Presorting Postcards: First-Class® and Standard Mail

If you need to reach the maximum number of customers with a powerful eye-catching direct mail campaign at the lowest possible cost, bulk postcard mailing easily offers the best value.

First, you must ensure your direct mail postcards meet the sizes and quantities required by the USPS® to be eligible for either Standard letter rates or First-Class® presort postcard rates. Then it’s a matter of choosing whether to do the presort work yourself or engage a presorting service.

Mon Jun 14 17:18:00 EDT 2021
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Bulk postcard mailing

If you have a straightforward message to get out there to as many clients as possible, nothing beats the immediacy of a direct mail postcard or the value of bulk postcard mailing.

Presorting your postcards offers more postage discounts, but the class of mail you choose impacts the cost. Depending on the size of your postcards and how quickly you need them to reach their destination, you can choose between standard letter rates or Presorted First-Class® postcard rates.

Presorted Standard postcard rates

The term “presorted standard postcards” is still in common use when referring to direct mail efforts, but it’s no longer accurate. First, the USPS now refers to standard mail as Marketing Mail®. Second, the USPS Marketing Mail(R) classification only offers postage rates for letters, large envelopes and parcels. Direct mail postcards sent via Marketing Mail are charged a letter rate by default.

Marketing Mail offers the best overall postal rates for direct mail postcards over a certain size. While it’s true that Marketing Mail takes longer to arrive at its destination than First-Class mail, postage rates are up to 40% less.

Sizes and quantities needed to qualify for letter rates

  • Required size:
    Only direct mail postcards larger than 4.25 inches by 6 inches qualify as Marketing Mail. Your average 4-inch by 6-inch postcards are usually sent First-Class by default.
  • Required quantities:
    A minimum of 200 large-format postcards are required to qualify for Marketing Mail discounts.

Presorted First-Class postcard rates

Presorted First-Class postcard rates are typically 20% less than the price of an individual piece. The savings aren’t as impressive as Marketing Mail, but delivery is quicker and First-Class offers free forwarding/return services. 

Preparing postcards for presorted rates

This is where the deepest discounts are found for both Marketing Mail and First-Class postcards. The USPS offers three separate rates to businesses that presort their postcard mailings by ZIP Code: 5-Digit, 3-Digit, and Mixed AADC.

Presorting gets a little complicated, but if you’re trying to cut costs as much as possible, it’s worth the effort. 

Direct mail postcard presort services

Direct mail postcards are a tried-and-true way to reach more customers and increase response rates, especially when paired with a complementary online campaign.

Presort service providers commingle your postcards with their other clients’ postcards, ensuring everyone meets the volumes needed to qualify for presorted postcard rates. Plus, they handle all the USPS presorting requirements and processes for you.