The price of everything is going up, and this summer, that includes postage. In early April, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) shared its plan to increase rates, effective July 10. While postal rate increases are an expected and necessary part of the publishing business, a 6.5% increase coming right on the heels of paper and labor shortages — and, of course, a pandemic — is less than ideal. What can publishers do to mitigate the increasing cost of postage?
Review your mailing lists
Start with your mailing lists, and cut down on duplicates and returns. Duplicate names on a mailing list will cost you money. Make sure before submitting your list to the post office or mail house that you have already de-duped, purged, merged, and generally cleaned the list. The list should be ready for importing into mailing software.
Keep in mind that many mailing files contain much more information than necessary for the address labels. Be sure to clearly identify each field on the label layouts via column headings. Each line on the label should allow up to 30 characters, so set your field length there to avoid cutting off critical information. Labels also can include up to six lines of copy. You can make use of that space by including a special message along with the address. The mailing program will generate the USPS bar code, so you won’t need to include special messages in your files.
Target upsell mailings to a select list
Take the time to improve your direct mail response rates. You’ll get a higher return on your investment (ROI) on an upsell mailer if you are more selective about the lists you use.
Start by segmenting your audiences to those most likely to buy. Make sure your list is of the highest quality, targeting only the demographics, geographies, and the audiences with the right profiles that will yield a better ROI.
Categorize your list by primary and secondary audiences, and consider mixing and matching to build out deeply segmented lists that match your ideal prospect profiles. Consider removing unresponsive recipients from your list to offset higher mailing — and likely paper and printing — costs. Don’t assume that younger generations won’t respond to an old-fashioned mailer, either. Instead, add a scannable URL or QR code to instantly turn your mailer into a cellphone-friendly list.
Evaluate mailer size
Evaluate every mail piece for size, design, weight, and paper type. Paper availability remains an issue, so you may have to compromise with a paper choice that you may not normally consider. Make sure you’re keeping within the regulations to maximize the impact on your target audience.
New mailing rates kicking in this summer require most of us to rethink the design and approach for our mailers to increase ROI and keep costs low. Contact your Sheridan representative or visit our contact page to ask how we can help you streamline your publishing processes, reduce costs, and keep up with changes in print and publishing strategies.