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8 tips to reduce direct mailing costs post-GDPR

30 May 2018

Posted by Nicki Mackin

Post-GDPR, many businesses need to find new ways to connect with and contact customers. Direct mail, with fewer constraints than email, can be a highly effective way to complement digital strategy.   

Personalised, targeted mailings provide strong returns; but to ensure success always review postage costs. Here are 8 tips to help reduce mailing costs and optimise campaign ROI.

1 Plan, plan, plan

As you plan campaigns always consider formats, as this will drive which postal service you can use. The aim is to make your campaigns targeted, relevant and interesting. But to reduce spend you also need to constantly question - if we change the format will we still be able to utilise the best postal services? What can we change to maximise our cost savings?

Forward planning in this way can significantly reduce costs.

2 Database management

Cleansing your database is one of the easiest ways to save on direct mail postage. Review your list using specific criteria to remove incomplete and undeliverable addresses, duplicate entries, and deceased contacts.

Also, consider asking for your customer’s contact preferences if you don’t have them. This is good practice under GDPR, and if you know that they prefer email, communicate via that channel instead. They will receive the medium they prefer and you will save on printing and postage.

3 Send targeted, personalised mailings

Quality over quantity holds true – by mailing smaller targeted groups you can tailor messages based on purchase behaviour, location and preferences. Offers should be data-driven and relevant to the customer, resulting in a higher conversion rate with fewer pieces mailed.

4 Design for direct mail

Direct mail comes in all shapes and sizes with countless options available. However weight, size and format remain the key factors to determine postage cost. While large and unusual formats may catch the eye, simplicity and good design can also reap rewards.

By combining a more streamlined direct mail piece with digital activity you can significantly reduce postage costs. For example, using AR techniques or digital in tandem gives customers the chance to request a catalogue or more information – and you know that it will go to someone more likely to order from it.

5 Learn the lingo

Postage can be quite confusing when trying to understand the services offered, even more so when dealing with VAT. Having a postage expert sourcing this for you will enable you to get the best deal (we oversee this for clients). Costs can vary significantly from each provider so it’s worth getting to grips with the industry options.

As well as Royal Mail there are numerous Down Stream Access (DSA) providers who offer a wide range of postage services. Each has different requirements, delivery times, and benefits, so look at the goals of your mailing to select the best fit.

With our extensive knowledge, we also help clients to secure Postal Incentive Schemes for testing and growth. These are ideal if you are thinking about trialling direct mail or running a campaign; as you can test a scheme tailored to your needs.

6. Consider co-mailing

Another way to save postage costs is to share the mailing with other businesses. You can combine mail from two or more parties into a larger group for delivery, enabling postal discounts that you may not have otherwise been eligible for. This works best for SME businesses and non-profit organisations to achieve larger savings.

7 Use a mailing expert

Although it sounds counter-intuitive, employing the services of a mailing expert can save you money. While you will pay for the supply of envelopes, letter printing, insertion and collation etc., these costs can be recouped with the postal discounts that they can secure.

In addition, they have the right tools for the job – saving you time and further resource costs. A mailing specialist will have the most efficient and cost-effective way to pack your mailing. Fulfilment time can be reduced by using machinery designed for the job, ensuring a fast and professional finish.

8 Track returns

Ensure that all returns are updated within your marketing database, closing the loop for more effective comms next time. This continuous cycle is crucial to achieving an engaged customer base who want to hear about your products - and ensures that you are GDPR compliant.


This article is an abridged version of How To Reduce Direct Mail Postage Costs. Read the full version here.

Relativity Intelligent Marketing help businesses to identify and connect with their most valuable customers, through data management, customer strategies and analytics. 

Nicki Mackin
Posted by Nicki Mackin

Relativity are a specialist marketing and data management consultancy. We use insight, creativity and technology to increase customer acquisition, deepen relationships and drive commercial growth. We know that every client’s situation is different. We recognise the importance of transparency and being able to manage your own data internally. Plus, we’re agile – so we can adopt the best approach to achieve your desired results. We design bespoke client programmes; covering data profiling and data management, customer strategies, cross-media campaigns and all aspects of systems development and integration. We support clients with print and direct mail campaigns and ensure they receive the best postal services. This includes any postage incentive schemes and maximises ROI for each campaign, whether ad hoc or long-term customer journeys. Our focus is to help clients to optimise campaigns and drive growth.

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