Seven smart ways to use your postal savings

Source: Quad

If you send direct mail, periodicals or catalogs through the USPS, you took a hit in 2014 when the Exigent Surcharge was added to postal rates.

Yesterday, postage rates rolled back 4.3% on average. What are you going to do with that savings?

In response to the exigent increase in January of 2014, many mailers cut back on prospecting. It’s a common reaction very much like a decision to defer home maintenance in response to budget pains in our personal lives. Eventually, what’s deferred must get done and the cost is both higher and the work more extensive than if it hadn’t been neglected in the first place.

Now that it’s rolled back, here are 7 ideas to help make sure the 4.3% you got on April 10, isn’t squandered.

  1. Pick up where you left off. If you cut back on prospecting, expand your mail prospecting efforts now. Postage rates aren’t stagnant and this is only the 3rd reduction in USPS history. Knowing that postage will rise again, don’t lose the chance to prospect with the savings. This can be done smartly and more cost effectively than two years ago by using dynamic, weighted list additions that account for both the list score and the contribution to postal savings.
  2. Invest in data. Appending data you already collect can result in better segmentation strategies, deeper customer understanding and more effective personalization. Pull a segment into a test cell containing relevant messaging or offers that appeal to their specific profile.
  3. Personalize your mail. Take what you know of your customers and send them something that matters to them. Leverage the data points in your customer or subscriber file to create content that immediately strikes a chord. If you’re an insurance marketer, reference rates in the recipient’s city or state. As a horticulture marketer, you could suggest what seeds or plants will thrive in a specific geographic region.
  4. Be creative. Control packages get stale. What worked yesterday, doesn’t pull response like it used to – our changing times. If you’ve been mailing the same control to the same list without improved results, test mail campaign alternatives. Want to save an additional 2% on postage? The USPS is running a Tactile, Sensory and Interactive Mailpiece Engagement Promotion through August 31st. Pump up Your Print. Be innovative. Be bold. Do something you haven’t been able to afford and see if your response rates go up. Special inks, special coatings, die-cuts, interactive folds and reveals all increase consumer engagement with your mailpiece and the chance for you to seal the deal.
  5. Track your mailings. Full Service Intelligent Mail barcodes (IMb) provide an additional postage discount to Standard Flats and Commercial Letters. And, the codes can let you follow your mailing through the system—now you know how to staff call centers or retail stores. Integrated Mail Service Providers can also trigger email campaigns based on tracking information the USPS provides through use of IMb.
  6. Connect mail to mobile. Leverage your print program to drive increased online traffic. Consumers crave convenience. Smartphones are practically another human appendage. The most effective mail campaigns spark interest and then make it easy and fast to connect to something further—an online purchase. Make this happen with QR codes, image recognition, water-marks, or NFC (Near Field Communications).
  7. Test before Change. Changes or adjustments to your mail programs involve some risk. Mitigate this by testing carefully first. Do the testing now with this little extra money in your pocket. Make sure your mailings are efficient and cost effective; take heed of test results.

Postage prices won’t remain this low too long. You know that – right? So take advantage of them while you can.