USPS Mailing Promotions Make Your Direct Mail More Compelling and Reduce Cost

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Kurt Ruppel

Kurt Ruppel is Director Postal Policy and Marketing Communications. He educates clients on postal regulations and rates, helps ensure mail packages meet spec, and develops postal strategies that achieve in-home delivery targets at the best possible postage rates. Kurt has brought the “all of us know more than any of us” business philosophy to IWCO for more than 40 years (oy!). He is a three-time IWCO President’s Award winner, former Chairman of the EMA Board of Directors, graduate of Utah State University, gardening enthusiast, and Ohio State Buckeye football fan.

At IWCO Direct, we spend a great deal of time thinking about what drives the success of our clients’ marketing programs, which includes taking advantage of available promotions that can help marketers drive more robust response at a lower cost.  

As my colleague Marcus Johnson discussed last week, direct mail remains an essential part of any successful marketing program. Successful programs share certain features including presenting relevant messaging in interesting ways that gain the attention of the target audience and presenting that messaging across multiple marketing channels that act synergistically to encourage recipients to take advantage of your offer. 

Improve Response and Reduce Postage Spend 

One way to improve the return on your direct mail postage spend is to participate in USPS Mailing Promotions. When you participate in promotions, not only are you receiving postage discounts, you are often making your mailpiece more interesting and compelling to the recipient or adding more ways for your recipient to interact with your offer across multiple channels. The Postal Service wants advertising mailers to be successful―after all, if your mail is driving strong results, you may mail more! 

Today we’ll highlight a few of the 2022 USPS Mailing Promotions. 

Tactile/Sensory/Interactive Promotion: The postage discount for participating in this promotion has been increased to 4% this year, so there hasn’t been a better time to get involved. This promotion encourages mailers to create mailpieces that take advantage of the physical nature of mail to engage recipients through various senses. Some of the techniques to consider for this promotion include: 

  • Adding tactile coatings to the outside of the mailpiece, like soft touch or sandpaper varnishes; 
  • Embossing logos or patterns into the mailpiece so when the recipient touches it, it stands out from other pieces in the mailbox; 
  • Using a Trailing Edge Die-Cut (TED-C) design for your mailpiece to make it stand out visually; 
  • New this year: Clean release cards affixed to the outside of the mailpiece or pull open strips placed vertically on the mailpiece. 

The T/S/I promotion starts February 1 and runs through July 31, so now is a great time to determine how you can incorporate tactile elements into your early 2022 mailings. 

Emerging & Advanced Technology Promotion: Including an easy way to move directly from your mailpiece to online engagement with your brand is an effective technique to make your mail more relevant and attractive. This year the Technology promotion will earn either a 2% or a 3% postage discount depending on the type of technology used in the mailpiece. Some of the techniques to consider for this promotion include: 

  • Enhanced augmented reality (AR) (2%); 
  • Basic integration with Voice Assistant (2%); 
  • Video in print technology (3%); 
  • Advanced integration with Voice Assistant (3%); 
  • Near field communications (3%); 
  • Virtual reality (VR) or mixed reality (MR) (3%). 

This promotion starts March 1 and runs through August 31. 

Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion: This promotion functions differently than the rest. It is designed to encourage mailers to offer reply envelopes or cards as a response mechanism for their mailings. This can be either Business Reply Mail or Courtesy Reply Mail. Mailers register where they are receiving reply mail, then the Postal Service counts the number of pieces returned between April 1 and June 30. Mailers earn a 2¢ rebate for each reply piece returned during this period. Rebates can be used to offset either Marketing Mail or First-Class Mail postage between July and the end of the year, so if you are using a reply envelope or card as part of your marketing mail, be sure to take advantage of this opportunity. 

Informed Delivery Promotion: Informed Delivery (ID) is a great way to extend the reach of the brand messaging distributed in a direct mail campaign by offering color images and clickable links in the daily digest of what will be arriving in subscriber mailboxes. The daily digest is sent to ID subscribers each morning. This promotion has proven so popular in past years, that both its duration and the available postage discount have been increased. It now runs for five months (August 1 through December 31) and offers a 4% discount on postage.  

The Postal Service is continually adding features to this service, and by the time the promotion starts we anticipate that subscribers will be able to share marketing offers with their Facebook networks or to set reminders to respond to the offers before they expire, which will make ID an even more valuable tool for reinforcing your marketing messages. 

If you’re ready to start making your direct mail more compelling while receiving the largest postage discounts possible, drop me a line or reach out to your IWCO Direct account team.

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