Mailing a birthday card won’t cause anyone to feel the pinch of rising postage stamp prices, noted Stephanie Hendricks, director of public affairs, Direct Marketing Association (DMA), New York. “But ... those extra pennies can add up to thousands—even millions—of extra dollars for business and nonprofit mailers,” she said. To avoid the squeeze of postage increases, Hendricks provided these tips for reducing cost without cutting into mail volume:
• Clean up mailing lists. Having up-to-date, “clean” mailing lists is one of the most effective ways to reduce waste and keep mailing costs under control. Make sure lists are checked for duplicates and returned mail. Lists should also be regularly “scrubbed” against the National Change of Address list and any in-house, opt-out lists. Prospecting lists should also be compared to the DMA’s Mail Preference Service (whether or not you are a DMA member).
• Revise the shape and weight of pieces. The shape of a mailing piece, not just its weight, has become an important factor in determining postage rates. In general, pieces that are large, oddly sized or bulky move less efficiently through the Postal Service’s automated systems, and the new postage rates are higher for them.
• Change the timing of mailings. Frequent mailers may want to adjust their mailing calendars to make more efficient use of postage costs. Picking the most opportune time to reach customers with appropriate mailings can also reduce waste and control costs.
• Mix it up. Don’t rely on one type of mailing for all audiences. More elaborate mailings with higher postage costs can be used to reach key customers and strong leads, and more cost-efficient pieces can be sent to prospects. An organization can also do just the opposite, depending on its business goals.
• Test how pieces work. No matter what a mail piece looks like, the key is whether or not it elicits responses. A company can change the look of its mail pieces, but the savings are wasted if the response rate falls.