What’s the best direct mail postage rate?

Direct mail postage represents a significant proportion of the direct mail budget.  It also determines how quickly your mail gets delivered.

There are two main classes of postage:

  • First class and
  • Standard mail (formerly called third class).

Both classes are eligible for discounts for presorting and for density (mailing a certain number of people into the same zip code, carrier route, etc.).

We are going to avoid using actual postage rates here because they change so often, but in general standard mail costs about 10 cents cheaper than first class.


First class mail is typically delivered within three days of your mail drop.

Standard mail can take anywhere from a few days to three weeks depending the recipient’s location.


Some people like first class mail because they think it looks better – that it will command more attention from the reader.  However, it is still unclear how many people actually pay attention to the postage when they receive their mail.

In our view, the more important consideration is the service related to the different postage rates.


Aside from the faster delivery, first class also gives you automatic returns of all undeliverable mail.  This is a great way to keep your lists up to date.

If you are using standard mail, all undeliverable mail gets thrown away so you don’t automatically know if mail is not getting delivered.  However, the Post Office offers Address Service Requested service which will notify you of undeliverables and provide an updated a address.   There is a fee for this service.

From a practical standpoint, undeliverables are not important if you are using a rented list for one-time use because you’re not responsible for updating someone else’s list.


Postcard postage rates

The Post Office offers special discounts for postcards measuring up to 6×9 inches.  These smaller postcards can be mailed first class at about 15 cents less than normal letter first class.

Pay close attention to the dimensions.  If your postcard exceeds the limits, you will not qualify and you will pay the regular letter rate.


Every Door Direct Mail

The Post Office recently introduced a new program that allows local businesses to mail to local households and businesses at a significantly reduced postage rate.

With Every Door Direct Mail, you don’t need a mailing list or a mail house.  You just print your pieces in the quantities needed for each neighborhood you want to reach.

If your business sell to every household in your area, this may be a good option for you.

If you’d like to discuss an upcoming campaign – or if you’re looking for ways to improve an existing mailing program – call us and let’s schedule an introductory call.