Direct mail,  if done right, is both an effective and cost-effective way to market your business. Whether you blanket an area or use your mailing list, you have the ability to talk directly with your target audience at a price that can be quickly recouped by an increase in sales. Let’s look at some of the components to an effective direct mail campaign and costs associated with sending out mailers?

Direct mail pieces can cost anywhere from as little as 30 cents per piece to more than $10 per person, depending on how much you spend on design, marketing copy, mailing lists, printing, and distribution. Some organizations do much of this in house and wind up only paying for printing and mailing.

Let’s break down these into individual cost factors:

Design Costs

When it comes to designing your direct mail piece, you have a few different options:

  • If you only require something very basic such as a piece of correspondence, you should be able to create something suitable in Microsoft Word.
  • Look for a design template – You can find numerous online sites that sell templates that cost around $10 on average.
  • Hire a professional – If you need assistance in the creativity department, your best bet is to pay a professional print designer. You may use someone local in your area or look for a freelancer online on sites like Upwork.

Marketing Copy Costs

If you have a very tight budget, you may have no other choice but to write your own marketing copy. However, if you have a bit to spend, it is considered best practice to hire a professional copywriter. Your copy has got to be persuasive and there are an art and science to getting it just right. Copywriters … good ones anyway … are trained to write content that hooks the reader and gets them to buy.

Mailing Lists Costs

The best ad piece needs a place to wind up. Your mailing list is critical. Free mailing lists can be had by either using data you already have on your current customers, or by doing a trade of your info with another business in your area or industry. Buying a list should never be counted out. You’ll end up paying anywhere between .02-.30 cents per record. The cost will vary based on the quality of the data, how many records you buy, and how many times you can send out to the same list (make sure you’re clear on that last part).

Printing Costs

Printing costs will vary based on the following:

  • Black and white vs. color – Black on white is always the easiest, but in today’s Technicolor world, short-run digital makes using color more affordable and creates a higher impression.
  • Paper quality – The type of paper makes a definite impression on your audience. A respectable weight of paper conveys a subliminal quality to your message.
  • Paper size – Custom cuts, scoring, and folding will add to your costs.
  • Single-sided vs. two-sided – Sending blank sides is not an effective use of your mailer. A balanced and flowing layout will prevent open spaces and blank pages.
  • Quantity – Printers and copy shops offer discounts at certain amounts. Know where these price breaks occur before you order.

Visit any online printing website to learn more about the various costs printing costs for your campaign.

Distribution Costs

The most handsome piece of printing will not distribute itself. The final expense to consider is mailing costs. Prices fluctuate and are dependent on the current postage rate, the amount of mail you send, and how much all of that mail weighs. Remember, the bigger the pieces, the heavier the order, and the more you’re going to pay.

USPS Marketing Mail is mail matter not required to be mailed as First-Class Mail or Periodicals. Lower nonprofit prices are available for USPS Marketing Mail but require specific authorization. Mailers use USPS Marketing Mail to send items including printed matter, flyers, circulars, advertising, newsletters, bulletins, catalogs, and even small parcels.

All USPS Marketing Mail prices are based in bulk prices, and each mailing must meet a minimum quantity of 200 pieces or 50 pounds of mail. There is no single-piece USPS Marketing Mail postage.

In USPS Marketing Mail, there are prices for letters, flats/large envelopes, parcels, Marketing parcels, and Parcel Select Lightweight parcels. Certain extra services can be used with USPS Marketing Mail parcels, Marketing parcels, and Parcel Select Lightweight parcels: electronic USPS Tracking, bulk insurance, and return receipt for merchandise.

However, USPS Marketing Mail, USPS Marketing Mail parcels, marketing parcels, and Parcel Select Lightweight parcels are not forwarded or returned unless you specifically request it with an ancillary service endorsement. Forwarding and return services may result in additional fees or postage which could affect your campaign’s costs.

For many mailers, USPS Marketing Mail is often the best choice because postage prices are highly cost-effective. Direct Mail is best for domestic mail only. You cannot send USPS Marketing Mail to international addresses. Not sure if USPS Marketing Mail is right for you? With Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) you can reach customers in targeted neighborhoods, without having to provide specific names or street addresses. Ask your local Post Office for details on EDDM-retail or EDDM-BMEU options.

Many mailers use a service called “Priority Mail Open and Distribute” to speed up the delivery of their USPS Marketing Mail. You mail your trays or sacks of USPS Marketing Mail via Priority Mail to the postal facility nearest the final destination of your mail. This is another very cost-effective way to get your message to your customer sooner.

While the cynics and technophiles would try to have you believe otherwise, direct mail marketing is still a highly effective method to prospect for new customers, talk within a specific area or geography, and part of any business’s marketing mix.