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Unread 12th April 2010, 03:41 PM   #1
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Default 1st or 2nd Class Stamp?

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
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Unread 12th April 2010, 03:47 PM   #2
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Default Re: 1st or 2nd Class Stamp?

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


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Unread 12th April 2010, 03:52 PM   #3
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Default Re: 1st or 2nd Class Stamp?

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.

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Unread 12th April 2010, 03:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: 1st or 2nd Class Stamp?

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.


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Unread 12th April 2010, 04:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1st or 2nd Class Stamp?

Also try to hand write the return address and the address its going to, believe me this works.

Frank

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Unread 12th April 2010, 04:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: 1st or 2nd Class Stamp?

I am assuming that you are living in the UK.

If so, before you start your campaign, look for other delivery options other than Royal Mail. Prices differ in different parts of the country and from provider to provider.

If you must use Royal Mail, then contact them first, as they have (or did have when I used direct mail drops) special rates for bulk delivery - especially if you take all of your letters to a nominated (by RM) depot.

The colour (UK spelling) of the envelope is (or used to be) less important than the font colour on the envelope itself. Use a blue font on the envelope and you should get more of them opened than if you use a black font.

Going back to the original question. If you are posting nationwide, contact the service providers for a deal. If not, use second class, as you will save a fortune over first class. If you are targeting your local area, you might want to consider delivering yourself and get friends and family to help. If you are targeting local businesses, you might prefer a face to face approach.

Just my thoughts.

Good luck with your campaign.

Jeff.

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Unread 12th April 2010, 04:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: 1st or 2nd Class Stamp?

Yes, Dan nailed that. 2nd Class stamps and permits are for periodicals only. Actually, I'm not even sure if they make 2nd class stamps--I think you need a permit to mail using a 2nd class imprint on the pieces.

A 3rd class bulk mailing permit will save you a lot on postage over 1st class--and the more the pieces weight, the more you will save. However, you need to pay an annual fee (think it's a few hundred dollars) as well as a fee to imprint the 3rd Class Postage Paid, Permit #xxxx, YourCity in the corner. If you don't want to pay the imprint fee I think you can still buy pre-cancelled 3rd class stamps for bulk mailings.

I would take about 50 sample pieces to your post office bulk mailing area and have them weigh them, determine the wt. per piece, and then the cost per unit to mail.

If you go the 3rd class route, you can't just throw your mail in a box and put it in a mail box. There are very specific sorting requirements. It must be sorted by zip code to begin with and then by state and then by 3-digit code from the zip. It is a lot of work, but it does save time if you are mailing a lot. You also have to rubber band your packets of mail a certain way and place colored stickers on the front of each bundle depending on whether it is a state bundle, 3 digit bundle, or misc. bundle.

The bulk mail dept. will take out several bundles to make sure it looks right. If it isn't right, you'll take it all back home and start over. I think you need to mail a minimum of 250 pcs. to qualify for mailing 3rd class. But unless you are mailing 1-2k pieces, the work really isn't worth the savings.

3rd class mail is low priority mail. When I mailed catalogs (80,000 a whack) some would go across country in 3-4 days and some took weeks--there is no guarantee.

If you are renting a list for a large mailing, the list broker should ask you for say, 50 pieces of your mail so they can determine the thickness and per piece weight. Bigger companies will provide you with either peel and stick labels, or--a file with the addresses in zip order--and, (and this is huge) they can insert "breaker labels" which tell you exactly where to break bundles apart into packets to be rubber banded together.

Good luck! --Mike
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Unread 13th April 2010, 02:40 AM   #8
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Default Re: 1st or 2nd Class Stamp?

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
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Unread 13th April 2010, 02:51 AM   #9
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Default Re: 1st or 2nd Class Stamp?

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!

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Unread 13th April 2010, 03:00 AM   #10
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Default Re: 1st or 2nd Class Stamp?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeevee View Post
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.
In the UK a brown envelope usually contains a bill of some sort so I guess the colour your envelope would depend on which country you are in. I would never use a brown envelope here in the UK for a mailshot.

Abdul.
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Unread 16th April 2010, 08:21 AM   #11
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Default Re: 1st or 2nd Class Stamp?

Quote:
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!
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Unread 16th April 2010, 10:11 AM   #12
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Default Re: 1st or 2nd Class Stamp?

Quote:
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:

Quote:
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
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Unread 16th April 2010, 10:15 AM   #13
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Default Re: 1st or 2nd Class Stamp?

Quote:
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.


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Unread 16th April 2010, 12:58 PM   #14
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Default Re: 1st or 2nd Class Stamp?

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.

Last edited on 16th April 2010 at 01:01 PM. Reason: mistake
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