2018 USPS Rate Increase

mail dogThe U.S. Postal Service once again raising rates. Here are some details of the 2018 postage rate increase. This increase takes effect on Sunday January 21st.

First-Class Mail

First-Class Mail Letter rates are slated to increase from their current 49 cent rate to 50 cents.  Now is a good time to buy Forever stamps, before the price goes up!
The postcard rate, which applies to individually mailed postcards measuring 4.25 x 6 or smaller, increases from 34 to 35 cents. The additional ounces charge for first class letters will remain at 21 cents, and international letters also hold steady at $1.15.

If you use metered postage in your office the rate also increases by one cent, from 46 cents to 47 cents.

Marketing Mail

Marketing mail (also known as standard mail) rates are slated to increase by an average of 1.94 percent. Included in this category are presort standard as well as the nonprofit rate. Presort Standard automated letters increase slightly less than the rest at only 1%, which is less than 1 cent increase. First Class Presort automated letters also see an estimated 1 cent per piece increase, from 40 to 41. Nonprofit automated letters hold at approximately 17 cents per piece.
The largest postage increases in this category target Flats, going up about 1.5% across the board.

Every Door Direct Mail

The USPS’s very successful Every Door Direct Mail program is also scheduled for a small increase from 15.6 cents to 15.7 cents on DDU shipments. The other categories also went up 1/10 cent each.

Shipping Services

As in previous years, the main focus of the rate increase is on Shipping Services, which sees an average increase for Priority Mail of 3.9 percent, including a 5 cent increase on most Flat Rate shipping charges.

If  you have any question or want to have your next mailing project quoted in advance please contact one our mail design experts.

Need the price chart?

Click here to download the PDF: 2018postage_prices

The Well-Targeted Newsletter Audience

Imagine:

Example #1

It’s Friday afternoon and you’ve just sat down in your favorite chair on the porch with your favorite beverage in one hand and a stack of mail in the other. You revel in the fall breeze at it gently pushes away the once stuffy, hot air. It’s nice to be outside again.

You examine your stack of mail:

Cable TV ad. Nope.

Another “pre-qualified loan offer”. Not falling for that again.

Car insurance quote offer, for the hundredth time. Maybe later.    

Bills. Absolutely later.

Here is a newsletter from the community organization that you donated $20 to last year. Well that is interesting. What’s going on in the community? What are they doing with your investment? You can’t believe what you are reading. ALL OF THAT is happening right now? How can you help? You get this strange, powerful drive to do something for your community and look for a person to contact. All the info is right there.

Example #2

Next door to you, the neighbor kid has just gotten home from school, fallen on the couch, and is looking through his Facebook feed. Endless streams of information. But he isn’t really reading it, he is scanning, turning his brain off for a bit and only stopping when certain interesting words or images catch his eye.

Angry cat. Hah, that cat is great.

Political upheaval. Later, when I have more energy.

An ad for a T-shirt with his last name on it. The shirt reads: “It’s a Smith thing, you wouldn’t understand.” Clever, but that’s been way overdone.

Headline: “A man plunges into a rushing river and what he does next will amaze you”. No, it won’t. It will be disappointing. The picture displayed here won’t even be in the article and it will only be amazing to a toddler. Oh wait, no pictures. Not even toddlers are impressed. The kid starts to write a post about how annoying headlines have become and then erases it. Nobody cares about that either.

His attention piques when he sees a post about the alarming rate of child trafficking in Placer County.

The next few minutes are filled with furrowed brow, narrowed eyes, and held  breath. The wheels of alarm are turning. What can he do to help? He cares about his community a great deal and must do his part in something great. Well it says right there how to help, who to contact, and some words of encouragement. Hey look, a button that says “Yes, I will help organize a Safe Walk Home meeting at my school.” Yes please.

Example #3

Miles away in the city, a young woman is finally on her last hour of the work day. She checks her email one last time and notices an e-newsletter from the community organization that she volunteered at last year during a park trail cleanup. She likes getting emails from this organization because they gather up all the most important things going on in the outdoor (about as outdoor as you can get in the city) community and give her a snippet of what each thing is about. She thinks that the articles are always on point and usually relevant to how she can participate further or what has been done as a result of volunteers like her.

She’s had a rough day. She clicks on the link to learn more about using plants to create a stress free environment in the workplace. There is a great place right over in that corner for a succulent plant!

Reading this newsletter gives her inspiration to go outdoors over the weekend, and also to buy a plant for her office.

And look, they are having a tree planting event next week in the park! She will make sure to join. The park is just a couple blocks from her office.

These are what well-targeted readers and tailored content look like. Not every avenue is perfect for the entirety of every audience. In fact, it’s best for an organization or company with a wide range of clients or potential clients to reach out in different ways, according to segments of their audience. Not sure where to start?


Start Your Information and Invitation Funnel by:

  1. Surveying existing interested parties and researching their demographics and motivations so that you can get more readers like them.
  2. Decide on how to tailor content to each segment of your audience.
  3. Plan a timeline and follow it repeatedly, provided it works. Otherwise make adjustments.
  4. Make your content. What do you want your audience to do and how will you make it clear that they are to do that thing?
        
    Now is the time to send your message. Not sure how to get it done? Or are you concerned about the professional quality or the possibility of hitting the spam folder/trash can? If you get lost anywhere in the process or you just need somebody to take over in the social media, email, design, or printed newsletter department, give us a call! (888) 282-8764. Or email us at quote_request@api-marketing.com

Postage Rates Move Sideways in 2017

Some are up and some are down. But there are new prices for your individual letter and presort mailing starting on Sunday January 22nd. Below is a few of the highlights of changes at the United States Postal Service.

First-Class Mail® Letters up to 1 ounce: price increase from $0.47 to $0.49

First-Class Mail® Flats up to 1 ounce: price increase from $0.94 to $0.98

Presorted First-Class Mail Letters/Postcards: There’s an overall average price decrease of .25%

Presort First-Class Mail will be able to send up to 3.5oz letters for the same price as a 1oz rate

Standard Mail will be re-branded as USPS “Marketing Mail”®

EDDM drop shipment postage for profit business goes up 1% and non-profits goes down 5%

But when the increase takes effect, Api-marketing is ready. Ready with the new prices and ready with ideas to maximize your return with targeted mail lists, personalization & marketing design.

2016 was a great year for “direct mail” resulting in an increase of over 10% from prior years. It works, it is not dead, and 2017 will be even a bigger year for businesses that invest in direct mail.

If you have any specific pricing questions on postage, or are interested in printing and mailing through APi-marketing, e-mail us or give us a call, we will be happy to get you all the answers you need.

For non-profits it’s all about the “ASK”

Working with non-profits one of the most common request concerns the “ask”. This is vital when attempting to get the greatest amount of return on your donor campaign.

Inevitability a majority of donors with give the smallest of the “ask” if they have a choice. What do you do? Well you make the lowest “ask” at a higher donation. But you don’t want to scare or alienate the donors that can’t make the minimum “ask”. That is the key for non-profits, know what the right “ask” is based on your donor profile.

One of the most valuable tools in using variable data in your donor campaigns. We use those fields as variables in your database to print on your letter-set, postcard or other marketing channel that you might use. And its easy, just set 3 different fields in your database associated with that donor and when we print on our digital presses call for that dollar amount for each printed piece. It keeps it in presort order so you maintain your highest automation postage discount. Below are a couple of samples of what that might look like in your database.

FirstName

LastName

Address

City

St

Zip

Ask One

Ask Two

Ask Three

John

Smith

1252 Mill Rd.

Alta

CA

95701

$25.00

$50.00

$100.00

Wendy

Taft

11454 9th St

Loomis

CA

95650

$50.00

$100.00

$250.00

Al

Sharkey

1147 Moss Rd

Roseviille

CA

95678

$250.00

$500.00

$1,000.00

Another way without going through each record in your database is to group them based on your “ask”. For example:

Group A – $10.00 – $25.00 – $50.00
Group B – $250.00 – $500.00 – $1000.00
Group C – $1000.00 – $2500.00 – $5000.00

Just mark your prospective donors to a group and we will take care of the rest.

It is so critical to know your database. Give one of our specialist a call and we will have the answers to achieving success and higher donations on your next non-profit campaign.

Direct Mail is Alive and Well

Remove-Smarter2E-mail, websites, SEO, social media, & signage all showing growth in the marketing world for both B2B and B2C segments. Direct mail is also showing growth, and in some industries showing double digit growth. It is time to put direct mail back in your marketing strategy.
Consumers and businesses are attracted to a couple things in this strategy. They see that an investment is being made in them when they get mail, and direct mail is targeted specifically to them, about the things they enjoy.
As with any marketing strategy, you have choices as to how to deliver your direct mail message. Your mail list is and has always been the backbone of a successful campaign. So how are you going to select your mailing list?
First, you need to examine how your product or service appeals to the masses. Is there only a small portion of the market that will buy? Or would almost anyone be a good prospect. When you figure that out, that’s when people like me, Brad, go to work. We fashion a database to fit your need and to fit your budget. Continue reading Direct Mail is Alive and Well

Personalization pays its way with greater ROI

multiple women who are unhappy and one woman is happyPersonalization has a huge impact on your Return On Investment, or ROI. In order to get the most bang for your marketing bucks, it’s important to understand where the industry is headed. People now EXPECT to get personalized mail. They are no longer happy to get something with their name on it. They need to see something relevant to what their wants and needs. This is an incredible opportunity to surprise and delight your potential clients. A recent study by InfoTrends* about this very topic should shed some light on the current market. They published their findings from a 2015 consumer study on one on one, or personalized marketing. Their target was the average consumer family. InfoTrends asked them four simple questions . . .

1. What makes you open direct mail?
Opening direct mail correlated with the relevance of the specific content. Consumers were more likely to open direct mail pieces with product/service offerings that interested them or those with information that reflected their needs and interests.
While that seems like a given, it’s not that easy. Right now there are two main ways to get this information, collect it when someone purchases from you, or buy it from a data compiler. Either way, the investment in your time or the investment in a quality list with detailed buying habits, will be more than worth it when it comes to your direct mail. Continue reading Personalization pays its way with greater ROI

What is Targeting?

audience_propensitiesIf you are a marketer or own your own business, a target should be something other that the round circles that you put out at the gun range. The target is your customer. Targeting is your best bet to sell or influence your potential clients to value your product or service.

What does it actually do? How does it help your business?

It saves you expenses. If you are doing any type of out-bound marketing, you only need to send it to your target audience.

It gives you greater profit. If you hit your target you won’t have to discount your prospects to convince consumers to buy; they are already influenced by your product or service.

Smarter acquisition. Don’t waste time on prospects that can’t bring you the return you want.

Share your lifestyle. These prospects are the ones that you go out for a beer with. You have them over for dinner, they like you and you like them.

So the question remains, what do you need to do to target your customers?

Build your own database. Don’t just get names, addresses & e-mails. Ask some questions about their lifestyle, see if they fit your target audience.

Use audience propensities in a purchased list. This can segment into your target. Education, travel, automobile, media, etc. will tell you a lot about your prospects and what they like to hear and see.

Data mirroring. This is a well crafted tool to make a larger database from your existing database. It’s simple; we upload your database to one of our data compilers, they evaluate over 100 characteristics of your current customer, and give you more entries like the ones you have. You have mirrored your list and these, again, are your target.

When I hear “direct mail doesn’t work,” I always ask, “how did you target your mailing?” Their answer is, “what is targeting?” or “I just mailed it to people in the area.” Go deeper, target your audience and see the difference in your ROI.

Give us a call. We are experts in enlisting a targeted list of your NEW CUSTOMERS.

You can download a white paper here about targeting API_Audience-Propensities-Fact-Sheet

Data is still King

Crown 11Who gets your message is the most important part of any campaign, if your a business is looking for new customers. You may have the greatest offer ever. You may have the best product that is on a must have wish list. Your timing is impeccable. None of that matters if you don’t reach the right prospects and miss your target audience. That is why your data, your list, is KING.

I did a simple review of many of the types of data sources that are available to build a database. Whether you are using it for print, e-mail, social media or even phone calls, this outline can give you some insight to make your KINGDOM even bigger.

Download the White Paper Databases Made Easy

What is EDDM?

We are frequently asked, “how can I spread my name to potential customers, but not spend a fortune?” Well one good way is the use of Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) offered by the United States Post Office. We had so many people asking about this service that we decided to present a live webinar of all that it features. Our first webinar was such a big success and so well received we decided to continue to do more of them. Continue reading What is EDDM?

Every Door Direct Mail

Spring is here. It’s time to get back to marketing your business

The economy is slowly turning to the positive and it’s time to get back in the game. If you don’t your competitors are!  If you are ready for new customers and want to reconnect with repeat customers the answer may be Every Door Direct Mail or better known as EDDM. The United States Postal Service has been pushing this method over the last year and it is a great value for businesses that utilize it. EDDM is well known for local retail and services businesses get a vast majority of their new customers and more business from existing customers from their surrounding area. Some businesses report over 90% if of their business comes from within only a few miles from their store or office. So if you think that that hat fits your head EDDM should be a no brainer. Continue reading Every Door Direct Mail