Your Pocket and the Post Office

Among the many ways to get your message out to your clients or your target market, postcard mailings are one of the more inexpensive and direct methods. When a postcard arrives in the mail, there is no envelope to open or letter to read through, your message is right there in front of the recipient – no filter whatsoever. Postcard mailing seems like the quick and easy way to get your message out, right?

Well before you start designing your postcard piece, there are several postal regulations that will turn quick and easy into long and miserable. To save yourself and your company time and money, it is important that you understand and comply with the requirements set by the United States Postal Service (USPS). Here are some requirements to be aware of before you begin:

First Class Mail Requirements for Postcard Mailers

  • Your piece must be rectangular
  • Minimum size requirement of 3.5″ tall x 5″ long x 0.007″ thick
  • Maximum size requirement of 4.25″ tall x 6″ long x 0.016″ thick

Standard Mail Requirments for Postcard Mailers

  • Your piece must be rectangular
  • Maximum size requirement of 6.125” tall x 11.5” long x 0.25” thick

Although there is more defined size restriction on the postcards, First Class mail has several benefits over standard mail. First class mail is cheaper per piece and will also get where it’s going quicker than standard mail will. First class mail also offers free forwarding and return to sender services.

Now let’s touch on the mailing panel of your postcard, which if designed correctly can also save you time and money. The USPS requires that certain areas of the mailing panel, or the address side, of the postcard be left white for addressing, postage, and bar coding. Even if your mailing piece has a background color or image on the mailing panel, these certain areas absolutely must be white. Depending on the size of your postcard, the dimensions of such white spaces will vary as well. Take a look at the 6″ x 4.25″ example below –

postcardguide

Credit: http://designerstoolbox.com/designresources/postcards/6×425/

For larger bulk mailing projects, consider Intelligent mail. Intelligent mail automates the sorting process and can save you time an money getting your postcards out. With automation, your mail piece is bar-coded and sorted through the Postal Service’s high speed processing equipment. This equipment reduces costs for the Postal Service, and in turn then saves you money in the form of lower postage. There is a minimum piece requirement for automation. For standard mail, a minimum of 200 pieces must be mailed and for first class mail, a minimum of 500 pieces must be mailed.

If you are not preparing your mailing for automation, no bar code is required. Your mailing can still be efficiently processed without a bar code and will still reach its destination. In fact, a bad or incorrect bar code is worse than no bar code at all. Incorrect bar codes will result in the mail piece traveling to the wrong destination, wasting both your money and your time.

So if you’re planning to do a mass mailing, remember to make sure everything complies with the USPS regulations. Your pocket and your clock will be much happier if you do! Of course, remember, the team at Avalon is always here to help!

For additional information on postcard mailings and mailings in general, you can visit the USPS website. The Designers Toolbox website, credited for the photo of postal guidelines, is a great reference for the dimensions of the addressing, postage, and bar coding blocks.

If you liked this blog you might also be interested in reading: Direct Mail Campaigns Too Out Dated? Not a Chance! 


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