No one likes rising prices – unless you’re the one raising them. Once again, the postage rate is increasing. Here are some new direct mail trends and insights that can keep your marketing profitable.
What are the new postage rates?
The First-Class Mail Forever stamp increased by 2 cents. Most other items went up 4 cents, while international letters now cost a dime more.
|Postal Item||Old Price||2022 Price|
|Letters (1 oz.)||58 cents||60 cents|
|Letters (Metered, 1 oz.)||53 cents||57 cents|
|Letters – More Ounce(s)||20 cents||24 cents|
|Domestic Postcards||40 cents||44 cents|
|International Letters (1 oz.)||$1.30||$1.40|
Why did the postage rate increase?
Without question, inflation is raising USPS operating expenses. Added to this, USPS equipment and trucks are aging. In addition, tax dollars do not support the US Postal Service. They rely solely on income from postage, products, and services. Despite the rate increases, letter mail postage rates are still the lowest in the industrialized world.
Should you expect these new rates to last within the new direct mail trends?
On May 5, 2022, postmaster general Louis DeJoy said: “Americans should get used to uncomfortable postage rate increases in coming years.” He added, “I believe we have been severely damaged by at least 10 years of a defective pricing model which cannot be satisfied by one or two annual price increases, especially in this inflationary environment.”
Of course, it’s the Postal Service Board of Governors that sets the rate, not DeJoy. However, DeJoy admits he wants to keep pushing for higher rates until the postal service is “self-sustaining.”
Is direct mail marketing still profitable?
Despite the rising cost of paper and postage, with direct mail, you’re always in control of how many mail pieces you send out and when. In contrast, people continue to see digital marketing display ads for products they bought a month ago.
Direct mail enjoys a higher response rate and is more memorable than other marketing methods. For these reasons, direct mail continues to be a cost-effective way to get your message to the right person at the right time
Direct mail trends savvy marketers are using to overcome the cost:
- Data hygiene. Compare your data with other sources to make sure prospect information is accurate and current
- Smart segmentation. Divide your audience into separate groups so you can better target their varied interests
- Postal automation. Use machine-readable delivery addresses
- More concise ad copy
- Unusual packaging that people can touch and feel
- Recycled paper stock
- Informed Delivery. The USPS provides residential consumers a free, online digital preview of their upcoming mail
- Get consumers to take small steps
Direct Mail Trends Suggest Sending Larger postcards
Since 2016, people are using envelopes and self-mailers less, while postcards are a lot more popular now. Now there’s another reason to use postcards.
The USPS announced an exciting change with the new postal rates: larger postcards (9” by 6”) can now qualify for First Class Postcard rates. This gives you extra space for your message. It’s also easy to add a QR code.
More about the consumer brand journey and maintaining integrity throughout your marketing channels:
Use fewer words
Mailed ads now use 62% fewer words than they did 20 years ago. People don’t take time to read as much anymore. Also, fewer words take up less space and this means less cost.
Consumers want brevity. Add more images, and bullet points. Trim down your words. Include just the key information. This gives you more empty space around your words. Now you can use formatting to direct the reader’s eyes to what is important.
Why add tactile and sensory features?
People remember something unusual they can touch and feel. The packaging industry has long used this method to stand out above the crowd and be memorable. Mail pieces with this feature also get better response rates. The USPS is also offering a 4% discount under their Tactile, Sensory, & Interactive promotion.
Recycled paper stock
Paper supply chain challenges continue to drive up paper costs. Yet recycled paper costs less. Not only is recycling great for the environment – it helps your reputation. People like that you care about the planet.
Why add Informed delivery to your mail campaign?
Informed Delivery is a free, optional USPS service for residential consumers. People love it, especially travelers and those who often get misdirected mail. Right now, you can add a small image to your mail piece and this causes your mail to get put at the top of the consumer’s digital list.
As you can guess, being at the top of the list gives you a distinct marketing advantage. You also get a 4% discount for Informed Delivery from USPS in 2022.
Small steps you can get prospects to take with direct mail:
- Scan a QR code
- Visit your website
- Download your app
- Follow you on social media
- Use a VACTA (Voice Activated Call To Action) like “Ask Alexa about…” a topic
What do these direct mail trends mean for you?
Postal rates only rose 6.5% while inflation rose 7.9%. Smart marketers expect postal rates to keep on rising. You can combat the rising rates with the cost-saving, yet compelling strategies in this article. Now it’s more important than ever to plan your direct mail campaigns as far into the future as possible. Current direct mail trends offer great opportunities, but the ones who plan best will be the winners.