First-Class Mail vs. Marketing Mail

First Class Mail vs. Marketing Mail

Understanding postage classes, prices, delivery times and procedures through the United States Post Service can be confusing and overwhelming, even for someone like me who works in the industry. The prices change. The rules change. The names of postage classes change. A lot of the clients I onboard discover they’ve been overpaying or doing it the “hard way” simply because they didn’t know better alternatives existed. Our online mailing portal takes this confusing stuff right off the table for you, but since I’m also here to educate, let’s dig in and learn the difference between First-Class Mail vs. Marketing Mail.

First-Class Mail

The USPS defines First-Class Mail (for example, the Forever stamp) as an affordable mail service for standard-sized, single-piece envelopes weighing up to 3.5 ounces, and large envelopes and small packages weighing up to 13 ounces, with delivery in three business days or less. First-Class Mail is great for invoices, statements, delinquency notices, insurance information, or any other personalized correspondence. It’s also the suggested method if what you are mailing is time sensitive.

You can purchase this class of postage at your Post Office. Postalocity is able to offer much cheaper postage because we are a professional mail preparer and presort partner of the USPS. We do a big part of their job before the mail ever leaves our shop and in return, they give us discounted postage rates. Sending your snail mail online will always be cheaper and faster than traditional methods.

Marketing Mail

The USPS defines Marketing Mail as printed matter, flyers, circulars, advertising, newsletters, bulletins, catalogs, and small parcels. This class of postage is cheaper than First-Class Mail, but there are a few requirements you must meet before qualifying. Your mailing must have at least 200 pieces OR weigh 50 pounds. The pieces must also not contain any personalized data such as account numbers, balances, or anything that is specific to the recipient aside from their address and name.

To use this class of mail you have two choices: use a professional mail preparer (nudge, nudge, Postalocity) or do it yourself. Warning: doing it yourself requires the motivation and tenacity. Like, a lot of it.

To do it yourself, you will need to:

  • Create a targeted mailing list (bet yer butt we offer mailing list services – just ask!)
  • Ensure your addresses meet the USPS standards (well duh, we do this too.)
  • Design your marketing piece (yep, we can help with this.)
  • Find a professional printer (it’s your lucky day because YES WE ALSO DO THIS.)
  • Get a mailing permit and pay an annual fee (we got you, boo – just use ours.)
  • Presort all of the pieces by ZIP code (I feel like a broken record here…)
  • Lug all that stuff to your local Post Office (they know us well.)

Wow. I’m exhausted from just writing that. Now that you’ve seen the tip of the iceberg of the world of postage and the difference between First-Class Mail vs. Marketing Mail, I do hope you’re considering giving Postalocity a try. It’s free to sign up, there are no contracts or commitments, no minimum volumes, or monthly fees. Join me, won’t you?

By Nikki Stockham, Postalocity’s Client Onboarding Expert / Published APRIL 16TH, 2021


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