Stamp prices will rise again this month (May). Frankly, I’ve lost track of the price hikes because they change so frequently. At any rate, now’s the time to stock up on the bell-designed “Forever Stamps” which hold their value in spite of the never-ending increases.
But more importantly, if you do choose to use the United States Postal Service for direct mail campaigns like postcards and catalogs, well, in the near future your customers just might get them a day or two later than you’d expect. Why? Because of decline in the volume of mail, the USPS is proposing to cut down its mail service from six to five days, and there’s a good chance that the eliminated day might actually be a weekday. The power of email has infiltrated the postal system enough to warrant this. More and more people are using email for communication, and marketers want a medium that offers spontaneous, targeted communications. That means the Internet and email. So with the increase in postage prices and the slower delivery system, now is the time to evaluate those marketing campaigns that use traditional mail services and figure out what can be sent electronically. Do you use a catalog that could be designed as a page turner online? Could your monthly postcards announcing specials become an e-blast instead? If your customers are using the Internet and email to communicate, shouldn’t you be where your customers are? Now is the time to find out how your customers are finding information and make sure you are where they are — whether that’s online or checking their snail mailbox. Chances are it won’t be all or nothing. There will certainly be a mix of direct mailing with online marketing. Just think about each piece and how it will reach and communicate your customer before sending it.