4 Ways to Grow Your Business with Metered Mail

Mail is a cornerstone for many successful businesses. Sending monthly statements and occasional postcard campaigns helps companies grow and thrive.

As the volume of mail grows, many businesses find it hard to get to a Post Office™ location to calculate the exact postage for each piece. Instead, they estimate postage to save time, which ends up costing them.

One solution to save time and money? A postage meter. This tool makes sending mail quicker, less expensive and more customized. Here, we’ll highlight four benefits of having your own postage meter.

For a more in-depth analysis of metered mail’s benefits, see our article, “Metered Mail 101: The Benefits of Digital Meters”.

Save on postage

Instead of estimating postage by using traditional stamps, you can weigh each piece you send—whether it’s a letter or a package—and pay the exact postage required.

Plus, as of January 2019, USPS® offers businesses that use postage meters a $.05 discount on every First-Class Mail® letter they send. The savings adds up: a small business sending 1,000 mailpieces a month could save about $600 a year by using a meter.1

Avoid surcharges and delays

When you estimate the cost to send an item—especially one that is large, weighs more or is unusually sized—you may underpay for postage by using stamps. This leads to surcharges that could delay delivery or make an item undeliverable entirely.

With metered mail, you’re always paying exact postage, which helps to ensure that your mail gets to its recipients without costing you time and money.

Drop off mail and skip the line

Finding the time to get to the Post Office location can be tough, according to 37% of small businesses who participated in a Pitney Bowes study.2 With a meter, you don’t need to go out of your way or wait in line.

Once the metered postage for your mail or packages is printed on your pieces, it’s ready to mail. Drop mail in the nearest blue collection box or at a convenient drop-off point and get to the next thing on your to-do list.

Boost your brand

Meters can print more than postage on your mailpieces. You can add a personalized message or your company’s branding to envelopes, too, which boosts your visibility.

Envelopes with messages specific to the recipient—as simple as “Kate, your offer is inside!”—are shown to be effective: 84% of consumers surveyed said they were more likely to open a piece of mail if it is personalized to them.3

In Summary

Metered mail offers true value for small and medium businesses. By using a postage meter, you can save on the cost of postage, cut down the time it takes to send out mail and focus on growth.

Interested in how metered mail works and how it can benefit your business? Read our article: “Metered Mail 101: The Benefits of Digital Meters”

Why and How to Create a Memorable Unboxing Experience

When a customer opens the product ordered from your business, you have a unique chance to capture their attention. In this moment, how do you impress them and win their repeat business?

Here’s where the unboxing experience comes into play. Unboxing, for the uninitiated, is a customer’s experience opening a product for the first time and removing it from the box. In recent years, customers have begun creating videos as they open up anticipated items and sharing them on social media. As of 2017, people spent at least 48.3 million hours watching unboxing videos on YouTube, often on their mobile phones.1

With a large—and growing—audience, the unboxing video has become increasingly valuable for retailers.2 Read on to learn what these videos can do for your business, as well as best practices for your packaging that can encourage customers to create their own.

Increase Visibility and Reach

As a small or medium-sized business, increasing your reach leads to growth and success. Authentic unboxing videos are a visually-enticing way to spread the word about your product, directly from actual customers.

When someone receives your product in the mail and creates an unboxing video, your brand and product are shared with their entire network of friends and family. If the unboxing is particularly enjoyable—aesthetically pleasing and expertly curated—those friends and family members may want to experience it themselves by becoming customers.

Encourage Purchases from New Customers

A good unboxing video has the potential to persuade someone new to purchase your product. In fact, 39% of adults in the U.S. who use social media and had purchased beauty products in a specific period of time agreed that unboxing videos encouraged them to buy particular products.3

You can think of this peer-to-peer medium as an influential review of the experience of receiving your product rather than a straightforward product review. If your parcel is packed with their anticipation in mind, a customer’s unboxing video should be positive. On the other hand, an underwhelming or sloppy unboxing experience can drive potential customers away.

Test to See What Works

Not sure what packaging innovations will set your product or brand apart during the unboxing? Test it out. Ask a “beta” group of customers to create an unboxing video to share just with you. These videos will teach you what can be improved about the presentation and what draws people in. Plus, the exclusivity of being asked to create a video for your business could boost a customer’s perception of your brand.

What can you do to make your packaging stand out?

  1. 1

    Tell Your Story

    Let your brand’s personality sing for both new and returning customers. If your company touts sustainable responsibility or a connection to nature, make sure your packaging reflects that. If your business has a touching creation story, include a postcard with that information to reiterate it to your customers.

  2. 2

    Brand Your Box

    Make a good impression with your customers by presenting your products in thoughtfully designed boxes. Think of your product as a birthday gift, and the box that holds it as the pristine wrapping paper. Make a package that your customers will anticipate and be excited to open.

    Monthly subscription boxes are often designed to fit the brand. One popular makeup sample box designs each month’s parcel to be printed with different colors and designs. Not only does this make for an attractive first-look before the unboxing, it has also inspired customers to collect and reuse their boxes.4

    Some brands add messaging and designs inside the box, too, as a nice surprise when a customer first opens it up.

    While having boxes printed with your logo, slogan or brand colors isn’t in the budget for every business, there are ways to get the same effect without the investment. Things like custom tape, hand-stamped designs and branded stickers can have the same effect.

  3. 3

    Situate Your Product

    Orchestrate an organized and appealing presentation of the item or items within the box. The first thing people want to see when they open a package is the product that they ordered, not layers of packing material or a receipt. Put the other necessities—receipts, return labels, instruction manuals—below the product, or in an envelope.

    Think of unboxing a piece of technology, like a phone or tablet. When the item’s box is opened, the first thing a customer sees is what they ordered. Once they pick it up, plugs, instruction manuals, warranty paperwork and other accessories are revealed. They don’t distract from the initial experience.

  4. 4

    Make It Personal

    An important step in earning a loyal customer is establishing a connection between your brand and your buyer. Make customers feel appreciated and cared for, no matter the product. This care will keep them coming back.

    How you establish this connection is entirely up to you. Choose something that fits with your brand ethos: personalize their box by noting who packed it on an inside flap; add a thank-you note, handwritten or personally signed; develop creative instructions with a strong brand voice that are tailored to that customer’s experience.

  5. 5

    Give Something Extra

    Add in a little something extra for your customers to elevate their experience and create a feeling of exclusivity.

    Keep your freebies on brand: samples of products similar to those they bought, or things that would partner well together, like hand cream and gloves. You can also opt for coupons that encourage additional purchases, benefitting you and your customer.

Key Takeaways

Unboxing is a powerful experience for shoppers that can be incredibly rewarding for your brand. Building a positive connection with a customer before they even open your package can encourage positive reviews, social interactions and returning customers. Leverage these best practices as you develop the most effective packaging in your budget.

The Powerful Marketing Potential of Transactional Mail

For businesses today, it’s high priority to understand how a customer wants to receive transactional communications. While a variety of digital alternatives have emerged, none of them cater to the basic preference of most customers: they want to receive these documents in the mail.

Transactional pieces like bills, invoices and statements are still the most read and opened pieces of mail: 96% of people open and read bills while 92% open and read statements.1 Physical documents have value for both the recipient and the sender.

With this understanding, you could make your transactional mail work twice as hard—using only one stamp. When you send your invoice alongside promotional marketing elements, you can generate additional revenue or exposure for your business.

Get more out of your transactional mail

Mail has an impact on consumers: 60% of consumers surveyed feel that direct mail helps solidify a brand name in their mind, and people almost always open transactional mailpieces.2

Sending bills and statements has more impact in the mail than in email:

  • People surveyed spend an average of 2 to 3 minutes reading transactional mail and only 15 to 20 seconds reading transactional email.2
  • Once opened, bills and statements stay in a home for an average of 17 days, while emails live only for about 2 seconds.3
  • 63% of people surveyed see direct mail campaigns as more serious while only 17% of people surveyed think of email that way.2

Imagine the marketing potential of your company’s routine bills, statements and invoices if you incorporate brand messaging and direct mail tactics into them. Try restructuring your transactional direct mailpieces to do more work for your brand. Make sure that your branding is present on the envelope and the documents inside. Then, find creative ways to seamlessly fit in marketing messages and calls to action.

Here are a few ways to get more out of your transactional mail:

  1. 1

    Introduce new products and services with digital enhancements.

    A bill can be more than just paper. With QR Codes®4 and augmented reality (AR) technology, transactional mailpieces can engage customers and lead them to related content.

    Use QR Codes or AR to:

    • Connect customers to promotions or discounts
    • Share supplemental content like a rich blog post
    • Develop an app that lets customers experience a new product or service virtually
  2. 2

    Incorporate Informed Delivery® ride-along content into your pieces.

    Informed Delivery® lets businesses connect with customers multiple times with one mailpiece. The free feature from the United States Postal Service® sends people a daily email with images of what is coming in the mail that day. Businesses can also include a full-color image and a unique link that lives next to that image for free, driving consumers to connect digitally.

    Create ride-along content to:

    • Connect customers to a video, blog post or social profile
    • Link users to your site to take an action, like buying another item
    • Drive people to digitally schedule an appointment or finish completing a profile
  3. 3

    Cross-promote relevant products and services, and offer savings.

    When you’re sending transactional mail, you’re talking with existing customers. These people know and trust your business already – now you have a great opportunity to further your conversation with them.

    Introduce relevant upsells to:

    • Highlight the benefits of adding another service or product to their account
    • Introduce savings offers, like bundled services or time-sensitive discounts
    • Educate customers on your suite of offerings
  4. 4

    Use personalized messaging and offers to encourage sales.

    Because transactional mail reaches your current customers, you already know a little bit about them: from basic information like names to what services or products of yours that they use and how long they’ve been customers. Using the information that you have about them can help you create personalized messaging and offers.

    Try personalizing your mail to:

    • Reach customers who haven’t visited your location or site in a while
    • Offer custom incentives to encourage repeat visits
    • Celebrate milestones, like client anniversaries
  5. 5

    Market your referral program to gain new customers.

    Word of mouth is one of the strongest ways to gain new customers: people are 90% more likely to trust and buy from a brand recommended by a friend.5 Use your transactional mail to encourage current customers to bring their friends, offering incentives to each.

    Share your referral program to:

    • Introduce it to an engaged audience
    • Offer current customers an incentive to share your business with friends
    • Build up your network of customers organically
  6. 6

    Share how-to content to help customers take advantage of your offerings.

    Help your customers get more out of their product or service by incorporating helpful and instructional content into your invoices, bills or statements. This can live on the piece itself or as a separate piece within the same mailing.

    Offer supplemental content to:

    • Build up trust with your customers
    • Establish yourself as a go-to informational source
    • Provide customers with helpful information

Key Takeaway

Transactional mail can serve a dual purpose. Not only does it send important documentation and information to your customers by nature, it can also drive home your marketing messages, introduce other products and services in your lineup, and deliver educational content to your engaged consumers. With one piece of mail that does two jobs, you could potentially enhance your brand image and build up your business.

Elevate your transactional mail. We’ll show you how.

If you’re looking to learn more about transactional mail, talk to a USPS representative.

Connect with USPS

8 Ways to Make Your Catalogs Stand Out

Even though online buying is becoming an everyday practice, shoppers and retailers alike are showing that paper is still the way to go in terms of marketing. Because, while they are bombarded with online ads that they rarely trust or click on, consumers consistently show a strong attachment to physical mail that they can interact with on their own time.

Print marketing might mean more time and money than digital, but catalogs that positively engage your customers are worth the investment. Follow these eight best practices when creating your next catalog campaign.

  1. 1

    Inspire Your Customers

    First and foremost, your catalogs should inspire your consumer. Gone are the days that a catalog is a simple product list. Now–through thoughtful design, photography, and copy–you can tell the story of your brand and connect with customers that have the same aesthetic tastes.

    In an age where people are curating their lives through social media, brand images can now be aspirational rather than just advertisements. Make a goal of creating an emotional connection through your catalogs in addition to being informational.

  2. 2

    Personalize It

    When designing your catalog, it is important to design with your audience in mind. Visuals can go a long way and, from start to finish, should reflect the aesthetic of your customer. Even if the product comes from the same category–say fashion–a catalog for young professionals will look much different than a catalog for mothers.

    Consider personalizing catalogs to show items based on previous purchases or to show items that are available in nearby stores. This level of personalization will set you apart. Consider working with vendors that offer variable data printing.

  3. 3

    Present a Strong Brand Identity

    Catalogs are always competing for space in a consumer’s mind. However, many of them look so similar, it’s difficult to differentiate between the companies. In order to create brand loyalty, you need to stand out among the crowd, and you can do that by creating and showing a strong identity.

    A catalog should be an extension of your brand and should support whatever messages you stand for. A successful catalog will both display products and present a clear individuality. Don’t let your catalog get bogged down with product details. Use the unique voice of the brand to carry your products forward.

  4. 4

    Focus on Quality

    Hand in hand with a strong brand presence is quality. This means quality in design, size, and type of paper – everything that goes into a catalog should be purposeful, and it should represent your business in the best way possible. These small details can enhance the overall appearance of your catalog and ultimately say a lot about your brand.

  5. 5

    Make It Easy to Navigate

    Catalogs should have a user-friendly layout and be designed in a way that naturally leads from page to page. Readability and scannability are both essential in clear design.

    There should be a clear hierarchy to each page, with one or two items standing out and other elements lending support. Remember: using different fonts can be confusing, white space is your friend, and important information should always be clear and up front.

  6. 6

    Use Impactful Photos

    Catalogs that are image-heavy give a sense of brand personality and allow customers to scan through with minimal effort. In general, environmental photography–that show products in a surrounding where they would naturally be–is most effective, especially when the people in the photos are interacting with your products.

    However, don’t group too many products in one photo as it will be distracting to the viewer. It is best to show items individually or in very small, related groups. Make great photos the centerpiece in your catalog. They’ll do the work to keep your reader engaged.

  7. 7

    Make Ordering Easy

    Think beyond aesthetics, as well. If a reader can’t figure out how to place an order or what items they want to purchase, then you stand to lose out on sales. This is why it is essential to organize your catalog to make ordering as easy as possible. Often top-selling products are lost among similar items. Focus on these items and position them with products that would go well in addition to rather than instead of. Any opportunity to cross-sell companion products through copy or callouts can increase sales up to 15%.1

    As a customer browses the catalog, it should be clear how they can place an order. Include website URLs and a phone number that are easy to find within the design, and then push orders with promotions and time-sensitive offers.

  8. 8

    Test Frequency

    Successful catalogs will help lead your customers online to make purchases, but should only be sent with controlled frequency as to not overwhelm or annoy them. While 53% of consumers like the number of catalogs they receive and 25% want even more, a fine line exists between more catalogs and too many.2

    For consumers that desire catalogs, once a month should be the maximum frequency. However, quarterly or seasonal catalogs are optimal for most effective brand-customer interaction.

In Conclusion

Engaging catalog marketing has been a proven method of boosting online sales. By following these best practices, you can provide your customers with a memorable experience that makes them feel inspired, connects them to your brand, and drives them to shop.