With so many mail discounts available, your opportunity to save can make a real impact on the bottom line. But, if you don’t pay attention to the details, you might risk increased costs or worse, designing pieces that simply aren’t mailable.

Here are some handy reminders:

1.     Don’t let mail fall flat. Size matters when you want the best rates. But how do you keep your mail pieces from going flat? Pay close attention to the requirements: piece size cannot exceed 6” x 10.5” to qualify for letter-size postage on marketing mail ($0.288). If you’re not careful, you may inadvertently design a piece that ends up at the flat rate ($0.55), costing you nearly twice as much in postage.

2.     Make pre-sort your first resort. Anything you can do to speed up the USPS process not only ensures mail is delivered faster but also saves you money. Pre-sort and bundle mail that’s going to the same destination and the USPS estimates you can save 10% right off the top. You can achieve additional discounts with commingling and co-palletization options alongside other mailers headed to the same locations.

3.     Do your part and drop-ship. Ever driven 90 minutes to an airport to get a reduced fare? The same thing can happen with mail when you drop-ship. Ship your pre-paid, presorted, and palletized standard mail directly to a regional postal facility nearer the mail's final destinations and the USPS rewards you with discounts: $0.026/piece for DNC (Network Distribution Center) and $0.034/piece for SCF (Sectional Center Facility). Read more.

4.     Keep creative in check on postcards. Sometimes it pays to remember that you can save $0.15 per piece if you mail postcard size. However, postcard size limits (3 ½ X 5 to 4 ¼ X 6) combined with a graphically intense design doesn’t always allow enough space for the required “clear zone” around the IMB barcode. Taking a “less-is-more” approach on the back of your card puts you in a better position to save.

5.     Open the window to savings. Window envelopes are a great way to save on printing costs if destination addresses vary; however, if your window is too small, you chance the barcode not showing through. And that means you’ve lost your window of opportunity to save through postal automation rates. Pieces on which barcodes don’t show can end up being considered “nonmachinable” and result in an upcharge, possibly adding another $0.013 to each piece.

BONUS TIP: Track your mail for top value. If you put all this work into making sure your pieces get the highest postal discounts but those same pieces get delayed in the mail stream, was your work worthwhile? In today’s automated world it’s easier than ever to monitor mail at every touchpoint with the right tracking and reporting tools.

If all of this feels overwhelming and too much to leave to chance, engage a Postal expert and have your piece reviewed before going to print. It’s the least expensive way to make sure you maximize your postal discounts.