When you hear the term “bulk mail,” what comes to mind? The term is still used a lot in direct marketing circles. But what does it really mean? It really doesn’t have anything to do with a mailing piece being “bulky” or with how stuffed someone’s mailbox might be.
Let’s look briefly at what it does mean—and why that matters for your business or organization.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) defines bulk mail as “quantities of mail prepared for mailing at reduced postage rates.” In order to receive these reduced rates, mailings have to meet certain requirements that include—among other things—a minimum number of pieces; uniformity of the pieces; specific size and shape lmiitations; specific labeling restrictions (placement); and sorting by ZIP code.
Basically, the less the USPS has to touch the mail (because private mailing house businesses do that work for them), the lower the postage rate. Your business or organization will pay a mailing service (such as TMR Direct) to perform those services, but the money you save on postage far exceeds what you would have paid in postage. So bulk mail is less costly than conventional first-class mail.
There’s another benefit, however, to bulk mail. A good mailing service will also offer to run your mailing list against the National Change of Address list to eliminate undeliverable names/addresses. That means you don’t waste your resources printing and mailing pieces that have no chance of being delivered.
Those are good things for your company or organization. You can reduce the costs to mail directly to your customers and prospects. But you need to be aware that the USPS is very particular about what they will accept when it comes to bulk mail. If you don’t prepare your mailing to their exact specifications, not only can it end up costing you more—but it can even cause your mailing to be rejected. That’s why it’s good to take advantage of the services that a qualified mailing company offers.
It’s also important to understand what “bulk mail” doesn’t mean. Sometimes people use bulk mail and junk mail interchangeably. That’s a big mistake. Just because you mail in large quantities doesn’t mean you can ignore the value of what you’re sending. Junk mail is any kind of promotional mailing that doesn’t offer value to the recepient. That’s the kind of mail that ends up in the trash. Let’s face it: it doesn’t matter how much you save on postage if the people you’re trying to reach simply throw away what you sent. Here’s a post that takes a look at three ways to keep the “junk” out of your direct mail efforts.
You don’t need to be afraid of bulk mail. Used properly, it can help you reach prospects and clients effectively and less expensively. But you have to make sure you do it right—in order to get the lowest possible raters, and in order to ensure that you get the right message across and generate response.