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October 16, 2018

7 Direct Mail Formats Designed to Deliver

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All direct mail is not created equal.

 

But sometimes it seems like the U.S Postal Service's regulations would like it to be. It's important to think outside the box while at the same time following the USPS guidelines to make sure your mailer will in fact be able to mail successfully at the lowest postal rates. 

 

Sometimes it gets a bit confusing, because those guidelines are numerous and nuanced. Your 9"x6" postcard? That’s actually a letter by USPS standards. That means it must follow the strict letter guidelines:

 

  • It must be rectangular and within a minimum and maximum height and length.
  • It must also be at least 0.009” thick, but no thicker than 0.25”—so choose your stock wisely.
  • Don’t forget the aspect ratio (the length divided by the height)—if your piece's ratio isn't between 1.3 and 2.5, there's a surcharge. 
  • And we haven’t even gotten into weight with or without an envelope, enclosed item limitations, barcode and addressing concerns, areas where gloss coating can and cannot be used, and on and on. (Shall we move on to the rules for flats now?)

 

These immense guidelines might discourage you from getting too creative with your direct mail. Don’t let it. The fact is, there’s plenty of room within the USPS guidelines for inventive formats that deliver an eye-popping bang for the same cost effective postal rates. Here are 7 of our favorites:

 

1. Stand-Out Stretch Letter Package

Stand out in the mailbox to get a lift in response. Combine an oversize stretch envelope with a reply device and free gift to send a letter package that stands out in the recipient’s mailbox and drives response. It mails at the economical letter rate, and is a natural fit for appeal campaigns, welcome letters and acquisition programs.

 

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2. Scratch-Off Mailer

A Variable Scratch-Off Label is a great way to encourage response via offer redemption. Plus, the format allows you to personalize your offer for each record in your mailing list and eliminate the need for multiple print runs and presorts—ultimately saving you time and money. Ideal for special promotions, new product launches, VIP offers and acquisition campaigns.

 

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3. Tear-Off Postcard

Another format that coaxes response from the promise of reward, the Tear-Off Postcard showcases its offer using an easily redeemable and cost-effective tear-off format. You can employ inkjet personalization to create highly relevant coupons, unique to each record on your mailing list—perfect for loyalty or new customer welcome programs.

 

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4. Max Gifter

If you really want to boost response rates, consider incorporating cards into your mailer. Multiple cards provide the recipient with more ways to engage and respond, plus the efficient design helps reduce production costs to increase your ROI. In addition to acquisition and special offers, this format works wonders for referral and loyalty programs.

 

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5. Stair Mailer

Inch for inch, the Stair Mailer format provides the most real estate to present offers and information in an organized and engaging way. The unique stepped design gives you 10 panels to communicate your message while folding down to a mail-friendly 7.625” x 5.375” that can be sent as a self-mailer or in an A8 envelope.This mailer is often the go-to for invitations and new product launches.

 

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6. Zipper Mailer

The tactile nature of mail is one of its strengths—so exploit it! Unzipping a compact mailer inspires curiosity and promotes engagement. The zipper mailer is self-mailing and efficient to produce, ideal for medium to large print runs. 

 

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7. Pop-up Mailer

Want to leave a lasting impression? Three-dimensional pop-up mailers not only stand out from the clutter—they encourage offer redemption by showcasing your message front and center. This format also maximizes space for additional content to support your offer.

 

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All these mailers fall within USPS regulations for low automation postal rates—and most are more cost-effective than you’d think. So before you throw up your hands and submit to the same old direct mail campaign approach, consider the wide range of formats available to you—each with its own special ability for grabbing attention and driving response.

 

Download free design templates and check out other helpful direct mail tools by visiting Launch Room. 

 

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