As far as marketing tools go, direct mail is one of the most powerful. However, you need to know how to leverage it correctly if you want the best results. Getting just anything printed up and sending it out through the mail isn’t exactly the best route you should take. In this case, you need to know the best direct mail printing tips to ensure your next marketing campaign goes off without a hitch. Here’s what you should know before you start stuffing envelopes and slapping stamps on them!
Knowing the Best Direct Mail Printing Categories and Classes
When it comes down to sending out direct mail marketing materials, you need to be especially cognizant of your costs. That goes above and beyond the costs associated with getting your materials printed – postage costs are also a crucial component to understand. Because there are so many different categories and classes, you will need to know the following about them so you can plan and budget accordingly. Here’s a short list of some of the most common.
- Postcard Class: Requirements set out by the United States Post Office for a postcard include a number of things, such as being printed on a minimum of 0.007-inch-thick cardstock. Postcard aspect ratios begin at 3.5″ x 5″ at the smallest and range to as large as 4.25″ by 6″ in order to still be considered part of this class. One unique aspect of postcards is that you’re limited to sending them as First-Class mail exclusively.
- Flat Mailer Class: Often considered large-sized postcards, flats have requirements that are a step up from their smaller cousins. Paper stock thicknesses start at 0.009 inches, for example; meanwhile, aspect ratio requirements are not specifically proscribed by the USPS. That being said, lower limits start at 6.126″ x 11.51″ and max out at 12″ x 15″.
- Letter Class: The next step up in mailer class is the letter, which are typically larger and heavier. With a minimum thickness of 0.009 inches and a maximum thickness of 0.25 inches, letter size requirements begin at 4.25″ x 6″ regardless of whether it’s sent in an envelope or if it’s a postcard-style mailer. Aspect ratio requirrements for letters are based on the postcard standard but can go as large as 6.125″ x 11.5″.
- Self-Mailer Class: According to the USPS, a self-mailer is defined as single piece of paper or cardstock that’s been folded in half. Self-mailers share the aspect ratio requirements of both postcards and letters, starting at 3.5″ x 5″ and going as large as 6″ x 11.5″. However, cardstock weight guidelines differ completely. For any self-mailer that’s less than 1 ounce in weight you’re permitted to use 70-pound paper or cardstock. For self-mailers above this weight, 80-pound paper is required.
- Booklet Class: The undisputed “big boy” of USPS mailer classes is the booklet, which is the largest and also heaviest. This is a pretty self-explanatory category, as a booklet is just that: a small-sized book that you would find at a bookstore, library, or anywhere else. Catalogs are included in this class. Depending on the specific design of your booklet you’ll be required to use either 40-pound or 80-pound paper stock. Aspect ratios are similar to those used by other classes, though sizes of booklets can reach as large as 6″ x 10.5″.
Best Direct Mail Printing Guidelines for Labeling Addresses
Are you with us so far? It’s a lot to digest. Of course, there’s, even more, you need to know when it comes to the best direct mail printing guidelines. This includes USPS requirements for labeling addresses properly. Thankfully, they are a bit less complex than mailer size and paper weight guides, but there’s still plenty to keep in mind. If you’re mailing flats, for example, the address block needs to be on either the shorter edge or the upper half of your mailer, and it needs a barcode and at least 4”x2” of clear area.
Other types of mailers are similar, as they all need barcodes as well. However, you can position these address labels differently. As long as they’re 0.5 inches from the right edge and 0.625 inches from the bottom edge, and that your text and images are at least 0.125 inches away from your address, you are in generally good shape. The only other thing you should keep in mind is that address blocks can’t be more than 3.5 inches from your mailer’s bottom.
Finally, there’s one more address labeling option for non-flats, and it has to do with how barcodes work. The bottom right area of your mailer is what’s called a “barcode clear zone”, and this lets you separate your barcode and your address block if you want. The only requirement you need to meet is to keep everything else out of the bottom 5/8 of your mailer, including text, images, and color.
Want the Best Direct Mail Printing Help? Turn to Las Vegas Color Graphics Today
Let’s be honest – if you want the best direct mail printing help anywhere, you have to keep a lot of things straight in your mind. Not only that, but you still have to design the rest of your marketing mailer too. It’s a lot to do, especially if you’re not familiar with all these requirements. In this case, it’s a good idea to turn to a professional like Las Vegas Color Graphics!
Las Vegas Color Graphics has more than 40 years of experience in providing the best direct mail printing help to businesses in the Las Vegas area. Whether it’s prepress and design, printing, or fulfillment, Las Vegas Color Graphics knows direct mail printing guidelines inside and out. Contact us today and we’ll show you how we can make your next direct mail marketing campaign go off without a hitch!