The USPS has been threatening financial collapse for what feels like eons now, but in reality it has only been a few years. Now, a round of talks scheduled for Fall of 2014 (now!) threatens to result in the closure of 82 mail-processing centers and the loss of 15,000 jobs. Since 2012, USPS has already consolidated 141 processing centers, leading to a much leaner service than in the past. The issue is now the subject of a major squabble in the Senate, and it’s looking more and more likely that at some point the service will die out entirely.
The anticipated effects of a smaller, less well-padded USPS on your direct mail are, primarily:
- fewer deliveries
- higher mailing costs, and
- potential other constraints on sending mail.
By being pro-active, you can implement ways to break free of the strangle-hold well ahead of time, which will give your company a significant competitive advantage over other players when it happens. Here are some of the ways you can prepare for D-Day, starting now:
#1: Limit the Number of Campaigns
As it becomes more expensive and complex to send direct mail, you’ll need to start being more selective about what you send. Limit the number of campaigns to those that are critical or offer the best opportunity for conversion and use best practices, so you spend money only when it’s really worthwhile to do so.
#2: Go 3-Dimensional
Make your direct mail campaigns dramatic and exceptional, with 3-D, high-impact mailings that are designed to be impossible to ignore in the mailbox. Whether it’s a simple parcel such as a pen enclosed in an envelope, or a specially-crafted, die-cut box it means you won’t be spending your money on boring campaigns. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) reports that 3-D formats outperform standard mailings by 250%, with an increase in the cost per lead of only 50%.
#3: Leverage Multiple Channels
To achieve a reasonable ROI, you’ll need to optimize every direct mail campaign to get the most out of it. You can do this by leveraging online channels such as email marketing, social media and content marketing as part of your campaign to reduce the costs of both production and distribution. Introduce a mobile or text message component to your campaigns that will reach clients who prefer not to receive email.
#4: Use Your Time Wisely
Start now with converting your direct mail recipients to other methods of marketing by implementing a targeted campaign to get them to subscribe to your other channels. No, you don’t need to stop using direct mail, but by converting your mailing list to a database of prospective clients you can contact using other methods you can avoid losing them altogether.
Don’t let the USPS’s squabbles get the better of your direct marketing strategy. Start finding other ways to deliver your message and convert your recipients in the meantime, so when it happens you’re fully prepared and won’t experience any hiccups.