You’ve heard the advertisements. “When we save money, YOU save money!” When the retailer gets a deal, they pass the savings along to you. The United States Post Office is no different. There are certain mailing sizes and formats that process through the USPS equipment more efficiently, so when you save them money, they save you money. That’s what automation discounts are all about.
Even if you don’t have the volumes to qualify for automation discounts, staying within these guidelines will ensure that you get the most out of your mailings. By following the guidelines, you can prevent your mail pieces from being delayed or undeliverable.
Here are the categories to keep in mind:
Format Size: To qualify for automation discounts, First Class postcards, letters, and flats must be within a certain size range. For example, to qualify for discounts, postcards must be ½” x 5” to 4 ¼” x 6” and range from .007” to .016” in thickness.
Addressing: For the mail to process most efficiently, the address block must be placed in the right location. For letters, it must be ½” from the left and right edges. For non-barcoded mail, it must be 2 ¾” from the bottom edge. For barcoded mail, it must be up to 4” from the bottom edge.
Font size: For maximum readability, the USPS prefers that the address be printed in font that is a minimum of 10 points. If it’s a san-serif font, all the better. If you are using window envelopes, make sure that the entire address is visible. If the city-state falls below the window, the mail piece may disappear too — as undeliverable.
Background contrast: While bright envelope colors can grab attention and increase open rates, you need to be sure that the contrast between the envelope and the printing is sufficient to be read by the postal machinery. If the address is not readable, you will lose your automation discount and, potentially, the mailing could be rejected. You can’t get a response from a mail piece that is never delivered.
No 3D objects, please: Anything that renders the mailing less than completely flat will eliminate your postal discount. This means no clasps, buttons, or other 3D closures. Sure, those things may look cool, but they will not run through the automated equipment. However, keep in mind that 3D mailings can really increase open and response rates. So, let us help you research your options. 3D may be worth the extra cost!
Postal Discount Program: The USPS has just announced a discount program for tactile, sensory and interactive mail pieces. The program runs from March 1 through August 31, 2016 and offers a 2% discount. So, let your imagination go wild:
- Scratch and sniff
- Embedded sound chips
- Edible components, such as rice paper
- Pop-up mailers
- Texturized papers
Looking for more ways to put your ideas in motion and maximize your postal discounts? Give us a call.