The Ultimate Guide to Send or Mail a Letter Online
Offline mail is having a comeback as more and more people are realizing its worth in this digital era. Both personal handwritten postcards and business letters are sent through the mail almost every day. There are a lot of steps involved in sending a letter, like drafting it perfectly, choosing the right size, following the weight restrictions, affixing the right postage, stuffing and sealing envelopes, and so on. If you want to skip through all these steps, you should mail a letter online. It is far more convenient and saves a lot of time and effort.
Nevertheless, you should still know how to send a letter offline as well, so that you can compare and select for yourself.
How to Send a Letter in The Mail
Both individuals and companies use letters. Individuals communicate messages by writing letters to their loved ones, whereas industries like banks, insurance, real estate firms, healthcare, and financial services use a lot of letters like contract letters, resumes, promotional letters, client agreements, taxation forms, and much more. In the context of sending a letter in the mail, all these documents are considered letters. You need to know and follow the required steps for sending a letter, which include:
1. Drafting and Printing the Letter
We will start with the first step you need to complete after deciding to send a letter to someone. Depending on your motive to write a letter, you need to plan out its contents. If it is a personal letter – you need not give much thought to it as you can literally write anything you want and in any flow or tone. But, if it is a business letter, you might want to carefully consider your tone as this letter ought to be a representation of your brand.
Keep it formal but do not overdo it. It is okay to add some casual sentences and words to relate to your audience. Usually, direct mail letters are highly personalized. Select the theme, background images, font style, and other things, after which your letter will be ready for print. For printing letters, you can contact a local printing vendor or use your own printer.
2. Choosing the Right Envelope
Usually, letters are supposed to be enclosed in envelopes, unless your letter fits within the dimensions of a postcard – wherein you can avail yourself of the USPS postcard rates, and your letter wouldn’t require an envelope. It is simply folded and sealed.
However, generally, letters are bigger than postcards, and it is highly possible that your letters don’t fit in with the USPS-approved postcard dimensions. Hence, you should select the right envelope and get your letter enclosed.
There are multiple factors to consider while choosing the correct size and type of envelope for your letter, like the destination, size and shape of your letter, the purpose of mailing, and more.
- Size and shape: You should select an envelope size that can securely hold your letter. If your letters are foldable into a standard size, they can fit in standard-sized envelopes. Otherwise, you will require a larger envelope to enclose your letter. Similarly, your mail should be machinable, that is, fit in the USPS automated mail processors. Oversize, unusually shaped envelopes or the ones with strings or buttons are all non-machinable and will cost you more.
- Destination: Consider the destination of your letter and the delivery time before you select an envelope. The envelope type that you select should be thick and sturdy for overseas mailing to keep your letter safe throughout the delivery process, whereas you can go for a thinner envelope if you are sending local or domestic mail.
- Budget: If it is a personal letter, you probably don’t have to emphasize the budget. For direct mail, draw out a budget plan and select an envelope size accordingly. Companies that are focused on saving postage should send machinable letters and fit them in the letter slots. If not, your letters will be treated as parcels and charged more.
- Motive: You should be clear about your reason for sending a particular letter. If your mail consists of a birthday greeting, you should use a bright and colorful envelope. On the contrary, official documents like resumes, contracts, and forms should be enclosed in professional-looking envelopes.
3. Measuring Dimensions and Weight
Your letter should be eligible for mailing under the USPS letter category. Otherwise, you will be needed to pay more. It is mandatory that your letters are enclosed in rectangular and standard-sized envelopes. Letters can be folded and enclosed in these envelopes. If your letter is unfoldable due to the type of paper you have used, you will need to use a bigger envelope.
According to the USPS-approved letter dimensions, letters should be at least 3.5″ x 5″ and should not exceed 6.125″ x 11.5″. Furthermore, the thickness of your letter should be at least 0.007″ and not more than 0.25″.
Please note that even if your letter is enclosed in a standard-size envelope, it is not essential that your letter will be charged as per the letter rates. Non-machinable envelopes are charged differently. Before calculating the postage, make sure to measure your letter’s dimensions and weigh it on a scale.
4. Enclosing and Sealing
After selecting the appropriate envelope, it is important to enclose your letter in it and seal the envelope securely. Make sure that the seal protects the contents of your envelope and remains in place until the recipient opens it up. There are quite some options for you to seal your envelopes.
The first and the easiest option is to lick the closing edge of the envelope and shut the flap to seal it. This step moistens the glue present on the edge and helps it stick.
Elsewise, you can opt for wetting the edge using a sponge. Self-sealing envelopes present in the market do not require the edge glue to be moistened before sealing it. Other ways include using glue sticks or small tapes to seal your envelopes.
5. Inserting the Mailing Address
An essential part of sending a letter is to mention the mailing address clearly. The recipient’s name and address should be correctly mentioned on the front of your envelope. If you know how to mail a letter, you would already know about the USPS’s address guidelines, like – all the words should be in capital letters, and the city name and province code should come on the same line.
Letters that are meant to be sent to other countries should be addressed according to that country’s postal guidelines. Write the address in the middle of the envelope and include all the required details like the person or company name, street name, suite number, and the correct ZIP code. In the US, you need to use state abbreviations and not the full state name.
Generally, the address should be written using three lines: the first line is used to write the recipient’s full name; the second line should consist of the apartment or suite number and the street address; the city, state, and the ZIP code should be mentioned on the third line.
Every country has its own addressing system, so check out their address traits before adding the mailing address. You can check the website of the postal organization in your destination country. Write the address neatly and use dark ink colors. You can otherwise print the addresses on labels and stick them on your letters.
Printed addresses are much clearer and more understandable than handwritten ones. This step improves the chances of your mail delivery being completed and reduces delays. Businesses can opt to send mail online using PostGrid‘s direct mail automation platform – which is capable of auto-correcting and verifying your addresses. It can solve your problems of lost and returned mail.
6. Adding a Return Address
You don’t need to add a return address or the sender’s address. However, you should include one so that undeliverable mail can be returned back to you. A letter can be undeliverable for several reasons like damage, insufficient postage, and incomplete or invalid addresses.
Without a return address, such undelivered mail will be discarded by the post office. You will likely have no idea about your mail’s whereabouts in such a scenario, which can lead to confusion and misinterpretations about your letter. Moreover, your letter might contain some confidential information. Including a return address is always a smart option.
The sender’s address should be written on the top-left corner of your envelope, towards the front side. It should be written in the same format as the mailing address. Alternatively, you can also write the return address on the back of your envelope. Again, read your destination country’s postal guidelines about the insertion of the return address.
7. Figuring Out the Postage
It is often very difficult to figure out the postage required to be paid for mailing your letter. It depends on destination, shape, size, mailing speed, weight, and the tracking and special handling options you might be looking for.
Sending letters overseas will cost you more than mailing them to domestic locations. Moreover, postage increases with an increase in weight. You also have to keep the dimensions in mind, as only rectangular envelopes are allowed to send letters. If you use a square envelope, it is not considered to be a letter by the USPS. For certain additional options like insurance and fragile mail handling, the postage will be relatively higher.
You can get postage stamps online at the USPS website or other online postage stores. Some drug and grocery stores also sell stamps for both domestic and international destinations. If you carry your letters to the post office, they can calculate the postage for you specifically. Otherwise, you can calculate it yourself.
Make sure to use the right number and type of stamps because the stamp rates keep changing from time to time. The postage stamps value should cover the full cost to mail your letter to a certain destination. Purchasing postage stamps online is much easier and cheaper than purchasing them from the post office.
The USPS also provides several discounts if you purchase postage online. Using metered postage instead of stamps can also help you save a lot as it is cheaper compared to the rate of stamps. For sending bulk mail, you should definitely consider using metered postage to save a lot on the overall postage that you are required to pay.
8. Selecting the Mailing Option
There are many different options to mail a letter through the USPS. Depending on the urgency of sending your mail and budget availability, you can select the ideal mailing option.
The USPS’s first-class mail option is ideal for sending letters with local mail delivered within 2 to 3 business days and national mail delivered in around four business days. The prices start at $0.55 for rectangular and standard-size envelopes.
The postage for oversize, unusually shaped, or square envelopes starts at $0.75. The maximum weight allowed to send first-class letters is 3.5 ounces. There are other mail options available with the USPS for sending mail that can be used if your mail weighs more than the specified weight, for example, the priority mail flat rate option that allows you to send mail weighing up to 70 pounds. If you know how to mail a letter online, you can skip these steps of figuring out the postage and the right mailing option to send your letters.
9. Mailing the Letter
There are blue-colored USPS mailboxes located in all the cities and suburbs at a certain distance from each other in the US. It is likely that you locate a mailbox nearby to you. If not, check the USPS website to locate mailboxes, so you can drop your mail at the nearest one. Otherwise, you can take it to the nearest post office and drop it there.
If you want to track your mail, you can go to the post office and pay the required postage, in return for which the postal worker will give you a receipt with a tracking number. You can then track your letter through the USPS website. A lot of people are not able to calculate the postage on their own. They can always go to a post office and let them handle this task for you.
It is difficult for bulk mailing to carry all the letters, stand in the post office queue, and wait till the postal workers calculate the postage for you. It can be a lengthy and time-consuming process. At this point, you should consider learning how to send a letter online. The online process merely takes a few minutes, and everything is completed in less than half the amount of effort you would have put in to send a letter manually.
Why and How to Send a Letter or Mail A Letter Online
All the steps mentioned above on how to send a letter in the mail are essential in order to get the task done. You can’t just skip getting the letters printed, stuffing them into envelopes, or taking them to the post office. If that is too much work for you or you do not have the time to do all these things, choose to send an online letter.
Moreover, if you want to save on your postage, track your letters, verify mailing addresses, and get everything done accurately, choose a print and mail automation platform like PostGrid. You no longer need to lick envelopes or make mailing decisions every time you need to send out a letter. Direct mail software can assist you in drafting your letters to get the delivery done on time.
Here are some stats to prove the effectiveness of sending personalized letters:
One of the reasons to send personalized mail is that according to research people of all ages engage with mail. According to Royal Mail, 94% of mail is opened, read, or filed and 70% of people said mail gives them a better impression of the company that sent it.
Research has shown that 87% of people trust traditional mail and consider it to be believable – handwritten mail would be higher still. It is estimated that over 90% of people who receive a handwritten letter or note will open it and read it.
According to a recent USPS survey, 65% of people say they give mail their full attention. If you are still wondering why you should start sending a letter online, read below to find out the benefits of sending mail online.
1. In-built templates and customization options
Letters sent as direct mail should be attention-grabbing and inducing. PostGrid’s print and mail automation platform has several in-built templates along with a template editor for you to make changes according to your own imagination. There are several customizations in terms of background images, colors, font styles, and much more.
2. Printing options
With PostGrid, you can choose between several printing options like single-sided and double-sided printing, black and white or color printing, paper stock options, etc. Our platform has collaborations with the most trusted printers across the country who can print your letters in the best quality. The best part about sending an online letter is that you don’t need to worry about stocking inventory like paper and stamps or finding a trusted printer. Checks, bank statements, invoices, brochures, flyers – you can print and send anything you want.
3. Mail fulfillment
As discussed earlier, knowing how to send a letter online can help you solve problems like carrying the letters to the post office and standing outside in a queue. PostGrid provides print and mail fulfillment that can help you directly mail the letters to your targeted recipients without having to stuff and label envelopes and take them to the post office. Our platform can get it printed and mailed in one go. PostGrid also offers validation and verification of all the addresses before mailing, which can help you save postage money on undeliverable addresses.
4. Postage discounts
When you organize your mail, pre-sort all the letters, and make these tasks easier for the USPS, you will be qualified to get highly discounted rates. Moreover, as your mail volume increases, the overall postage you have to pay will automatically get discounted.
You can integrate a print and mail automation platform and API like PostGrid with your CRM software. It can help you automatically import all the required information to print and mail your letters speedily. You can also set up triggered campaigns by such integrations. You need not learn how to send a letter using PostGrid. The platform is user-friendly and gets your work done fast.
There are many other reasons why you should know how to mail a letter online. Reporting, real-time tracking, and bulk mailing are the additional features provided by a print and mail automation program like PostGrid. The steps in sending an online letter through PostGrid are simple and can be executed by any person, without any technical expertise.
All you need to do is sign up and start ordering your direct mail items. PostGrid offers a number of direct mail collaterals like postcards, brochures, flyers, and others. If you want to send an online letter, you can do it very easily using PostGrid’s letter API & print and mail automation platform. There are various in-built templates that enable you to draft letters speedily and customize them according to your needs and objectives. You need to simply select a letter size of your choice – according to which PostGrid can select the perfect mailing option to send your letters.
On-demand printing, bulk mailing, and event-triggered campaigns are all possible with the help of PostGrid’s print and mail network. Send mail online, and you will no longer have to worry about finding printing and mail vendors, stuffing hundreds of envelopes, and tracking all your letters individually.
Sending a Letter Via Email
If you want to follow the new mode of sending letters, which is online or digital, you can also send letters by email. Today, everybody gets a dozen emails every day. Hence, important letters are still recommended to be sent via mail. Letters sent through offline mail get much more attention than emails. But, emails have their own advantages, such as saved time and instant delivery.
Hence, you should know how to send a letter via email. For sending a letter through email, you will need to make an email account and note your recipient’s email address. Follow the steps mentioned below after you have noted these things.
- Write the letter: Use Microsoft Word or other applications like Google Docs and Apple Pages to draft a letter. There are a lot of word-processing programs that you can use. Firstly, start with a salutation or opening line. Unless you know the person personally, stick with their full name. You can add the word “dear” in front of the name. For example – in “Dear Mr. Charles.”
- Compose a message: Login to your email account and compose a new message. You will be needed to enter the recipient’s email address and the subject line. Use a subject line that gives a preview of your message and highlights the reason for the email. Insert all the required information in the body of the letter with a clear CTA. You can end the letter with a closing line such as “Sincerely” or “Warm Regards.”
- Insert your letter: Copy and paste your drafted letter into the message field. It is always recommended to draft your letters elsewhere and then copy and paste them into the message field, rather than drafting your letters there directly. This way, you get access to various editing options that word-processing programs provide.
- Proofread: Double check your letter to make sure there are no spelling and grammatical mistakes. Make sure to use a formal tone for business letters and a friendly tone for personal letters. The tone of your letters matters a lot and makes a huge difference. After proofreading the entire letter, you can send it across to the recipient.
You can also do mass emailing to a lot of people in one go by adding all their email addresses. For personalizing your letters, use the mail merge feature. Your letters should address the recipient formally using their full name, and sometimes with a title like “Mr.” or “Ms.” We have discussed sending a letter via email, but there is another option of rather attaching a letter in an email. Email messages are less formal than letter attachments, so you need to know how to send a letter via email to understand the difference. Sales quotes, resume, invoices, offer letters, and sales contracts are some examples of letter attachments.