7 Mailpiece Design Tips To Maximize
Your Marketing Dollar

by: Kyle Bartley
updated 06-16-2014
click here to download PDF version


#1 – Preprint the Postage Permit

If you know which postal account you’re going to use for your mailings, you can preprint the postal permit on your mailpiece.   The postal permit (also called indicia) is printed in the upper right corner of the mail face where you would normally place a stamp.  Be sure to use the correct indicia as they are slightly different for Standard, First Class and Nonprofit mailings.  Your mail house should be able to provide you with the exact wording.  For instance, a standard mailing using Reliant Mailing Services postage permit would use the following indicia:

US Postage
Permit 42

How does this save you money? A postage permit is required on every mailpiece that is sent at bulk rates.  Printers can add it to the design at no additional charge but, if it’s not preprinted, the mail house has to print it when they process the mail and usually this will cost you extra.  Don’t worry if you’re ordering extras to keep or mail yourself.  You can always stick a stamp over the indicia.

#2 – Better Rates and Service With Small Postcards

There is no postcard rate for Standard (Bulk) Mail, however, if you are mailing a postcard that is smaller than 4.25” tall and 6” wide and have more than 500 names on your list, you can mail at Presorted First- Class Postcard Rates.

How does this save you money? Presorted First Class Postcard rates are approximately 3 cents less per piece than Standard Mail rates.   In addition, First Class mail receives a higher priority from the USPS than Standard Mail, so your postcards will get there faster and you won’t have to pay for additional services (such as having undeliverable cards returned to you).

Two caveats –Because there is no nonprofit discount for first class mail, if you’re an authorized nonprofit (see Tip #3), you are always better off to use the Nonprofit Standard Mail rates when possible.  They are significantly less than Presorted First Class card rates.

Don’t sacrifice your message for a cheaper rate.  While it is more affordable to send 4.25” x 6” postcards, remember that they are easier to lose in a stack of mail than a larger card and you don’t want to have a small card so jammed with text that no one will read it (see Tip #5).   Let your message and audience drive your card design, not the other way around.

#3 – Nonprofits, Claim Your Discount

The US Postal Service provides steep discounts for qualified nonprofits.  However, nonprofit status with the IRS does not automatically qualify you for the postage discounts.  In order to get the discounts, you must fill out Form PS3624.

How does this save you money? The nonprofit postage discounts can save you approximately 10 cents per piece on your mail.  The best part is that it doesn’t cost you anything to acquire nonprofit authorization.  The process can take up to 10 days, so be sure to fill out the application well in advance of your first mailing date.  If you need any help with filling out the form, feel free to contact Reliant Mailing Services and we will be glad to assist you.

#4 – Keep Your Fold Down

Postal Regulations require that a folded self-mailer (such as a newsletter or tri-fold brochure) must be sealed to prevent opening during processing.  Most commonly, this is done using a tab (a round or square sticker that seals the mailer closed).   If you are designing a folded self-mailer, it is now required that you design the piece in such a way that the folded edge is at the bottom of the mail face.

How does this save you money? The Post Office now requires that all Folded Self-Mailers be oriented with the fold at the bottom in order to qualify for automation discounts on postage.  Bottom line, if you put the fold at the top, your postage goes up.



#5 – Utilize Your Space

The letter processing category includes pieces up to 6.125” tall and 11.5” long.  This means it costs the same to mail a 5”x7” postcard as it does a 6.125” x 11.5” postcard.

How does this save you money? If you have more information than will fit on a standard size mailer, don’t be shy about going larger.  In addition to having more space for your message, a larger piece will stick out of a stack of mail and is more likely to get looked at.  You’ll end up with improved response rate and very little extra cost.

#6 – Avoid Staples

The US Postal Service has recently issued new requirements for permanently bound booklets.  This means any folded piece that has staples (or similar binding) on the spine requires additional processing in order to be mailed.

How does this save you money? If you have a newsletter, or similar mailer, that has multiple pages folded together, simply have your printer not staple or otherwise bind the spine.  If the pages are permanently bound together, your mailhouse will be required to put 3 tabs on the piece instead of one, which will cost you more money.  Additionally, some mailers are not able to apply the larger 1.5″ tabs that are required.

#7 – Verify US Postal Service Compliance

To get the best postage rates available, you must be sure that your mailpiece design is compliant with USPS regulations for automation (barcoded) rates.  Automation standards are different for different sizes and types of mailpieces, but Reliant Mailing Services is glad to provide advice and design templates for your specific mailpiece.  To download a sample template for a 6” x 9” card, click here.

How does this save you money? Barcoding your mailpieces qualifies you for the best postage rates possible for your specific mailing.  It’s much easier to ensure compliance before your card is printed and, if the mailpiece isn’t compliant, the USPS may charge penalties in order to send the mail.   If you have questions, feel free to contact Reliant Mailing Services for help.

We hope that this report will be of use to you in preparation for your next mailing.  This report is provided as a courtesy to help you get the best results possible from your direct mail marketing.  There is no cost or obligation, however, if you need further help with your mailing needs, we are happy to assist you.  The foundation of our business is building result-driven mailing strategies with our customers and we would be honored to work with you.   Please call us today at 828-388-1664 or email us at info@reliantmailing.com.

Report written by Kyle Bartley
Reliant Mailing Services
224 Thompson St, #116
Hendersonville, NC 28792
(828) 233-1664
©2009 Reliant Mailing Services