Are you maximizing the discounts on your direct mail? (Part 1)

By TJ Tedesco

Whether you are mailing via First-Class or Standard Mail, the USPS will give you discounts on mass mailings if you perform the certain services yourself. We’ll cover the first two services in this blog post; we’ll cover the third service in part 2 of this blog,

1. Put the mail in proper order. This is known as “presorting” the mail and requires using ZIP Codes and other postal identification codes (i.e., appended ZIP+4, delivery point (+2), carrier route codes, and line-of-travel codes) to properly sequence the mail. Commercial software programs perform this service for high-volume mailers and small mailers alike. This software also standardizes addresses to the USPS standard, which is a requirement now to gain automation discounts. 

2. Mail automation. This is known as “barcoding” the mail. Barcodes are applied to the mail in a location where postal machinery can read them and process the mail in a more efficient manner, without worker intervention. In essence, the machines, rather than the postal carrier, “case” the mail.

These barcodes are developed from the ZIP Code, Plus 4 codes, and corresponding delivery point locations. The POSTNET barcode codes, and they can be applied by various variable-imaging technologies such as laser, inkjet, and labels.

The mailpiece also must meet postal automation characteristics. These specs include size, flexibility, aspect ratios for letters (length divided by height), weight, address/barcode location, etc.

For complete information and resources go here:  and click on Intelligent Mail Services on the left. Then, follow the subjects and technical documents available. Due to the extreme complexity of IMb, you need to be sure you use a service provider that is on top of the requirements.

To learn more about Heeter’s direct mail capabilities, please contact me at or give me a call at 724-746-8900.

Some of the content for this post was originally published in the newly released Direct Mail Pal 2014, authored by T.J. Tedesco and Charley Howard (publisher: Printing Industries Press).