1st or 2nd Class Stamp?

by 13 comments
Hi there,

I'm about to launch first direct marketing campaign where you send your prospects a lift letter directing them to a website.

My question is related to the following:

1. Does it matter whether I use a 1st or 2nd class stamp, or will the 1st class significantly out pull the other?

2. Does it matter how the letter is folded?

3. Is there a particular day it should be sent to increase conversion?

Thanks!

Josh
#internet marketing #1st #2nd #class #stamp
  • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
    Hi Josh,

    I am not qualified to answer this question from the perspective of a direct-mail marketer, as I have never done it.

    However, from the perspective of a guy who gets junk mail and biz opp offers in the mail, I can tell you this: the more a piece of mail looks like a letter from a friend, the more likely I am to open it. None of my friends have ever sent me something with a second-class stamp on it.

    I would think a first-class stamp would stand out from all of the bulk rate postage stuff and would lead to more people at least opening your mailing.

    All the best,
    Michael
    • Profile picture of the author mikeevee
      A simple cheap brown or white envelope will work best. Nothing glossy or with printing on the outside. And a simple easy-to-read letter inside.

      As for stamps, I wouldnt even notice so I'd save the cash and go second class. Real stamps will look better and more personal than franking machine stamps.
    • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
      Where are you sending from? In the U.S., second class is for newspapers and magazines. In the UK, I think second class is just a lower priority from first class, but I'm not too familiar with the UK system.
  • Profile picture of the author FrankBowman
    Also try to hand write the return address and the address its going to, believe me this works.

    Frank
  • Profile picture of the author Info-seeker
    Hey everyone,

    Thanks very much for all the detailed advice - I've taken everything on board and I'm off to get a blue pen now.

    Regards,

    Josh
  • Profile picture of the author Big Al
    And oldie but a goodie ... Dan Kennedy's Ultimate Sales Letter (and I think Bill Glazer's Outrageous Marketing) both talk about getting your letter delivered and opened.

    Good luck - let us know how you get on 'cos that's going the extra-mile there!
    • Profile picture of the author Info-seeker
      Originally Posted by Big Al View Post

      And oldie but a goodie ... Dan Kennedy's Ultimate Sales Letter (and I think Bill Glazer's Outrageous Marketing) both talk about getting your letter delivered and opened.

      Good luck - let us know how you get on 'cos that's going the extra-mile there!
      Just joined Dan Kennedy's mailing list and got his "No B.S. Newsletter"

      Thanks!
  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    Originally Posted by Info-seeker View Post

    Hi there,

    I'm about to launch first direct marketing campaign where you send your prospects a lift letter directing them to a website.

    My question is related to the following:

    1. Does it matter whether I use a 1st or 2nd class stamp, or will the 1st class significantly out pull the other?

    2. Does it matter how the letter is folded?

    3. Is there a particular day it should be sent to increase conversion?

    Thanks!

    Josh
    1. In the US, if you want to send a letter, I think 1st and bulk(which I believe is 3rd) are your only options, to the best of my knowledge. BTW bulk may require prearrangement, and special materials. You get a heavily reduced rate, and special attention, but it still may be delivered slower, and YOU do the sorting! ALSO, it requires over a certain amount per mailing. I believe it used to be 200 pieces. Talk to the post office about that.

    2. If the letter is in an envelope, it is customary to fold it in an accordian fold, with the upper third pointing out and towards the flap. Nobody cares too much though. The post office only cares where the markings are, and that it is SEALED! Any opening can catch and frustrate things. ALSO, they may give discounts for special markings, etc... and they must be in certain places. And they only allow certain sizes. Failure to do it correctly can result in lost/stopped mail and/or increased charges. Talk to the post office. MOST people don't worry, because they send it first class in APPROVED envelopes.

    3. It depends on the area and who you send it to. If it is a special sale, to residents, that can happen on the weekend, getting it there friday or saturday may be best. If it is a business, monday might be best.

    BTW don't forget about WEIGHT also! And they have changed the prices a LOT! So KEEP CURRENT! USPS - First-Class Mail Prices NOTE the fine print, it talks a bit about size. For LETTERS, it says:

    Size limits:
    - Rectangular; length is the dimension parallel to the address.
    - At least 3-1/2 inches high by 5 inches long by 0.007 inch thick
    - No more than 6-1/8 inches high by 11-1/2 inches long by 1/4 inch thick
    - Up to 3.5 ounces
    - Surcharge will apply for nonmachinable letter
    Since MOST send in a standard envelope they try to seal completely and neatly, most, trying to or not, happen to comply. Try to make your OWN envelope, and you might fail. And note the "Surcharge will apply for nonmachinable letter ". In other words, if it is the wrong size, a discounted item with the wrong markings, or not sealed well enough, they may CHARGE YOU! HECK, that EVEN narrows down how the address should be positioned!

    Of course, this ONLY applies for the US, but many standards are INTERNATIONAL, so I wouldn't be surprised if other nations have similar rules, right down to the size.

    Steve
    • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
      Originally Posted by seasoned View Post

      1. In the US, if you want to send a letter, I think 1st and bulk(which I believe is 3rd) are your only options, to the best of my knowledge. BTW bulk may require prearrangement, and special materials. You get a heavily reduced rate, and special attention, but it still may be delivered slower, and YOU do the sorting! ALSO, it requires over a certain amount per mailing. I believe it used to be 200 pieces. Talk to the post office about that.
      As far as I know, it is still 200 pieces. However, it's typically not cost effective until you're doing at least 1000 pieces because of the time and work involved in sorting and paperwork, etc.
  • Profile picture of the author PatriciaJ
    I had a fairly successful direct mail business in the UK 10 years ago and this is what was best then.

    Second class stamps is fine for mailshots
    When dealing with enquiries from adverts or further enquiries from the mailshots - it's first class and same day reply, or email whenever you can. Speed impresses.

    Envelopes should be white, not small brown ones. As I was using A4 flyers or sales letters I used A4 envelopes for more than 10 sheets, or for less than that an envelope half that size with the sales letter folded in half. I always folded my sales letter with the blank side inside and the writing on the outside, more chance of catching the eye.

    If you are just advertising one thing a postcard is probably the best bet. As Frank Bowman says handwriting the address and return address does work. People on lists get used to mailing labels and are less likely to open the envelope if they think it's yet another mailshot.

    Although I posted everyday, the bulk of my mailshots went out on Friday and Saturday, they would arrive mainly Mondays and Tuesdays, the days that most people hate work and were more receptive to home business ideas.

    Some companies run print and mail services where they will include your flyer in with their mailings, that is the cheapest option besides advertising and building your own list.

    If you are buying mailing lists be wary and test mail them for responsiveness before using the whole lists. Some of the list sellers claim new names but include a lot of old names or goneaways. The best lists that I ever bought were from magazine editors in my niche, but the amounts were limited.

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