Direct mail marketing isn't always considered a viable option in 2019, but direct mail marketing can work. According to Marketing Sherpa, 76% of customers trust direct mail when making purchasing decisions. That's higher than numerous digital marketing methods, including online banner ads, ads embedded in social media and sponsored posts online. Direct mail can be successful in 2019.
If your business relies on direct mail or it wants to start relying on direct mail, it's worth investing in small business postage solutions. Many affordable options exist, and nearly all of them can save you time and money.
For small to medium-sized businesses receiving frequent mail, you might want to purchase several tools to improve the efficiency of your operation. If your business is looking to ship packages out of its location, you can invest in scales with postage-printing capabilities to avoid the post office altogether.
The range of small business postage tools is wide and includes everything from inexpensive letter openers to more costly shipping software solutions. What you decide to purchase depends on your business needs.
What to look for in direct mail solutions
When looking at direct mail solutions, there are a few key areas to focus on. First, look at how frequently your business sends and receives mail. Do you send direct mail advertisements or information once a week? Do you send mail daily? Your need for mail solutions will vary based on how often you send and receive mail.
Businesses that send and receive large quantities of mail may want to invest in shipping software, letter openers and folding machines. Smaller firms that don't use mail frequently don't need those same tools.
You'll also want to address what it is that your business is mailing. If you're mailing packages to customers, there might be specific shipping standards your business must follow. If you're mailing marketing materials, you want to make sure you don't spam customers by sending too many items or sending materials too frequently. To make sure you follow guidelines and adhere to all shipping standards, it can be helpful to have direct mail solutions. For example, postage meters print postage directly on envelopes. Using this machine can ensure you don't forget to include postage on your mail.
You want mail solutions that align with your business goals. If your goal is to frequently ship items to customers, shipping software and folding machines might be the best solutions for you. If your goal is to legally ship a few items monthly to select customers, you might only need a postage meter. When looking for direct mail solutions, look for the solutions that can make a meaningful difference in your business. Don't buy a mailing solution just for the sake of purchasing something. Direct mail campaigns aren't for everyone, and it's OK if your business uses a different strategy.
Finding the right mail solutions for your business requires an understanding of direct mailing best practices and then applying those to your business's strategy.
Direct mailing best practices
While there's no perfect solution to create effective direct mail campaigns, there are a few best practices.
- Don't spam a customer with excess mail.
- Sending letters can help boost direct mail engagement.
- Send relevant mail to customers.
- Include a call to action to engage those on your mailing list.
- Use direct mail to get permission to send email and text message marketing campaigns to certain customers.
- Give customers a way to respond to your message both through the mail and online.
- Make sure any mail you send to current or prospective customers is grammatically correct.
- Keep the design of the mail simple and easy to understand.
Much like email marketing, you want your direct mail campaigns to be relevant to the recipient. You don't want to send excessive amounts of mail, and you should include calls to action. Following these rules will help you achieve greater success in your mail campaigns.
It's also important to use postage solutions that benefit your business. Take advantage of the many different affordable postage solutions on the market to run your direct mail campaigns more effectively. Postage solutions are affordable, and they can help your mailing systems operate more efficiently. Direct mail is often overlooked in 2019, but it can be well worth the cost when used correctly.
If you are searching for postage meters, folding machines or other postage solutions to help improve your mail campaigns, here are a few companies to consider.
1. Data-Pac Mailing Systems (postage meters, shipping software)
Data-Pac has been in the mailing industry for more than 35 years. It offers hardware and software solutions that work in tandem to make it easier for SMB to ship parcels without setting foot in the post office.
With roughly a dozen hardware systems to choose from, Data-Pac can meet the needs of tiny businesses with modest mailing needs, as well as large businesses that require features like mixed thickness feeders, dual carrier options, and optional weighing platforms. Data-Pac's USHIPSAVER is a shipping software application that allows companies to ship and mail many different types of packages. The shipping software is designed to save roughly $10 per day, according to the company's website.
The best way to find the Data-Pac system that's right for your business is to reach out to one of their sales representatives for assistance.
2. Formax (folding machines, software)
Formax sells a variety of mailing solutions, including inserters, folders, tabbers, envelope openers and sealers, pressure sealers, mailing software and more. The folding machines Formax sells run the gamut from compact folders like the FD 300, which processes 11-inch and 14-inch paper at speeds of 7,400 sheets an hour, to robust powerhouses like the Atlas-AS Air-Feed Document Folder, which processes up to 27,500 sheets per hour and sports a 7-inch touchscreen control panel. To find out more about the Formax's line of business products, reach out to the sales team.
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3. FP Mailing Solutions (postage meters, folding machines, software)
A true one-stop shop for small business owners, FB Mailing Solutions offers everything a business could need when it comes to mailing, which makes it easy to scale your mailing upwards as your business grows. While many other mailing solutions companies offer a confusing array of customizable options, FP Mailing Solutions separates their hardware by series, simplifying the shopping process.
The Small Business Series is perfect for entrepreneurs who need lots of functionality in a small package. From small-space friendly postage meters, like the PostBase Mini Postage Meter, to tiny-footprint folders, like the FPi 600 Folder inserter, FP Mailing's line of SMB products is well designed and varied. Price quotes may be requested directly through the website.
4. MyBinding (letter-folding machines, binding machines)
MyBinding sells a variety of different binding and folding machines. The company's offerings for paper-folding machines are extensive. If you're looking for low, medium or high-volume paper-folding machines, MyBinding offers several options in each category.
Pricing for the different letter-folding machines varies. Of the different paper-folding machines on sale, prices range from $500 all the way up to the $15,000 range. The letter-folding machines come from several manufacturers, including Martin Yale, Intimus and Dahle.
The company also offers a selection of binding machines and supplies. MyBinding claims to offer more binding machines and book-binding systems than any other company on the internet. If you're looking to bind materials prior to mailing them out, MyBinding is a sensible place for your business to look.
5. Intelli-Zone (folding machines)
Intelli-Zone sells six folding machines and little else in terms of mailing solutions. However, this company stands apart from the rest because it offers two industry-specific folding machines. The Intelli-Fold DF-304VC and DF-304C are geared toward pharmaceutical folding and instructional documentation. Most folding machines cannot complete the tight, small folds that are required for technical brochures, making Intelli-Zone's offering invaluable to business owners in certain industries. Intelli-Zone also sells more standard folding machines, but its offering is relatively narrow compared to other vendors on this list.
6. Martin Yale Industries (folding machines)
Martin Yale Industries offers a broad range of folding machines that are best suited for small businesses, schools, churches and mailrooms. The company's folders range in size from a small, single-sheet-fed, 8.5 x 11-inch (47 x 28 cm) desktop unit to a 12 x 18-inch (30.5 x 46 cm) format with a feed-table capacity of up to 500 sheets. Folders are available with a variety of options, including preset positions for standard folds on manual adjustment machines and preset, pre-programmed folds on electronic automatic machines. The Martin Yale Folding Machines can process from 2,200 to 20,000 sheets per hour.
7. Neopost (postage meters, folding machines, software, address printers)
Neopost's mailing systems and letter-folding/insert machines are specifically designed with small businesses in mind. Models range from petite desktop machines built for home offices to larger mailroom designs with built-in scales and touchscreens. The company's postage meters can process more than 140 U.S. Postal Service rates and services.
Neopost also offers machines that specifically fold letters, as well as devices than can handle inserts and folding letters. Its small business options can fold from 1,350 to as many as 2,400 letters per hour. Neopost sells address printers as well. The website lists five address-printing systems on its website, which are designed for businesses of varying sizes.
8. Pitney Bowes (postage meters, folding machines, software, letter openers)
Pitney Bowes offers several types of postage meters and letter-folding machines, as well as mailing services, inserters, letter openers, sorters, specialty printers and software solutions. The business's letter opener selection includes the DL200 Letter Opener, which can open 250 letters per minute. This type of machine is better geared toward businesses receiving mass quantities of mail. The DL50 model is better designed for smaller operations.
While many of the products and services Pitney Bowes offers are targeted toward enterprises, the company offers suitable postage meters and folding machines for SMB as well. The SendPro C200 is compact and powerful and allows entrepreneurs to compare options from three major carriers (including USPS and UPS), print postage, weigh packages, print shipping labels and more. The mailstation2 postage meter acts as a scale and prints postage as well.
Pitney Bowes, which has one of the most diverse selections of postage tools of the companies on this list, also offers affordable financing for its mailing solutions; some systems are as low as $36.99 per month.
Additional reporting by Mona Bushnell and Chad Brooks.