How Much Should Direct Mail Marketing Cost?

Direct mail services physically deliver your message to a targeted audience’s residence or business to boost awareness and generate leads. We will explore the cost of fulfilling a direct mail marketing campaign with the United States Postal Service (USPS), compare targeted and saturation lists, discuss material and postage expenses, and explain how delays can affect your campaign.

When correctly implemented, direct mail marketing helps websites increase their traffic and convert traffic into subscribers or buyers. It can expose potential buyers to a brand or service to raise awareness. Direct mail marketing can improve an overall marketing strategy by targeting the right audience and can provide exceptional benefits by placing the message in front of individuals in need of the product or service you are promoting.

While more general advertising, such as billboards and television advertisements, convey a brand’s message to a broad audience hoping that the message will reach buyers, direct mail services convey a targeted message to a select audience. If the audience is properly selected, the promotion can be highly efficient. Successful direct mail campaigns contain the following elements:

  • An identifying mark, such as a logo
  • A call to action
  • Company contact information

Target Lists Vs. Saturation Lists

A saturation list reaches every household in a geographic location. Sometimes called an occupant list, it allows marketers to advertise to a broad audience. Postage rates are reduced because the USPS carrier delivers one advertisement to every household on their route, minimizing the work involved on their end. Saturation lists may exclude some households with no name on file with the USPS.

When using a saturation list, advertisers can select a list from one or more of the following:

  • Carrier route, Radius, County, ZIP or ZIP+4, or Custom Map
  • Dwelling Type
  • Route Type
  • P.O. Boxes

The USPS allows advertisers to use a targeted mailing list of 200 or more recipients in compliance with USPS standards. Marketers can choose the exact households that will receive the advertisement to ensure only the demographics they select are a part of the campaign. Targeted lists yield increasingly higher response rates as the targeting becomes more refined. While targeted list postage costs more than saturation list postage, the price is significantly lower than first-class postage. It provides higher response rates worth the price difference. Targeted mailing lists allow advertisers to reach their target market with the utmost success. 

Material Costs

Direct mail services can begin at $.30 each and above, depending on the design, material cost and quantity mailing. The total price can also be affected by paper stock and finishes. Heavy paper stocks and coatings can come at a premium and may increase the postage cost. The USPS determines postage on several factors including size and weight so thicker pieces could increase postage cost.

Postage Costs

The USPS gives priority delivery to First-Class Mail®, delivering it faster and at higher prices. Their rates range in cost from 40% higher on average for direct mail, depending on the size of the piece.

The USPS offers Standard Mail at a bulk discount called Marketing Mail® for direct marketers as a cost-saving option. Standard Mail delivery can take longer than First-Class Mail, with an estimated delivery time of 3 to 21 days for Standard Mail, compared to the significantly lower 1 to 5 days of First-Class Mail.

Direct mail marketers can also choose Every Door Direct Mail® (EDDM), a lower-cost option than Standard Mail for use within a limited demographic compared to other options. The advertiser selects mailing routes within a ZIP code, and every household within that area will receive its advertisements.

Turnaround Costs and Cost of Delays From the Wrong Partner

Direct mailing service costs can increase if an advertiser requires a quick turnaround. Planning a campaign in advance is vital to getting a lower price on direct mail printing services. For example, an advertiser ordering 1,000 catalogs can save on cost if they are willing to wait seven days rather than four days. Advertisers can save a considerable amount if they can plan their direct mailing campaign with enough time for the printer to work their print job in with other similar jobs to reduce the cost of paper and printing.

Direct Mail Services From ImageMark

Direct mail marketing can increase traffic and conversion rates with targeted advertising to an audience most likely to buy your product or service. It is vital to consider your budget for materials and postage and whether you need targeted or saturation lists when creating your direct mail campaign and plan in advance to benefit from lower-cost direct mail printing services.

ImageMark can optimize your direct mail marketing campaign with direct mail fulfillment services tailored to acquiring valuable customers for your brand. Contact us to learn how we can help you reach and retain new customers.


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