How Much Direct Mail Cost? [Per Piece & Bulk]
If you run a business, then you need to perform marketing campaigns. There are several kinds of campaigns that you can do, from email to video. Direct mail marketing is one of the traditional methods of business marketing and still remains one of the most reliable. Of course, when it comes to marketing, one of the first things business owners ask is: How much will this cost?
The average cost of direct mail advertising can is $1.50 per piece of mail for a direct mail campaign. The direct mail cost per 1000 is $1,500. However, direct mail costs can range between $0.50 to $3.00 per piece of mail. Marketing campaigns are flexible and their costs can vary. So we put together this comprehensive guide on direct mail campaign costs.
Direct Mail Costs
Direct mail campaigns have a lot of moving parts so they have several different costs. We will break down costs for each kind of expense you will encounter with a direct mailing campaign. A single mailing campaign can be broken down into
- Mailing lists
We will cover the expected costs for each part of the campaign. Keep in mind that the figures used here are averages and that your actual costs may differ.
The first thing you need to consider is copywriting costs. After all, you can’t run a marketing campaign if you do not have any copy. Most copywriters charge on a per word basis. The typical rate for a mid-level copywriter is about $0.10 to $0.20 per word. So you can expect to spend anywhere between $100 to $200 for the actual text of your marketing copy. Actual copywriting rates depend on the skill of the writer, complexity of the copy, creativity, use of keywords, and more. Top-rated marketing copywriters can charge up to $2,000 per piece.
The good thing about marketing copywriting is that it is a one-time cost. Once you have the actual text to use on the pages, you can just reuse and modify it for all the pieces in your direct mailing campaign. It’s important to have a good copy as that is the central component of your whole direct marketing campaign.
Design Costs ($0.25 to $2.00 each)
You have a couple of options when it comes to design choice. You could do the design yourself and save money or you could buy a template online for as low as $1 for professionally designed template. More detailed and flexible templates will cost more, to the tune of $20-$40 per template. You can expect to pay about $10 on average per template.
If you hire a professional, then you will need to pay more money. Advertising and freelance graphic design charge about $25 per hour. A single direct mail marketing campaign design should not take a professional more than 4 hours, so we estimate that you’d only have to spend about $100 on a professional design.
These have the benefits of visibility similar to the postcards option discussed below but cost a little more. The prices for this group really vary a lot since there are many sizes, folding options, tabbing, or even fugitive glue. Just keep in mind that the larger the mailer the more it will cost. The more folds needed as well as fugitive glue also increase the costs.
The cost for services not including postage or design is basically between $0.30 and $2.55 each. Keep in mind that specialty finishing like textures, embossing, and so on will increase the prices. The quality will also be a factor since the more you do the cheaper the price per piece.
If you would rather use the cheaper option, postcards will be the best-suited option. The pricing of postcards will mainly depend on your preferred size, ranging from 4 x 6 to 6 x 11 in the letter rate postage category. On average, you should expect to spend between $0.25 – $1.75 each without postage or design costs.
There are many options in letters beyond just personalized versus generic. You can have multiple inserts, window envelopes, or regular envelopes. Generally, letters are the most expensive category. The cost of envelopes and inserting add up.
The cost for services not including postage or design is generally between $0.35-$3.10 each. Keep in mind that each insert will increase your cost and matching personalization will also add to your total. The quality will also be a factor since the more you do the cheaper the price per piece.
Experts say that 40% of your campaign’s success depends on the mailing list that you have. If you already have an up and running mailing list, then you will be in luck here and not have to spend a thing. Otherwise, the best option to find a mailing list is to buy information from another company in the industry.
One other option is to buy a direct mailing address list from a list broker. List brokers compile information on customers across several demographics to sell to marketing campaigns. Costs can vary depending on your mailing provider and the specifics of the list you want to build, but custom lists from list brokers usually cost anywhere between $0.03 to $0.25 per record.
So just as a hypothetical, if you bought an entirely new address list of 1,000 records, you could expect to pay anywhere between $100-$250 Generally speaking, you do not want to pay too little per record. Low-quality lists may be full of contacts that won’t lead anywhere and won’t generate conversions.
All other things being equal, printing will probably be the most expensive part of the project. Printing costs can vary widely depending on the type of paper, ink, size, lettering, and the total number of units. Printing costs are also affected by the complexity of the design and the resolution of any images.
Overall, you can expect to spend anywhere between $0.03 per paper page up to $2.00 per thicker laminated flyer. Most of the time, you can get cheaper printing per unit if you buy more units. For example, printing 1,000 units might be more expensive per unit than printing 10,000 units.
The size of printed materials also matters. There are 3 major types of prints for direct mail campaigns, postcards, letters, and folded self-mailers. Postcards are the simplest and come in small (4.25” x 6”) and large sizes (9” x 12”).
Letter-sized paper is basic 8.5” x 11” or a slightly larger 8.5” x 14” size. Lastly, folded self-mailers are larger measuring 8” x 20”. Folded self-mailers have enough extra space to add a section for replying at the bottom.
Here is a hypothetical marketing campaign to illustrate some numbers. Say you want to print 1,000 flyers at $1.20 per flyer. That would come out to $1,200 for printing costs alone. Choosing services with low printing costs is essential for saving money on direct mailing campaigns.
Mailing Costs ($0 to $0.30 per record)
Last but not least are mailing costs. Mailing costs are not constant and can fluctuate based on current postage rates. Mailing costs are divided between postage costs and delivery costs. AS of 2021, the per-unit cost of USPS postage stamps is $0.58. So postage alone for 1,000 direct mail flyers will cost approximately $60-$70.
The other half is actual shipping costs. The bigger and heavier your direct mail fliers, the more expensive things will be. The USPS currently uses its Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) system for direct mail advertisement flyers and letters. USPS currently charges between $0.16 to $0.19 per delivery per piece of marketing mail.
So, plugging in some numbers, if you wanted USPS to deliver 1,000 marketing flyers through their EDDM service, then you would have to pay anywhere between $160 to$190 for delivery costs.
Direct Mail Costs Per Thousand
We will give a quick breakdown of the costs for a 1,000-unit direct mailing campaign.
|Average Price||Price per 1,000|
|Mailing Lists||$0.14 per contact||$140|
|Printing||$1 to$2 per flyer||$1,000|
|Delivery||$0.17 per mail||$170|
As you can see, when you add all the costs together, you can expect to spend about $1,500 on a 1,000-unit direct mail marketing campaign.
Volume and Cost
Like most other kinds of marketing campaigns, the higher volume of mailing units you order, the less you will pay per unit.
Consider the difference between a campaign with 1,000 units and one with 10,000 units. A 1,000 unit campaign might cost you $1 per unit while a 10,000 unit campaign may cost you less than $0.10 per unit. It can often be a good idea to purchase a higher volume of units so you can take advantage of lower prices for buying in bulk.
Other Cost Factors
You may run into additional costs when running a direct mail marketing campaign. Here are a few of them.
Unless you make your own template or handle your own printing, you will also most likely need to personalize some of your mailing cards. Unpersonalized mail will be cheaper but personalized mail is much better for your marketing chances.
If you are trying to integrate direct mailing campaigns with other campaigns then you may have to pay extra fees for integration. Integration fees include any kind of CRM or automation tools used to fit campaigns together.
Most of the time when you pay for a marketing campaign, you are not just paying for the marketing materials. You are also paying for data tracking and analytics so you can modify your marketing approach to be more successful.
Tips for Buying Direct Mail
Don’t Compromise on Copy
If you need to cut costs on your marketing campaign, start by picking cheaper materials or printing fewer flyers. However, don’t cut costs from your copywriting budget. Your marketing copy is the central component of your entire campaign so you should make sure it is as effective as possible.
Good marketing copy is defined by its ROI, so don’t compromise on the quality of your copywriting.
Get Quality Lists
Experts recommend that a significant portion of your marketing campaign’s success depends on the quality of the lists that you cultivate. So don’t be afraid to spend a bit more to get quality contacts.
One extremely effective method is to cultivate lists from emails and form campaigns. The last thing you want is to spend money on a contacts list that does not help you.
Target Repeat Customers
Direct mailing campaigns are not just to attract new customers. Repeat customers are one of the most responsive recipients of direct mail campaigns. The best marketers find ways to engage with past clients and keep them engaged for the long haul.
Run Hybrid Campaigns
Very few businesses rely solely on direct marketing campaigns nowadays. The optimal approach is to run several marketing campaigns in tandem to work with one another. Marketing campaigns can feed into one another too.
For example, direct mailing campaigns can lead to social media and other digital campaigns. Running hybrid campaigns can save you money over the course of your campaign by multiplying your ROI.
Track Your Results
You can’t just run a marketing campaign and leave it at that. You need to track results so you can modify your campaigns. There are several ways to track direct mail campaigns. You can track them using phone numbers or you could use unique coupon codes. Modern marketing campaigns also use unique QR codes to track flyer response rates.
Keeping track of your marketing results tells you two things. It tells you the ROI on your campaign and it also tells you areas to improve your campaign.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a direct mail campaign cost?
All other things being equal, you can expect to pay anywhere between $0.50 to $3.00 per piece for a traditional direct mail campaign.
What costs are involved in direct mail?
Direct mail campaigns include expenses for design, copywriting, postage, mailing, list fees, and printing costs. You can express the cost of direct mail in terms of how much you end up paying per piece of mail. The costs of direct mail can be split between copywriting, design, printing, list costs, printing, and mailing.
What is the average response rate for direct mail campaigns?
Across all industries, the average response rate for direct mailing campaigns is about 0.04%. That means you can expect a response for one out of every 20 direct mailing flyers.
What is the average ROI for direct mailing campaigns?
According to a recent study by the DMA, the average ROI for a direct mailing campaign is about 29%. That means that the average direct marketing campaign generates $29 for every $1 you spend. That is a high ROI that is only beaten by email marketing ROI (127%).
Direct mail is definitely an “older” marketing technique, but there is a reason why it has stuck around so long. Direct mailing campaigns are among the most effective types of marketing campaigns, second only to email marketing.
So, if you are considering a marketing campaign, then direct mailing campaigns are a good choice. They are effective and cost-effective. Make sure that you do your research so you can save the most on marketing costs. You may also be interested in large format printing costs.