2019 Postage Increase: What You Need to Know

USPS postage rates are changing on January 27, 2019. Here’s what you need to know.

Key Increases:

First Class single piece postage stamps are increasing by 5 cents from $0.50 to $0.55.

The following products are going up across the board, with increases ranging from 1.3% to 4.8%.

You can print out this quick mailing and postage guide to help determine postage ranges for the different classes of mail available. Or if you need to drill down on specific rate groups, check out the USPS’s price list here for postage and mailing details not included on the guide.

Key Decreases:


What can you do?


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Keep or Toss? Direct Mail They’ll Want to Read

Everyone gets “junk” mail at home and at work. At some point, we sort through the piles and decide to keep it or toss it. Sometimes we’ll keep the direct mail piece because something has intrigued us, while a dull, uninspired design or irrelevant message will quickly land a mail piece in the toss pile.

This leads to the big question of, “How do you get your marketing mail read every time?” It’s an easy answer, but one that isn’t always easy to achieve (queue the large neon light). Print marketing should capture the attention of the consumer instantly!

Sure, it’s easy to say, but what does that look like? Maybe you feel like you’re already doing this, but not getting the response you’re hoping for. Let’s start with your audience. Consumers love when they get something that is just for them. Maybe it has their name on the piece, or maybe it’s a coupon for something they’ve been looking at. Target does this really well. Ever notice that the coupon they sent you happens to be for a product you’ll soon be needing? I’d like to say that Target just gets you, but in reality, they’re catering to you by tracking your buying habits, recent purchases, etc. Which is a whole other post, but you get the gist. So, what can we do if we don’t have all that access to data? We’re all trying to engage with our audience on a personal level, and intrigue them to engage with our brand. So, what can you do on your next direct marketing mailer to get your message read?

  1. Nail the creative.

Impactful, large images, personalization, and minimal text are surefire ways to get your message read. We only have about three seconds to catch the reader’s attention. Intrigue them on the front to engage them to read more on the back.

  1. Target the right group.

Make sure your target group and the product or service you’re offering is the right match. Many times, you have a great target group, but what you’re offering is the wrong fit. Quality over quantity will get you better results in the end.

  1. A call to action that matters.

Your call to action is arguably the most important part of your mailer. This gets your audience to take the desired next step, and leads to improved conversion rates. If your ask is clear and without a lot of complicated steps, they will be more likely to take action.

We all want to see a return on the work we are putting into a marketing piece. So, now it’s time to really hit the mark on your next mailing. You need to master the three steps above to keep your piece out of the recycling bin. If you put the work in, your mailer will definitely land at the top of the keep pile.

Ideas to Connect: Social Media and Direct Mail Combine Forces

Social media is currently one of the most highly used and cost-efficient digital marketing methods. It can instantly increase your brand’s awareness or not increase the brand. While it’s clear that social media has its advantages and should be a part of your inbound marketing strategy, combining your social media efforts with tangible direct mail pieces will create more engagement and further connect your audience.

If you’re hesitating on the relevance of direct mail, you’re not alone. More often than not, direct mail pieces fall flat when they fail to do one simple thing—ask the customer to interact with their brand. It seems like an obvious thing to do, but in reality it’s often overlooked. With a little planning and some creativity, the ideas below will help you avoid this marketing misfire and get you moving in the right direction.

3 Ideas to Connect Your Audience

  1. Always put your social media icons on your direct mail piece. This is an often-overlooked step in direct mail marketing that can give your business new followers, and ultimately, new customers. These icons tell your customers that you have more information and pictures to share, as well as where they can go to check them out. If they are interested in your brand, they now know you have an online presence and you’ve succeeded in making a connection between your print and online marketing efforts.

Examples of how you can connect direct mail with social media.

  1. Include a link on your direct mail piece that will drive traffic to your landing page. This is a page that will direct your customer or target audience to an upcoming event or fundraiser. The landing page is the place where they’ll find a form to fill out, donate money, or products to purchase, converting the visitor to a buyer. You will also want to share this landing page on your active social pages like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, to engage more viewers and increase website traffic.
  2. Create an interactive campaign. This is a unique way to engage your customers, and a fun way for them to interact with your brand. There are a number of ways to make your campaign interactive with your customer. One example, could be to direct your audience through your direct mail piece providing clues to lead more viewers to your website. Make sure you provide an incentive so the participant knows they will be rewarded for their efforts. This can be a clever way to highlight a new site or simply increase traffic to a specific area of interest.

Direct mail and social media continue to be extremely effective forms of marketing. When you join these two platforms, you’ll ultimately see a larger return on your marketing investment. Social media marketing options are readily available and often complementary to the tried and true marketing techniques, like direct mail. By using multiple formats as a part of your marketing strategy, you’ll succeed in building your brand and expanding your reach into new, and profitable markets.



Variable Data Printing: A Key to Post-Sale Engagement

Many of us have seen examples in our mailbox (and even email inboxes) where the sender has included core information like our name and address (or email address). This is an example of canned variable data printing (VDP), something that people seem to overlook every day without perceiving added value.

Deeper variable data utilizes “relevant and factual” data (that doesn’t make you feel like your privacy was violated) to provide added value, communicate an additional feature, or offer customer support resources post-purchase.

I recently made an online purchase of a dress belt, a commodity item in my opinion. It was a simple transaction, but when the belt arrived it came in a high-end box lined with silk, with a personalized note thanking me for my purchase. At the end of the note was a custom url online code (purl – Personal URL) that I could use for a future purchase discount. It even offered an additional discount if I provided feedback. (They provided me an “optional” unique feedback identifier number to enter on the feedback form for tracking purposes.)

More so, about a week after I had responded, the company sent me another thank you note including an additional discount code, and asked again if I was completely satisfied.

About 10 days after my initial purchase, I received a direct mail printed mini-catalog that included accessories matching the style of my original purchase. The catalog identified the specific belt I purchased (with a photo to jog my memory), with other suggested items and printed reviews and feedback on the quality of the suggested items.

While the purchase I made was online, I received three additional print communication touch points (a thank you in the package, a thank you note following my feedback, and a customized print catalog) that all had a variable element, offers, and customer support details if I needed assistance.

This is an example of how variable data printing, based on my purchase history, was able to provide me with a deeper post-purchase experience (resulting in an additional sale). All this for a $30 belt, a commodity purchase to me, but the start of a customer relationship for this manufacturer.

5 Direct Mailing Tips For Your Next Nonprofit Mailing

It’s that time of year again, and whether you’re a nonprofit, member-funded or another type of organization, you are busy putting together and executing great mailing campaigns.  Developing and executing a great direct mailing campaign can be a bit overwhelming. The initial investment and time can be scary especially, if you’ve never done a campaign like this or if you’ve not had success previously.

As you’re getting ready for this years or any future campaign, be sure to look over the below 5 tips that could help your organization stand out and create more impact.

Tip #1: Tell Your Story

Instead of showing your audience a pie chart or giving them statistics, tell them a good story! Talk to one of your volunteers or someone within the organization who works for your cause everyday and get their story.  Focus on telling that story and the impact or effect it has had on them. Asking your audience to feel the emotional side of what you will help to maximize your chances of gaining a donation.

Tip #2: Show Impact

You’ll want to show how their donation will be used or how it will make an impact, no matter what level of money they give.  And a great way to do that is with imagery or design.  A great example is the ASPCA campaign featuring Sarah McLachlan and all the animals that are in need of help. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. As hard as it is to see the imagery or hear what is happening to the animals, it’s enough for anyone (animal lover or not) to give a donation. You see firsthand the impact of what the ASCPA is working towards and the result of what your donation can do to help. So show your audience how they can help and make a lasting impact towards your cause.

Tip #3: Get Creative

This is your chance to get in front of your target audience and you only have a few seconds to grab their attention, so don’t be boring! You want them to feel your enthusiasm and passion for what you do. Your mailing should be engaging and create interest so they read your message. Unfortunately, this time of year you will not be the only one asking for a monetary gift so it’s time to make sure your cause stands out! Whether it’s the imagery,  size or colors,  the main goal is always to engage and not bore your viewer!

Tip #4: Have A Strong Call To Action

However you choose to send your campaign this year, don’t forget to have a strong call to action listed on your piece. Don’t assume that it is obvious that your audience, will know what you’re looking for them to do. Be clear on the action you want them to take, (i.e. give now or donate today). Keep it short and to the point!

Tip #5: Target Your Audience

Nobody knows your audience better than you do, you are the expert when it comes to your ideal prospect. So when you send out your mailing, not only should you mail to your in-house list, but also target new people who potentially value you the same thing that you’re working towards. This would require you to purchase a list, but the benefits that can come from a list that is highly targeted will potentially get you a front row seat to the the exact demographic you want to see your message.

These are just a handful of tips to help maximize your efforts this year and in the future. Make the most of your mailing campaign and don’t forget to capitalize on all the different communication channels that you have available!