Uncategorized | Direct Mail Journal - Part 2

Direct Mail Journal

Direct Mail and Marketing Tips

Archive for category: Uncategorized

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day!

The world is a dangerous place. You only have to glance at the news to see that play out in Europe.

Our hearts go out to all the brave men/women in the Ukraine who are fighting to keep their families safe, to retain their freedom, and stand strong against violence and tyranny. It takes a lot of fortitude and courage to stand up to a larger enemy and scream freedom at the top of your lungs.

Thank you to our own service men/woman who risk life and limb to keep us all safe every single day.

It is not an easy job, it comes with a lot of responsibility, and the cost of failure is catastrophic.

Thank you for ALL who serve or have served.

We will forever be in your debt! Zairmail

Zairmail is the fastest, easiest, and most reliable way to send (postal) mail.

The Most Bang For Your Buck

The Most Bang For Your Buck

We are often asked by clients, “how do I get the most bang for my buck, with direct mail”?

Of course, there is not one “right” answer, it will depend on your audience, the nature of your offer, and the goal of the campaign (e.g., awareness, lead generation, direct response…).

There are three factors that have the most impact on price.

First Class or Standard A Postage – First Class postage typically takes 3 days for delivery anywhere in the United States. First Class also provides a return service if the mail can’t be delivered, so that the sender can update their database.

Standard A (Marketing Mail) usually requires 7 to 10 days for delivery and there is no return service. The delivery times can be highly variable. Since Standard A is still called “junk mail” in some circles, there can be a slight stigma with some audiences (e.g., open/response rates may be slightly lower).

The difference in cost is ~$.10/piece. With smaller mailings, it typically makes sense to go with First Class because results are faster, and the cost difference is small. When sending millions of pieces, the cost differential can be significant. In those cases, a hybrid approach sometimes makes sense. We start out sending campaigns First Class to prime the pump, and then transition to Standard A, as volume builds.

BW or Color – BW is going to be less expensive. The difference is also typically ~$.10/piece. Color stands out in the mail and creates a more visually appealing product. Research shows, with many audiences, opens/responses increase when color is used. BW is more common for notices and other common transactional (informational) mail. 

With postcards we have the option of using black & white, color one side, or color two sides. Color both sides it the most expensive, black and white both sides is the least expensive. The most common choice we see is color one side – the address side is black and white; the image (message) side of the card is color. This approach still provides a pop of color in the mail, yet reduces the cost on the address side – which contains mostly return address, recipient, and postal information.

List Size – The majority of the cost (70%+) in direct mail is postage. The USPS offers pre-sort discounts on jobs greater than 500 pieces. Those discounts are passed along to customers in the form of lower prices.

If a job is less than 500 pieces, then we can still use an indicia (square box on the mail piece that says “postage paid”); however, we don’t get any discounts on postal rates. In this case, there will be a slight uplift in the price to cover the higher postage rate.

If the job falls below 250 pieces, then we do not get pre-sort discounts, and we also cannot use a postal indicia. In this case we need to use a live postage stamp. This type of mailing requires full retail postage rates and an additional step in the process to apply the stamps.

It would be common to have a list of (at least) 500 pieces when possible. If not, that is fine, we will always mail using the most cost-effective postage choice.

There are customers who want to make their mailing appear more personal. In those cases, we have clients who choose to use a live stamp on their mailing or use a colored envelope and incur the extra cost. Some also choose to use a handwriting font in the mail piece and/or for the addressing. There is no charge to use a handwriting font or personalize with variable data – we offer this as added value.

We understand that budgets are limited, and cost is always an important concern.

It is always a priority at Zairmail, to give you the best possible value.

Please let us know how we can an assist you.

The Zairmail Team

Mother’s Day Newsletter

Happy Mother’s Day

On Mother’s Day our hearts go out to all the Moms of the world.

You know who you are. You gave us life. You cared for us. You were always there.

The world owes you ALL a debt of gratitude for all you do.

Enjoy your day (and every day)!




Mother’s Day Special – Get postcards, color two sides, for the price of color one side. Use promo code “color2”.

Zairmail is the fastest, easiest, and most reliable way to send (postal) mail.

Get More Clients with Zairmail!

Spring Greetings

Spring Greetings!

Easter Sunday serves as a reminder, Phil the groundhog aside, that spring is back with us. We have made it through another winter, and there may still be (Apr) showers, but the flowers are soon to follow.

We can also see that there are parts of the world that are besieged with violence and cruelty. There are dark powers at work who have little regard for human rights or even humanity.

The Ukrainians have a tradition of making elaborate decorated eggs for Easter. It is an artform that has its roots in the pre-Christian era. The eggs were believed to have powerful magical powers. An uninvited and unprovoked war has been brought to their doorstep, they are fighting back valiantly, and at Easter time, as always, the magical Ukrainian Easter eggs return to give hope.

As we enjoy the holiday with our family and friends, regardless of religious affiliation, our hearts go out to those who are dealing with sadness, hunger, and cruelty. Our hopes and prayers are with them as they search for a new spring that is full of happiness and hope.We all have the ability to make the world a little better. Do what you can. It doesn’t matter whether you can do a little or a lot. It all contributes to the greater good.

Happy Spring

Zairmail is the fastest, easiest, and most reliable way to send (postal) mail.

Reach eCommerce Customers At Their Door

eCommerce customers, who have purchased a product or service, provide a wealth of value in addition to sales revenue. They have often responded to a specific promotion or product search. This can tell us which promotions are working and which keywords are the most valuable. They have also validated the value proposition for the product or service just by placing their order.

They may have signed up for a newsletter or other periodic communication from the company or strategic partners. This allows the company to stay connected, continue building rapport, and to market important new offerings. The customer contact information, and related demographic details captured with the order, can help understand target verticals and high-value clusters for future campaigns/promotions. Existing customers can also help build social media communities and provide referrals digitally by sharing and engaging with the brand’s digital content.

It is often assumed that customers who arrived at a website through a Google search or an email newsletter are 100% digital. However, even these customers have a physical presence. Reaching out pro-actively with a physical direct mail campaign (written message) is a powerful way to re-enforce that relationship and provide an avenue to upsell new offerings in the future.

Collating the Contacts

The first step is to create a list of eCommerce contacts that can be used for mail outreach. This requires that each record has a physical mailing address. If the product was physically shipped to the customer, then we should already have this information. If we used digital fulfillment, then more work might be required to gather this information. The best practice is always to capture a physical address and phone number with each order even if fulfillment will digital.

The list can be segmented based on specific verticals, interests, or customer needs. This will depend on the product or service being offered. This will allow us to send more personalized content to this audience – personalization often increases engagement and response rates.

This type of segmentation can also help us anticipate future needs. A family expecting a child might purchase a crib in preparation for their new arrival. Six months later, that family might need a highchair. In another six months, they might need a walker. Understanding this dynamic, and the stage of the customer, will allow us to map timely offers to their needs as they emerge.

The exported and segmented lists should be imported into a direct mail system. This will make sure that they are ready to be used with specific campaigns. Automated direct mail tools, such as Zairmail (www.zairmail.com), allow segmented lists, and related campaigns, to be uploaded and stored. Zairmail also maintains a complete record the campaigns sent to each list.

Choosing the Type of Mail

A very effective follow-up mail format for eCommerce customers is postcards. Postcards are cost-effective, high-impact, and allow striking images and messages to do all the hard work. They are also low effort on the part of the recipient – the message can be clearly shared with just a quick view and/or read. Zairmail offers postcards in standard, jumbo, or sumo size. Thanks to recent postal rule (rate) changes a jumbo postcard just costs slightly more than a standard postcard. The extra space can be well worth the small extra investment. There are also options to send postcards in envelopes which can be effective during holidays.

We recommend reading ‘How to Pack More Punch with Postcards’ to get the most out of a postcard campaign. Here we’ve highlighted the importance of keeping branding consistent and how to choose a message. The team at Zairmail is always on hand to assist with messaging, design, and lists for clients who would like more guidance.

Link it Back to Digital

Online customers appreciate the right blend of online and offline contact. Direct mail contact should still clearly refer back to the website and social properties. A QR code can help make this even easier by allowing customer to scan a link on their phone and visit online properties.

A brand-specific hashtag can sometimes help with online community engagement. There might be a number of events/activities of interest in an online community – like an upcoming competition or giveaway on Instagram. Remember to post any company changes, or significant achievements, that build credibility for the company and value for the eCommerce customer.

Keep in mint that not all follow-up mail campaigns need to revolve around a specific upsell or promotion. Often, we can use mail just to re-enforce our relationship. Chewy, the online pet medication company, sends physical holiday cards and birthday cards to the pets it serves (addressed to the owners). This re-enforces the brand, builds a sense of caring (reciprocity), and makes people smile. It is hard to put a value, or calculate an RoI, on the type of goodwill generated by campaigns such as these. Ultimately, it boils down to building a more personal (human) connection, with online customers, to build brand value and a sense of authenticity.

Zairmail (www.zairmail.com) is the fastest and easiest way to send (real) postal mail. Give us a call anytime at 888.898.0066, we would be happy to help with your direct mail needs.

The Truth About Direct Mail in a Digital World

The Truth About Direct Mail in a Digital World

We live in an increasingly digital world. It seems only fair to ask, in a world bursting at the seams with digital content, do consumers still prefer to receive physical mail?

Research confirms that 81% of consumers prefer to receive mail at their home address. Consumers are bombarded with digital messaging 24 x 7 – email, banners, video, social media… – these days the ads can even follow consumers around and stalk them as they browse. Consumers still feel the pressure offline too – digital billboards, contextual video, electronic displays, water closet media – some airports even hold consumers captive in shelters, and broadcast ad content, while they are waiting for the bus in long-term parking.

The only escape for consumers is to block it out – ALL of it.

Direct mail allows the consumer to be in control. They can choose when they engage. The USPS often refers to the “mail moment”; the slice of happy time when consumers check the mailbox and see what surprises have arrived. The consumer can choose which pieces are opened, which receive immediate attention, and which ones are set aside for later. A direct mail piece can be touched/read 4.5 times after arrival. This level of control makes the mail less threatening and more comfortable for consumers.

Unlike digital media, direct mail is tactile/tangible and has the potential to build a physical connection with the consumer. It can also be personalized to build a tighter bond between the brand and the consumer. Seventy percent (70%) of consumers say mail makes them feel more valued. When customers feel more important, they are far more likely to engage with a brand, spread the message to others, and generate organic brand awareness – both online and offline.

A well-targeted and executed direct mail campaign can have an impact far beyond the immediate responses that are received. The clue is in the word… it’s “direct”. It does not have to be a generic ad that is indiscriminately shared with millions. It can be far more targeted, intimate, and special then that.

How can businesses benefit from this preference to break-through the digital noise?

There are several different types of direct mail formats that can be used. Selecting the right format for the audience, the objective, and the offer is an important first step.

Postcards can be an effective tool for simple messages that are easy to explain. Using an image and creative layout that “pops” can help break through the clutter and provide an immediate impression – like a targeted billboard in the mail. If the image/offer is memorable enough it can earn a spot on the fridge – which is the ultimate goal (and compliment)!

Traditional postcards may not be ideal if personal information must be included. Anything printed on a postcard is exposed to the world. The space is also limited, which limits the ability to explain complex topics/offers. The most popular postcard sizes are the standard postcard (4” x 6”), the jumbo postcard (6” x 9”), or the sumo postcard (5.5 x 11 or 8.5 x 11).

The standard postcard has long enjoyed a discount postage rate. The current price for postcard postage is $.40/piece, compared to $.58/piece for First-Class letter mail. The most recent postage increase (there were two in 2021), extended the discount postage for standard postcards to jumbo postcards. This means that a jumbo postcard can now be mailed for just slightly more than the cost of a standard postcard.

Postcards can also be inserted into an envelope and addressed for special occasions or during the holiday season. This technique can deliver holiday cheer to friends, family, and customers, for a tiny fraction of the cost of traditional greeting cards. The tactile/tangible nature of the card also makes it far more impactful than a digital greeting card.

When personal information is involved, or the offer is more complex, then a more traditional letter can be the best choice. The first challenge with letter mail is to get it opened. The best technique to get “an open” really depends on the audience.

Some mailers strive to make letters look more personal using a closed-face envelope with no windows, handwriting fonts, and/or a live postage stamp instead of an indicia. A postal indicia is a permit that can take the place of a stamp on pre-sorted mail. Pre-sorted mail is eligible for discounted postage rates. That means that even though using a “live” stamp can appear more personal, it does come at a cost – the mailer loses pre-sort discounts and has to incur the cost of placing a stamp on each letter.

A different approach is to make the letter look like a bill, so the recipient might be concerned about not opening it. With this type of mail, it is common to use a double window envelope, professional fonts, and a postal indicia. We can also add a teaser message to the outside (e.g., final notice, do not ignore, only to be opened by addressee, …) that makes the mail piece feel more official, urgent, or essential.

These techniques really represent opposite ends of a continuum. There are many different variations and techniques in between we can use to improve open rates. Of course, once the letter is opened, we still need a response to be successful.

A pressure-sealed mailer, often called a “snap-pack”, can also shield personal information just like a letter. Consumers often experience snap-packs when they receive a new PIN from their bank or a rebate from a consumer products company. The recipient tears off the edges before folding the mail piece open. Snap-packs are not as common, so they attract attention right away. They also have the feel of official communication, so consumers can be nervous about ignoring them – what if there is a PIN, rebate, or award inside?

The ultimate response rate of direct mail campaigns is also a function of the audience that we are addressing and how compelling an offer that we make. Coming up with a winning formula really requires testing and fine-tuning over time.

Based on the potential for direct mail, should digital really take a back seat?

Direct mail is one form of direct response marketing that uses physical mail. Direct response techniques can be used with multiple mediums (e.g., mail, email, television, radio…). These can all be effective promotional tools and do not have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, digital campaigns that include direct mail are 13% more likely to engage customers. Digital techniques should be used in combination with mail to boost returns. The question is not, “what is the right format/technique?”; the question should be, “what is the right mix of tools?”

In the digital age, automation can be a critical aspect of marketing campaigns. It allows us to plan in advance, map out the customer’s journey, and do more with less. The good news is that direct mail can be automated just like digital tools.

Automating mail campaigns creates a number of opportunities:

Campaigns are submitted faster with fewer errors

Campaigns are produced/mailed in a fraction of the time

Mail delivery is tracked automatically and integrated with response data

A complete (digital) history of campaigns, lists, and results is maintained

Response rates and sales results can be tracked in real-time

Small volume jobs (short runs) are no longer a challenge. This allows us to test additional concepts, more frequently, using smaller campaigns, to find winning formulas (efficiency).

Customers can respond online, offline, or in person – whatever is most comfortable. QR codes or URL’s/PIN’s can be used to link direct mail campaigns to online destinations.

The customer journey can be scripted with a pre-conceived and automated series of campaigns and touches. Sales programs become a well thought out “process” rather than a fortunate “event”.

The digital revolution has introduced new tools with new capabilities. Direct mail has a number of qualities that digital tools do not. The two can/should be combined to create campaigns that are more targeted, more effective, more measurable, and more predictable. Zairmail provides online tools that automate direct mail campaigns.

Zairmail is the fastest, easiest, and most cost-effective way to send mail.

Zairmail (www.zairmail.com) is the fastest and easiest way to send (real) postal mail. Give us a call anytime at 888.898.0066, we would be happy to help with your direct mail needs.

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentine’s Day,

The Super Bowl is over, the nachos and snacks are all gone, and the cheers (and groans) fade into the distance. Debate around the best commercials, as always, rages on. Some will shine bright as a symbolic reminder of a brand well-served; yet others will warn those who follow where not to tread.

One thing we know for sure, we cherish the opportunity to serve you.

Oh, and it won’t cost $5 million for each 30 second spot.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

We didn’t get you flowers, but 10% off direct mail orders this week should help!

Use promo code LoveU10.

Big Hugs, The Zairmail Team

Zairmail (www.zairmail.com) is the fastest and easiest way to send (real) postal mail. Give us a call anytime at 888.898.0066, we would be happy to help with your direct mail needs.

The Year of the Tiger

February Newsletter

Welcome to the Year of the Tiger.

The Cincinnati Bengals will meet the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI (56). The two teams will square off on February 13 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his tree stump on Wednesday (Groundhog Day) to see his shadow and predict six more weeks of winter. COVID lingers on as new variants threaten. Sabers continue to rattle on the eastern border that Ukraine shares with Russia. The XXIV Winter Olympic Games start today in Beijing…

This is already shaping up to be an interesting year.

There will be other challenges and surprises that emerge as the year unfolds.

So, as business professionals, what can we do? A lot of these events are out of our control.

In December, we talked about looking back on the year and taking stock. Did we hit our goals? If we didn’t, then we need to ask why? If we did, then we need to raise the bar. If we didn’t have goals, then we need to address that issue and create SMART goals for the new year.

This process of introspection is one half of the strategic planning process. We need to start out by performing an internal analysis. We need to identify the resources and capabilities that we have to work with. In particular, we want to identify core competencies – valuable capabilities that are unique to our organization. We also want to identify weaknesses that are unique to our organization.

The second part of the process is to perform an external analysis. An external analysis takes into account political, economic, sociocultural, technological, ecological, and legal undercurrents that impact the business environment. We opened this discussion by highlighting some current elements in the news – there are many more. This time of year, the Federal Reserve, and other business/trade organizations, publish forecasts for the year. This can be an important (and free) source of information.

The results of our internal analysis and external analysis come together in a SWOT analysis. We use the internal analysis to highlight our most important strengths and weaknesses. We use the results of our external analysis to highlight the most relevant opportunities and threats from the environment. This provides the foundation for a plan, that leverages our strengths (core competencies), plays away from our weaknesses, capitalizes on opportunities, while avoiding credible threats. The plan is then captured in a collection of SMART goals that can be used to guide our progress in the coming year.

You will find tips to help in this newsletter and in the Direct Mail Journal (www.directmailjournal.com).

You can be sure, that as your dedicated business partner, Zairmail (www.zairmail.com) will be here to help. Just reach out to us if there is anything we can do. Our business is based on your success. Harness the grace and power of the Tiger in 2022.

Does Storytelling Work for Postcard Campaigns?

Storytelling in marketing campaigns serves to better connect you with your customers. It works like any other human connection. Storytelling is a way to get to know a person better, in this case, it’s a way for customers to get to know your business. When a customer is truly invested in an organization, their loyalty is always with that brand and they feel a part of that community too. The strength of this cannot be underestimated! So how can you use storytelling in your direct mail postcard campaign and what are the general do’s and don’ts? 

New Opportunities for Growth

When you’ve reflected on your business performance from the previous year, done the math and looked for patterns in your finances, you’re ready to focus on new opportunities for growth. These are the simplest steps to successful strategic planning and we’re going to share a very easy tool that can help you with this area.

Zairmail (www.zairmail.com) is the fastest and easiest way to send (real) postal mail. Give us a call anytime at 888.898.0066, we would be happy to help with your direct mail needs.

December Newsletter

December Newsletter

The holidays are here everyone.

This is a busy time for most – a time to give, a time to celebrate, a time to reflect.

This has been a break-through year at Zairmail. We added to the team to better serve you. We released a new responsive interface, a desktop application, and lots of powerful new features. We set records for volume, turn-around, and reliability.

We have lots more in store for you in 2022 as well.

The thing we are most grateful about is that we get to serve you.

Thank you for the opportunity.

Please accept a big holiday hug from the whole Zairmail team!


Zairmail is the fastest, easiest, and most reliable way to send (postal) mail.

Planning for a Bright New Year

Holiday decorations are out on display, there is cheer in the air, and very soon over one billion people will tune-in to see the ball drop in Times Square. There are lots of distractions for business owners over the holidays – personal and professional. If your business is B to B, then December can be […]

Crate Escape from NYC

Charles McKinley stood penniless, hopeless, and in limbo in New York City. He had come to the northeast from Texas to experience the big city. His job in retail wouldn’t pay the bills, he was living beyond his means, and his girlfriend maxed out his credit cards. Charles was done with NYC and just wanted to go home – now. Still, how could he make the trip without money to travel. He was much too proud to ask others for a handout […]

Easy Ways to Integrate Digital & Direct Mail Marketing

Determining the right balance between digital and direct marketing can be a challenge for a lot of organizations. Issues can arise, when one form is seen as superior to the other, and half of the mix gets neglected. Businesses are now engaged in a very digital world – digital has become very comfortable.
It’s easy […]

Zairmail (www.zairmail.com) is the fastest and easiest way to send (real) postal mail. Give us a call anytime at 888.898.0066, we would be happy to help with your direct mail needs.

Crate Escape from NYC

Crate Escape from NYC

Charles McKinley stood penniless, hopeless, and in limbo in New York City. He had come to the northeast from Texas to experience the big city. His job in retail wouldn’t pay the bills, he was living beyond his means, and his girlfriend maxed out his credit cards. Charles was done with NYC and just wanted to go home – now. Still, how could he make the trip without money to travel. He was much too proud to ask others for a handout.

That is when Charles hit on a novel idea. He was walking by a church and saw a large create. He had spent some time working as a shipping clerk. He would just ship himself home to Texas. He had a UPS card that would let him pay-off the shipping fees over time.

McKinley called UPS and scheduled a pick-up at the church. Then he separated two loose-fitting boards of wood from the huge crate and wriggled inside head and shoulders first. He wrapped himself in a blanket to stay warm. The church was in a bustling area of Brooklyn, New York. Still, no one noticed the strange incident taking place just outside the church.

One hour later McKinley was lifted into a truck and swooped away to Newark airport by UPS. Fifteen hours and four flights later, McKinley was delivered to his parent’s address 1,500 miles away in DeSoto, Texas. He was very fortunate that he was shipped in a pressurized cargo hold – many are not, and that could have been the end for Charles.

Crate Escape from NYC

His parents were extremely happy to see him. On the other hand, the UPS driver and the DeSoto police were not as amused. Based on a call from the UPS driver, the DeSoto police arrested McKinley, and charged him with 10 felonies – mostly related to terrorism. His trip raised new concerns about cargo screening. McKinley, hidden in his crate, passed through security twice undetected.

On February 4, 2004, McKinley plead guilty to one charge of “misdemeanor stowaway” and was given four months’ house arrest and a fine of $1,500. The charges that were dropped carried a maximum sentence of 50 years and a fine of up to $100,000. McKinley’s Dad, a Chemical Engineer, also paid $7,000 in restitution to UPS.

It turns out this is a very expensive way to go from NYC to DeSoto that carries a lot of personal risk. Still, McKinley has taken his story on the road, and become a celebrity.

Dare we say it? Don’t try this one at home!

Zairmail (www.zairmail.com) is the fastest and easiest way to send (real) postal mail. Give us a call anytime at 888.898.0066, we would be happy to help with your direct mail needs.



About the Author

Wilson Zehr is a Direct Mail Industry Expert, Direct Marketing Specialist, and CEO of Cendix (www.cendix.com), the leading provider of Web-to-print solutions that increase sales both online and offline. He is also the founder of Zairmail (www.zairmail.com), the company responsible for many "industry firsts" in direct mail.


Click here to get a free Zairmail Sample Kit with all the information you need to get your direct mail campaigns off the ground!




Sign-up for the Zairmail Newsletter

Receive direct mail tips and insights that can help grow your business, sent right to your inbox.

Sign-up for our email newsletter, and you'll also get a free Zairmail Sample Kit.




Zairmail Direct Mail   1.888.898.0066   503.624.6099

Home     Send Direct Mail     Free Sample Kit     Login

Frequently Asked Questions     Contact Us



© 2003-2023 Cendix Solution. All rights reserved.    Terms and Conditions    Privacy Policy


Zairmail site is secured through GoDaddy SSL Zairmail site is an Authorized Partner with First Data Zairmail is an Authorized Affiliate Merchant with the U.S. Postal Service Zairmail is a Known Shipper with the U.S. Deparment of Transportation Zairmail is PayPal Verified Zairmail is a member of the Direct Marketing Association Zairmail is a member of the Printing Industries of America Association Zairmail is Microsoft Certified Partner Zairmail is a member of the Intel Channel Partner program