The United States Postal Service has your back. They’ve expanded their offerings to include more than sending and receiving mail and giving you that occasional discount on postage. From saving on your direct mail campaigns to free tracking, marketing boosts, and tools for small businesses, USPS offers a lot you might not know about. So before you shop around (or pay too much to send your next mailer), check out these 5 USPS secrets our good old post office offers that might just make your life a little easier.
1) They are the postage savings masters.
If you’re in charge of your organization’s direct mail campaigns, you’re always looking for ways to save a little here and a little there. If anyone knows about USPS savings secrets, it’s the postage experts themselves.
They also want you to get your mail out on time and not cause any delays or be hit with unexpected “postage due” charges by underpaying up front.
Here are some of the tips they want you to know for getting the right postage on your mail:
Round it up. When calculating weight, round up to the next pound or the next ounce, even if the decimal is under .5. For example, if a fundraising letter is 6.2 oz, round up to 7 when calculating postage, whether domestic or international. Rounding up is what USPS does!
Be classy. Do you have the right mail class? Be sure you’re sending in the right class for your type of mail. If you need to make certain which you are, call your local post office branch. It can be worth it. Certain volumes of First Class mail, marketing mail, and presorted mail—not to mention mail coming from non-profit organizations—might be eligible for special rates.
Get in the zone. If you use PC Postage software for your campaigns, make sure your origin address is current and correct. And keep in mind that when printing labels with the software, USPS charges according to zone, not zip code.
(If you need more on postage savings, we’ve got a great blog on this topic, too.)
2) They offer cool free services.
It might be helpful to get an extra hand with prepping your campaigns and making sure they get where they need to go. Could you use any of these free services?
Tracking. If you’re sending out something small batch and super important, you might want to ensure it gets to its destination. Certain kinds of mailings are eligible for free tracking. Call your post office for more.
Shipping supplies delivered to you. What!? Yes. The post office is amazing. If you’ve got a big project going out Priority, see whether this could help you out.
Saturday delivery. If it’s not a holiday, it might be possible to make sure your mailing ships, even on a Saturday. Ask about it.
We’re all about envelopes and what they contain, but when and if you need to send packages, it’s also a good idea to give USPS a call and see whether other services like free pick up could apply.
3) They can help you target.
In marketing, targeting is the real issue. You definitely need to know who your direct campaigns are going to, and who you’re trying to reach. But if you’re going for a bigger sweep, or trying to figure out where your target audiences live, USPS can help you. They can target by region, age, income, and household size with a tool called Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM). EDDM can’t read your mind (or your audience’s), but it might be a good option if you’re looking for an affordable way to figure out where some of your key folks are living. And it’s not a bad price. If you can afford to add about 16 to 18 cents per piece, check it out.
4) They like to help small businesses.
You’ve probably figured that EDDM can be leveraged to help small businesses. USPS also offers another tool specifically designed for small businesses and organizations with smaller campaigns, called Intelligent Mail for Small Businesses (IMsb). This is really good news for organizations prepping their own campaigns. If your campaigns come out at less than 10,000 pieces per campaign, and less than 250,000 pieces per year, the online IMsb tool gives you access to automation benefits, including Intelligent Mail barcodes, electronic postage statements, delivery point validations, and online management of your mailings around the clock. Inquire at your post office to find out more.
5) They do some free consulting on the side.
Should you need an extra eye before you send out that special campaign, the postal service doesn’t mind giving you a helpful opinion, free of charge. Postal employees known as Mailing Design Analysts can consult on design to help you figure out your best bet for sending an eye-catching campaign frugally. They won’t help you with graphics or “whether it looks right” (not to say they don’t have good taste!), but they will advise you on the best kinds and sizes of envelopes, folds, and closures to match your marketing needs with your best sending options. They can even test actual ready-made samples for suitability: for example, to figure out what class your mail falls under, or to analyze optical character reader (OCR) readability.
Basically, with all its cool secret tips, tricks, and discounts, USPS really doesn’t want to keep any secrets from you. They know mail better than anyone. Let them help you!
To match that best mailing option to the best envelope, give us a shout at Letter Jacket. We can keep your daily inventory full of beautiful, high-quality stock as well as customize envelopes with just the right touch for that special campaign.