How Much Does it Cost to Mail a Postcard?


How-Much-Does-it-Cost-to-Mail-a-Postcard.jpgOne of the reasons so many businesses and organizations like to use postcards as part of their marketing outreach is that the format allows them to reach clients, customers, or constituents quickly, easily, and inexpensively.  Cards are relatively simple and fast to design, write, print, and mail. And as far as expense goes, they are one of the biggest bargains in the world of direct mail. Here’s a post that looks at a number of reasons that postcard mailings are a great way to reach your audience.

Of course savy marketers want to know just how much of a bargain a postcard mailing represents. Are you looking at spending pennies or hundreds of dollars when you decide to mail? The answer, of course, is: “It depends.”

We’ll take a look at a specific cost for a mailing in a moment, but first let’s look at the factors that determine what your postcard mailing will cost.

A Mailing List: If you have your own in-house mailing list, this is an expense you can avoid (although it’s still a good idea to have your list run against the National Change of Address file to make sure you’re not mailing to bad addresses). If you decide you want to rent a list (to reach new prospects) you can choose between different kinds of lists, such as a compiled list, or a carrier route list. The more detailed the list is (containing specific informaiton such as age, sex, income level, interests, buying habits, etc.) the more expensive it will be.

Format: There are different sizes of cards—and of course smaller sized cards cost less than larger formats. You can choose from 4 ¼” x 6”, 5 1/2 “ x 8 ½”, 6”x9”, or 6”x 11” formats. Your choice of colors also impacts the price. A simple black and white card is somewhat cheapre than a full-color (4-color) card. The paper you choose to print on also affects your price. Thinner, non-glossy card stock is cheaper than thicker, high gloss stock (but if you want to use color images, you’ll need that glossy stock).

Mailing Services: Just getting your cards printed doesn’t mean they’re ready to mail. You’ll need to import your mailing list, run it against CASS/NCOA certification, ink-jet the addresses on the cards (in appropriate ZIP code order), and then bundle and deliver the cards to the Bulk Mail Center (along with payment for postage and all properly completed paperwork. The charges here can vary depending on how much work needs to be done to get you the lowest postage pricing.

Naturally, the number of pieces you print and mail will affect your costs. There are quantities of scale that work in your favor for printing and mailing charges.

How about some specific examples? To give you an idea of the ranges in pricing, let’s look at two examples. One will be a 5,000 piece mailing of a 4 ¼”x6” card using a Carrier Route list. The other will be a 25,000 piece mailing of a 6”x11” card using a compiled list.

How-Much-Does-it-Cost-to-Mail-a-Postcard1.jpgPlease note that these figures are estimates for illustration purposes only. Exact quotes will be generated based on exact specifications.

The best way to know exactly what your specific mailing will cost is to get a quote that matches the exact specifications of your project. The quantities and formats of your mailing can dramatically affect your specific pricing. What you may want to do is to price two or three different options depending on your budget and on what will work best for your specific audience.

For example, if you’re a carry-out sandwich shop and you want to reach as many people as possible in a specific area, you don’t need to pay for a compiled list. You don’t care about demographics or even names. You simply want addresses within a 2-mile radius of your shop. And you probably don’t need a super-sized glossy card. A simple notice about your specials will suffice. On the other hand, if you’re selling a luxury home, you only want to mail to people with the financial ability to buy. And you probably want a high-quality printed piece to show off the property.

You can see why the question: “How much does it cost to mail a postcard?” results in an answer of: “That depends.” But at least you have a bit of an idea on some of the specifics that will affect the final price you pay.

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