Contact Us at 760-480-2323

How much does it cost to mail a postcard?

 The short answer is that it costs 34 cents to mail a first class postcard.

 Yet, if postcards are presorted then they can apply for bulk mailing rates ranging from 25.3 cents to 28.4 cents apiece depending on the distribution of the mailing list.  Postcards are only eligible for first class mailing rates, and thus can only be presorted if there is a minimum of 500 postcards.  The USPS also has a very specific definition of what a postcard is.  The USPS defines as postcard as having a maximum height of 4.25 inches and a maximum length of 6 inches.

Many mail agencies prefer to mail larger “postcards” (for example 9 inches by 6 inches), which the USPS classifies as letters and we will refer to as “large postcards”.  Some advantages of mailing “large postcards” is that these will stick out in the mail, be more noticeable, and provide more opportunities to add cover or images.  These “large postcards” also qualify for marketing mail postage rates which makes the cost of mailing comparable and sometimes even cheaper than mailing small postcards at first class rates.  The cost of mailing a “large postcard” at marketing mail letter rates ranges from 28.8 cents apiece to as low as 15.5 cents apiece.  Additionally non-profits are only eligible to use their non-profit rates on marketing mail so first class small postcards are ineligible to be mailed at non-profit rates.  Non profit mailing rates range from 17.1 cents apiece to 8 cents apiece.

Many other factors may affect the price of postage on a postcard including the quantity mailed, distribution of the mailing list, weight, dimensions, and thickness.  It is best to discuss and plan your postcard with a mailing house in order to get the most bang for your buck out of your postage.

Get your mailing noticed

  The key to a direct mail piece is to get your target audience’s attention.  Whether you are sending a marketing piece, financial statement, invitation, or other communication it essential that the piece is noticed when it is collected from the mail box.  To be effective, direct mail needs to stand out from the “junk mail” and get the attention of the target audience. Below are some tips to make sure your direct mail piece gets noticed.

Size does matter:  If you are sending a postcard, send a large postcards.  The most effect sized post cards are 9”x6” or 8.5”x5.5”.  These larger sizes do not cost much more to mail, but really stick out in the mail.  They also allow for more room for messaging, and provide enough space so your message is clear and highly visible

Taglines: Including a tagline in a letter helps ensure that it gets opened.  Taglines are short messages that are printed directly on the envelope.  They should grab the target’s attention but leave enough mystery so that the envelope is opened. Additionally using different color envelopes or branding envelopes will help them stand out in the mail.

Self-mailers: Self-mailers are great ways to add draw the attention of the recipient while still being able to provide sufficient information. 

Personalization: adding personalization, whether it is in a tagline on an envelope or directly on the piece will dramatically increase response rates.  With variable data printing you have the ability to print personalized information throughout your mailing.

Clear messaging: Clear concise messaging on the portion of the piece that the recipient will see is essential. Similarly to an elevator pitch you will only have a few seconds to get the respondents attention.  Make sure your pitch is clear, easy to read, relevant, and enticing.

Target Audience:  Selecting the right demographic and audience to send your direct mail piece to is essential.  If you target the right group, your message should speak directly to the recipient and your message will be more relevant and peak their interest. 

Whatever you decide be sure that your piece gets noticed, opened, and read.  You will have just a few seconds while someone is looking through their mail to grab their attention, make sure you take full advantage.

Qualifying for Bulk Mail Postage Discounts

One of the benefits of using a direct mail house is the ability to take advantage of commercial pricing on bulk mail postage. There are many factors that come into play when determining if your mailing qualifies for postage discounts.  Utilizing a direct mail house will not only save money by qualifying your piece for postage discounts but will also help navigate the United States Postal Services rules and regulations ensuring your mail piece qualifies the lowest postage rate possible. Below are explanations of the key factors necessary to qualify for postage discounts.

  • Quantity: The number of pieces you plan on mailing is a major factor in determining if you qualify for postage discounts. Quantity is key because you must meet the minimum quantity requirements to qualify as bulk mail and therefore qualify for a postage discount. Below are the minimum quantity requirements to qualify as bulk mail for each different mail class:
    • First Class: 500 pieces
    • Standard: 200 pieces or 50 pounds
    • Parcel Select: 50 pieces
    • Parcel Select Non-presort: 50 pieces or 50 pounds
    • Media Mail, Library Mail, and Presorted or Carrier Bound Printed Matter: 300 pieces

 

  • Presorting: For mail to qualify for postage discounts it must be presorted. This means that the mail must be prepared so that the addresses are sorted by zip code. This is an essential aspect of bulk mail discounts because it reduces the amount of work that the post office needs to do. The post office passes the savings on to you with a decrease in your postage cost. Direct mail houses have capital equipment and processes to efficiently and cost effectively presort mail.

 

  • Mailing Permit: You or your direct mail house must have a mailing permit. Direct mail houses such as Action Mail have permits that you can utilize for your mailing at no additional fee.

 

  • Postage Payment: You must pay the postage with pre-canceled stamps, a postage meter, or a permit imprint. You should discuss with your direct mail marketer which postage method is the best for your mailing.  

Please contact us today at 760-480-2323 or action@themailbusiness.com to discuss how you can qualify for postage discounts.

Direct Mail Quality Control

The importance of quality control in a direct mail campaign cannot be overstated. The upfront cost of postage makes it essential that all aspects of your mailer are checked and double checked. Once the mail is out the door there is no bringing it back.  Below are the areas to focus on when ensuring that your piece is mailed correctly:

  •   The mailing list: It is important to make sure that the list that you are mailing to is appropriate and accurate. Appropriateness refers to the fact that the list is targeting the correct demographics for your direct mail campaign. You want to make sure the mailer is going to the right people and you must have your list checked for duplicates. Accuracy refers to the list containing the correct information. For accuracy your list should be checked with the National Change of Address database (NCOA) to ensure the addresses are up to date and should be run through Coding Accuracy Support Software (CASS) to ensure the addresses are coded correctly. Your mailing house should perform these two tests for you.
  •  The mailing piece: Having multiple people proofread your mailing piece can help avoid printing and/or mailing something with a spelling or grammar mistake. Checking with your mail house on the postal specifications of your piece is also important. It may be necessary to have the mail house check with the post office to make sure you can mail at a specific postage rate. Checking on postage rates and regulations can help you make decisions prior to printing and mailing that can save you money on postage. In addition, make sure that you sign off on a proof from your printer or mail house prior to printing commencing.
  •  Matching: Some direct mail pieces require matching the envelope with the insert(s). When matching is taking place make sure that your direct mailer has an audit procedure in place. Quality control may entail auditing every 10th piece or auditing all of the pieces.

At Action Mail we understand the importance of quality control from the start to finish of your mailer. We run our own extensive quality control and assurance procedures to check you piece again prior to it being mailed.

New Mover and New Homeowner Mailings

Every year over 35 million households move within the US.  New homeowners and new movers are great marketing targets for local businesses.  New homeowners and movers are often times just getting to know the area where they have moved and will be looking to establish themselves in the community and select local businesses to support.  Most households first select where they would like to spend their money based on convenience.  For example most households will go to grocery stores, gas stations, dentists, and restaurants within close proximity to their home. Additionally moving is quite an ordeal and there are many services that recently moved households will be looking for.   Many new movers will be looking to fix up their house and will be looking for painters, hvac companies, landscapers, window and blind installations, handymen, and many other services to fix and prepare their home to live in.

One of the best aspects of direct mail is how data driven direct mail marketing can be.  It is possible to get databases with all new movers in a specific area.  These databases can be updated monthly, so it is possible to continually target people moving into specific neighborhoods.  This allows marketers to specifically target this promising demographic of new homeowners and movers shortly after they have moved.  Direct mail is also more effective when targeting new movers, as many times normal mail has not been set up to forward yet but households are excited to explore their new homes and get their mail every day.  The ability to target this specific demographic of new movers and homeowners can focus marketing budgets on a very profitable demographic which can help acquire customers for life.   

What is a Mail Merge?

A mail merge is the integration of data contained in a spreadsheet, into a template which could be a letter, address block of an envelope, postcard, or booklet.  A mail merge enables you to merge variable data so that each printed piece is personalized and customized based on your dataset.  This can be a very powerful tool to directly target individuals or print and mail personalized and confidential information.

  Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel are popular tools to run mail merges, but when using them there are often issues with spacing and organization of the merge and Microsoft Word mail merges also have their limitations.

At Action Mail we prefer to use PDF mail merge software which allows much more control over the merge.  Our software enables us to add variable images, change the format based on the data, include variable phrases with multiple variable data, format the artwork so that all art and text fits into one page, ensure that variable text does not truncate, and the possibilities are endless.  

Once the data has been integrated and merged the mail merge and with variable data can be printed.  Action Mail offers variable data printing in both color and black and white and the variable data can be printed on a number of substrates and media.

Mail merges are typically used for letters but we run mail merges for postcards, envelopes, flyers, and letters as well.  The use of a mail merge allows content to be personalized to the specific recipient which dramatically increases response rates.

Some examples of the mail merges including, merging statement data, personalizing letters, customizing non-profit donations requests based on previous giving data, customizing offers, personalizing the content letter based on previous purchase data.  The possibilities are endless.  If you have the data Action Mail can create a dynamic personalized letter, postcard, envelope or flyer for your next campaign.  Even if you do not have the necessary data Action Mail can help append data for you.

Personalizing your direct mail campaign will make your campaign relevant, enticing, and eye catching which will drive response and return on investment.

Email Marketing Campaigns

Direct marketing email campaigns are a great way to engage current customers, but they can also be helpful in recruiting new ones.  Due to legal constraints it can be difficult and costly to purchase a list of email addresses of your target market, though a simple cost effective work around is to append email addresses to a mailing list or to rent a list of email addresses. The way email address appending or e-appending works is that the name and mailing address of a mailing list is matched to databases of email addresses that have opted in to recieve marketing emails.  The match rate is typically about 20% but can depend on the quality of the mailing list and availability of email addresses. 

 Once you have an email list the next step will be to design an attractive email.  Most notably you want your subject line to be enticing so that your target audience opens the email.  You will also want to avoid wording that makes emails sound like spam, so it is not flagged by spam blockers.  A good rule to follow is that your email should add value for your target audience and be something that they will want to open.

  You should use a trusted server to send out these emails.  Using your own server to send out marketing email campaigns could get your server blacklisted as sending spam.  Additionally online platforms like Constant Contact and MailChimp often prohibit using purchase lists on their platforms.

One effective way to increase open rates would be to send a direct mail piece to the address either right before or after the email campaign.  With USPS tracking software it is possible to have an email triggered by the delivery of a direct mail piece.  This mutli-channel marketing approach will help the end user recognize your brand and increase the likelihood that they will open your email or read you direct mail piece.

Once the email is opened it is important to ensure that the offer is easy to act on.  Links should be easily accessible and take the end user directly to a web address where they can act on the offer presented.  Personalized landing pages are often helpful in aiding the target audience to act on the offer.  It is also important that links are mobile friendly because the majority of respondents will read the email on their phone or tablet. 

Email marketing can be an effective tool to drive new business or communicate with your existing clients, but with so many emails and spam blockers emails can often be overlooked.  Ensure your communication reaches your target audience ensure that the email address you are using have opted into receiving marketing emails and you are sending the email from a trusted server.  Additionally, using a multi-channel approach and making it easy for your audience to act on the offer.

What are the best sizes for postcards

Size makes a big difference in the rates you pay for direct mail.  It can be a bit confusing given the number of choices you face.   In this article we will be focusing on postcards and letters.

There are multiple takes on size for postcards.  Here are a few:

  • Smaller size faster more cost effective printing and delivery – You can mail a postcard that is no larger than 4.25”x6” and no smaller than 3.5”x5” at first class postcard rates that are similar in price to standard mail letter rates.  The minimum quantity for first class bulk mailing is 500 pieces.  Delivery normally takes 1-3 days, and printing is less expensive, but there is much less space for your message.  These smaller size postcards are best for simple notifications that need to be delivered as soon as possible.  
  • Large postcards – Pieces up to 6.125”x11” are considered “letter mail”.  The full first class rate is 49 cents, but standard mail rates are much more affordable and are around $0.27.  Typical effective postcard sizes are 8.5"x5.5" (the equivalent of a half sheet of 8.5"x11" paper), 6"x9" or 6"x11"
  •  “Jumbo” postcards – These are postcards that are too big to qualify for letter rates, typically 8.5”x11” or as large as 12”x15”, which is the maximum size.  These are termed “Flats” by the U.S.P.S. and postage rates are usually around $0.54.  If you saturate an area and mail to everyone in a postal carrier route you can get similar postage rates as letter size pieces.

Each postcard size has it advantages and disadvantages.  For your direct mail campaign it is helpful to weigh the pros and cons of cost, presence in the mailbox, and speed of delivery to select the best postcard size

Email Address Lists

Selecting the right target audience for an e-mail campaign is crucial for ROI, but it is also important to avoid legal implications.  Ultimately you want to send relevant emails that will be useful to recipients, whether this be a coupon or relevant information that will help the recipient.  For email campaigns the best list to use would be a customer opt in list where current customers have opted in to receive emails from your organization.  If you have not developed this list or you would like to market to new clients then there are a few options. 

The first option is to append email addresses to a current mailing list.  This can be done with a mailing list you may already have or we can help you purchase a new mailing list.  If you elect to purchase a new mailing list you can include the specific demographics that you would like to target ensuring that your email is relevant to your audience.  Once we have the mailing list we will use the information in the list to find email addresses from various sources who have agreed to receive marketing emails.  This can be done with both consumer and business lists.  Usually we are able to find email addresses for 10-15% of the addresses on the list, but this varies greatly from list to list.  You will then own the list of emails and can use them as many times as you would like.  We can also setup the email campaign for you with the correct formatting and provide analytics or you could create your own email. If you use these email addresses yourself be sure to include opt out options and to regularly update the list, removing all email addresses that have opted out.

The other option is to rent a list.  The way this works is that you will select a demographic you would like to target and provide Action Mail with an html version of your email.  You will also need to provide seed names as well as the time and date when you would like to have the email sent.  We will setup your campaign and send out the email blast.  We will also provide you with analytics associated with the blast.  This option is ideal for email campaigns looking to send out one or two emails to a specific demographic.

Acquiring a list of emails is a tricky task, as there a quite a few legal implications. Contact us to learn more about list acquisition and how to best develop your next email campaign.

How to dedupe a list

There are many options to dedupe or remove duplicates from a list.  Before removing depulicates and cleaning your list list you will need to define what a duplicate is for the particular mailing you are deduping the list for.  A duplicate could be defined as records with the same address, records with the same name, records with the same last name and address, or any other criteria that you would like to exclude if records contain the same information.  You can also instruct your mail house as to how strict you would like your duplicate identification to be.  You can only exclude exact matches or dedupe based on close matches.  For instance if you had the following two addresses and you were deduping by address: 101 Main St., San Diego, CA 92129 and 101 Main Street, San Diego, CA 92129, if you request to only remove exact matches the two addresses will be mailed.  If you instruct the mail house to dedupe the list with close matches then only one of the address will be included in the mailing.  You will also need to instruct the mail house which is the master list which no records will be removed from and which is the list that will have the duplicates removed from.

Removing duplicates can be more complex as you can include multiple lists and can even change how data is presented if duplicates are found.  For instance if there are duplicates with the same address and the same last name you can remove the duplicates and change the name associated with the address to be the last name followed by the word Family.  The possibilities are endless, and duplicate removal can be tailored for you specific need.

Deduping list is important in saving postage and printing costs while also providing a professional product to recipients. When deduping your lists, be sure to be clear with exactly what you would like removed, and how you would like your mail house to go about deduping your lists.

How to select a mailing list?

We can help you select the best list for your direct mailing, but nobody knows your customers like yourself. To select the most effective mailing list we recommend that you profile your ideal customer or target audience.  It may be helpful to look at current customers for characteristics or visualize an ideal customer.  We recommend collecting as much data as possible from your current customers to get a better idea as to who they are and how to find people like them.  The next step will be to document all the characteristics that defines who they are.  Write down everything and think outside the box.  This can be as simple as their location and income and can be as complex as there interests or personality.  These do not necessarily need to correlate to the customer purchasing your product or service, but should be indicators of the audience you are looking to target.  

After you have created your profile rank each attribute according to how important each characteristic is.  This is helpful because lists become more expensive with the more selections and criteria you add.  If you can focus on the most important characteristics or select criteria that are indicators for multiple characteristics you will be able to get more value out of your list.

Sometimes characteristics may seem to be mundane and irrelevant but could be very useful.  For instance if you are a dentist and you notice that all your clients drive convertibles, selecting a list with people that drive convertibles may be the best list for your businesses.  Even though convertibles are irrelevant to the dentistry industry they may be an indicator of a specific demographic (age, income, interests, habits, gender, etc) and it would be more cost effective to target convertible owners than targeting the age, income, habits, and gender that are represented by convertible owners.  

When thinking of characteristics do not just include characteristics that you think are selects on mailing list.  You will be surprised at how many options are available for mailing list selections including interests, hobbies, activities, and the list goes on and on. 

It is often best to provide your characteristics and rankings to a mail house for review so we can help you get the best list.  It is also helpful to provide a description of your businesses to your mailing agent.  We see lots of different lists and strategies from all different companies and it is often helpful to get an outsiders opinion.  With your rankings and description we can also look for a list that is both effective and falls within your budget.  In most cases it is beneficial to spend more on a targeted list, because you will be saving money on wasted postage, printing, and processing if you mailed to a more generic list which included recipients who do not fit your customer base.

Should I print my postcard Glossy or Matte?

It most depends on personal preference but there are a few pros and cons associated with printing glassy or matter postcards.

Glossy

Glossy postcards have a smooth and shiny finish and look very polished.  This coating allows for a crisper looking image, especially when the card is filled with vivid imagery.  Glossy cards are great for postcards that have lots of colorful images.  Glossy postcards will also be processed through the United States Postal Services’ machines with less damage.

Matte

Matte cards have a subtle shine and offer a more professional look.  Matte postcards are more commonly used in cards that are predominately text based or where text is the focus of the card.  The matte finish allows high contrast between text and images and increases the readability of the card.  This finish also enhances white space within the card.

Ultimately the choice is yours and you cannot really go wrong with either, yet the subtle differences between a matte and gloss could give your postcard the perfect look and feel that will grab the recipients attention.

Reducing Direct Mail Turnaround Times

Getting your direct mail piece out on time and on budget is our priority.  If you have a rush job there are a few things you can do to help expedite processing and get your order out as soon as possible.  Action Mail’s turnaround time for mailing jobs is generally 2-3 business days after you have approved samples and authorized the mailing for standard mailings.  Jobs that involve printing usually take an additional 3-5 days, though depending on the size, type, and urgency of the mailing we can expedite processing to meet your needs.  Please contact one of our sales representative for rush turnaround times to see how we can meet your deadlines.  Please also keep in mind the tips below to reduce turnaround times.

Data File Preparation

Receiving data files that are ready to be put into production saves time on revisions and back and forth.  Data files should be sent in an excel document with the name, address, city, state, zip code, and any other data that is to be mail merged into the mailing clearly labeled in the header records.  Data should be clean and uniform to avoid additional time, costs, and inaccuracies associated with bad data. 

Pre-processing information

The more information available before the mailing the faster the setup and processing of the job. Please provide the piece size, paper weight and type, clear directions for inserting, class of mail, and any other instructions or request when placing an order.  Additionally providing directions on what to do with CASS (undeliverable address) and NCOA (addresses that have moved and provided a new address and addresses that have moved and not provided a new address), will reduce back and forth after the processing of data.

Print File Preparation

Art files for printing should be sent in high resolution PDFs.  The art should by in CYMK and have full bleeds in order to expedite printing.  Art should also be provided to one of our sales reps during the creative design process to ensure that the design meets postal regulations.  We will provide a proof of the printed piece, and a quick response and approval will help increase printing turnaround times.

Postage

Many times jobs are ready to go but we cannot mail without postage.  For rush jobs make sure you are ready to add funds into your permit or provide a postage check as soon as we process the job and calculate postage, in order to avoid delays associated with waiting for postage to arrive.

Advanced notice

The more advanced notice we have the more efficiently we can schedule the job and decrease turnaround times.  Even if you do not have the data, art, or materials, let us know your timeline and needs so we can prepare for and schedule the job.

First Class

Another option to decrease the time necessary for the mailing to reach the target audience is to mail first class.  Postage is considerably more than Standard Mail but your mail piece should reach homes and businesses in 1-3 days.

The best way to reduce turnaround times and get your mail out as soon as possible is to prepare as much as possible for the mailing.  The more information you can provide the faster we can get the piece out.  Planning your mail far in advanced is always the best way to mitigate rush mailings, but this is not always possible and there are often delays and changes during the planning process.  We recommend planning as much as possible and providing as much information to us as possible as soon as possible.  This will help us quickly process your mailings and meet your deadlines.

What is in an Envelope

It’s critical that your direct mail envelope gets opened.  Research shows you only have 7 seconds to make an impression on your prospect and get them to open the envelope.

Here are some useful tips in selecting the correct envelope:

·         Must meet USPS Postal regulations

·         For most cost effective processing, it should be machine insert compatible

·         Be careful not to use dark or luminous colors.  These will not be able to be sorted by the USPS unless the address block is knocked out.   This is also true for some of the bright Neon colored envelopes.

Color

Color is a powerful branding tool and can promote connection and emotion.  Make an impact and catch the prospects eye. 

Utilize the Empty Space

After reading the name and address on the envelopes the recipients eyes will move to images and graphics on the envelope.  Utilize this canvas and create a graphic call to action, instead of just plain text.  Use the back side of the envelope as well.

Addressing and Postage

There are many different fonts you can use to address the envelope.  Choosing a font will depend on the piece.   For an invitation, you may use a more decorative hand written type font, where a business letter will be in a more standard Arial, or Times Roman type font.  For a more personalized feel, you can affix a bulk mail stamp rather than an indicia.

Windows

There are many window sizes available.  This can give the recipients a peek inside the direct mail package and can act as a tease.  The windows can also showcase the offer inside.

GETTING READY FOR THE RED TAG MAILING SEASON

It is the time of the year when the USPS is starting to see a lot of red tag mail running through their equipment.

What is Red Tagged Mail?

politicaltag

All qualified political mail will have their mail trays or sacks tagged with a special red tag by the mail house . This helps the post office identify the mail as political mail so that this political mail can be given priority service. Most political mailings run on very tight turnaround times and this identification is extremely important in ensuring the mail gets to the destination on time before election day.

3 WAYS TO FURTHER EXPEDITE YOUR POLITICAL MAILING

1.        Make sure your art conforms with the standards set out by the USPS for bulk mail discounts. Your art should also have the necessary bleeds built in so that the color will print to the edge.

2.       Get your mailing list ready ahead of time and send it to your mail house so that the list can be scrubbed for bad address and updated with the new address. Also decide ahead of time if you would like to remove all addresses that do not qualify for maximum discounts due to them not matching what the USPS has as a valid address.

3.       Make sure you have postage funds available prior to delivery of the mail to the post office. The USPS will not accept mail without payment, standard (bulk) mail cannot be paid with a credit card.

How to fold a self-mailer?

When designing a self-mailer it is essential that the piece folds correctly to meet USPS postal regulations.  Essentially the final fold will need to be on the longest edge and be located below the address.

Below is a self-mailer template for a simple 8.5x11 bi-fold self-mailer

Bi-fold Self-Mailer Template

As more folds are introduced and large paper sizes are used the regulations become bit more complicated.  A few simple rules to follow are

  • The final fold will need to be below the address.  This means that the top of the mail piece will always be open.
  • The second to last fold will need to be to the right of the address on the leading edge, if there is a fold perpendicular to the final fold.
  • The address will always need to be parallel to the longest edge and cannot be placed on the last panel.
  • The last panel should be at the top or within one inch of the top
  • Make sure that when orientating the self-mailer the address and artwork on the address panel are orientated so that they reads correctly. 

Below are a few examples of self-mailer templates which indicate where the final folds will need to be made so that the piece will meet USPS regulations and qualify for the lowest postage rates.

Tri-fold Self-Mailer Template

Tri-fold Self-Mailer Template

Quarter-fold Self-mailer Template

Quarter-fold Self-mailer Template

Folds for self-mailers will be different depending on the size of the piece and the number of panels on the piece, but using the rules mentioned above should have the information you need to fold your self-mailer correctly.  If your design requires a different fold it may be possible to add additional tabs to meet the USPS requirements.

Please send us a proof of your self-mailer so we can make sure the folds are correct.

What is inkjet addressing?

Inkjet addressing is when addresses are printed onto a mail piece by an inkjet printer.  Inkjet printing allows for high speed printing at low prices.  Inkjet printing sprays ink directly onto a piece as opposed to laser or offset printing.  Inkjet printing is most commonly used for printing small pieces of variable data like addresses, taglines, salutations, etc.  The print quality is not as good as laser and offset printing, but inkjet printing is great for small variable data that needs to be added to a piece.  Typically mail pieces are offset printed or digitally printed and then the address is inkjet printed onto the piece.  Another advantage of inkjet printing is that finished pieces can have addresses inkjet printed directly onto them.  For instance a booklet, self-mailer, or glossy postcard can have the address inkjet printed directly onto the finished piece even after it has been folded, bound, tabbed, or coated.

Some clients even elect to print variable data like salutations or codes using inkjet printers due to low costs of printing.  Inkjet printing looks more professional than applying labels and is also more cost effective.  The drawback of inkjet printing is that printing is done in line so duplex printing will require two passes.  Additionally images and select uniform colors can be printed but the quality will not be as good as digital printing and some images may look pixelated. The most significant cost of inkjet printing is the ink so the more ink used the higher the costs, which is why inkjet printing is mostly used for small pieces of variable information like an address or tagline.  Inkjet print heads also have a limited size.  Our inkjet heads are 4 inches wide so each head can only print 4 inches wide on the selected piece.

Inkjet addressing is a great way to add personal data like addresses, taglines, promotional codes, and barcodes to any mail piece.  Inkjet addressing looks professional is cost effective and will add variable data that is essential to your mailing.  

How do I know if my bulk mailing was mailed?

There are many ways to receive proof that your bulk mailing was mailed.  The easiest way it ask your mail house for a postal receipt.  When bulk mail is delivered to the post office the postal clerk will examine the piece make sure it meets the postal standards and weight verify the delivery to ensure that the quantity matches that in the postal statement.   They will then issue a mailing transaction receipt acknowledging that the mail has been delivered and is now in the hands of the USPS.  The postage statement will also detail the postage paid.  Many post offices are now sending these receipts electronically and they should be accessible for mail houses to distribute if there is a discrepancy.

Bulk direct mail can also be tracked.  The mail house can add information into the barcode of the mail piece which will allow the USPS to track the piece as it moves through the mail stream.  Your mail house can then provide a report indicating where in the mail stream the pieces are.  Tracking goes as far as the last scan from the last post office prior to delivery, but does not track when the piece is actually delivered to the recipient’s mailbox.  Furthermore, tracking is not 100% accurate as some pieces are not scanned and depending on where the mail is going some USPS post offices do not have the technology to track all types of mail.

In some cases the two aforementioned methods will not be available like for some first class, non-automation, comingled, or international mail.  In these cases the best way to track whether the pieces have been delivered to the post office is to add a seed name into your data.  A seed name is often times an address included in the data used for purpose of verifying that the mail has been sent.  It is best practice to include seed names in all mailings, not just to verify mailing but also to get an idea of when recipients have received the mail.