The term “bulk mail” has evolved through the years. USPS changed what they had called “bulk” to Standard Mail, and then renamed Standard in 2017 to its current term Marketing Mail. Flyers, circulars, advertising, newsletters, bulletins, and catalogs are examples of printed material typically mailed as Marketing Mail.
No matter the name, the reason why you can save by mailing at the Marketing Mail rate is simple: The more work you do to prepare your mailing, the less the U.S. Post Office needs to do. Sorting the mail by ZIP Code or transporting the mail to a destination postal facility are among the things you can do to reduce the work to be done by the Post Office, and, in turn, receive reduced postage rates.
So let’s take a quick look at potential savings. In our example, we’re sending direct mail letters locally.
|MAIL CLASS||1,500 piece mailing||50,000 piece mailing||100,000 piece mailing|
|First-class Letter(<3.5 ounces, Automation, 5-digit sort)||$574||$19,150||$38,300|
|Marketing Mail Letter(<3.5 ounces, Automation, 5-digit sort)||$384||$12,800||$25,600|
As you can see, there are savings when you choose Marketing Mail. If you’re a high volume mailer, you could see a substantial reduction in postage costs.
Did you notice “5-digit sort” in the first column that describes the mailing? That sort description means all letters are going to the same five-digit ZIP code. “5-digit sort” is one of several types of presort levels. Presorting — grouping your mail by address rather than by last name — is another way to save on postage because it ultimately makes mail delivery efficient. Presorting reduces postage costs for all classes of mail not just Marketing Mail.
Marketing Mail Fast Facts
- Marketing Mail is not forwarded or returned unless requested with an ancillary service endorsement – Adding an endorsement like “Return Service Requested” can help you keep your mailing list up to date, which can be beneficial in many ways, but you will need to pay applicable charges.
- Marketing Mail takes longer to deliver than First-class – First-class mail takes only one to three days, while local delivery of Marketing Mail could take as long as five days. A national mailing could take a few weeks. Priority Mail Open and Distribute service can speed up delivery times; requirements for that service are beyond the scope of this post.
- Mailing Requirements
- Minimum Weight: Starts at 1 ounce
- Maximum Weight: less than 16 ounces.
- Minimum Quantity: 200 pieces or 50 pounds of mail.
Is a Mailing Permit Required?
Commercial mail, whether it’s First Class or USPS Marketing Mail, requires you to pay for the ability to mail at that particular mail class. That annual mailing permission fee is $235.
In addition to securing permission to mail, you also need to consider how you’ll pay the postage — precanceled stamps, postage meter, or permit imprint. Precanceled stamps or meter are labor-intensive, so many mailers opt to pay an additional fee so they can use a permit imprint.
To mail using a permit imprint, you’ll need to create a USPS account and deposit funds into it to pay for each of your mailings. There is a one-time permit imprint application fee of $235 and is separate from the $235 annual mailing fee. To get a permit, you need to complete PS Form 3615 and take it to your local post office.
The bottom line is that depending on how frequently you mail, your mail quantity, and how fast you want your mail delivered, you could see substantial postage savings by mailing at the Marketing Mail rate. The question to ask yourself – Do I want to invest the time and money needed to see the savings? If yes, then you can do a deeper dive into how to realize those savings by visiting usps.com. There you will find out more about presorting and learn about barcoding, for example. Next, you’ll need to investigate what software and other tools you’ll need to handle the mail preparation yourself. Don’t forget to factor in staff time.
Or, you could talk to the mailing pros at HIG. They have the experience and equipment to help you start saving right away. Let HIG figure out the mailing mechanics while you focus your energy on growing your business. Have questions? Let’s talk!