Getting There First: Standard Mail vs First Class

USPS First Class Mail Standard Mail Comparison

With all of the problems the USPS has been facing, it hasn’t changed the fact that direct mail is still one of the best ways to market a business or service according to a study by the Direct Mail Association and referenced in this article by Ad Age.

The political/internal/financial battle happening within the United States Postal Service has affected delivery times and in recent news, California Representative Darrell Issa suggested in a bill that the USPS will no longer deliver mail directly to your door. Only to curbside mailboxes and cluster boxes similar to those found in apartment complexes. You can pay a fee to keep the to-your-door service if you don’t mind paying for it and exceptions will be made for the elderly and those who can prove physical disability.

Although the USPS  is changing and will keep changing, what most matters is that your target audience gets their mail pieces in a timely fashion and convert into customers.

The Differences in Bulk Mail Classes and Mail Delivery Times

Bulk mail is processed by the mail house before it gets to the Post Office saving the USPS time and money. The mailer typically has a mailing permit that must be printed on to each piece identifying the postage class and the account of the mailer who performed the mailing.

Presort software is used to connect to the USPS to presort the addresses, qualify the quantity and mail piece cost from your mailing list, add barcodes, check for duplicates and verifies address accuracy against the National Change of Address (NCOA) database. Planning ahead with delivery times in mind will help your direct mail campaign to be more effective and you can save money as well.

Standard Mail

Standard Mail Permit IndiciaStandard mail is the least expensive and slower class of bulk mail for for printed matter, flyers, circulars, advertising, newsletters, bulletins, catalogs, and small packages. Deeply discounted, Standard mail costs less because your mailing company or mail house does most of the processing for the Post Office and those savings are passed on to you in the form of a postage discount. With Standard mail, any pieces that are undeliverable are not returned to the sender which is also saves the USPS time and money.

What do you need to qualify for Standard Mail discounted postage?

  • Standard Mail Mailing Permit (you can use our mailing permit free if we are mailing for you!)
  • Minimum of 200 pieces or 50lbs of mail
  • Maximum weight of 16 ounces
  • Domestic Mail only

First Class Mail

First Class Mail Permit IndiciaFirst Class Mail is the faster of the two and if the address printed on the mailpiece is undeliverable, the USPS will automatically forward it to the correct address (if it’s on file) or return it to the sender. This ensures that the recipient receives the mailpiece or at least you can remove them from your mailing list saving you money on postage costs on the next mailing.

Depending on your budget and time-frame, the extra cost for First Class Mail can be worth it and it’s still less than the cost of a regular single-piece stamp.

What are the requirements to qualify for First Class discounted postage?

  • First Class Mailing Permit (you can use our mailing permit free if we are mailing for you!)
  • Minimum of 500 pieces
  • Maximum weight of 13 ounces
  • Must be rectangular in shape

Note: A 4.25 x 6 Postcard is mailed First Class by default at a special Postcard Rate.

First Class and Standard Mail Postage Costs

First Class and Standard mail are considered Unzoned Mail. Meaning you pay the same price without regard to where the mailpiece goes (within the U.S.). Nevertheless, there are differences in the cost of each piece depending on mailpiece type (postcard, letter, flat or parcel – each mailpiece type has its own size restrictions), weight and traying sequence (5-digit, 3-digit, AADC and mixed AADC) which is determined by the mailing software used by your mail house.

  • The United States Postal Service offers a handy Business Price Calculator to give you a good idea of what your postage costs may be per piece.
  • Download our convenient Envelope Size Chart to learn about standard envelope sizes and differences.

 For other types of mail classes, the price is determined by the distance the mailpiece travels to arrive at it’s destination. The further it has to travel, the more postage paid for that piece. The distance is established by the use of zones.

[note color=”#FFCC00″] You may still have questions regarding your direct mail campaign.Give us a call at 1877-mmprint to speak with a mailing service professional about your project or visit our mailing services page for more information and to request a quote. [/note] [divider top=”1″]


3 Printing Mistakes That Are Costing You Money

Making educated decisions with your marketing is not only about the results but also how those results are obtained. By knowing how printing works and what combinations of specs work best, you can actually save money on printing costs and still have quality marketing materials.

I can imagine that you are probably thinking right now…I have enough on my plate as it is, now I have to learn how printing works too???

Well, not exactly. Really, an honest and knowledgeable printing company will steer you in the right direction, save you money and educate you on the way. We firmly believe that an educated customer will become the best customer because the communication is clear and the results will be exactly as discussed. No one losses, no reprints, no extra fees, it’s all win-win.

Save Money On Printing With These 3 Tips

Here are 3 mistakes that we come across pretty often when customers that are not familiar with printing. You can take these as rules for optimizing your next print run:

Overdesign And The Printed Space

Overdesign is not a real word according to my spell check which underlines it with a big red squiggly line, but it does exist in real life (and in the dictionary) and it can cause eye fatigue, confusion and a general loss of interest. Overdesign is found when you pick up some kind of printed material and can’t seem to stop moving your eyes or focus on a specific part of the design. It takes you away from the important parts like calls to action.

Some people carry on with the misconception that white space is wasted space. Nothing is further from the truth. One company that takes advantage of white space is Apple. If you look at their advertising, packaging and devices, white space prevails. Hey, just look at how they’ve dominated every corner of the market… they know that it works; white space is aesthetically pleasing and keeps the viewer focused on the main point of the advertisement.

So how is overdesign costing you money that you could be saving on printing?

A great example is when restaurants print menus. A menu’s main goal is to present a customer with the different plates and combinations of food available for purchase. But, the method of distributing the menu varies and that is where less can be more. There are menus that are handed out or included with take-out orders. Then, you have menus that are used for dine-in customers which are collected after the order has been taken.

A carry-out menu could be a simpler one or two color menu that will cost you less to print. Think of Chinese food menus, they are usually printed in red and black ink and have zero pictures in them. Yet, they are highly effective.

Your table menus, if designed efficiently, can be smaller or take less pages to include all of your items. Less pages or smaller size means less paper which saves money.

Choosing Paper Stocks

Paper is another area where customers over do it and spend extra money unnecessarily. Consider how the print piece will be used. Does your brochure contain information that is read once and discarded or is there a piece of information in it that you know your readers will go back and reference more than once? These are the kind of things that need to be considered. If your brochure is the kind that gets tossed after one use, you probably want to hold back on using a heavy Linen cardstock. It’s simply throwing money away.

If you and your service or product require the best and only the best, then make sure the content of your printed pieces are worth more than just a look, make them contain value, make them worth keeping.

Qualifying Quantity

Most of the cost of a print run is in the setup. So many things go into setting up for a printing job that adding paper one setup is complete, it’s not a big deal. This is why you may see that the cost difference from 2500 to 5000 pieces is very little in most cases.  Determine if you can use more in the future instead of just a few now and save money. Make sure your design doesn’t have any references to dates that might render your prints useless in the future.

By making minor changes to your design, paper and/or quantity, you can make a big difference in the cost of your printing.

Make sure to give us a call if you have any questions about your next printing project, one of our specialists can help you determine the best and most effective way of producing your project. 1877-667-7468.

Free Christmas Fonts For Commercial Use


Christmas is almost here and we know that designers have tight deadlines for Christmas projects. We put together a list of awesome FREE Christmas fonts for commercial use that you can use in your designs for personal or commercial projects like holiday greeting cards, envelopes, postcards and any other fun Holiday projects you are working on. If you use any of the fonts listed, feel free to share a link to the artwork you did in the comments below!


Santa’s Sleigh by HypoTypo


Santas Sleigh Font for Commercial Use


Kingthings Christmas by Kingthings


Kingsthings Christmas Free for Commercial Use Font


Mountains of Christmas by Tart Workshop Fonts


Mountains of Christmas Free Font for Commercial Use


ChopinScript font by Diogene


ChopinScript Free Font for Commercial Use


Snowpersons font —by Character


Snowpersons Free Font for Commercial Use



3 Powerful Marketing Tips To Gain New Local Customers

Small businesses thrive when their local community embraces what they have to offer. Customers feel that doing business locally is easy, it’s close by and it’s probably good for the local economy.

Even though these customers are consumers just like anyone else in the rest of the country, these consumers have one specific characteristic that is completely different from any other: they SHARE your location.

Whether your local efforts are made at the town level or the state level, these customers can become loyal fans just how sports fans become loyal fans of their local (town,state) teams.


3 Powerful Marketing Tips for Small Business
3 Powerful Marketing Tips for Small Business

 1. Gain Local Customers with Local Rewards

Sharing your location with your customers means that you and your employees eat, shop and interact with the same local businesses that they do.

These days you can run a Loyalty Rewards program easily in-house. It’s simply a matter of how complicated you make the offer.

A simple way is to print custom coupons with areas that get marked for each purchase or transaction. When the customer reaches the pre-determined number of transactions, you reward them with a free gift or a discount.

Partner up with some of the popular local businesses and run joint advertisements or run discount coupons off of each other. By doing this you are advertising to their customer base and at the same time helping their advertising efforts.

2. Create Awareness Inexpensively

Every Door Direct Mail : For 18.3 cents each (postage) you can mail an over-sized postcard or folded piece to every mailbox in your surrounding neighborhood including PO Boxes. No mailing list required.

E.D.D.M. is an amazing opportunity to let your local customers know your business contact information, address and the services and/or products you offer…while your at it, give them a coupon or offer they can’t refuse.

With the large canvas of the over-sized card that you can send, there’s enough room to include vital information, an attractive image and a killer call-to-action.

3. Become a Social Magnet

Social media is all about community. By embracing the power of social media, you can create a community of brand ambassadors that will spread the word for you.

Sign up for Twitter and create a Facebook business page at the least and start conversations with your customers. When they talk to you, their friends and connections will see the conversation and possibly join in. With that alone you might have just scored a new customer.

Follow us on twitter : @mmprint

Although each one of these tips is powerful on its own, using them in combination will increase your chances of acquiring new local traffic.

Use Every Door Direct Mail to inform your local community of your location, product or service and make sure to let them know where to find you on Twitter and Facebook (and any other social media networks you are on). Then, on your Facebook business page you can offer a discount in return for a Like. Don’t forget to use QR Codes to make it easy to connect with you or visit your website via mobile phones.

Have you had better success using Targeted Direct Mail over using Every Door Direct Mail?



InDesign Tips to Speed Up Your Catalog Design


We sort out great websites for you to download free for commercial use fonts or free for commercial use vector art and write tutorials and tips for designers.


Why do we even bother? Well, honestly, it makes our job easier!


Truth is, we can use the most state-of-the-art printing presses like the Konica Minolta C8000 we acquired recently, but if the files are not print-ready and well crafted, the outcome can literally be garbage…that goes in our paper recycle bins of course!

In my experience:

  • 80% of the outcome of a print job is dependent on the design files
  • Most times, a graphic designer acts as a liaison between us (the catalog printer) and the customer
  • Many times the customer is the designer

Therefore, we sincerely want the designer/customer to be proficient with their design tools and so, we offer the resources to learn how to do so.


Keep reading to learn how InDesign can speed up your catalog design and make you a truly efficient designer…

Catalog Printing - Indesign Master Pages

Adobe InDesign Gives You Design Superpowers


Well, not really. But it does make the process of designing a catalog 10x easier!

One of the most tedious part of designing a catalog for print is well, repetition.

What would you find repeated throughout a catalog?

  • Headers
  • Footers
  • Backgrounds
  • Logos
  • Watermarks


Adobe InDesign Master PagesWhat can we do about it?

Adobe InDesign answers that question for us with “Master Pages”.

Notice how in the top area of the image there is a graphic of a page labeled “A-Master”. Notice the pages below it are all labeled “A”. That means that any changes done to the A-Master page will also appear in all pages labeled “A”.

Now isn’t that nifty??

You can place any repetitive information that will be found throughout your catalog in the A-Master page and it will be found on all of your pages marked A.

If you find that you need to have some of the pages with a different layout, you have 2 options…

  • Simply drag the page labeled “[None]” to the page that will be different. This removes the A-Master layout
  • Create a new Master such as B-Master so that you can use a totally different layout on other pages


This feature alone will save you countless hours that will be better spent designing the body of the catalog.


Now that’s efficiency.


Here is a youtube video from that explains how to use InDesign Master Pages in detail:


Please comment with any InDesign advice or tips you may have and don’t forget to share this post!

5 Reasons Every Door Direct Mail Will Work for You

Every Door Direct Mail Mailbox

E.D.D.M.- Every Door Direct Mail

Recently released by the United States Postal System (USPS), the purpose of Every Door Direct Mail is to enable mom and pop shops, small businesses and corporations to send a direct mail piece to every mailbox in a specific area. The area of the mailing can be specified by zip code or radius around an address and further defined by selecting routes within the results. Get Every Door Direct Mail For Your Business Now

Every Door Direct Mail is Not for Every Type of Business

If your main customers are businesses (B2B), E.D.D.M. is really not for you. Every Door Direct Mail requires that you mail to residences. If your product or service caters to a very specific demographic, targeted direct mailwould be more beneficial to your campaign, not E.D.D.M.

Who benefits from Every Door Direct Mail?

If your product or service serves your local community and appeals to both individual consumer households and local businesses too, E.D.D.M. is a great and inexpensive way to make your presence known and can lead to an increase in foot traffic and phone calls if you plan it out well. Every Door Direct Mail works great for local businesses:

  • Pizzeria
  • Laundromat
  • Deli
  • Diner
  • Lawyers & Accountants
  • Tax Service
  • Taxi & Limo Service
Don’t forget, franchises do most of their marketing at a local level…E.D.D.M. Win!

Why Every Door Direct Mail Will Work For You

1. Marketing at a Local Level

Local deals, local search, local , local, local!A perfect example is the announcement of a new pizzeria in town. Let’s say the owner is not a marketer or just doesn’t have the time to put together a marketing campaign. Yet, naturally he knows that his target market is every home and business in the surrounding area of his pizzeria. Every Door Direct Mail would be the quick and efficient way for the pizzeria owner to let every home in say, a 2 mile (or more) radius know about the grand opening of the new pizzeria. Simple and inexpensive.

2. No Mailing List or Permit Required

So, you’re a Franchisee and you own 3 stores that each serve their own local communities. Your main marketing objective is to make sure that everyone in the local vicinity of each store knows about the store, letting them know the address, contact information and hours of operation. Since Every Door Direct Mail service does not require an address list, you can send a direct mail piece to every single residence in the town of each store for a measly 14.5 cents each in postage. No requirement for a Postal Permit also saves your out-of-pocket costs in application and yearly fees.

3. Like Sending a Billboard to Every Door

Every Door Direct Mail requires that the size of your mail piece falls within the USPS “Flat” dimensions. A common size is 6.25 x 9 which is a huge amount of real estate to cover with big graphics of your products or services, coupons and anything else that makes sense to include in the direct mail piece. You can go all the way up to 15 inches. You can also mail folded prints as long as they fold down within the size restrictions: Full color custom Calendars give you 12 months of continuous marketing and fall within the “flat” dimensions.

4. Easy Coupon and Specials Distribution

With the low cost of distribution, E.D.D.M. is a great tool to use to give out your coupons, announce specials and event sales. Spruce up your marketing and offer “neighborhood only” coupons. Sure, you can always use a Valpak type of service but with 1700 other coupons in the same envelope, will your coupon even get noticed ? (See #3 above)

5. Setup is a Breeze

Besides being cost effective, Every Door Direct Mail only takes a few simple steps to put together. Have your E.D.D.M. postcards printed, band them into bundles with a facing slip and a rubber band and then deliver them to the Post Office with your payment for postage. That’s it. Too busy? Your preferred printer can do everything for you, all you have to do is bring it to the Post Office with your postage payment.   Every Door Direct Mail Facing Slip USPS

One of the reasons the United States Postal Service created the Every Door Direct Mail program is to help local business grow (and to try to get back on track with it’s own revenue of course). But when used correctly, it really is a great opportunity to expand your marketing efforts.

Don’t Put All Of Your Eggs In One Basket

E.D.D.M. doesn’t necessarily need to be your only means of advertising; Use it to augment your web, TV and radio marketing campaigns and remember to add QR Codes to connect the offline with the online.

Have you used Every Door Direct Mail for your business? What was your response like?

Adding Video to your Printed Marketing Materials for Free


In this post we will explore in detail how to beef up your printed marketing materials by adding your own custom video and making it easy for your customers to share the video as well.
I am sure some of you reading this right now are imagining small screens, wires and batteries or mini-DVDs glued to the inside of your media kits. Well, that’s not the case, it’s not that complicated and it’s free!

Adding the video to your printed marketing materials is done in 3 easy steps and all 3 tools needed are available freely on the Internet.

Video Distribution Step One

Video Distribution

The first step, assuming you already have a video that you would like to distribute to your customers, is to upload your video to the web. There are quite a few websites that will host your video file for free, some of the most popular being Youtube and Vimeo.

 If you are tech-savvy or have an IT person who handles your website, you can also upload your videos to your own website hosting server.

By uploading your videos to the web, you make them available and easily accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Most video hosting sites as you may already know, have a commenting feature where people can leave comments about your video and you can respond to their comments.


Link Creation Rope

Creating a Link

In this second step we will create a link to the video. Both Youtube and Vimeo automatically create a link for you and you simply copy and paste it. Most video hosting sites will do this for you as well.

After we have uploaded the video and generated a direct link to the video, we are going to make it a link that we can track to see how many times it has been used, shared and who shared it.

There are many free URL shorteners available that give you free tracking tools that provide basic Analytics with information regarding the use of the link you shortened. Here are a few of the most popular ones, I recommend you create a user account so that you can log in and view your results:

I tend to be partial to because I like how easy it is to create a shortened url and the way they present the link tracking information.

To create a shortened URL, simply paste the video URL into the big blue text box and click shorten. Easy as that.

The analytic panel gives you different ways to look at what happened to your URL throughout its life:

  • A visual chart with the amount of daily clicks
  • Cool feature called Conversations which shows who is talking and sharing the same link on social networks plus a count of how many times it has been shared on various social networks.
  • QR code and a sidebar to share the link on your social networks right from the page (go to settings to authorize this).

Being able to analyze the results of your efforts is a very valuable tool. If you can tell what did well and what went wrong with your marketing, you can use this information to improve your marketing and drive better results on your next campaign.


QR Code Connecting Print to Video

Code Connection

The final step in adding video to your printed marketing materials is to create the connection between your video and the paper your marketing material is printed on.

Most of you may be familiar with QR codes by now since they have been around for a while. You might see them quite often on catalogs, magazines, postcards and many other direct mail printed materials; not to mention packaging and even in commercial stores like BestBuy use them to show video product demos in the stores.

If you would like to learn more about QR codes, I highly recommend you read my post that contains information about QR codes and a list of Free QR Code readers and generators.

For this specific tutorial we will be using a QR code to direct the user’s mobile smart phone to a video that you uploaded per the instructions in step one. Why use a QR code? Well, how many people do you think would want to type a URL that looks like this – – into their smart phone browser? By using a QR code all the user has to do is tap his QR code reader app and scan the code.

Let’s get to it! Creating a QR code is simple. Go to one of the free websites I listed in the blog post about QR Codes. Try them all to see which one you find easier to use and feel free to share with us in the comments below.

For this example I will use the website to generate my QR code: screenshot

Simply paste the shortened URL you created in step 2 into the text box labeled “Enter web URL:” and click the Create Code button.

You will see on the right an image of a cellphone with a QR code on the screen. That is the code that was generated by your special and unique URL.

Now, if you are feeling a bit antsy, go ahead and fire up your QR Code reader app on your smart phone and scan the the code right on your computer screen. Make sure it works correctly and directs your smart phone to the video you uploaded in step 1.

If it doesn’t work, go back to step 1 and make sure you used the correct link for the video, in the URL shortener and that you used the correct link generated by the URL shortner, on (or whatever qr code generator you decided to use).

Wa-la! That’s it. Download the QR code and insert into the design of your marketing materials.

I recommend you download the vector/PDF version of the code (if available) as it is created in vector format and can be enlarged or reduced to just about any size without losing any quality. I personally try to keep it no smaller than 1 inch x 1 inch.


Rule #1 : TEST, TEST, TEST.
You must make sure that the code is not too small or too blurry to be read by the cameras on smart phones. You must test the QR code among different phone models and different QR code reader apps to make sure it works appropriately.

Coolest Roundup of Augmented Reality in Printing

Many say the printing industry is in decline, some even say print is dead. Think again Egon!
This has got to be the coolest innovation to hit print next to QR Codes and it has been said before: Print is not dying, it’s Evolving.

If you are a movie buff, you may have already heard of Augmented Reality (AR for short). The film industry is adopting this technology wisely and guess where it is found…yes, on their PRINTED movie posters and even on the official movie T-shirts which of course are screen-PRINTED.

A Revolution on the Rise

As augmented reality technology catches on and becomes more affordable, you will see its use more and more in our daily lives. The one aspect of augmented reality that really catches my attention is the fact that it could revolutionize learning.

Finally we have something to make those boring text books come alive, making learning interactive or better yet, fun. This would make kids actually want to study…Check this out:

The example above shows just one way augmented reality enhances print. This technology can also be applied to Direct Mail and just about every type of printed advertising from business cards to large format.

Augmented Reality in Print

The following round up of Augmented Reality print advertisements show that print is here to stay and is the medium which connects our reality to the virtual online world. Enjoy!

Godzilla 2012

Poster and T-shirt

Godzilla Augmented Reality Poster



iQ Toyota Augmented Reality Tech



Interactive Marketing sales tool – Building Magical Brochure



Augmented Reality Business Card – Avatar Concept

Business Cards


Augmenting a Postcard



Bouygues Telecom Augmented Reality Smartphones Brochure

Brochures (Wow!)


Audi Augmented Reality Calendar



I (heart) Augmented Reality

T-shirts (lol)


Augmented Reality Encyclopedia



Augmented Reality Game

Board Games


New Reality – Augmented Reality Magazine



TOUCH2PRINT -Augmented Reality: Can touch this

Touch Interactive Paper



Movie Advertising


This is only a small chunk of what is out there! Augmented reality can solidify print’s centuries-long foundation in our present and more importantly, our future.


In what ways will you use Augmented Reality in your Print Campaigns?