Although online mailing systems such as email and direct messaging services may have taken the mode of communication to a more efficient and easier level, there are still some people that prefer to use direct mailing formats, for both business and personal information transfer. And while it may come normally for those that are a little older, there are many young people who were never exposed to direct mailing formats, causing them to be absolutely oblivious when it comes to sending a letter or postcard in the mail. Getting ready to mail your first letter or postcard? Here are some tips that will help you accomplish that.
1. Stock up on Supplies
If you intend to start sending letters and postcards frequently, then stocking up on supplies can help. For example, you don’t want to have to scramble to find a stamp every time you need to put an envelope in the mail. Keep a healthy amount of stamps along with envelopes of different sizes. While you don’t necessarily need massive envelopes or tiny ones, an assortment of medium-sized envelopes can help you to send material in a professional and proficient manner.
2. Learn Proper Postage
You aren’t going to end up sending letters or postcards in a proficient manner when you don’t know the proper postage to use. In other words, some letters require more than one stamp. The amount of postage required is based upon the weight of the item that you’re putting in the mail. In general, one stamp is safe for a postcard, but you might be placing some heavier items in envelopes. For example, you might send out wedding invitations that come with several cards.
3. Add the Return Address
You might wonder what the point of putting a return address on the envelope is. While your letter or postcard might safely arrive without one, you run the risk of something happening to the envelope and it getting permanently lost. For example, imagine that you do not put the proper postage on the envelope by mistake. If you have a return address on the envelope, the post office can send it back to you so that you can affix the proper postage. In the event that a return address is not present, the post office does not know where to send the envelope.
4. Use Return-Address Labels
Even though you now know the importance of using return labels, you might find it annoying to have to constantly write out your own address. Fortunately, you don’t have to. Simply order a sheet of return-address labels. Every time you send a letter, you can simply pull one of the stickers off and put it on the envelope. This approach works particularly well if you are sending out a bulk of mail at once. In the event that you are sending invitations or thank-you cards to dozens of people, your hand will likely grow tired from constantly writing your address.
5. Amass Prewritten Cards
While you should always write at least a short personal message in prewritten cards, having a collection of them can save you time and money. When your birthday comes around, you might receive an array of gifts. In the past, you might have sent a quick thank-you text. However, sending out a thank-you card may be even more appreciated. You don’t need to drop several dollars per person on thank-you cards. Instead, you can buy a collection of them for a low cost so that you have these cards available when you need them.
6. Save Money on Postcards
When you are traveling to another place, you might want to send exciting postcards to your relatives and friends back at home. Here’s another place where you can save money. While you might see some fancy postcards at a gift shop, these types of mailings really should not cost that much money. Go back to your hotel where you might find a collection of stunning postcards that are available at a low cost or maybe even free. All you’ll need to do is pay for the postage.
7. Never Send Cash
Sometimes, you may need to send a payment through the mail. In these situations, sending cash is really not a good idea. From the feel of the envelope, a deleterious person might be able to tell that cash is inside. Also, some criminals might go through mailboxes looking for envelopes. Even in the event that the envelope does safely arrive to the house of the recipient, imagine that it’s windy on the day when it’s delivered. The envelope with all of the cash could blow away.
8. Protect Credit Card Information
When you need to send a payment through the mail, you may also choose to use a credit card. Still, if someone gets a hold of your envelope or if the envelope blows into the street, then someone could get access to your credit card details. Instead of mailing this information, find out if you can call the recipient instead. In the event that you absolutely must use your credit card for this purchase and send the details through the mail, choose certified mail for greater peace of mind. If your credit card information is compromised, cancel the credit card right away.
9. Hide Checks
Sending a check through the mail is a fairly common practice. It does seem to be the safer method when you need to mail a payment. But still, your bank account number is on your checks, and you don’t want harmful individuals to have access to this information either. An approach frequently used is to wrap the check in paper. By doing so, people cannot see right into the envelope and notice a check sitting in there. You can cancel the check and call your bank for help if the envelope ends up in the wrong hands. Make sure to note the number of the check before sending it off in the event that you need to cancel it.
10. Choose Certified Mail
When you want to better ensure the safety of an envelope and to know that it has arrived at its intended destination, you can send the envelope via certified mail. You can go to the post office to have certified mail sent, or you can prepare for this process online. Certified mail is a smart idea when you are sending important documents.
11. Head to the Mailbox
Once you have your materials prepared, you can head to the mailbox to drop off your envelope. Most communities have several mailboxes available for you to pick from. Chances are that you can look up where the closest mailbox are to you online. The mailboxes should also indicate when the pick-ups occur. In some cases, you will be sending mail that needs to be post-marked by a certain date. For example, you might mail out an application or a bill. In order to ensure that the envelope reflects the correct post-mark, you really should put that envelope in the mailbox a few days in advance of the required post-mark date. Keep in mind that mail is not picked up on Sundays.
12. Go to the Post Office
If you cannot find mailboxes in your area or are nervous about their location, in the event that they are in dimly lit or dangerous places, you can simply go to the post office. A post office is going to have mailboxes sitting outside of it. Also, you may need to go into the post office to purchase stamps. You can put a stamp right on your envelope and send it off.
13. Use your Mailbox
You can also put mail in your own mailbox for the carrier to take on the next delivery of mail to your home. Keep in mind that the mail is actually going to have to fit in the mailbox. Therefore, this method is unlikely to work if you have a large quantity of mail to send out. Do remember that some postal offices may not offer this service. You can call your local post office to find out if it is okay for you to leave outgoing mail in your mailbox. You may discover that you can’t, or you may receive some advice for doing so. For example, the representative at the post office may suggest that you leave the piece of mail sticking out a bit so that the carrier knows it isn’t a leftover mail item from the previous day.
14. Send your Mail from Work
You may even have the ability to send out your mail from work. Of course, you are still responsible for the postage, but some offices have containers for outgoing mail. The container is likely primarily to be used for work-related mail. Therefore, you want to make sure that you are allowed to use it and that you don’t take advantage of it. You should not, for example, fill the box up to the top with your personal mail. Also, keep in mind that your address could be visible to other employees or clients who are coming into the office. If you like to maintain a high level of privacy at work, this option might not be the right one for you.
15. Explore the Campus
In the event that you work on a campus, whether it is a school, a hospital or another type of entity, mail services are likely available. For example, college campuses typically have post offices set up on site. You go there to get your mail, and you can bring your own mail there to be sent out. Again, you need to put the proper postage on the envelopes and postcards. If you are an employee, you should find out if this service is available for you too. In the event that it is not or if the campus does not have a post office, mailboxes are probably located right on the campus or just off of the campus property.
16. Ask for Help
To some people, sending out an envelope or a postcard is a simple task because they have been doing it for virtually their entire lives. In other cases, the situation is fairly new. If you are used to sending all of your messages out electronically, it might feel a little bit funny to mail an envelope or a postcard for the first time. Ask a trusted relative or friend to help you out and walk you over to the nearest mailbox or accompany you to the post office. Once you have your first experience sending out an envelope or postcard, you will likely feel much more confident doing so independently moving forward.
Why Send a Letter or Postcard in the Mail?
Even with the information listed above, people may still opt to go to the easier method of sending mail electronically, so why should you send a letter or postcard in the mail? It’s very simple. If you operate a business or company, and want to use direct mail for promotions and campaigns, the truth is that there is an untapped audience in this market. Because of the prominence of electronic mailing formats, there is a certain demographic of people that can only be reached through the direct mailing system. Here enters postcards and letters.
There are also many instances where electronic mailing systems are also not available, causing people to have to use the direct mailing system, especially for personal use. For example, there are some prisons and jails systems that don’t allow prisoners to use the internet based on the severity of the crimes committed and the sentence given. In cases like this, using direct mail is your only option.
How Does the Postal System Work?
Different countries normally have different postal systems with different rates and different modes of doing business, therefore doing some research on the postal system specific to your region is necessary for using the direct mailing system. In this modern age however, there are normally certain companies that does standardized as well as express shipping services, that you can rely on to deliver your mail directly to the specific location.
In the United States, the United States Postal System (USPS) is the best way of sending direct mail whether business-wise or individually. This company has been delivering direct mail for decades and is even now used by businesses to send promotional items to customers. To see the exact methods used, visit their website where they explain exactly how to send a letter or postcard directly.
To take full advantage of the postal service specific to your country, do research the rates, methods and ways that mail is collected and distributed. If you run a business, there might be special rates and discounts offered for sending bulk mail, both postcards and letters. Whatever the case is, just make sure you are properly informed before taking on this venture.
What is a Postcard?
Dating all the way back to the 1840s, postcards have always been a popular mode of direct mail and has been consistently used by businesses and people alike to transfer different information to its receiver. Postcards are normally thick enough to be sent without an envelope, and are usually rectangular in shape with the information being sent printed on one side of the normally cardboard card. Postcards have indeed become outdated as businesses begin using online campaigns to impact their customers, but if you want to use a postcard for any potential customers, or even just to send something surprising to a friend, here is the best way.
Most postcards are smaller in format than a letter, with information written on both sides of the card. Because of this, it is best to use exciting colors, detailed graphics and well researched images to impact that direct mail audience.
While copy is indeed necessary, the real selling point of the postcard will be the graphics which will normally be the first thing the customer sees, but be sure to make the content simple and straightforward. Because postcards are very easy to read, there are normally one of the most effective marketing tools for the untapped audience. According to USPS standards, postcards are normally between the dimensions of 3 1/4 to 4 1/2 inches tall, 0.007 to 0.016 inches in thickness and ideally 5 to 6 inches in width.
What is a Letter?
Letters are generally more intimidating than postcards as they contain a lot of content and normally require a lot more for the sending process. Perhaps one of the main concerns people have when sending letters is that the recipient will not read them (especially if these are business letters to potential clients). The best way to reach an audience through direct mail using a letter is to send letters to an existing customer base. This way you are absolutely sure these letters will be read as the recipients will already be familiar with your brand.
When it comes to mailing letters for personal reasons, there are many different types of letters and many different types of letter writing formats to use. For example, one would use a friendly more relaxed tone when sending a letter to a family member or a penpal than that addressing a business. A letter is made to be heavily information based, and generally contains more content than a postcard. According to USPS requirements, a letter is usually a card or envelope that fits within the dimensions of being 5 to 11 1/2 inches wide, 0.007 to 1/4 inches thick and 3 1/2 to 6 1/8 inches tall. For letters that exist outside of these dimensions, there may be extra charge arising.
While you may not regularly need to send items through the mail, you will probably have to do so at some point. Gather your resources and materials together as you continue to learn the direct mailing process. We hope this guide makes it a little easier.