How to Mail a Newsletter According to the USPS Guidelines
Do your customers remember you after buying from you once? Are prospects thinking of your brand while making their everyday purchase decisions? Or are you losing them to your competitors? If you think you are not getting the needed attention from your existing and potential customers, now is the time to do something about it.
To get your prospects thinking about you, try direct mail marketing. It is memorable and can push people to engage with your brand.
You should first decide which direct mail format to use for your campaigns as there are several types like postcards, letters, etc. However, we will talk about the most underrated one here in this guide- The Newsletters!
The USPS helps companies send newsletters to their target audience by offering lower postage rates. But, to avail of low rates, you should follow the USPS newsletter mailing guidelines.
In this blog, we will discuss such USPS folded self-mailer requirements. We will also cover how to improvise your newsletters and make the best of your campaigns.
What is a Newsletter?
A newsletter is a type of direct mail that is folded, sealed, and mailed without an envelope. The USPS defines it as an unenveloped letter-size item or self-mailer.
Companies, nonprofits, and other institutions use newsletters to communicate with their audience. Through this direct mail format, they can discuss their products and services and advertise their brand.
But, it is advisable to use newsletters as a subtle marketing tool. The main objective is to educate your prospects about different things like:
- The latest industry news
- Upcoming trade events
- Recent accomplishments of your brand, etc.
This way, you can stay in touch with them and convince them to give your brand a swirl.
Company newsletters help you accomplish many things like:
- Boosting sales
- Increasing brand awareness
- Updating prospects on different topics
- Cultivating customer loyalty, and more
Newsletters give you a chance to display your expertise by combining your industry knowledge with helpful information that your audience can use.
Are Letters Better Than Newsletters?
Letters and newsletters are almost the same things. The prime difference is that letters are enclosed and mailed in envelopes, whereas newsletters are sealed and sent without them.
Also, letters have a more professional look than newsletters and are purely marketing-based. They are also more personalized as per the recipient’s demographics.
On the contrary, newsletters are written and formatted in general to appeal to a large audience. They are considered less responsive but are an excellent way to keep in touch with prospects.
The question of whether you should mail letters or newsletters depends on your campaign and its objectives.
You can choose to print and mail letters if you want to make immediate sales or build personal relationships with potential customers.
But, if you only wish to reach out to them from time to time with the motive of reminding them of your brand, newsletters are a great marketing format available.
USPS Requirements Regarding Printing and Mailing Newsletters
By following the USPS guidelines, you can avoid paying additional surcharges and also mail your newsletters on time.
Newsletter sizes are determined by the height and width of the paper sheet after folding it. So, if your newsletter is 4” x 6” but comes down to 4” x 3” after folding, its size is only 4” x 3”.
The standard sizes for newsletters are:
- 8.5” x 11”
- 8.5” x 14”
- 11” x 17”
- Custom sizes
According to the USPS, self-mailers should measure at least 3.5” x 5” and not exceed 6.125” x 11.5”. Also, their thickness should range between 0.007” and 0.25”.
The USPS offers low rates on newsletters of these dimensions because it can sort them with the help of their automated equipment. Otherwise, the postal workers will have to sort them by hand, which increases costs.
Mailing newsletters without envelopes sounds unsafe as they might open up and even tear off. But, you can mail them without any worries if you correctly fold and seal them.
The USPS needs you to fold your newsletters in a way that they fit in the sorting machines. If your folding technique causes the newsletter to jam the equipment, you may have to pay an additional surcharge for hand sorting.
Hence, if you plan to mail hundreds and thousands of newsletters, try avoiding such things to keep your budget in control.
There are various newsletter folding methods you can use, such as:
- Bi-fold: When you fold a paper sheet into two halves creating two panels, it is known as a bi-fold. It is the simplest type of folding method that you can use.
- Tri-fold: Tri-folding is the process of folding a piece of paper two times to create three panels. You can either do it horizontally or vertically.
- Quarter Fold: The quarter fold is also called the french fold or cross fold. You get a quarter fold by folding a paper two times but in different directions. For example, if your first fold is horizontal, your second fold should be vertical, and vice versa. This way, you get four panels.
There are many more fold types like a gatefold, oblong fold, roll fold, etc. You can choose any method you want as long as your newsletters meet the USPS requirements.
How to seal a newsletter for mailing? You can seal your folded self-mailers with wafer seals, adhesive tabs, or tapes. If your newsletter only has one page, use one mailing tab or wafer seal in the middle of the open edge. For two or more pages, you can use more seals.
In the case of a single tab, the USPS needs the folded edge to be the bottom of the mailer. However, the folded end could be either the top or bottom if you use two tabs.
While using two tabs, place them within one inch from the right and left edges of the newsletter.
If you want to use a tri-fold newsletter with two wafer seals or tabs, the weight of your paper should at least be 20 lbs. In the case of one-tab sealing, the USPS newsletter weight requirements depend on how many sheets you have used.
How to Design Creative, Informative, and Impressive Newsletters
As the above title says, newsletters should be a lot of things in one—creative (to keep your audience hooked), informative (to provide value), and impressive (to make them take action).
But, to accomplish these objectives, you need to focus on your newsletter design.
Below are some tips to help you design an effective newsletter:
- Being creative does not mean placing haphazard design elements in your newsletter. Instead, try making it look crisp and clean.
- Add images with bright colors to make them pop.
- Maintain consistency by using artwork similar to the ones you use for your logo, webpages, product sheets, etc.
- Use the same font for all your headlines to make your newsletter easy to navigate.
- Avoid using lengthy paragraphs. Try using bullet points, one-liners, and short phrases.
If you are having trouble deciding the type of content to use for your newsletters, here are a few ideas for you:
- How-to and short articles.
- News and announcements.
- Sales, special offers, and promotional content.
- Details regarding events like seminars, classes, product launches, etc.
- Techniques, tips, and ideas relating to different topics (niche-specific)
- Interviews with the leading players of your industry.
More Tips on How to Make Your Newsletters Stand Out
Below are some additional tips to prepare you for your newsletter marketing campaigns:
- Use an upfront and bold headline. It should represent and summarize your newsletter in a single sentence.
- Include content that your target audience wants to read.
- Try to use varied content—for example, 40% related to your company, 40% regarding your industry, and 20% stories that interest your audience in general.
- Have you ever seen weekly quizzes and games in newspapers? Whether it’s a quiz or contest, recurring segments like such can help keep your audience hooked.
- Always include a call to action to motivate prospects to get in touch with you.
- Focus on quality and quantity both. Decide upon your newsletter frequency—for example, weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, etc., depending on how much time you need to compile valuable content.
- Brand your newsletters by adding your company name and logo on every page.
- You can add QR codes, pURLs, and other trackable aspects to help you drive responses and track engagement. Throw in some offers or discounts to get the prospects to complete the CTA.
Also, for more tips and tricks about writing a direct mail piece go through our comprehensive guide and be ahead of others. Click Here
PostGrid’s Newsletter Printing and Mailing Services
When it comes to printing, there are many options for you. From paper stock to coating choices, you get to decide how you want your newsletters to look.
But, do not forget to follow the USPS size and weight restrictions. The USPS needs you to presort your newsletters according to ZIP codes for mailing in bulk. Such tasks can be daunting, so our direct mail API can get it all done for you.
We can help you create and print your newsletters in only two business days. Furthermore, PostGrid’s direct mail services can also handle your mailing needs.
If you want to know more about how PostGrid can help you conduct newsletter printing and mailing campaigns effortlessly, request a demo now.