where you are heading.* Good Words FREE – FREE GIFT Easy New Congratulations Good News NOW Limited Time DISCOUNT But there’s more…. Remember FREE and the other power words.g. “I am under an obligation to buy anything”.

add pe. background color and barcode tolerance. The Postal Service provides guidance so that our mail piece is designed to qualify for the best possible postal rate. You may want to return many times and examine the great wealth of information but for now go to Mailpiece Design then Mailpiece Design Analyst and the Lookup Tool. phone. The issue of color relates to the background area for barcode printing. For 342.usps. Are the barcodes readable against the 33 . Spend a little time with the Postal Explorer. we find Cathy Buchanan in Tampa with her address. The section on Mailpiece Design within Postal Explorer helps to create mail that avoids unanticipated costs and delays in delivery. Your analyst has the information and templates for reply mail. USPS Mail Piece Design Our fine creative work should also conform to USPS regulations and requirements. fax and email.gov/ to your favorites. Enter the first 3 digits of your zip code and find the analyst who will help you. These designers are available for testing paper for thickness.

background – white. Check with your Design Analyst. 34 . of course. The analyst will assign the zip + 4 for business reply mail and even give you art to print reply envelope that meet all postal requirements. You can submit art and stock in advance of printing and get approval in advance. is always safe and a light screen (10-15%) is probably ok.

if the measurement is greater in either height or length it becomes a “FLAT”. The LTR (letter) is larger than the card but no more than 6 1/8” x 11. The size is important for purposes of postage cost and are important enough to repeat more than once: A postcard (or card) is a minimum of 3 ½” x 5” and a maximum of 4 ¼” x 6”. 35 . It requires a thickness of at least 7 point. An LTR card must be a least 9 point thickness but no more than ¼”. Same rules on thickness as the LTR. For inserting we may prefer 6”x9 ½” and that’s fine BUT 6 ½” x 9” is not fine it’s a FLAT.are postal sizes that can be selfmailer cards or envelopes.V Samples of Sizes and Formats  Cards – LTR – Flat .5”. We often use a 6 x 9” as a card or envelope size. The FLAT is an envelope or card larger than a LTR but no more than 12” x 15”. Common size flat is the 9” x 12” which carries the same postage rate as the 6 ½ x 9” or the much larger 12” x 15”.

The address should be parallel to the length. if it is parallel to the shorter dimension. the piece cannot be mailed as business mail either first class or presort standard. 36 . it is mailable if it is at least 5” but charged at the higher non machineable rate. It is a parcel. Larger than the dimension for a FLAT.

A common size is 4. 37 . Postcards make good use of digital printing capabilities which allows for personalization on both sides. reminiscent of vacation greetings.Self Mailer sample self-mailer #1 Postcard The USPS has a size element for the “postcard” – minimum 3.5 since that is produced as 4 up on a 8.5” x 5” and maximum of 4 ¼” x 6”. The postcard is conventional and familiar. variable data print and variable art or photos.5 x 11 sheet.5 x 5.

Assume we do postal automation and concentrate in 5 digit batches.125 Postage savings. Cheaper for the card.5 cents $5. For time urgency such as a sale. we mail first class.Postage Cost for CARDS VS LETTERS The output of a digital press may be 4 up card or a larger size letter. card rate: 33.000 pieces the difference is: $3.250 38 .375 For 25.5 cents $8. Then: First class card First class letter 20.

(2) Double Postcard The Double Postcard is a very simple and effective lead generator. A Double Postcard is a “card”. It folds to 4 ¼” x 6”. it is essentially one card and a second business reply card. 39 . Both cards are addressed by the mail shop as a means of making the prospect reply simpler and to include keycoding on the reply to measure package and list.

40 .5 self mailer A print cost effective size that allows more room for art than a postcard.5 x 8. It is a “letter” rather than a “card” for postal rate purposes.(3) 6x9 or 5. It can be addressed inexpensively by ink jet or as a laser printed document either simplex or duplex.

41 . still qualifies for the LTR rates The postage cost for this “jumbo card” is the same as a 5” x 7”. The maximum size to retain letter rate is 6 1/8 x 11.#4 The “Jumbo” Card The “Jumbo” card is usually 6 1/8” x 11”.5 but is often produced as 6 or 6 1/8 x 11 for printing cost efficiency.

The piece may be 4 color.( 5 ) Flat vs LTR A self mailer that is 8 ½” x 11” can fold to 5 ½” x 8 ½”. It can be addressed by ink jet or laser. 2 sides and build in a business reply card. 42 . The fold achieves a change in postal rate – before the fold it would be a FLAT but the fold brings it in as a LTR.

Fold a flat and it becomes a LTR The 8.5 x 11 self mailer with the reply card is a FLAT but by folding it to 5 ½ x 8 ½ it became a LTR.890 $12.312 $34.000 $21.430 43 .320 Folding the card saves . Total of 110. Postage Costs – Auto deliver to BMC FLAT LTR .000 of these mailers were distributed statewide.199 Cost to mail 110.

for printing 11” x 15” was better. For postage.#6 The BIG Card THE BIG CARD was used by a mail shop to demonstrate the maximum size of a FLAT. we wanted to limit it to 12” x 15”. This is a fine example of communication and collaboration on the unique but rather simple size. 44 . While the size FLAT could be 12” x 15”. It ran on a small 11” x 17” press. this piece was only 11” x 15” for printing efficiency.

Envelope Package #1 A custom window envelope A mailer in Tennessee used a custom 4” x 8” window envelope. They are actually 4 color printing in large runs. A point of interest is the use of new colors to keep the package fresh for a longer period of time. Lets consider a few for type and style : Each is at the LTR rate except the final 9” x 12” which is a Flat. Enclosing “photos” gave a very personal look. many standard sizes and an almost infinite number of custom manufactured.Envelopes Mailers have a great variety in choice of envelope type and size. The piece was produced in canary yellow. green and blue. All elements were machine insertable. orange. 45 .

The envelope is ink-jet addressed in blue and stamped. The letter and nested invitation are laser personalized.Sample envelope #2 : the A7 The A-7 envelope gives a personal invitation look and was used for a holiday offer from a vacation ownership property in Atlantic City NJ. 46 . The letter and invitation were a laser form which was slit/fold which resulted in a nested personalized invitation nested in a personalized letter.

47 . Adding an insert into an envelope mailer will often “lift” response. We can make it interesting by using copy and/or a second window. The double window package can display a photo or ia premium offer.Sample envelope #3 The #10 (3) A #10 is as standard as one can find. Using a one ounce silver art round made a startling increase in response.

It is a standard size but does stand out more than a #10. The 6 x 9 size is used often in mail. 48 .(4) sample #4 – a 6 x 9. A single fold of an 8 ½ x 11 fits smartly into a 6 x 9. A letter fold is conventional for insertion into a #10 size envelope.

The #11 envelope is the same postage as the #10. Consider using a #11 instead of a #10 to stand out from the crowd. 49 .#5 is a #11 Size. Your business reply envelope can be a #10 as opposed to the usual #9.

Sample #6 a 9 x12 envelope The 9 x 12 is a FLAT but the additional postage cost may be worth the price in additional attraction. The greater room allows for larger photo and display. 50 . In this manual we study techniques to maximize postal discounts to save money but we should at times accept a higher cost to have a better piece.

com/general_inf/envelopesize. the catalog is not. Square and Baronial. Here is a Envelope Size Chart includes the A-Style. The booklet is machine insertable.htm.littlebit.Sizes of Standard Envelopes Most printers and most envelope manufacturers can supply a listing of all standard envelopes. Booklet. 51 . Look at www. Catalog. Business Sizes.

for example. The user can usually make arrangement for a 2 x or an unlimited use at a price that is a saving if you plan to use the same list multiple times. golfers. Households are usually assigned these lifestyle classifications based upon 52 . Each magazine subscriber list and each mail order company and each charity owns the names on these lists and they generate revenue by renting them out. Unlimited is normally for one year. hunters. fitness or boating and fishing. such as buying by mail order or subscribing to a publication or donating to a charity. avid readers.are based upon interest or activity – can select.  Lifestyles .\ VI MAILING LISTS  Types of Lists Mailing lists are owned or compiled and are normally rented for a one time use. There are different types of lists:  Response lists are those that consist of people who have taken some form of response action.

So.responses to survey or filing warranties. vehicle registration. for example we can select only those households with above the median income. The full range of demographic and geographic selections are available for any lifestyle type. Demographic data of income is assigned by median of the block group other selection such as age are developed from multiple sources. geography. the demographic characteristics can be applied to each record.A response list such as a subscriber list have always had certain demographic data such as median age or income.  Compiled: Consumer – The mass consumer name list. number of 53 .  Enhanced . public records which sometimes include credit bureau information.  Business lists are compiled by Dun & Bradstreet and others so you may select lists based upon type of business – SIC – sales volume. includes almost all households and is compiled from data that is public information or similar such as telephone listing. when that same list is matched against the compiled consumer list. The response list is now “enhanced” to allow similar selects as the general compiled lists.

it is the lowest price list to rent. This is your valuable database that increases in value as more correct information is incorporated. It is an address list not a name list. Normally.  House List – Everyone has one and this is usually the best list of all. There is a fee for this maintenance. visitors or inquirers of your business.employees etc. 54 . The data is organized into carrier routes and is normally rented based upon that selection. SIC is a US government assigned code to classify business by type – the Standard Industrial Classification Printers are 2700 – 2799. Mapping is often available so you may order these addresses in in the routes nearest to your desired location such as a store.  Resident list – There are several national compilers of residential and business addresses. You or your customer should be encouraged to use this file maybe even before reaching out to acquire new customers. The Postal Service requires that the list be updated regularly by matching against the USPS list for additions and changes. It consists of previous buyers.

List Manager – Maintains and promotes list rentals on behalf of the list owner. Types of List Businesses List Owner .The magazine or mail order company has proprietary rights to their list. They own it and almost never sell it. A list manager normally handles many lists. List Broker – obtains a list for a mailer through either the manager or owner. Brokers are “recognized” in the industry by doing brokerage transactions and can be found in the reference book SRDS (Standard Rate and Data Services) of Mailing Lists. He receives a commission on rentals. They rent usage.  List Selection and Segmentation Consumer Selections Geographic – State Sectional Center Facility (SCF) County 55 .

Go to – www.Zip Code – 5 digit Carrier Route – CAR RT Demographic – Age Sex Marital Status Home Ownership Length of Residence Income Lifestyle – Sport Hobbies Activities Business List – Type Business (SIC) Geographic Size Business – Annual Revenues Size Business – Number of Employees Go to the site of a major list compiler and make your own selections.com. 56 .nextmark. There is another site to find the response type lists – lists.com.acculeads.

Example. He had a card for each family in the district with names and information about wife and children. newsletters. 57 . He could converse better and persuade better with the information in the shoebox. we follow-up after visit. Keep all information about customers and prospects that will help you to communicate and persuade them to buy your product.VII – Computer Processing  Database Marketing A good database is often compared to Abe Lincoln’s shoe box back in the day when he was a county leader for his political party. Direct mail is used to acquire customers but also plays a major role in relationship marketing. Businesses today can be guided by the Abe simplicity. Communicate to strengthen and enhance the relationship with customers and prospects.

The records that qualify for the best and finest discount are first in sequence. zip + 4 append and presort. requires computer processing for address and zip validity. cross-sell other products and services. We return to former donors and ask them to do it again. The printout goes to your backroom and the postal BMEU The output of the presort is a computer produced postal 58 . After the CASS your software sorts the automated records by zip. After the sort a presort report is produced to direct the staff person how to sort. The digital printing process can be used to send cards to visitors to a sales center of a home builder or car dealer. it is not necessarily the same as the basic 5 digit sort. it is important to have a zip + 4 and barcode but it is even more important that it be the right barcode.update on product. make breaks by bundle and tray. It is necessary to have USPS approved software which has current address database.  Postal Processing Basic sorting and most particularly postal automation. An interesting use of the variable possibilities is to use a photo of the sales person as we showed in our sample of postcard self mailers. CASS software checks each address to determine that it is a valid address in file and when it does it assigns the correct zip + 4. For the Postal Service. SCF and ADC.

The statement shows by rate. class and calculates the total postage for the job.statement usually form 3602 which also accompanies mail. the net amount of postage paid if the job used stamps or meter. The software will know number of pieces by rate.com/forms/allforms.usps. 59 .usps. go to PDF 3602 in the list of all online PDF forms in numerical order at www. You should keep www.htm. To find the postal statement forms. the net postage due must be in your account or in your hand. the entry point and BMEU entry for drop shipping.com among your favorites. Finally. class and based upon input.

60 . Find them at www. Software Packages There are a number of good packages from software providers that get the job done and are approved by the USPS. This report will provide links to packages in use in many mail shops.com. It has all the power most mail shops need at a moderate price. Mail Manager describes themselves as right sized and right priced. The packages with many users who have been using the software in many cases for many years are Mail Manager from BCC and Postalsoft which has various models based upon capability and price. You should take the guidance of any experienced person or personally review some packages. Any approved package is capable of getting the job done so you might want to look at at least a couple. Approval of the source is critical because the CASS of valid addresses must be kept current for the software providers to remain approved. The address database is central to the software.bccsoftware.

Postalsoft has been a leader since 1986 and has different versions at different prices.  Personalized Digital Printing Digital offset printing is a printing and mailing machine the color printer and laser in the one piece of equipment. 61 . Consider speed required and the size files you will be working with – consider Postalsoft Desktop: You can look at a site that provides information on Postalsoft and Mail Manager: www.com.Accuzip. Hewlett-Packard has a line of Indigo machines that are full color offset quality with personalization by a range of variables. The duplex capabilities allow us to refer to a prospect on both the front and the back of the card.com or www. You may want to look at others such as www.com. It can become unnatural and just too much.freelancetech. Caution: don’t overdo the use of name and address just because you can.MelissaData. Both constant and variable data can print on both sides and the personalization is in full color so we can personalize by more than name – the name can be associated with a photo of a person (such as sales representative) or product such as model of automobile.

postal service is necessary to get the job done right. Coordination of print. Communication relates a lot to the type of information included in this manual.5. to which a printer might provide some cost info showing print cost would be better at 6 x 11. speaks and advises mailers and printers. on time and at the best price. art. The art department might design a card that is 6” x 12”. shapes. The mail service provider listens. The Mail Shop  The Printer and the Mail Shop The business of mail is service and communication. The activities of a shop can be presented as the: . Sizes. Mailer and the printer should work closely. Both should understand the business particularly as it comes to the best size. the mail shop can suggest that there would be a better postage rate at 6 x 11. mail. list.VIII. shape and stock for mailing.front office 62 . formats and discuss list possibilities. Give guidance and then let the mailer decide. A common topic is the issue and details of postal automation requirements and rates.

administration.back room The Front Office activities are sales. It is necessary to have print before postal processing because you need exact size and weight as input to the software. Job details are on the outside of the jacket and the materials-print.computer room .. billing and accounting. customer service. Here jobs are specified. postal statement and presorts are inside the jacket. computer services (now a requirement). There needs to be a Customer Service Representative who in a smaller shop can also be the sales person/owner. We have already looked at lists and gotten counts. The sample print material is either in the jacket or processing is pending the receipt of print. Lettershop services are a fairly low unit cost which can be supplemented by the inclusion of list services. As the list supplier (broker) you may choose to have the list ordering as a customer service or computer room 63 . List source or requests are specified. instructions. The job “ticket” is often a “job jacket” which carries job and customer information. status through mailing and is then the base of billing. print. quoted and opened. The job jacket is opened in the Front Office and moves to the: Computer Room. art or creative or all. It is advised that the mail service provider also be the list provider both for additional revenue and control. General management is usually located in the front office but are responsible everywhere.

Every job requires addressing. Here they: laser and/or Inkjet Insert Apply postage Tray-or bag Truck to mail entry unit. 64 . After the postal processing – job. all move to the: Back Room.assignment. The place with the equipment. all automated jobs require barcoding. all envelope packages require inserting – usually by machine but some hand work is part of the business. However the list is supplied the computer person must download it and make the data associated with a specific job. list and material. After the Back Room the job jacket moves back to the Front Office for billing. the operators and supervisors.

Outlook Express. and “should haves” and the size and number of pieces of equipment vary – it is advisable to have more then one of any production machine so that one machine down does not cause the shop to go down. Adobe may be useful. A PC is a must have and having at least 2 is a should have. get Microsoft Office. Quick Books will be enough for billing. it produces revenues and labor cost can be lower if the machine is faster. There should be two and each should be 55ppm or more and should be duplex. Windows XP will work. Forms can be 1. The laser can print forms or letters. There are certain “must haves”. Get the biggest and fastest model available. The postal software has been discussed. You will need laser printers. Basic Equipment The amount and mix of equipment in a mail shop varies as much as it is between the smallest neighborhood quick printer and a massive commercial lithographer. 3 or 4 up on a standard sheet. The letter either simplex or duplex can 65 . 2.

Your ink jet machine should be fast – about 20. You may want another 66 . You should have a turn-over which will seal your envelopes and feed them into your meter or a stamp head.be the addressing vehicle and subject to all the rules of automation and should use address block barcoding. Make sure your machine has at least two print heads and each has a 1. The postnet barcode is important now but sometime in 2009. You will have 5 or 6 pieces enough times to get a 6 station machine. 8 or more stations. Check on how well you can ink glossy stock – you may need a drying unit. The Tabber in your ink-jet machine can also stamp. An ink jet machine (actually two) is used to address both self mailers or closed face envelopes.5” print area. The ink-jet should have a Tabber to tab folded self mailer to get automation rate. You will ordinarily tab while addressing. Letters or forms produced on your lasers will use window envelopes. Try to get a Tabber that can affix a Post-it note – the Postal Service calls them repositionable notes. 6.000 an hour – and capable of printing good readable postnet barcodes. A machine inserter can have 4. There are various makes and models and the very old machines still get the job done fairly well. the USPS will introduce “intelligent mail” which will require a different barcode – be ready for it.

A postal meter is also a “must”. The control and scheduling requires at least a manual listing of all open jobs.mail. The jacket or ticket will move from front to computer to back room.com. Normally a sequential number is assigned as soon as the job is opened. the schedule by machine by job may be several weeks in advance.shop. This could also work as a spreadsheet report with constant updating. For the busier shops. No matter how simple or sophisticated job control is . one fairly sophisticated one is www. The scheduling should indicate what machine(s) will be used so you should have at least a couple of days in advance to schedule machine utilization by job.  Job Control and Scheduling There are numerous jobs in process at any time and it is necessary to have a control system to assure jobs are completed in a timely manner and not lost.a job for everyone. cutter and one or more scales. most often a Pitney Bowes or a Hasler.stamper to also work with your inserter. 67 . There are some specialized software packages for job supervision and control. There should be folder.

$250. For mailers who are also printers. For this reason. Here are some ranges of pricing for particular activities. Certain data processing activity that is a normal part of a job is often not expressed separately but is included as part of addressing. it should be profitable both for the shop and the customer. Minimum price is most often between $150 . inserting etc. but at times it is quoted separately. Pricing of Mailing Services Competitive market forces determine range of prices in any one area. Computer Services if quoted separately might be: 68 . Outside purchases for lists and for mailers who purchase printing is from 15 – 30% markup over cost. there is normally a minimum charge relating to jobs where billing based solely on quantity is too little a price. There is some constant labor burden for each job for job control and administrative expense.

Custom Programming such as reformating a non standard file such as a county tax file or selecting based upon variable parameters such s a voter file. An hourly rate should be $50 - $200 an hour. NCOA file processing is done by a USPS licensee who will charge you a price per thousand subject to a minimum fee. The charge to a customer would be $2.00 - $6.00 per m and a minimum of $75 - $175. CASS/ Address Standardization – is sometime included in a job as is file presort. When priced separately, it should be $5 - $10m each. Ink-Jet addressing is a high speed process which produces many pieces per man hour of labor and has fine profit potential. Price has significant range and is based greatly on market forces. Range is $10 - $50 per m. The most frequent prices are in the middle of the range.


Laser printing price is related to market,, size of piece and total size run. Billing is per sheet.

IX. Postal Issues
 Postage Payment Method You will see the types of postal discounts and actual rates for all classes of business mail. The method of postage payment does not change the amount of money for postage, it is the same. Business Mail may be: Metered – You or your mail service will have a license and a meter that is rented through an accepted meter provider. The money is put into the meter through phone and in-line with the meter and the providers, e.g., Pitney Bowes or Hasler. Your postage statement produced by your software, indicates the total cost of postage which combines the amount imprinted by meter and the additional payment for “upgrade”. A volume mailing will have several rates for the one job, you meter only the lowest amount per piece and


your software computes the additional money due for which you bring a check with your mail. Permit Imprint You – or your mailer – need a permit, this requires an application Form 3615 and pay a fee of $175. Take a look at the form and if you wish, print one out. Find forms 3602 (postal statement) and other such as 3615 at the site for all forms in numeric order at http://www.usps.com/forms/all forms.htm. Money is deposited into this account. You normally bring a check with your mailing to assure your account has at least enough for that mailing. The permit imprint is printed on the mail piece indicating that postage has been paid. The indicia uses the appropriate wording for first class, presort standard or non profit along with the permit number or a company permit. The “company permit” does not require that you show the permit number or postal location but it does require you to have the address of the mailer on the piece.


EXAMPLES Standard PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PAID MANASOTA FL Permit No. 72 . 9 Company Permit PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PAID PAGE MARKETING PRSRT STD represents presort standard mail. A stamp is affixed to each piece. there are stampers or tabbers that will machine affix stamps. Machine stamping can be done as an on-line byproduct of ink jet addressing or machine inserting. Precancelled Stamp Precancelled stamps are available for discount First Class or Standard or Non Profit mail.

You pay the discounted stamp price when you get them from the Post Office in rolls. Similar to the meter “upgrade” there is often additional payment required when you bring the mail.

Which One Do You Use? You can use any method of payment on any piece. However, the printed indicia is absolutely right for a selfmailer card but not an envelope. An envelope mailing should present the appearance of personal communication even if it is volume business mail. Use the indicia on the card but not the envelope. The envelope can be metered or stamped. Business to business is more appropriate for a meter. Consumer mail looks more personal when postage is paid by a stamp.


 Postal Discounts and Automation The magnitude of the process of delivering mail in the United States is mammoth. In 2007, USPS delivered 266 billion documents to 156 million addresses. Those people at the delivery points are a moving target. Each year 14.2% of all Americans and 19.5% of businesses move. There are 2.2 million new addresses added each year. WOW! Let’s follow the mail: it begins with the pick up of mail which is then directed first to the initial consolidation point – the SCF or Sectional Center Facility that services an area of the first 3 digits of zip code. As an example – Sarasota and Manatee Counties in Florida comprise SCF 342. Here mail is consolidated to move to cities or states or a BMC – the Bulk Mail Center. The Jacksonville, FL BMC serves all of Florida and parts of GA. Local mail – within the SCF – are turned back to the delivery units.


After consolidation and transportation, the process is reversed to fine sort to SCF, delivery unit, carrier and finally walk sequence. Mailers and service companies can help reduce this enormous labor and transportation cost by processing and delivering mail to the USPS in a manner that reduces their cost.

Postage discounts are earned and given for this cost saving contribution. There are three categories of discount, any one or all three can be earned on the same mailing. They are: (1) Presorting (2) Automation (3) Destination Presorting A basic cost savings to the USPS is through the presentation of mail in a sequence that reduces the labor expense of sorting mail to a destination. This once simple zip sort was the only requirement for “bulk” mail. The term is no longer used by the USPS rather it is “business Mail” which

This is the assigned route of a carrier. By the 1980’s. now presort standard mail. Example: Bronx 54. The + 2 is the delivery point. there are Carrier Routes. The base sort of the 5 digit zip code has been a requirement to qualify for any postage discounts since the mid 1960’s. The list can be a saturation of a route in which case it must be in walk sequence – the line of travel of the carrier – to obtain the very best presort discount. the zip had a plus 4 addition which refined the geography much finer than the zip or even CAR RT. as a street or office building. The ZIP was an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan which replaces the “zone” form of addressing which combined the “zone”. usually the last 2 digits of street number. The postnet barcode is a graphic representation of the zip plus 4 + 2 or 11 76 . Within the zip. New York became 10454. The zip plus 4 had an extension of zip + 4 + 2 which in many cases took it down to the building or at least the walk sequence. Lists can be obtained and/or processed down to the carrier route – CAR RT.can be either first class – expedited mail – or third class. This section of a zip can be a batch for distribution directly to the carrier. city and state and into a single 5 digits that lent itself to a manual or computer sort.

You do not see (or need to see) the delivery point of the plus 2. The barcode is a graphic representation of the zip + 4 and the 2 digit delivery point. The machine readable barcode is central to “automation”. The postal software finds the plus four for the address and includes the delivery point bars at printing. Automation The USPS has automated much of the sorting and handling labor to direct a piece of mail to its destination. The process starts with addressing mail with zip +4 addresses and the postnet barcode for that address.digits. 77 . You obtain significant discounts by preparing and delivering mail to the business mail entry unit in a way that conforms to their automated equipment requirements.

not too slim.It is critical that the barcode and the zip plus four are correct for the address. It is recommended that you not mail the non auto. Some but not all will be delivered. The shape relates to the relationship to height and length not too square. letters and flats are included in this manual. There is an aspect ratio of the 78 . Since the address could not be found in the database. The system and statement that must accompany your mail is called the CASS for Certified Accurate System Software. the deliverability of these pieces is less than certain in addition to the payment of the higher rate. In addition to the CASS certified address and barcode. plus 4. Each mailer can choose on any job to mail or not mail the “non auto”. Size and shape must be suitable for machine processing. If the system cannot find a given address it becomes a section of the file that is “non auto”. It is assigned by your USPS approved software which determines the correct zip and plus four and provides a statement of accuracy. The correct sizes for cards. For those pieces without a certified zip plus four you can mail them but at the higher postage rate for “non auto”. Your certified software contains a table of all valid addresses in the US and each has an assigned zip. there are other requirements to qualify for automation rates.

79 . Thickness must be less than ¼” and no inserts that are not flat such as keys or tokens. It must be at least 1.3 but no more than 2.5.height and length. These would be non machineable and non auto.

Automation Page 2 of 2 80 .

5 digit auto 5 digit machineable non auto .375 Savings .Automation rate vs non automation Presume both are first class in which case there is no destination discount.335 $8. We can mail 25.414 $10.350 $1.000 first class.975 81 . one ounce letters auto or the same pieces to the same places non auto.

a facility known as the DDU or Destination Delivery Unit. then it is shipped to the local SCF for Bronx or Newark or Westchester County. N.Destination Those not familiar with direct mail are surprised when told that postage price varies by where you bring your mail. The SCF’s send to the 82 . The SCF consolidates mail and ships to the city of destination or the Bulk Mail Center in Jacksonville.The Sectional Center Facility. The same labor sharing discounts for sorting and automation apply also to transportation. NY moves first to the SCF for the Sarasota/Manatee County area. It is SCF 342 called Manasota. You and carriers bring mail to a local post office. The mail we drop off here or through boxes is trucked to the nearest SCF . the BMC for all of Florida and parts of Georgia. This is the first and final stop for transportation. This is where the carrier gets the mail for his route.J. My correspondence from a Post Office in Sarasota to Scarsdale. They again consolidate and ship – the mail for New Jersey and Metropolitan New York City goes to a BMC in Jersey City.

There is a destination discount for the mailer or agent who brings mail to the destination SCF.3 cents per piece to take Fort Lauderdale mail to Jacksonville or 4. The mail shop in Sarasota has a job with 25. you save 3. Fort Lauderdale – SCF 333. There is a discount (the SCF discount) for the mailer or his agent to bring it to Fort Myers directly. 83 . The Westchester SCF sends to the local DDU in Scarsdale and the carrier brings it to the home or business.2 cents to bring to the Fort Lauderdale 333 SCF. Trucking is a factor of weight and distance.000 pieces going to various places in Florida. There is computation involved in determining the benefit for any individual job. There are trucking firms that specialize in Postal Trucking. The BMC then breaks it down to the SCF of Miami. the trucker can take all of it to Jacksonville and earn the BMC discount.DDU.000 pieces going to the Fort Myers area. the mail shop will probably go to Fort Myers in their own truck. In our Sarasota – Fort Myers example. postal discount is per piece not per pound. At current postal rates. They will truck it anywhere. You save the USPS transportation cost by bringing Florida mail to the BMC – Jacksonville in the case of Florida. Almost all mailers will be willing to pay for shipping as long as the trucking cost is less than postage saving. If there are 300.

84 . You save $3.200 to take it to Fort Lauderdale.Compute the savings if there are 100.000 copies.000 small cards (light weight. One mailer has the computation that it is worth doing the drop shipment to any BMC that has over 20.300 bringing it to Jacksonville or $4. one destination) going to Fort Lauderdale SCF.

It is important to know that the maximum size of cards and letters but too often the maximum size of a flat (or non-letter) is overlooked. “The Big Card”. The really Big Card is the same postage as a 6 ½ x 9 envelope or a standard 9 x 12 but receives great attention because it is not often seen. A laser printer using standard size sheets can run the material as 4 up. Size. A sample mailer shown in your kit. So now we have cards that have a minimum of 3 ½” x 5” and a maximum of 4 ¼” x 6” maximum. This was still a little short of the maximum but it sheeted out better on a small 11” x 17” press. The very favorable first class rate for cards is the same at any size in that range. The maximum for a FLAT is12 x 15. is a Page Marketing card that was 11” x 15”. For printing purposes a very cost effective size is 4 ¼” x 5 ½” in that an 8 ½” x 11” sheet yields 4 cards of that size. Shape and Weight Enclosed in the kit is a very helpful template in that it is sized as the maximum letter– 6 1/8 x 11 ½. 85 .

Take care that your letter is an acceptable shape (aspect ratio) and is no more than 6 1/8” x 11 ½”. The sizes for cards and the aspect ratio lead to a small variation that is an exception to the general rule. unless it is so much larger that it becomes a FLAT. #9.3 = 5. The most common size mail piece is the letter or LTR. Not too square and not too long or as the postal equipment might say “Just Right”.5.3 to no more than 2. If the size is greater than either dimension of a card it is a letter. the aspect ratio which is the formula to define an acceptable rectangular shape for a mail piece. What are often called “cards” that are 5 x 7 or 6 x 9 or similar are “letters” not cards for the USPS. The height to length must be at least 1. The size is so close and so useful. the USPS has made a specific exception for a card that is exactly 4 ¼ x 5 ½”. The 6” x 11” size 86 .525 not 5. even more so since the 2007 rate change which resulted in a greater emphasis on shape even more than weight compared to previous rates. The very efficient 4 ¼” x 5 ½” size is a minute variation in that 4 ¼ x 1. Envelopes such as #10. Remember. A7.5. A-10 are LTR’s for postal rates.The shape is critically important in postal rates.

But. That self mailer card can be 7 point on the smaller postcard but should be 10 point for the larger sized pieces. so much so that it now costs less to mail letters over 1 ounce now than before the rate change. The size minimums and maximums are the same whether the piece is a card stock self mailer or an envelope. the difference between the letter vs non letter size is now greater. For First Class mail the base rate is for up to one ounce weight. A small reduction for a greeting card over one ounce but a significant increase for a larger size card. This has not changed for decades. after that it converts to a per piece plus per pound rate. It is now LESS of an increase for each additional ounce. Envelope kits can still qualify for the lower volume business mail rates up to 1/4” thickness which is almost always enough thickness. For presort standard (formerly known as bulk mail) the base rate is for pieces up to 3.3 ounces. The same restriction on 87 .is popular and for good reason – the postage cost is the same as the much smaller 5” x 7” as are the list and mail processing cost. the greater emphases is size for machine processing. What has changed is the cost per additional ounce after the first ounce.

The UAA mail is the result of both inaccuracy or validity of the address itself and whether the person addressed is still there.size for letter or flat and thickness still apply. The aspect ratio to be “rectangular” still applies. The mailer has wasted not just the postage but also the print and production costs. return and discard is expensive.  Address Quality and Updating The Undeliverable As Addressed (UAA) mail is a great burden to the Postal Service and the mailer. just the additional cost to review. While presort standard is not forwarded or returned without a special endorsement. There are steps to improve address quality and currency and these steps are now required to get the presorted automated discounts for first class that will soon also apply to presort standard. Address validity is tested by CASS processing which encodes the plus 4 for addresses found in the database of 156 88 . The USPS pays a price far greater than the actual postage price per piece to forward or return a piece of first class mail that is UAA.

This USPS file is made available to certain software producers and is central to the postal presort process. The deficiencies in the address elements such as street name can often be corrected by the AEC service which is provided to customers by the USPS at a cost of $15 per thousand. The corrective action can be either AEC – address element correction or NCOA – the National Change of Address to update name files. If the move has occurred in the last 18 months. NCOA Service vendors who are often time software businesses. is relatively fast and not very expensive. This is a file that is continually updated. Your corrected file is usually done within 1 or 2 days at a cost 89 . The CASS certified zip plus 4 and the DPV extension will identify potential undeliverable addresses.million records. When the resident moves there is a change of address. It is often said that a list starts to become obsolete by the time it is created. we should find it and fix it. NCOA processing will take the address that is no longer current for the piece we plan to mail and replace it with his new current address. Our marketing is aimed at a moving target. The source of the data in both cases is the postal service. Newer software also tests the DPV – the delivery point validation that is appended to the zip + four.

The reason for the uncertainty is that almost every job consists of a mix of rates. it is approximately $5 per thousand. Normally. it is impossible to give an exact postage cost for a job until after the computer gives the official postage. Here is where you can find all rates for all classes of mail retail and presort: pe. Let’s look at the columns and words to understand their meaning: 90 .  Postal Rates In the current Postal environment.gov/text/dmm300/ratesandfees.htm.usps. For both the name and address we can find the problem and fix it.that varies greatly based on the size of the list being corrected. Very experienced people can give reasonably close estimates but always with a disclaimer that it is only an estimate. Some pieces qualify for the very best rate and others at a less refined sort carry a higher rate. Saves everyone a lot of money to find and fix.

the rates will be for those pieces. 91 . On standard mail regular that qualifies for the automation discount. DBMC – Destination Bulk Mail Center. If there are enough pieces within a 5 digit zip area.042 or 4.2 cents discount on every piece.Entry Discount relates to where you bring mail. e. The spread between NONE and DSCF is .. None .g. local mail. The letters are not for this SCF but are within the BMC area.176 This demonstrates the financial benefit related to bringing mail to the best mail entry unit.218 DBMC .185 DSCF . None .No Destination Discount. The mail you are bringing to the business mail entry unit is for DDU – The Destination Delivery Unit – local postoffice. DSCF – The mail pieces will go to the Destination Section (342) Center Facility (SCF) where you bring them.

For automated mail this includes barcode evaluation. The determination of readability is through a system and known as MERLIN which is a acronym for Mail Evaluation 92 . When you have obtained the postal permit you begin to bring mail to the BMEU with a completed postage statement – form 3602. The “postal run” is somewhat physical since it involves bringing thousands or tens of thousands of pieces of mail from your dock to their dock. They “verify” that your mail is correctly prepared. Alas. They are not quite the same as “Mail Requirements” department but normally have all the details of postal rates and regulations. The Business Mail Entry Unit Discount mail must be brought to a Business Mail Entry Unit which those of us with a positive attitude call an Acceptance Unit. not every mailing is accepted as is. The postal employees and supervisors at the BMEU are trained to assist and help mailers particularly new mailers.

The mailer may have the option of redoing the mail – usually not a realistic alternative – or paying the higher rate for non automation. if 10 consecutive jobs passed need not check the next 10. Different barcodes with far more capability for both sorting and tracking will give instant status of pieces in the mail stream. 93 . In 2009 a new system of “Intelligent Mail” will be introduced. e. Details will not be known until 2009 and will be included with our 2009 Direct Mail Manual. PBV would test less often those mailers whose jobs pass most often. Since automation performance levels vary by mail service provider there is a test program underway for Performance Based Verification. The system will pass or fail a mailing based upon barcode readability. It’s estimated that almost 10% of all jobs tested will fail.Readability Lookup Instrument. This can be very costly for the mail shop. This is a test and the rules are not final but will probably (not certainly) be implemented in late 2008.g. Shops with the best people and equipment have fewer turn downs but it happens.

email and physical address. fax. The analyst will give you great help such as designing reply envelopes that conform to all regulations. courtesy reply. This tool allows you to enter your 3 digit zip code and find the Design Analyst nearest you with name. The site pe. No running. Mail Piece Design will take you to all the rules and formats for business reply mail. phone. no dodging.gov/ contains a treasure of information including the main manuals and guides . 94 . then click on Mail Piece Design Analyst which will bring you to Lookup Tool.The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) and Quick Service Guide.usps. The DAZzle Designer artwork is at no charge. All of the basic rules and some special cases such as non profit eligibility. Postal Explorer – Navigating the USPS Website The USPS claims their PE is not as rigorous as were old high school classes. just an easy – to-use information tool.

Did they vote in the last general election. only a majority of those who actually show up and vote. the template is completely fixed. Good information. the one before that – how about the primary? Get your message out to only the most likely to vote and vote for you. Political In our American democracy it is not necessary to have the support of a majority of the people to get elected. Voter Lists direct you to registered voters who are most likely to vote based upon their registration and voting history. Links to my most used postal websites are attached. This same principle holds true with referendums and issues decided by ballot. Business Reply Cards (BRC) or Business Reply Envelopes (BRE) are of major importance in getting the most response to your advertising mail. 95 . X Political and Non Profit Mail .Courtesy Reply and Business reply mail requires very exact look and position.

Elections are clearly time sensitive usually a one day event – urgent! Postal regulations require that political mail be expedited so that volume mail processed at the lower cost..such as husband and wife -----have the computer merge the records so you mail only to one.You can choose the likely voters in just a portion of a district if there is an issue of very local significance such as zoning for a given street or boulevard. You can select only one name such as the wife or eliminate first name and address – To (last name) Family or Voters at…. The other features of first class mail such as returns or forwarding are not needed. If there are more than one voter ---. presort standard rate delivers as fast as first class. The mailing agent sorts the pieces into trays that are identified as political by affixing a red tag. Self mailer cards will often be appropriate but consider envelopes when you want the voter to send something back 96 . Select just that one precinct and tell the story that will help get them to the polls. Household Merge. It is a better use of money to send only one piece to any household.

In the same election. A state party can pay for mailing by congressional candidates. no one knows why. Walter Weintz used the survey technique for both fundraising and research using rented lists rather than voter registration. some don’t. For purposes such as fundraising. BUT. Some do. in Florida we have seen the congressional candidate 97 . it just is. Richard Viguerie had similar success with mail for conservative issues or candidates using very creative list selection. Before we talk about non-profits generally let’s discuss the issue of political mail being non-profit.to you such as a request for absentee ballot or a donation by check. The selective use of voter registration files is quite standard. This new thinking is actually quite old. state political parties are non-profit. Use donor files and cause or issue lists at times. certain response type lists can be more effective. His candidates included Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan – and he rallied the believers to the challenge. Most candidates and local committees pay standard rate postage. One of the great political contributions of all time was when Dewitt Wallace of Readers Digest donated his direct mail master to the Eisenhower Campaign in 1952. Voter registration lists are the most frequently used but there is some history of good results at fundraising by using response type lists.

C.. It is the people that make up the ongoing party organization at the county and state levels that should help them. it is paid for by taxpayers. 98 . Pd pol adv by Jones for Congress Committee. The name goes back to Benjamin Franklin. the Member of Congress – one of the benefits of being an incumbent. It is not intended as campaign mail but educating a constituent can be a lot like campaigning for an incumbent. the first Postmaster General. Actually. “Franking privilege” differs from non-profit in that it is mail at no charge. The postage indicia is the name of or initial of the M.of one party pay non-profit and the opponent paid a higher rate. Politicians spend a lot of money on mail but do not always spend it well. Share some of your knowledge with any party organization you support. Candidates don’t take it seriously enough since it is something they do only every couple of years. Members of Congress can communicate and educate constituents postage-free.

Political mail with red tag receives first class expedited service when mailed at presort standard rates. First Class Presort “Red Tag” 33.5 For 50. Mail 50.000 19.0 99 .000 voters – 1 ounce first class letters vs same piece presort standard. both are “auto”.

250 The difference will be FAR greater if over one ounce. As well it should. There is no Non-Profit 100 . Non Profits A major part of non profit fundraising is done by mail.500 $7.750 Savings on “Red Tag Special”: $9. . A DMA study concluded that every dollar spent by a non-profit for mail yielded a return of $14. Recognized non-profits enjoy a greatly reduced postage rate than presort standard for profits. There should be some distinction between the acquisition of new donors and solicitation of existing donors.47.$16. It is OK for new donor cost to almost equal the first contribution since there will normally be many more contributions.

The donor form and letter are often produced as a 101 . A non-profit permit can be at any postal facility and another form (no charge) can allow the same permit to be used at additional points of entry. Sometimes it is well meaning such as a non-profit hospital executing a mailing promoting some of the medical practices that use the hospital. Most often the package has an outer envelope and a reply envelope. letter and donor form are all personalized with the prospect’s name and address. There are forms and procedures for acceptance as a USPS recognized non-profit. letter. To use non-profit rates to promote for profit business or activities is strictly forbidden and such mailings are turned down for the reduced postage rate. donor form and reply envelope. In fact when you do use a BRE include an arrow to the postage paid box that says “your stamp here is an additional contribution”. the two are contradictory in that a mailing must be either non profit or first class. Well meaning but NO. It is best to look personal and simple _ an envelope.First Class. To include a premium gift in the original solicitation often proves profitable but beware – you don’t want to look so rich you don’t need any money. A “courtesy” reply can work as well as a BRE (business reply envelope) since the donor should not want his worthy cause to pay for incoming postage. Try to produce it so the outside envelope.

Profit vs. Presort Standard Non-profit 102 . The non-profit receives the same service as presort standard but at a better rate: at Thanksgiving time the Food Bank mails 100.single laser document. Even better if the mailing agent can separate and nest the donor form as part of a fold and slit machine process. Most envelope packages look better and more personal when postage payment is by non-profit stamp.000 pieces throughout the county. The personal look is enhanced when the outer envelope is addressed rather than using a window. They can remain attached but separated by a perforation. Non-profit Mailers who are approved for non-profit status enjoy a HUGE saving on all mailing that have approved non-profit content – not promoting some profit making entity or program.

300 Non-profit saving 8.19. graphics. digital processes are all part of the communication of business.0 cents $19. Now you should have a fuller picture and can speak to and 103 . art. computer. printing. marketing.9 cents $8.100 Epilogue It is almost time to get on your dancing shoes and strut your stuff. Mail. This manual has brought the disciplines that bear on direct mail.900 $10.

00 for the new updated manual.net with data that may help me. marketing. Since this is the first issue. I wish you great success. – One printer sells mail. The next manual will contain an additional chapter – Environmentalism: A Guide to Greener Direct Mail. it is very critical that I learn what information or topics should get more or less information and please inform me of any errors or topics that need fixing. Please send your comments and suggestions to Dickpage@comcast. Some mailers get more from suppliers. Your fellow mailer. 104 . At some past seminars – which I still give from time to time – attendees have gained the benefits of this greater understanding.net if you would be willing to pay $5. Let me know by email Dickpage@comcast. printing and postal requirements. a marketing executive gained the insight to interview successfully for a higher level position at another firm. Dick PS.understand the specialists in lists. With your help the next manual will be better and more valuable.

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