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Mail less, sell more: 6 efficient and effective ways to combat postal increases

August 3, 2021

First thing’s first: direct mail is an effective marketing channel.  

But you should not print or mail more pieces to improve ROI.  

Make no mistake, DM outperforms other channels by any measure. A recent survey of 2,000 U.S. adults found that: 

  • 71% pay attention to direct mail more than any other channel 
  • 38% say direct mail is the best way for advertisers to create awareness 
  • 33% call direct mail the best way to influence purchase decisions 

Drilling deeper, we find that direct mail drives 41% of consumers to stores, 40% to conduct product research and 39% to ultimately make a purchase. 

But this doesn’t mean marketing should automatically spend more budget on direct mail. 

Why? Direct mail is most effective when part of a targeted, personalized multichannel program that connects online and offline.  

What about higher postage rates? 

As every direct mailer knows, the USPS raised prices mid-year, citing declining mail volume. While this might seem counterintuitive, the increases are our reality for now. And they’re squeezing all postal customers.

The options to solve this problem are limited. Get more budget (good luck!). Or, better, improve response rates and achieve your business objectives with fewer pieces in the mail. To help you do that, here are three ways to mail more efficiently despite higher postage, and three ways to do so more effectively. It’s a direct path to greater ROI in direct marketing.

Efficiency — Make direct mail work harder 

  1. Take advantage of USPS promotions. The Postal Service rewards business mailers who tie direct mail campaigns to digital channels. Enhance mail with tactile or augmented reality features. Connect print to digital tactics. And work with the USPS to find other promotions available through Informed Delivery. Your direct mail partner should be able to support you in driving down the cost of DM’s biggest expense—postage.
  1. Sort your mail with other mailers. Allowing your printer to do this results in better rates. Work with your print or postal solutions partner to find other options to help reach a wider audience at a lower cost. Then take advantage of digital and physical commingling opportunities to drive prices down anywhere from 5% to 50%.
  1. Optimize printing + logistics. Select a print resource with multiple locations. Decentralized printing produces content closer to the end destination. Paired with logistics services, that cuts time and shipping costs for optimized delivery across regions. Or pre-sort mail and drop-ship to the most cost-effective USPS entry point.  

Effectiveness — Smart ways to raise response 

  1. Test all elements without mailing. Online testing technology allows you to test hundreds of creative variables before producing a printed mail piece. This online research finds a winning package 85% of the time. 
  1. Target the person, not the address. Modeling finds the right person at the right time—the top priority for any direct mailer. But the real key to higher response rates is to craft a message for each person, tailoring the piece’s content to individual needs and wants.  
  1. Connect print with digital. Linking online with direct mail channels boosts response rates by as much as 24%. Marketers are already using both media channels. Personalized QR codes specific to each mailed recipient drive online sales, downloads of company apps and video viewings. They sell complex items well beyond the capabilities of a two dimensional print piece. Just remember, the mailbox doesn’t have a spam folder. 

Delivering more 

The Harvard Business Review predicted the 2020s would be the “Decade of Relevance.” No channel can stand alone and be fully relevant to today’s consumers. Even the USPS assures us that outcomes improve when direct mail is part of a multichannel campaign. 

According to the Postal Service’s “Future of Direct Mail” white paper, marketers see the following lifts when they combine digital and postal channels: 

  • 40% conversion rates 
  • 68% increased website visits 
  • 63% increased response rates 
  • 60% increased ROI 
  • 53% increased leads 
  • 39% increased traffic to a physical store or business location 
  • 11% increased downloads 

Printing isn’t the biggest DM expense. Postage is—60% of the total cost per piece delivered in home. And the USPS keeps raising rates. The good news is, marketers have tools to be more targeted and personalized than ever, especially with direct mail. 

The challenge is to make every tactic as budget-friendly and relevant as possible.  

You’ll win when you mail less — but deliver more.


Find out more about how direct mail campaigns can offset postal increases. Contact Quad today.