Friday September 13, 2019


Postage vs Size



Have you ever tried to figure out postage for a direct mail campaign?  Why are there different postage costs?  Lets explore some of the different size postcards in reference to their postage costs.

There are so many different sized postcards from which to choose.  When do you go big and when is a 4x6 the better option?


Jumbo stacks

Direct mail is a great way to reach your clients or gain new ones.  Printing and postage costs are marketing dollars well spent.  However, you do not want to pay for a jumbo card when a postcard is really all you need.  Let’s explore the best size postcard for what you want to convey to customers.

The 6x11 postcard is a great size.  It does not get lost in the everyday mail of bills.  It stands out to your audience.  It will grab their eyes because of the size and then you want to keep their attention with a color graphic.  With the 6x11 you have plenty of space to draw their attention with a great picture and a short heading.  You never want to put too many words on your card, just a great picture and your logo with a small heading is all you need.  This size card is best suited for grand openings of shops or new restaurants moving into town.  Community events work well with this size postcard too.  Grab it from the mail to the fridge as your friendly reminder.  With a big announcement, you want to go with a big card.  When you have something that is “time sensitive” you want to use a bigger card.  You do not want your mail piece to be missed.  Remember, a simple heading, your logo and a great picture is all you need to get your word out!


Jumbo Ele


When is the best time to use the 4x6 or 4.25x6?  This size works great when you want to send out appointment reminders, a message when a client needs to update an account or any kind of important information you need to convey to already established customers.  On the 4.25x5.5, 4x6 and 4.25x6 postcard size, you will automatically receive first class service on any mailings over 500 records at the discounted rate of $0.257 to $0.28 each for your presorted list.  This size is what the post office considers a postcard.  If you wanted a card that was larger than 4.25x6 but smaller than 6.25x11, that is referred to as a “letter size” and the postage for first class goes up to $0.383 to $0.459.  So, you can see, the price is a great deal when sending your direct mailer.


The largest size group by post office standards is what they call a “flat” size.  This is anything between 6.25 x 11 up to 12 x 15 being the largest automated piece you can mail at the presorted discounted rate.  This size is great when you really want to catch your audience’s attention.  You can fit a great deal of information along with graphics and pictures.  Just imagine what you can do with that much space.  And no one can say this piece is going to get “lost in the shuffle.”  The postage cost for Marketing Mail rates for this size is between $0.405 to $0.652 each for anything up to 4 ounces.  You can send a great deal of information while still taking advantage of presorted discounted postage rates. 




You want to make sure to study up on the postage costs for each size mailer.  There is nothing worse than being unpleasantly surprised when you receive a postage statement for a direct mail job, and you were planning on a letter size cost but it turns out to be a flat.  The post office has a plethora of information on their website to help you be successful when you are in the direct mail business.  The more success you have…the more success they have.  We are always ready to help you plan your mailings as well.  We have a great deal of knowledge when it comes to successful mailing campaigns.  We have been in the mailing business for many years.  You need to know what works and what doesn’t in the world of direct mail.  You really want to consider the size of your mailing piece first when you start your planning process.  That will give you the postage cost and how much information you will be able to relay to your clients.  You must work that postage cost into the budget early on since it is such a large expense.  It is always the last thing that gets paid, but the first thing you should think about.  Like I said earlier…. you do not want any surprises when it comes to your mailing campaign.    That will leave a bad taste in your month that could have been avoided.  The post office must get paid for the work they do spreading the word of what you have to offer, so always figure postage out first. 




Here is some easy to follow terminology the post office uses when describing their sizing dimensions. This information can be found in the Domestic Mail Manual at under their Postal Explorer tab.  This is a wonderful mailing tool to use when planning a direct mail campaign.  It has all the information you will need.  They lay everything out in easy to understand language that will help you from start to finish.  Again, the post office wants you to be successful so they will be successful.


Machinable letter-size mail is:

  1. Not less than 5 inches long, 3-1/2 inches high, and 0.007-inch thick.
  2. Not more than 11-1/2 inches long, or more than 6-1/8 inches high, or greater than 1/4-inch thick.
  3. Rectangular, with four square corners and parallel opposite sides. Letter-size, card-type mail pieces made of cardstock may have finished corners that do not exceed a radius of 0.125 inch (1/8 inch) unless prepared as Customized Market Mail.
  4. Within an aspect ratio (length divided by height) of 1.3 to 2.5, inclusive.


Mailbox with hand


 General Definition of Flat Size Mail

Flat-size mail must have the following characteristics:

  1. Be more than 11-1/2 inches long, or more than 6-1/8 inches high, or more than 1/4 inch thick.
  2. Be not more than 15 inches long or more than 12 inches high or more than 3/4 inch thick.

Length and Height of Flats

The length of a flat-size mail piece is the longest dimension. The height is the dimension perpendicular to the length. When determining the maximum height or length of a flat, include any selvage of polywrap material that may enclose the piece. When determining the minimum height or length of a flat, do not include the selvage of any polywrap material that may enclose the piece.


We have always heard the saying “Size Matters”.  When you are talking about direct mail, it is no laughing matter.  You want to send out the most amount for information staying within your budget.  That is why you want to decide your size of mailer first and watch everything else fall into place.  Know your postage amount for each size mailer and you will not be hit with any surprises when it comes time to enter your job into the mail stream.  Information is power….and money when it comes to direct mail.



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