With other cost issues to deal with, it’s a critical time to look for ways to save money on the USPS price increase, scheduled for August 29, 2021.
No, you’re not seeing things: this is the second postal rate hike this year, coming only 7 months after the annual January increase. The increase is tied to the post office’s 10-year plan, announced in March, to achieve “financial sustainability and service excellence”.
Yes, paying more is unpleasant. The wisdom of these and other proposed changes can be debated.
However, the cost of doing business doesn’t have to be so high. You can soften the impact of the USPS price increase on your bottom line. At the same time, you’ll also set yourself up for operating more efficiently and sustainably in the coming months.
So my first piece of advice is: Don’t Panic. Take a deep breath.
Now, let’s talk about a few things you can do to reduce costs and save money on the USPS price increase.
1. Know All of Your Numbers
Overall, First Class mail is going up by 6.814%, and USPS Marketing Mail by 6.815%.
Let’s break those down a little:
- Under First Class, Presorted Letters and Postcards are increasing by 7.440%
- Under USPS Marketing Mail, High Density and Saturation Letters are going up by 5.992%, while High Density and Saturation Flats by 5.454%
Basically, if a campaign is more costly for USPS to process, it will cost more. Consider how you can presort your mail better to avoid paying much more.
All of the final price changes can be found on USPS Postal Explorer.
2. Work On Your Data
Data, a wise person once said, is the lifeblood of your direct marketing.
To keep your costs under control, go back to your data. There are likely to be efficiencies found by keeping up with NCOA and CASS to keep your data clean.
In addition, segmentation deserves a fresh look as a way to both find savings and to develop new opportunities for growth.
Prioritize what customers get more of your attention with mail based on the RFM model. Your best customers have bought the most recently, buy most frequently, and spent the most money.
Other segmentations include demographics like age, gender, income level, and more.
3. Share the Burden
Mailers need to be savvy and proactive when it comes to meeting the costs of direct mail campaigns. When planning, consider two USPS-approved upfront work methods – commingling and co-palletitzation – that can save money.
- Commingling – Letters and flats (self-mailers and postcards) can be organized in trays and tubs by zip code
- Co-palletization – CoPal combines addressed and sorted mail trays from different marketers or providers, separated by zip code, on the same pallet
Be sure to take other factors – like your campaign’s format, or your list composition – into account when looking at either option.
4. Use USPS Promotion Discounts
Mail is transforming into a channel that plays well with others in ways that make sense. One good way to keep your mail relevant and vibrant is to take advantage of USPS’s promotion discounts.
This is a program that gives mailers a 2% discount for incorporating new and emerging marketing and printing technologies in mail. We’re more than halfway through the 2021 promotions calendar and 4 of the original 6 promotions are still active. So, you still have opportunities to save money on the USPS price increase.
- Emerging and Advanced Technology (registration & promotion through 12/31/2021)
- Personalized Color Transpromo (registration & promotion through 12/31/2021)
- Mobile Shopping (registration & promotion through 12/31/2021)
- Informed Delivery (registration & promotion through 12/31/2021)
Promotions for 2022 have not been finalized. However, current proposals call for raising the discount amounts for some of them to 3% or 4%, so keep an eye on this blog as details become available.
5. Mail a Bigger Postcard
So far, you’ve read about some pretty standard ways to minimize costs. But here’s a new one that should also prompt some rethinking for your campaigns: postcards that give you more bang for the buck.
Right now, they can’t measure more than 4-1/4” high X 6” long. But a big change is coming.
Starting August 29, 2021, presorted First Class Mail postcards will be allowed to have a maximum size of 9” long X 6” high.
What are the advantages of a larger First Class postcard? How about:
- Additional space for copy, headlines, images, and digital elements like QR codes
- More white space to set all of those elements apart
- Larger size stands outs in the mailbox
- Faster delivery, return to sender, and address correction
Maybe you already mail USPS Marketing Mail postcards. Moving up to First Class with the larger size will only cost a few cents more per piece and give you benefits as noted above.