Direct mail is already one of the best ways to reach a target audience. There’s more you can do, however, to maximize your ROI by refining your USPS postage procedures, including using smart sorting techniques.
Some USPS discounts are based on having reached the minimum number of pieces to build more finely-sorted mail trays, like for walk-sequence carrier-route discounts, such as High Density and High Density Plus. For example, the minimum number of pieces needed per-carrier route to qualify for High Density is 125. A mailer may have to expand the pool a little bit to add a few names to reach this threshold, with the idea the postage savings from the entire tray will compensate for a few more names.
A bad address is costly in a lot of ways, including lost postage. Keep your list up-to-date with a CASS-certified vendor to make the most of presort and automation discounts.
Intelligent Mail Barcode describes the mail piece by weight and dimension, and identifies the sender, the recipient, the ZIP code and its four-digit extension and the serial number of each piece, which must stay unique for 45 days after the mail piece is sent. This allows the mail piece to be trackable online, and the USPS is encouraging Intelligent Mail Barcode usage by offering additional discounts.
The minimum number required for first-class bulk mail is 150 pieces, while standard mail requires a minimum of 200 pieces. There are software tools that will presort zip codes, based on the first three numerals of zip code, which can keep these pieces together in the mailstream. This way, even if these don’t qualify for full-service Intelligent Mail, they may still get some discount by by-passing sorting centers and making the work more efficient for the USPS. Any time you can reduce the sorting burden for the post office, you may get discounts.
Commingling uses automated mail sorting to merge multiple smaller mail streams - like mailings from multiple smaller mailers — into common mail trays, creating greater geographic density and taking advantage of deeper presort discounts. Both for-profit and non-profit mailings can be commingled; Letters, postcards, and self-mailers can be also commingled, as long as they are machinable. By Mark Pageau, vice president, sales and marketing email: email@example.com Twitter: mpageau