Despite the growth of online retailing, packages and some mail pieces still have to be sent to customers. For small businesses, postage and shipping costs are an expense that is hard to control. Postal rates are fixed and generally increase every few years. However, here are some ways to assure that you keep costs in line.
1. Limit Catalog Mailings – Even though a lot of businesses have stopped issuing catalogs, there are still customers who prefer them. Mass mailings of catalogs can run into the money especially if there are a lot of pages. Consider keeping your full product line online only and using the catalog to feature best sellers and sale items. This will reduce the size of the catalog and bring down cost. Also consider sending out catalogs by request only.
2. Every Door Direct Mail from the U.S. Postal Service – The United States Post Office will deliver your mail piece to every address on a given postal route for only 17 cents per mail piece. On an average route of 600 households, every address will receive at least one of your mailings. The disadvantage is not being able to target your mailings; however, you get a wide mailing at a very low cost.
3. Andrew Jensen- efficiency, growth and marketing guru suggests using a postal meter to weigh, calculate postage rates and print mailing labels. You can get postage machines from leading manufacturers like Pitney Bowes or Stamps.com. To add more money to your account, you simply go online or call a toll-free number.
Pitney Bowes estimates that postage meters can save small business owners as much as 20% a year on postage. They indicate that owners will often guess at the correct postage and add extra stamps “just to be safe”.
4. Get a Bulk Mailing Permit – If you mail out more than 500 pieces of first class mail in a year you could qualify for a bulk mailing permit. You weigh, attach postage and sort the mail before taking it to the post office. You receive a substantial discount on postage by using this option.
5. Use post cards instead of letters – If you can condense your message to fit a postcard, you can save as much as one third the cost of first class mail. You can get pre-stamped postcards from the post office and simply print your message on the blank side. Post cards are ideal for sales as customers can see your message at a glance.