Direct Mail Tips & Insights

How to Optimize Your USPS Mail Delivery Time

So you’re thinking of using direct mail, either by itself or as part of a multichannel campaign. Great!

But … you have some concerns. How fast can I get a campaign in the mail? What if our mail is time-sensitive?

If worries about deliverability are holding you back … don’t give up.usps-mail-delivery-time

Here’s how you can be in control and ensure that your direct mail gets delivered on time by the U.S. Postal Service.

Start Early

Mail delivery time doesn’t work like digital. It’s not just a few clicks and you’re done. There are more steps and more moving parts – some that literally move – that have to be a part of your planning.

So after you’ve decided to make mail and print part of your strategy, you’ll have to completely understand all of the printing and mailing options that are open to you … and how you and your printer can balance the advantages of each one to best suit your mail campaign.

Keep An Eye on Your Time

Everybody wants to save money with their mail, right? But if you’re using Marketing Mail instead of First Class, your mail campaign is going to take longer to get delivered. The same goes if you opt for a workshare method like commingling or co-palletization.

On the other hand, if you presort your campaign, then you’re likely to save time and get discounts from USPS for dropping off certain flats at a Network Distribution Center or Sectional Center Facility.

Use Clean Mailing Data

You can’t say it often enough: using the most up-to-date data is absolutely critical to the deliverability of your campaign. If your mailing lists are old, incomplete, or contain duplicates, you will waste money and time mailing to them.

Fortunately for everybody, USPS has several pre-processing address file tools to supplement commercial list hygiene solutions that are available.

For example, you can use Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) certification to verify and standardize your addresses, and National Change of Address (NCOA) to catch any new movers. And bonus! They’ll also help you be eligible for automation discounts.

Know Your Formats

Mail has to comply with USPS regulations in order to get through its processing equipment. Normally, that isn’t a problem if you’re mailing standard envelope, postcard, and folded self-mailer formats.

But if you want to try a very different kind of mailpiece, talk to your printer first. They’ll know all about the right size, weight, postage, tabbing, and folding requirements to pass muster, or they’ll reach out to the USPS for an OK.

Ideas to Use

  • A strong relationship with USPS -such as a nearby Business Mail Entry Unit or an in-house verification - will go a long way in preventing any headaches because of design or mailing questions.
  • Using or adding an envelope converting or printing capability rather than outsourcing will likely shave several days from the timeline of your print job and get it to USPS mail delivery time faster.
  • Review USPS regional performance reports each quarter, and raise any issues with local officials as well as Postal Customer Council (PCC) representatives.

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