A Publication of WTVP

Mailing is an ever-changing industry. According to the United States Postal Service, 160 billion pieces were processed in 2012, including first-class and standard mail, shipping and package services, and periodicals! Additionally, there were more than 39 million address changes last year.

I’m constantly working with businesses and organizations throughout Illinois on communicating with customers. Businesses are looking at ways to minimize expenses and maximize processing efficiency, while overall mail volume has seen many changes. First-class mail has dropped in recent years due to the way we communicate electronically. Paying bills and invoices online can be a good solution for some customers, while others prefer a printed copy. It’s important to consider your audience and type of communication before committing to this type of program. Customers like options, and it’s important to present options on electronic delivery versus postal mail.

Standard mail has remained consistent for sending advertising and marketing-related mail. Shipping and package services are growing with the addition of flat-rate shipping envelopes and boxes. According to a 2012 USPS Mail Moment survey, 80 percent of consumers look at their mail daily and see it as a valuable news resource, 75 percent like to see what’s in the mail, and 63 percent of mail is kept for at least two days. These numbers also hold true for the younger tech-dependent generation (18- to 24-year-olds), of whom 79 percent sort the mail at the first opportunity, 67 percent scan the mail looking for important or interesting mail, and 72 percent would like to receive more personal mail.

The USPS has new plans for 2013, and businesses both small and large can take advantage of some great promotions. The Every Door Direct Mail program that’s currently available allows businesses and organizations to prepare an oversized postcard for distribution within a targeted zip code. Starting this August, businesses can take advantage of a two-percent postage discount when incorporating a mobile device. This can be done through the use of a QR code on the mail piece that connects the consumer to a mobile coupon, offer or special incentive. The QR code can be scanned anywhere by a smartphone or tablet.

Another incentive for postal savings is that mailers can add a picture in their mailing permit that’s printed on the front of the envelope. This is designed to improve the mail piece’s visibility and impact as a marketing tool. First-class mail will be discounted one cent per piece and standard mail will be discounted two cents. Additionally, if your business has product samples, yet another new USPS program starting in August provides a five-percent postage discount on qualifying mail containing a product sample. iBi

For more information, email [email protected] or call (309) 698-1500.