Seal the envelope, slap on a stamp and put the red flag up on the mailbox. Easy enough. But what happens when you want to mail something to 20,000 people? It might not fit in your mailbox, but it can be just as easy – as long as you know what you’re getting into.
I’ll go ahead and preface this with: I could never give you all of the information you’d need to undertake a successful and competitively priced bulk mailing. Consider this a precursor to your research.
First, make sure you do your homework, even if you are working with a professional mail service vendor. If you don’t know what questions to ask, they might not tell you. You can easily end up learning an expensive lesson (Trust me. I know.).
Be sure to check postal rates and class regulations. There are tricks and loopholes all along the way. For example, sending an oversized postcard costs less than the standard 44 cent stamp, but if you have “Return Service Requested” printed on the back, you will be changed the full 44 cents for each returned piece. Also, you might pay the same postage for a 20-page catalog as you would a 40-page catalogue, so don’t assume anything when it comes to postage and regulations! It’s one of the most important areas to research.
Now, if you’re a nonprofit and low on cash flow, there’s good news. Nonprofits get a discount. Even though you’re eligible for a postage discount, you need to file paperwork with the post office. And this might seem obvious, but don’t forget to include a return address. That one small omission will cost you for profit prices.
And then, there’s the dreaded distribution list. Thousands of addresses – a never-ending scroll through Excel. So what if your list is old and you don’t want to pay to send your mail piece to thousands of invalid or old address? Don’t worry! Most mail vendors offer a list-cleaning service that will pull invalid addresses and inform you if someone has moved.
Good luck to all of you direct mailers out there! And feel free to email me if you want to know what question I didn’t know to ask our mail vendor.
Or don’t. I’m trying to forget about it!