Postage rates rise every six months. That's never good news for your clients who worry about dwindling budgets for mailed communications. How clients react to these seemingly endless price hikes may depend partially on actions taken by their print and mail service providers. Left on their own, businesses mailers might decide to severely cut back on mailing projects. That would be troubling for companies in the mailing business. Even though mail service providers typically get paid by the piece, it makes sense to recognize the trends and help their clients save money on postage.

In this article, we'll discuss ways that print/mail service providers can help lower postage costs for their clients to preserve a revenue stream - even if it means a slight decrease in revenue from piece counts. Options that may apply to certain client applications include changing formats, being more selective about the target audience, improving deliverability, householding, duplicate removal, USPS promotions, and personalization to make the remaining mail pieces more effective (increasing campaign ROI).

Changing Formats

Postage rates vary depending on the size and shape of the mail piece. Encouraging your clients to switch from flats to letters or from letters to postcards can result in substantial postage savings. Altering the mail piece format depending on the content, but exploring options can uncover potential savings.

By adjusting the format, you can reduce postage costs without sacrificing the impact of your client's message. Sometimes, a well-designed postcard featuring a QR code to access more information will do the job, eliminating the need to mail a more expensive letter.

Opting for a smaller format doesn't just save on postage. It also encourages more creative design and an efficient use of space, potentially leading to a better customer experience. The same goes for flats. If your client typically sends flat-sized mail, you might help them convert some of those mailings to letter-sized formats. You can accomplish this by eliminating excess verbiage and sending only the relevant pages to each recipient. With page reductions, you can fold and insert pages into a 6" x 9" envelope, and mail at letter rates.

I recall one mailing I received from my bank, announcing fee changes to their accounts. They sent me nearly 20 sheets of paper as a First Class flat to disclose the fees for every account type they offered. Only one of those accounts applied to me. Besides being wasteful, the mailing was confusing. The volume of pages made it difficult to find the content referring to the account I had. If they had made that job more intelligent, instead of sending the same documents to every customer, their postage and production expenses would have shrunk.

Target Selection

Encourage your clients to scrutinize their mailing lists and weed out less valuable recipients. They should target those prospects more likely to engage or convert. Focus efforts on the high-value groups to maximize the return on investment. A smaller, more focused mailing list cuts down on postage costs and also increases overall campaign effectiveness.

Instead of mailing to all prospects every time, try segmenting the files and limit the number of times per year your clients mail to their less-engaged customers.

Work with clients to use data analytics tools and zero in on customer behavior and preferences. The more they know about the audience, the better you can tailor your mailings to meet their needs and interests. Keep an eye on trends and adjust the mailing strategy as necessary to stay relevant and effective.

Improve Deliverability

To ensure your mail reaches its intended recipients efficiently, focus on address quality. Incorrect or incomplete addresses cause undeliverable mail, which wastes time and money. You can prevent this by implementing address verification and validation tools.

Address verification tools cross-check recipient addresses against databases to confirm accuracy and completeness. By using these tools, you catch errors before mailing, reducing the risk of undeliverable mail. Use services like CASS-certified software, delivery point verification (DPV), and the National Change of Address data (NCOA) to keep addresses up to date. Drop any addresses unlikely to be delivered because of deficiencies discovered by postal software.


Consider householding, which combines multiple pieces of mail intended for the same household into a single package. By doing this, you reduce the number of mail pieces sent, thereby cutting down on postage costs.

The rules for householding can vary, depending on the application. In some cases, it may be beneficial to combine mail destined for a single household of related individuals. In other instances, regulations may demand that each family member receive their own copy of the mailing. Ask your clients about householding and run an analysis on their files to see the impact of implementing a householding strategy.


Nobody likes to receive duplicate mail. Duplicates make the sender look like they are incompetent or wasteful. Assume you'll be checking for duplicates on every job, but check with your clients about what defines a duplicate for each mailing. These definitions can change. For some mailings, sending only one piece to each postal address is the goal. In other cases, your client may want roommates or family members at the same address to each receive a mail piece.

Finding duplicates isn't as easy as it sounds. It all depends on the data and the abilities of your duplicate-detection software. If your client gathers contact information from multiple sources, they may have difficult-to-detect duplicates in their files. Standard, exact-match software may not realize that Margaret A Smith, M A Smith, and Peggy Smith are the same person, even if they share the same address.

USPS Promotions

Pay attention to USPS promotions that offer discounts for implementing certain mail features. The promotions and the discounts can change from year to year. Look for ways to take advantage of relevant promotions that can lower postage fees by as much as 5%.

Seek out partnerships with mailing experts who understand these promotions. Doing so ensures you won’t miss out on any potential savings and allows you to focus on other crucial aspects of your business. The key lies in continuous optimization and staying ahead of the promotional curve to maximize your clients' postage dollars efficiently.


Personalization can significantly enhance the impact of your clients' mailing campaigns. This becomes more important if you've trimmed the volume of mail you produce. When you tailor your messages to specific segments, you boost engagement and improve response rates. Start by understanding the customer demographics and preferences. Ask your clients to use data analytics to discover what resonates with different audience segments.

Personalized messages can go beyond simply adding a recipient's name. Customize the content to align with their purchase history, browsing behavior, or stated preferences. This targeted approach makes the recipient feel valued and understood, fostering a stronger connection to your clients' brands.

Variable data printing (VDP) allows you to create mass mailings where each piece features unique text, images, graphics, or offers based on the recipient's data. This technology enables you to run highly personalized campaigns without compromising efficiency. Personalized offers and relevant content can transform a generic mailer into interesting messages that drive action.

What About Revenue Loss?

Preserving a customer, even at lower volumes, outweighs the risk of losing them entirely due to rising postal costs. You stay relevant and maintain a steady revenue stream, even if individual mailing volumes decrease. 80 percent of something is better than 100 percent of nothing.

Print/mail service providers can offset some of the revenue loss connected with lower mailing volumes by charging clients to do the work that results in smaller, better targeted mailings. Many of the data analysis and operational strategies—such as address cleanup, householding, and personalization—translate into billable services. By offering these value-added services, you help customers save money, open new revenue channels for your business, and distinguish your company from competitors.

Optimizing mailing strategies and leveraging operational efficiencies provides your customers with a compelling value proposition. Instead of watching them migrate to digital-only solutions or alternative messaging channels, you position yourself as an indispensable partner in their budget management. It’s a win-win: lower postage expenses for them and sustained service engagements for you.

Mike Porter at Print/Mail Consultants creates content that helps attract and retain customers for companies in the document industry and assists companies as they integrate new technology. Learn more about his services at Follow @PMCmike on Twitter, or send him a connection request on LinkedIn.