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I need to know more about direct mail postage. I know the us postal service gives discounts for bulk mail sent. I know there are other services out there like stamps.com that allow you to print postage from your machine.

I am about to send out a mailing of about 2000 post cards but need to know more about postage.
 

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What do you need to know? I'm pretty well versed in direct mail.

Basically the more you do for the post office the cheaper the mailing costs get. Currently it is possible to get bulk mail down to about 11.5 cents apiece using a saturation mailing technique with barcode and presorting done by the mailer instead of the post office. If you are sending 2000 postcards spread out all over the place it will be significantly more expensive.

If you are going to send a lot of post cards pretty frequently it will be worth it to get a bulk mail permit and do most of it yourself with available software. The permit is usually about $150 to set up and another $150 a year, every year. All you do is make what is called the permit imprint on each of your mailing pieces and pay for the postage all at once at the time of mailing. Basically you will preprint on your cards or make labels and stick to your cards, sort them according to zip codes and deliver to the bulk mail center for mailing out. It can be a steep learning curve the first time, but after that it is a piece of cake and can really give you the advantage over your competition, because they won't do it at all, or you can send out 2-3 times as many cards at the same price they are because they are paying a middle man and you are not.

If you want to try another route, the post office has a great online service where they will create custom postcards as few as 1 or as many as a million and mail them for you doing almost all the work for you at very cheap prices. You download their template, make a post card, upload it along with your mailing list and they will do the rest. I've sent out thousands of postcards using their system and it is excellent and cheap. (The nice thing is you can test your post cards by making one and sending it to yourself)

Here is a bulk mail primer http://www.usps.com/businessmail101/getstarted/bulkMail.htm

Here is the US post office online mailing site (ran by a 3rd party actually)
https://ecap21.usps.com/cgi-bin/ecapbv/scripts/login.jsp?app=MailingOnline

Two free books the US postal service has available to you and will give you if you ask for them:
"A guide to mailing for businesses and organizations" - explains all the bulk mail methods
"Quick service guide" - explains the technical details of each step of sending bulk mail.

There is a bulk mail specialist who works at certain post offices available to consult with small business owners and walk them through the processes. The one thing I hear consistantly over and over again is how surprised people are at how excellent these bulk mail specialists are to work with. Your local one will answer any questions you have and basically hold your hand if you want, showing you the cheapest and most effective ways to use the bulk mail system.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I did a bunch of research and I agree... it seems like the presort method you spoke of is the best for me. Or is it? This only has to do with my marketing. What about my daily postage? The meter system would apply not only to my direct marketing but also my daily postage.

At this point I think I am going to go with the presort method you spoke of and just bite the bullet on my daily postage. Another thing is I plan to have my presort permit number printed right on the card to eliminate the time required to put a sticker on 2000 post cards.

I'm going to the post office tomorrow and get the necessary paper work.
 

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Grumpy said:
What about my daily postage? The meter system would apply not only to my direct marketing but also my daily postage.
Bulk mail has nothing to do with using a meter system. For one thing you would not get the bulk mail discounts and it would be very time consuming and tedious to try to meter each piece individually.

Grumpy said:
At this point I think I am going to go with the presort method you spoke of and just bite the bullet on my daily postage.
That's what I would suggest. Daily mail and bulk mailing really have little to do with each other.

Grumpy said:
Another thing is I plan to have my presort permit number printed right on the card to eliminate the time required to put a sticker on 2000 post cards.
That is exactly the method you should use, the only time you want to apply labels to bulk mail if for the address, the indicia or the permit imprint should always be printed directly on the piece when it is printed since it never changes.

Get those 2 books from them and see if you can talk to the bulk mail specialist and you should be well on your way.
 
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