Print shops are offering bulk mailing services to increase revenue from existing customers, and help land new accounts. Targeted customers include insurance and real estate agents, restaurants, political candidates, and any business or nonprofit that wants direct mail in their marketing mix.

If you offer bulk mailing services in addition to printing, you can provide turnkey campaigns for these customers and add to your bottom line.

Printers say bulk mailing is an important revenue opportunity

We recently asked print shops who use our Postage $aver bulk mailing software to tell us about their bulk mail business. 86% of respondents told us that mailing services are important to their businesses, with almost half saying it is "very important".

How important are bulk mailing services as part of your business?
importance of bulk mailing services

In particular, offering bulk mailing services is seen as a good way to earn more revenue without needing to find new customers. More than 90% of those responding said that offering the services either primarily increased revenue from existing customers (40%) or both brought in new customers and increased revenue from existing customers (53%).

Does offering mailing services primarily bring in new customers,
increase revenue from existing customers, or both?

new customers vs existing

What services you offer make a difference

Generally, print shops that offer bulk mailing services provide at least a basic set of services: use of the printer's bulk mail permit, sorting the mailing according to USPS requirements, assembling the mailing into trays or sacks and taking the mailing to the post office.

What bulk mailing services do you offer?
basic services offered

But some shops offer additional bulk mailing services that their customers need, including list cleaning and certification, providing mailing lists, bulk mailing of parcels, and managing a schedule of mailings.

extra services offered

We found that these extra services matter.

Print shops offering more than just the basic services were most likely to rate bulk mailing services as a "very important" part of their business.

It makes sense – an insurance agent who wants to do bulk mailing would be happy to turn the whole thing over to a friendly printer instead of worrying about each of the tasks separately. So would most business owners.

So even if you are already offering basic bulk mailing services, you should consider adding services that let you do the whole job, from design to submitting the job at the post office.
Postage Saver software makes postal bulk mailing easy

Be a one-stop marketing center

Darryal Chandler told us that his printing business really starting growing when he started offering mailing services. Darryal owns a Minuteman Press franchise in suburban Houston. His goal is to handle each customer's direct mail product from start to finish.

"Most small business don't have any idea how to market their services," he said. "I want them to understand that I'm not just selling them a product. I want them to come to me with a project , to design the logo and design the look."

"Let's take an air conditioning company that wants to advertise its a/c inspection and repair services," Chandler explained. "We might start with Every Door Direct Mail for the first piece," to hit all potential customers in a certain area. "We may start with one size of mail, then do a bit larger size on the next piece," he said, so that the customers see a different piece each time, highlighting different services, but with consistent branding.

"The biggest thing is education on what you can do and what you can't do, and understanding bulk mail," he added. Sara Lynn Kerr, owner of PrintMail Marketing in Mount Vernon, Ohio, agrees. "My expertise is in knowing what the post office is going to accept, whether it's paper size, or whatever it's going to be," she told us.

Kerr pointed out that even a relatively small print job can be very profitable if the printing is combined with other services. "I rarely do over 5000 pieces," on a mail and print job, she told us. "I'm targeting the company that does not have a purchasing agent, does not have a graphic designer." That way, she can handle both the artistic and technical aspects of the job. "I am very much left-brained, right-brained, so I'm blessed with the ability to do both."

Kerr has found that political candidates are good targets for managing multi-piece mailing campaigns, in addition to typical business direct mailers like restaurants.

And in her community of 17,000, Kerr claims an advantage that big-city mailing houses can't offer when it comes to list management. "I know who died and who got divorced."

Different ways to set prices

Chandler said that depending on the job, he might build graphics, printing and postage into a single price per piece based on quantity. That's easy to do on "Every Door Direct Mail" jobs, where USPS charges the same price/piece for all mailings.

On targeted mailings, though, where there can be multiple postage rates within the same job, it's often not possible to know the postage charges until he has the customer's mailing list. For those jobs, Chandler often prices specific services separately, including provision of a targeted mailing list, variable data, design, and assembly of the mailing for USPS, and then passes the postage through once the job is mailed.

Kerr also emphasized that even though she never marks up the postage, there are other services involved in preparing the mailing that are profitable. "There's the processing, the list management, the delivery to the post office," she said. "I umbrella people under my postal permit, so they don't have to get involved with the post office at all. I take all those headaches away."
Postage Saver software makes mailing catalogs easy.

How do I get started?

It takes surprisingly little to get started with bulk mailing. You need only a bulk mailing permit from your post office or USPS bulk mail center and some inexpensive software.

A bulk mailing permit costs $235/year, but that fee is waived if all of your bulk mailings are barcoded and you submit your mailing information electronically on the USPS business web site.

There's also a separate $235 one-time charge for the privilege of not needing to put stamps on each piece. Instead, you can simply include the "postage paid" box, called an "indicia", on each piece as part of the layout. You can't beat that for convenience, but some mailers would rather have a more personal look, so there are also special bulk mail postage stamps that you can use instead.

For targeted mailings, you'll also need software that figures out how to properly sort each mailing according to USPS rules. The sorting schemes can be complicated, and change at least in minor ways every month, so it's not worth becoming an expert on postal sorting when there's low-cost software to do it for you.

Our Postage $aver Pro software costs just $79.50, and includes the sorting, barcoding, and paperwork you'll need for various classes of discounted mail. And, it's certified by USPS to do these things correctly.

Where do I find more information?

USPS offers several web sites that have information about bulk mailing, but much of it is designed for their largest clients and can be clear as mud to someone just starting out. We've tried to simplify it down to just what you need to know in our free Bulk Mail 101 for Beginners web tutorial.

Our web site also has a directory of some of the printing companies who use our software to offer mailing services. You can reach out to fellow printers on that list to learn how they use bulk mailing successfully.

And, we're always happy to answer your bulk mailing questions.

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Postage Saver for Parcels makes shipping bulk parcels easy
Postage Saver for Parcels makes shipping bulk parcels easy