The direct mail strategies used by companies have evolved drastically over the years, and another change may be on the horizon with recently proposed rules by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). According to the Advertising Specialty Institute, the USPS is proposing a limit on all Marketing Mail to content that is only paper-based or is printed matter.
A Change In Marketing Mail
This potential change means that no other merchandise or goods, such as pens, buttons, or magnets, would not be allowed to ship as Marketing Mail. The rule would apply to regular and nonprofit businesses and to both letter-size and flat-size envelopes. As many companies rely on sending out physical goods to grab the attention of consumers, this could impact their direct mail strategies.
The exact pricing for sending mail with non-paper goods has yet to be determined, but senders would have to use another shipping method, such as Parcel Select or Priority Mail. Based on the most recent USPS Price List, companies would be looking at a price increase of several dollars per parcel when they have to switch from Marketing Mail to Parcel Select.
The USPS claims within the proposal that the change would allow the USPS to track more merchandise and it would reduce the number of operational inefficiencies caused by inflexible letter- or flat-size parcels that machines can’t process. The Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers strongly disagrees with these listed benefits and issued a letter to the USPS that calls the proposal unlawful. Before Oct. 22, the USPS is inviting comments on the proposed change.
Other Effective Direct Mail Strategies
If you rely on sending non-paper goods in your direct mail campaign, there are several options that are still very effective at engaging consumers and promoting your business.
- Dimensional mailers are taking the direct mail marketing world by storm. Design 3D mailers that grab the attention of consumers, thereby instantly increasing the ROI of your marketing campaign. Typical 3D formats include boxes and tubs that have teasers on the outside.
- Postcards have a huge impact as mailers. Oversized postcards have the greatest response rate over other mediums at 5%, and regular postcards are close behind at 4.25%. They’re easy to read, and with the right design they’ll instantly engage consumers.
- Discounts and freebies are the perfect way to encourage customers to read the rest of the direct mail piece and to then go online or visit your physical business. These incentives are essential to increasing ROI and gaining returning customers.
- Interesting envelopes create a connection with the consumer immediately. An envelope with an interesting marketing message or design will encourage consumers to open it right away.
The proposed change by the USPS can be intimidating for many businesses, but if you’re concerned about paying more to send promotional merchandise, consider switching to a different direct mail strategy.