A change included in the next year’s US Postal Service rates extends the “2nd Ounce Free” program to all Commercial First-Class Mail Presort letters weighing up to 3.5 ounces. Once the rates are in effect on January 22, mailers can add more weight to their documents with no increase in postage.

Why would you want to add weight? I can think of a few examples:

  • Mailers sending materials separately because of the existing weight limits can combine them with existing mailings. They can mail annual notices such as privacy policies or updated terms and conditions along with monthly bills or statements.

  • Extra pages of plain-language summaries could accompany complex documents filled with legal terms to increase customer understanding and reduce calls to customer service.

  • Companies could abolish policies to suppress pre-printed inserts that would create overweight mail.

  • Converting to heavier paper can improve processing efficiency, facilitate inkjet migration, or enable duplex printing without exceeding weight limits.

  • Mailers could integrate large print documents for visually impaired customers with the regular print stream, making them part of high-density presort mailings and eliminating a separate inserting run.

  • Marketers could add heavy items such as folded cards or magnets to improve conversion rates for promotional campaigns.

  • Mailers may employ householding strategies to eliminate multiple mail pieces.

  • Companies can add pages of editorial or advertising content with no increase in postage cost.

  • Organizations may redesign documents to add white space or use larger fonts, improving the visual appeal.

Mailers can exploit the opportunity provided by the new postage rate structure by adding value to their documents with charts and graphs. Individual customer profiles can trigger promotional and informational content printed inline. Variable maps and driving directions to nearby physical locations can turn mass mailings into personalized communications, or additional testimonials can increase charitable donation amounts.

Many opportunities exist for making mailed documents more compelling or effective. The increased weight limit makes it possible to get creative without increasing the postage charge. The flattened postage rate structure should encourage mailers to enhance communications with extra content added to existing high impact messages like bills and statements.

Mike Porter writes extensively on topics of interest to companies and individuals working in the customer communications business. Visit www.printmailconsultants.com to learn more about his writing and consulting services or follow him on Twitter @PMCmike.