by By Tom Isler | February 01, 2009

IllustrationEven in this digital age, marketers still incur great expense on direct-mail campaigns. Melissa Data (, a Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.-based provider of mailing software and database solutions, recently published a white paper with the following money-saving mailing tips.

Weed out. An estimated 10 billion pieces of mail annually are deemed "undeliverable as addressed," costing senders without the possibility of return on investment. Double-check your lists. Mail preparation software cleans up addresses and also presorts and bar-codes mailings, qualifying the sender for lower postage rates.

Update. The U.S. Postal Service recently changed qualifications for some first-class and standard mail discounts. Mailing lists must now go through "move update" processing within 95 days of the mailing, and senders incur penalties for noncompliance. For details, visit and search for "move update."

Downsize. Instead of 9-by-12-inch envelopes, fold documents to fit into a 6-by-9-inch envelope, which is considered a letter, not a flat, cutting costs nearly in half. Similarly, use plastic or paperboard envelopes, which qualify as flats, instead of padded mailers, which require parcel rates.