Direct Mail Tips & Insights

Quick Guide: USPS Mail Class



Your direct mail campaign can fall into one of several classes of mail used by the USPS, each with its own features and requirements. So which one should you use? Well, it mostly depends on the content of your mailing and its postage.

What follows is a quick breakdown of what each one is about – and how well it fits your goals.


Priority Mail

Need that special mail piece delivered fast? This is what to use for sending documents or merchandise weighing up to 70 pounds, and with a maximum size of 108" in length and distance around thickest part combined. This service gets it there in about 2 days, whether it’s an envelope or a box. Unless specific Flat Rate packaging is used, pricing is determined by the number of “zones” it must travel from the mailing point to its destination.

Priority Mail Express

Need that special mail piece delivered really fast, like, tomorrow? This service, unlike Priority Mail, can guarantee next-day delivery. Besides the distance travelled, the weight of the mailer helps to set the postage price. Flat Rate packaging can make things cheaper, as can commercial rates, if certain requirements are met.

Media Mail

This is a relatively inexpensive option for mailing books, loose leaf binders, charts, and test materials. You can get a discount for presorting a campaign with a minimum of 300 pieces.

Need a full breakdown of USPS Direct Mail? Here are 5 ways USPS expertise can improve your direct mail

Library Mail

Academic institutions like museums, zoos, and yes, libraries, can mail books and other research material at special single piece and presort rates, based on weight.

Bound Printed Matter

If you’ve got something like a catalog that’s permanently bound with glue, staples, or stitching, you can use this class. Start with a permit imprint, and if you have 300 or more pieces, you can look at a variety of pricing options and discounts.


Lots of people still read magazines and newsletters! So long as your periodical meets specified restrictions, it can receive authorization from USPS for this special rate class. And mailers for nonprofits and classrooms get an additional price break.

Marketing Mail (the new "Standard Mail")

This is for anything that’s not required to be mailed as First Class or Periodicals – such as flyers, circulars, or catalogs that are generally identical to each other and under 16 ounces each. It’s also known as “bulk” mail, so your quantities need to be 200 pieces or more, and delivery speed is slower than it is for First Class.

First Class Mail

These cards, letters, flats, and small parcels – which can’t weigh more than 13 ounces - are given priority over Marketing Mail, so the delivery time is pretty quick. And while anything mailable can be sent first class, certain types of pieces must use it, like bills, statements, personal correspondence, and handwritten material. Single-piece, commercial, and non-profit rates are available for presort and automation. Also – watch your sizes! Letter-sized pieces that are square or have some other non-machinable characteristic can’t be mailed at machinable rates.

At United, we can help you create the right mailing campaign in the right class for your needs. And we have on-site USPS verification, so that your direct mail gets delivered on target and on time, saving you money!

Ideas to Use

  • Mail to the best-performing, top segment of your lists with Priority Mail and an irresistible offer. You’ll stand out and make the customer feel more special.
  • To ensure that your lists are up-to-date and won’t waste your money, First Class includes free forwarding and returns of mail that can’t be delivered to the original address; this costs extra for Marketing Mail.
  • For exact specifications for any class of mail, consult the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM); specific, up-to-date rates can be found by viewing USPS Notice 123.

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