Postage can seem extremely complicated at times, but you have more control than you think. There are many factors that come into play when it comes to postage and where your mailpiece falls. There are a few easy things to keep in mind that will help you to better understand and control your postage.
Choose the Right Mail Service Provider (MSP)
There are a lot of misconceptions about what your mail service provider should be doing for you. Many people face unclear fees, complicated contracts, and shifting priorities with their mail service provider. Your MSP should always be upfront with any fees your mailings may incur and work with you to resolve problems with your mail that may be costing you extra money, rather than letting you discover it on the invoice. Additionally, if your MSP is potentially hiding fees in a lengthy, confusing contract, it may be time to switch. Your MSP should also have a dedicated representative working with you to resolve any questions or concerns. You should never be left to deal with those alone, or get stuck with an automated message. Find a MSP, like Midwest Direct, that prioritizes you and your mailings and works diligently to find ways to save you time and money.
Commingle Your Mail
Commingling is a process by which mailings from more than one company are combined to meet USPS discount minimums for quantity for mailings to targeted neighborhoods. When your mail is mixed with mail with other organizations (commingled before mailing), you achieve greater USPS discounts. At Midwest Direct, we take diverse client mailings, postage payment types, rates, and mailpiece weights, then strategically commingle them before depositing at the USPS for distribution. Your commingled mail qualifies for postage discounts because it’s sorted to final levels and discounts may be achieved because your mail will be delivered closer to its final destination.
Pay Attention to Data Hygiene
The USPS estimates that at least 8% of Marketing Mail is undeliverable thanks to an incorrect address - we're talking about either missing address data or recipients who moved. Data hygiene is a fancy term for ensuring clean, accurate data. Clean data is almost error-free; but dirty data contains duplicate records, outdated or incomplete records, and records that didn’t mesh well when imported together from different systems. One way to ensure proper data hygiene is through the NCOA (National Change of Address) which is a nationwide system that allows mailers access to updated addresses that are filed with the USPS. This gives you real-time address updates, reduction in undeliverable or delayed mail, and huge savings on postage! Additionally, it is essential to make sure that you find a data specialist, like CTRAC Direct, the data division of Midwest Direct, so that you know your data is in capable hands and can take care of customer reporting, deduplication, mail list cleaning, and processing, database integrity, and more.
Pay Attention To The Minimum Mailing Dimensions
This might be the most obvious factor affecting postage fees. Although the visual design of a mailpiece is important, the most fundamental part of any mailing is the technical design of the mailpiece itself. Properly designed mailpieces make it through machinery, qualify for discounts, actually get delivered, and please the Post Office. Here are some guidelines to follow:
All letter-size mailpieces must be:
- Rectangular in shape.
- Length must be at least 3 ½ inches.
- Width must be at least 5 inches.
- At least .007 inch thick.
However, It’s our experience that .007 is too thin to make it through a mail sorter properly – .009 is a more realistic number.
All flat-size mailpieces must be:
- More than 11 ½ inches in width, more than 6 ⅛ inches in length, or more than ¼ inch thick. For general retail mailability, all pieces 1/4 inch thick or less must be a minimum of 5 inches in width and 3 ½ inches in length and 0.007 inches thick.
- Not more than 15 inches in width, more than 12 inches in length, or more than ¾ inch thick.
- Flexible, uniformly thick, and rectangular with four square corners or finished corners that do not exceed a radius of ⅛ inch.
- Unwrapped, sleeved, wrapped, or enveloped.
To get more a more in-depth guide on mailing dimensions, check out this blog on technical mailpiece design.
Postage can be stressful and expensive but you have more control of it than you think. With the right team behind you, you can navigate through options to reduce postage costs and get the best ROI on your mailing. At Midwest Direct, we have specialists that can help you with commingling, data hygiene, mailpiece design, and mailing regulations, and save you vast amounts of time and money.
Mail can be hard, but we are really good at it! Give us a call to consult one of our own mail pros.