Bulk mail isn’t always the most effective way to go. Neither is first class mail. It all depends on the other factors involved in your mailing. Have you ever wondered if you should be sending your mail out First Class when you’ve been mailing Bulk Mail for years? Or have you been paying higher postage rates on First Class when you could be saving a ton by mailing Bulk? There a few things to take into consideration when deciding what class of mail to use.
Mail First Class when…
- You are mailing “time sensitive” material. For example: Sending a birthday promotion that is going to all your clients or prospects that have a birthday within the next 2 weeks.
- You have an offer end date or “deadline” that everyone needs to respond by.
- You need fast response. Are you wanting to measure the mailing response as soon as possible so you can get another mailing out quickly? For quick response you need to mail First Class.
Mail Bulk Mail When…
- You have time to wait for responses to come in. You have a consistent mailing system in place and it doesn’t matter if the responses come in weeks after you mail.
- You are mailing a thick or heavy sales piece. I’ve had clients who mail sales pieces that are up to 88 pages. It would cost 3 times the amount to mail it First Class over Bulk Mail. If your mail piece is too large, then the only economical way to mail it is Bulk.
There is usually a huge price difference between First Class and Bulk Mail. If you are mailing a letter Presorted First Class, the postage costs around $0.43 per piece. A Bulk Mail rate for the same letter will be around $0.29 per piece. That’s a huge savings! BUT, you sacrifice delivery time.
The USPS will disagree with me on this, but I’m not 100% confident in the delivery rate of Bulk Mail. I’ve done numerous tests where I mail half the list via First Class mail and the other half of the list via Bulk Mail. The First Class gets more responses EVERY TIME. IF all the pieces were delivered, then the response rate should be very similar. However, the extra response does not always offset the higher cost to mail First Class.
Consider the following:
10,000 pieces of mail via Presorted First Class
@ $0.43 Per piece
10,000 pieces of mail via Bulk Mail
@ $0.29 Per Piece
The pieces mailed via First Class need to generate at least $1,400 more revenue than the Bulk Mail pieces in order to offset the higher postage cost.
If you are offering a $39.95 Oil Change with a 101-Point Auto Inspection, you’ll need to generate 36 more responses from the mailing in order to warrant spending the extra money for First Class Mail.
There ARE many occasions when the cost of First Class will easily offset the high cost and make it worth paying more for your mailing. This is something that MUST be tested and is different for every niche.
Returned mail is another major difference between First Class and Bulk Mail. When you mail First Class, if the mail piece is not deliverable, it will be sent back to you. If you mail Bulk Mail and the mail piece is not deliverable, then it will be “recycled.” Only by mailing First Class will you be able to track how many pieces were not delivered or be able to clean and correct your mailing list.
Be willing to test and track your own results. And never assume that saving money is always more profitable in the long run, or that spending more money always brings a better outcome.