5 Ways to Offset the Postal Rate Increase
As you may have noticed, the United States Postal Service will be increasing the price of a First-Class Mail, single-piece letter from 46 cents to 49 cents. The change is intended to generate $2 billion in annual revenue for the Postal Service.
Highlights of the new pricing, which is effective January 26, 2014, include:
• Letters (1 oz.) —3-cent increase to 49 cents
• Letters (additional ounces) — 1-cent increase to 21 cents
• Letters to all international destinations (1 oz.) — $1.15
• Postcards — 1-cent increase to 34 cents
While postal rate increases always require an adjustment for mailers, the USPS points out that its increases have simply kept pace with inflation. While the increase will be somewhat higher than inflation this year, this will be the first time since the USPS was formed.
What can you do to adjust? Here are some ideas to help you offset postal rate inflation and increase the effectiveness of your marketing at the same time.
- Keep your database clean. When was the last time you cleaned up your mailing list? Are you mailing to old addresses? Incorrect or incomplete addresses? To people who have moved or have died? Cleanse your database of undeliverable addresses so you are mailing only to complete, active addresses.
- Reduce duplicates. Don’t mail to the same address twice. Check for duplicate records that, while perhaps not identical, still go to the same business or household. Are you mailing to the marketing manager and the director of marketing at the same company? How about to Louise Walker and Louise Jennie Walker at the same address?
- Increase your targeting. Instead of mailing the same offer to everyone, select a segment of your list and be more targeted in your creative, messaging, and offers. You may find that you end up mailing less and bringing in more revenue.
- Take advantage of email. If you have email addresses for your customers, send follow-ups to promotions by email to boost response and increase the “bang for the buck” for the postage you spend.
- Take advantage of USPS postal promotions. The U.S. Postal Service is always setting up promotions that help you save on postage. For example, adding mobile barcode technology like QR Codes can save you 2%.
Postal increases don’t have to be a damper on your marketing plans. They can be an opportunity to get creative and make your marketing better!
When Is Personal Too Personal?
One of the benefits of 1:1 printing is the ability to increase the relevance of each communication by making the message more personal. By using information you already know about the recipient, you are able to communicate on a more intimate, 1:1 level.
But this approach can also be misused. Individuals and businesses are very protective of their privacy these days, and rightly so. Customers want to know that their data is not only safe, but that the marketers they do business with won't misuse it.
What are some first steps you can take to ensure that your customers and prospects know that you care about their privacy?
- Include an official privacy statement in your information-gathering materials.
- If you will be collecting data, include a notice of physical and data security procedures and a promise of confidentiality.
- When personalized your marketing messages, don’t disclose overly personal details (“Hey, Bob! Ready to default on that sky-high mortgage?”).
- Be transparent. Provide full details about what respondents have to do in order to receive any prizes or promotional items.
- Follow all opt-in regulations, including double opt-ins for email lists and providing the option to opt-out of future marketing contacts.
- Assure that respondents’ information will not be sold to third parties.
Privacy standards, both in print and online, are always evolving. So stay abreast of the discussion. Talk to your customers to find out any other concerns and address them. The more you can assure your customers that their personal information is safe with you and that it will be used appropriately, the more you will win their trust.