Designing and launching a successful direct mail marketing campaign means
understanding the different classes of mail and how to use their strengths
to your campaign’s advantage. Generally, it’s a question of first class
versus standard class mail. Each mail class has its pros and cons; these
pros and cons determine whether or not a particular class of mail best suits
your mailing campaign. This guide will provide a simple rundown of each
mailing class, giving you the knowledge you need to make the best decision
when designing your direct mail marketing campaign.
First-class is a mail class often used for letters,
postcards, flyers, and small packages and is the best fit for pieces under 13
ounces. In regards to direct mail marketing campaigns, first class is a
faster option than standard mail, as it’s given priority over other classes
of mail. The delivery time for first class mail is 1-3 days locally and 2-5
days nationally. In addition, it includes return and forwarding services at
no additional charge.
Most people are familiar with first class mail as this is the class of mail
used when you mail a card to a friend or a letter to a company. By default,
4” x 6” postcards mail as first class as they’re offered a special
discounted rate over letter size pieces. This special discount is limited
only to postcards of that size, but its benefits make it the most sensible
option for those specific mailing pieces.
Presorted First Class Mail
Presorted first class mail, or “first class presort” is an option for
mailings that exceed 500 individual pieces, which makes it a great fit for
bulk direct mail campaigns. In order to have your mail “presorted,” it
requires using the mailing services of a company like U.S. Press to process
your mailing list (to make sure it is NCOA updated and CASS certified),
group your mailings by ZIP code, and bundle them accordingly. By doing so,
though, you can receive a lower postage rate than regular first class mail
Standard mail lives up to its name as a good standard for affordable,
effective mailing. It won’t ensure the same speedy delivery as first class,
but what it lacks in speed it makes up for in cost-effectiveness. All the
same, even if standard mail isn’t the best option for time-sensitive pieces,
most pieces mailed this way will arrive, on average, within about five
business days locally and within ten days nationally. It’s a great middle
ground between cost-effectiveness and speed of delivery.
To mail your pieces under the standard mail (bulk mail) class, you must mail
at least 200 pieces that are less than 16 ounces each. In addition, your
pieces must be NCOA updated, CASS certified, presorted, and bundled by a
mail house like U.S. Press.
Non-profit standard mail is not a unique mailing class; It’s just standard
mail with a lower postage rate. This rate is only available to those who
have non-profit status with USPS, so it isn’t for everyone, but it offers
some cost-saving benefits for those that are eligible. In order to receive
the non-profit rate, you must apply for a
non-profit mail permit from USPS
Which one is right for me?
The answer to that depends on the mailing campaign, but the two are easy to
compare. First-class mail is a faster option, but unless you’re mailing a 4”
x 6” postcard, it’s more expensive. Standard mail is cost-effective, it will
just take a little longer to get there. Considering that postage costs are
the most expensive cost of a direct mail marketing campaign, most marketers
choose standard class mail, unless there’s a special need to get something
to customers in a hurry.
What is EDDM?
EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail)
targeted mailing service
option offered by USPS. It requires you to use entire postage routes or ZIP
codes instead of tailored mailing routes, and its sizing options are more
limited. However, it’s a great option for direct mail campaigns that need to
reach a high number of potential customers within specific geographic areas,
regardless of demographics.
These are the sort of options that marketers have available to them when
preparing their direct marketing campaign. Determining which one is best
suited for a specific campaign will depend on the goals of the campaign, but
the pros and cons of each mode of mailing will always affect the decision.
You can count on your U.S. Press account manager to help you sort through
any more details or answer any questions you may have.
Learn more about one of the biggest challenges of campaigns and how to create stopping power with your direct mail campaigns.