Post Office Gets Approval to Reduce its Hours

The US Postal Service got the okay August 23 to reduce its hours of retail service at approximately 13,000 locations.

The Postal Regulatory Commission, which is the Postal Service's governing body, approved the plan, signaling that the changes will not affect the Post Office's legislative mandate for comprehensive nationwide service.

Over the next two years, affected locations will reduce weekday operations to two, four or six hours. All collection and post office box services and Saturday hours remain unchanged.

The USPS estimates annual savings of $516 million as a result of the changes.

For a complete list of affected Post Offices, please click here.
Post Offices to be affected by lower hours

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Holiday Mobile Shopping Promotion Announced by Post Office

The Post Office recently filed for another mobile barcode promotion to run November 7 - 21 2012. Called the "Holiday Mobile Shopping Promotion," it will offer an upfront 2% discount on postage for presorted and automation first class and standard rate mail.

Here's what you must do to claim the discount:

     1. Your mail piece must contain a mobile barcode on or inside it.
     2. Your mobile barcode must point to a mobile-optimized site.
     3. The mobile site must offer a product for sale (not a service).
     4. Nonprofits, if you offer a gift in return for a donation, this will qualify you for the discount.

Here's an extra sweetener: If a portion of the orders coming from the promotional mailing are fulfilled using Priority Mail between November 9 - December 31, 2012, you can apply for an additional 1% postage rebate of your original mailing. So keep your receipts!

Registration for this promotion begins September 15, 2012. For tips on how to use mobile barcodes in your direct mail campaign, click here. You can access the complete guide to the USPS Holiday Mobile Shopping Promotion here.

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San Diego Sunset

Couldn't resist posting this photo of the San Diego sunset, taken July 25, 2012. This is one of the reasons we live here!

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Vote for Our New Logo!

We need your help! Post Haste Mailing Services is changing its name to Post Haste Direct, to better reflect our direct marketing services of printing, color variable data printing and email marketing, as well as traditional mailing services.

After you've looked at the three designs, just click here to vote. And thanks!




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Tab Placement for Self Mailers

New postal tabbing regulations are going into effect January 5, 2013. We've studied and parsed the many (many!) ways of tabbing self mailers and put together this handy cheat sheet of the most popular mailing designs and tab placement. (For our blog on tabbing booklets, you can go here.)

Of course, there will always be a mailpiece with an odd fold - all you have to do is give us a call at 858.513.7740, or email us at info@ and we'll be happy to dispense tab advice.

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Time to Change from the Postnet to the Intelligent Mail Barcode

If you're still using the old Postnet barcodes on your mail,  it's time to switch to the Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB). As of January 13, 2013, the Post Office is eliminating the Postnet barcode. That means to receive any postal discounts, you'll have to use the IMB.

The new IMB will be required for both outgoing and business reply mail. Not to worry - Post Haste Direct Mailing uses the IMB on all outgoing mail. But if your company is one of those that prints thousands of reply envelopes at the beginning of each year, you only have the rest of 2012 to use them up.

Postnet Barcode:

Intelligent Mail Barcode:

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How to Take Advantage of Every Door Direct Mail

If you're ready to add another dimension to your advertising program, Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) from the Post Office may be for you.

With the lowest postage available (14.5 cents per piece), EDDM is aimed at smaller businesses that want to saturate specific areas with an advertisement. And while the program is fairly straightforward, if you don't have the time (or the desire) to do it yourself, give us a call (858-513-7740) or send us an email. Whether it's answering questions or handling the job for you, Post Haste Direct Mailing is here to help.

Here are the steps that will allow anyone to begin using EDDM:

Step 1 - Register With the PO for a Business Account

Log into the USPS Business Customer Gateway and create a USPS business account. Select New User Registration near the top right of the page and follow the instructions. You'll be assigned a customer registration ID number (CRID) during this process. Write it down because you'll need it later!

Step 2 - Define Who You Want to Reach

Log into your new USPS business account. Under the Mailing Services section, select Every Door Direct Mail. This will take you to the welcome page for the EDDM online mapping tool. Click the blue Get Started button.

Now you're going to decide who you want to mail to. Choose your target area by indicating a city, county, zip code or radius around an address. Select the carrier route type (city, rural and/or PO Boxes) and either residential/business or just residential. click Submit.

The next screen will contain a list of carrier routes for the parameters you keyed in. You can omit any routes by unchecking the box next to each. On the right will be the total number of addresses you will mail to, based on your selection. This is how many mailers you'll need  to print. Remember, the minimum mailing is 200 pieces, and the maximum is 5,000 pieces per day. You will also see a postage cost for the mailing. When  done, click Next.

Enter the post office where you will be delivering your mailing. You'll be able to choose from a list of POs.

Time for the postal paperwork. There are two PDF files you will need to download and print. These are pages one and two of Form PS3587, which must be presented with your mailing at the PO. Page one will have some sections to fill out with your company name and address, and the weight and count of your mailing. You will also need to write down your customer ID number. Page two is simply a list of the carrier routes you chose earlier.

Finally, download and print a copy of the facing slip. You will probably need several copies of this (more about this later). Congratulations - you're done with step 2!

Step 3: Create Your Mailpieces

There are specific size and indicia requirements for EDDM. First is size - to make it easier for you, our favorite sizes are 6.25 x 11, 8x 11 or 9x12, but you can make yours any size, as long as it conforms to postal regulations. (Read about it here.)

Here is what your indicia should look like. The indicia should be sized at about .75 to 1 inch:

And note the address placement requirement on your mailpiece:

Once you've designed your mailpiece, you're ready to print and prepare your mailing.

Step 4: Prepare Your Mailing for Processing

Before you deliver your mailing to the post office, you will need to prepare it by bundling the mailpieces. Look at the list of carrier route counts you printed, and count out enough mailpieces for each carrier route. Bundle them in groups of 50 (the last group may contain less than 50). For example, a carrier route with 285 addresses would require 5 bundles of 50, and one of 35. Do this for each route in your mailing. Use rubber bands to hold the bundles together.

Now attach a facing slip to each bundle. (Remember we told you to print several? Here's where they're used.) Fill out the required information on each slip, including zip code, carrier route and number of pieces in each bundle. When you're done, bring your  bundled mail and a copy of the postal form to a postal clerk. You can pay the postage by cash, check or debit card.

And that's it - you're done! If  you need help printing and sending your direct mail card, let us know. We'll guide you through the entire process, or take it over so you don't have to. Call us today at 858-513-7740 and we'll get you started.

For more information on Post Haste Mailing Services, visit, or email us at:

USPS 2012 Mobile Code Promotion is Here

If you're planning a direct mail campaign this summer, you'll want to consider adding a mobile barcode - it will save you two percent in postage.

Aimed at making mobile commerce easier, this year's USPS mobile code program has tighter requirements than last year's, but it's still possible to save postage and add an effective dimension to your direct mail package.

Here's what you need to do:

1. Register for the program with the Post Office. You can do it here or we'll be happy to do it for you.

2. Include a mobile barcode like a QR, Data Matrix or Aztec code, to name but a few. Here's the difference from last year: the code must point to a mobile-optimized landing page that allows your reader to place an order or pay for something in some way. For nonprofit organizations, a donation page qualifies. Or, you can create personalized mobile landing pages for each person on your list.

One or more of the items advertised in your mailpiece must be available on the mobile web page.

3. Add verbiage next to the code telling your reader what to do: "Scan this code to get your own monogrammed widget!" or "Scan this code to make an immediate donation."

4. Be sure your code sends your prospect to a mobile optimized site!

Registration began May 1, and the program will run through August 31, 2012. The discount is only for standard, nonprofit and presorted first class mail.

If you have more questions, or simply need help creating a QR code or integrating it into your direct mail package, email us at

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Senate Approves Postal Reform Bill

The Senate approved a bill Wednesday aimed at restructuring the broke (and broken) Post Office, clearing the way for a massive reduction in the agency's workforce.

Passed by a 62-37 vote, the bill refunds overpayments the USPS made to the federal retirement system. That will allow it to pay for buyouts for some 100,000 retirement-eligible employees.

The bill also allows the PO to negotiate with its unions about moving postal employees out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan and into a separate insurance program, as well as ending Saturday mail delivery.

A number of amendments to the bill, however, weaken the agency's ability to close postal facilities. While that may allow lawmakers to avoid the wrath of their constituents, it significantly undercuts some of the proposed cost savings in the original bill.

This proposal looks especially weak when compared to a genuine solution, such as the amendment Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) unsuccessfully proposed. His measure would have allowed five-day-a-week delivery implemented immediately, and eliminated costly no-layoff provisions in its labor contracts. So now any hope for real postal reform  lies in a House-Senate negotiation. We won't hold our breath.

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Direct Mail Preferred by Consumers

According to a study by marketing firm Epsilon Targeting, direct mail continues to deliver as consumers' preferred means of receiving marketing messages.

The Consumer Channel Preference Study, released in late 2011, found:
  • Six out of 10 consumers in the United States say they "enjoy getting postal mail from brands about new products."
  • Direct mail is preferred over email by all respondents - whether the mail is for financial, retail or professional services. This preference includes the 18-34 year old demographic.
  • Half of all respondents agree with the statement "I pay more attention to information I receive by postal mail than if it was received by email."
  • Six out of 10 people enjoy receiving direct mail sent to their homes promoting new products, while  43 percent like receiving new product emails from brands. Respondents could agree with both statements.
  • When it comes to direct mail, 31 percent prefer personalized mailings, while only 5 percent are okay with generically addressed mail (Like Every Door Direct Mail). This shows that "Current Occupant" does not carry the emotional pull of a personally addressed mailing.

Attitudes Toward Postal Mail and Email:
  • I enjoy checking my postal mail box - 60 percent
  • I receive too many emails in one day - 65 percent
  • I enjoy getting postal mail from brands about new products - 59 percent
  • I enjoy getting email from brands about new products - 43 percent
  • I get a lot more emails that I do not open - 75 percent
What's the take-away on this study? Direct mail continues to be a preferred form of marketing among all age groups - including young adults - and deserves a spot in a customer-first marketing plan. 

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USPS Announces Details of 2012 QR Code Promotion

The USPS just announced the details of its second annual summer mobile barcode promotion, which include tightening the requirements and lowering the savings.

Mailings in July and August of 2012 that contain a QR code or other mobile barcode will receive a 2 percent discount (down from 3 percent last year). An added restriction is that the barcode must send the recipient to an e-commerce or personalized website.

According to Gary Reblin, VP of domestic products at the USPS, the idea behind the personalized webpage option is to emphasize the benefits of personalized direct mail. And by personalized, he says the webpage must contain more than just the recipient's name and address. (Note from Chris: sounds a little vague to us. We'll research it more and let you know what that means.)

What's eligible for the QR Promotion?

Any machinable letter, card or flat mailing First Class or Standard. You must use an Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB) to get the discount. Nonprofits, you get to play too, but those mailing Periodicals do not. Check with your direct mail provider to make sure they're up-to-speed with the upcoming promotion.

How Last Year's Promotion Did

The USPS says about a third of all Standard-rate mailings took part in the 2011 campaign. About 5 percent of those mailing First Class added a QR code. This year the Post Office hopes that mailers will add mobile barcodes to 25 percent of the mailings.

Final Thoughts on the QR Promotion

Don't just slap a QR code onto your mailpiece and call it good. Last year, one of our nonprofit client's codes sent the reader to a site hosted by a for-profit company. Guess what? They lost their nonprofit discount, and got to pay about 50 percent more in postage in order to save 3 percent.

So I guess the moral of my lecture is to plan, plan, plan. Decide what a mobile code can add to your campaign, and integrate it as if you thought of it first, not last. Make the landing site beneficial to your reader, and don't forget to optimize it for mobile phones. Finally, test the new direct marketing package against your current one to make sure it's a help, not a hindrance. Here's some more information on using QR and other mobile codes.

For more information on Post Haste Direct, visit, email us at:, or call 858-513-7740

A Brief History of Direct Mail Production

Note from Chris: today's guest blog is by Bill - I can't believe I finally got him to write one!

I was sitting calmly and relaxed in my office, life was good. I was dreaming about my upcoming Maui vacation and searching the web for the finer restaurants, when a screech came through my intercom: "BILL! You should write a blog for our site."

"Oh sure," I replied loudly, hoping that would be the end of it. I mean, I had no idea what a blog was, or what a person would write about. Aren't blogs in Scotland where they make Scotch?

I did a fast web search and learned something about it, so I would be somewhat prepared if my great business partner Chris broached the subject again. Which she did. And "we" agreed that I would write a blog, the topic being what goes on in the production end of a direct mailing firm. Not about my soon-to-be vacation, or wonderful grandchildren.

I've been in the direct mail business close to 30 years. In those 30 years numerous changes have taken place, almost all of them positive. The advancement in equipment alone is staggering. When Post Haste Mailing first started we had to affix addresses to envelopes and cards by gluing them on. The labels were printed on computer paper, and then run by a machine that cut them up and glued them down. When everything ran well, we got about 3,000 pieces an hour addressed. When they didn't, we had glue everywhere. What a mess.

Now thanks to technology we address material on a VideoJet BX6000. It uses fast-drying ink and allows us to print on virtually anything (maybe you saw our YouTube video where we print on a broken raw egg). I never have to worry about what kind of paper stock our customer wants to use because the Videojet will print on it.

It's also fast - we can cruise along comfortably at 20,000 pieces plus an hour, which makes for happy customers. Dual two-inch printheads adds flexibility - we can address, add a message, return address, or indicia at the same time. And the best thing is, we don't have to clean out that nasty glue pot anymore.

Well, enough about blogging. Back to my vacation!

Bill promises this will be the first in a semi-occasional series of posts. Stay tuned ...

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USPS To Repeat QR Code Promotion in 2012

The USPS just announced that it is planning another summertime promotion involving QR codes.

According to its VP of domestic products Gary Reblin, last year's QR code promotion - which gave mailers a 3 percent discount on presorted postage - was so successful that the postal board of governors recommended another program be developed.

The details of the new QR code promotion will go to the board of governors on February 8 for approval.

Although there are no specifics yet, Reblen said this year's promotion will have some different features from last year's

"We've studied best practices; we're going to take what we learned from the last one and be more specific."

We'll let you know as soon as we hear what that means.

Weird and Unique Post Office Locations

The US Postal Service has been in the news a lot lately, because it wants to close a bunch of its locations. People are upset because they don't want their neighborhood Post Office to be too out of the way. That got me thinking. What qualifies as "out of the way"? Here's what I found:

Vanuatu's underwater Post Office
1. The next time you're diving in Vanuatu, be sure to stop by the world's first underwater Post Office. Situated within a marine sanctuary near Port Vila, the PO is about 165 feet offshore, and nearly 10 feet deep. It's staffed for one hour a day by one employee, and the waterproof cards mailed there are hand-cancelled underwater with an embossed frank.
Source: Vanuatu Post

2. In Antarctica, visitors can assure friends they're having a great time by mailing a card at Port Lockroy. Founded in 1902, Port Lockroy has been  used for whaling, British military operations, and research. Today Port Lockroy is a combination Post Office and museum.

3. China opened a new Post Office Nov. 3, 2011 with a street address that is 213 miles above the earth. The "China Post Space Office" opened for business on the ground in Beijing Aerospace City and virtually on board the newly established Tiangong-1 space lab module. The office will process letters and emails, making it possible for the public to write Chinese astronauts on the ground and in space.
Source: CollectSpace
You can mail a card from base camp on Mt. Everest

4. The world's highest post office that is still on land is located in a tent at the North Everest Base Camp, Tibet, China. It's at 17,090 feet.

5. Michigan is the only place in the world with a floating Post Office - the J.W. Westcott II. It delivers mail to ships while they are still underway, and has been operating for 125 years.

The Galapagos Post Office
6. In the brush on Galapagos, just a few yards off the beach, is perhaps the world's strangest Post Office. It's a collection of boxes, crates and barrels filled with postcards. Visitors (mostly tourists on eco-cruises) sort through the stacks, looking for addresses within delivery distance of their homes. They also drop their own messages into the receptacle, adding another link to the chain of mail.
Source: Multiple Travel Websites

7. The first underwater mail box was opened August 16, 1939 in the Bahamas by US photographer John Ernest Williamson. "Sea Floor" closed some two years later.
8. The deepest underwater mailbox is off the coast of Susami, Japan. It's 32.8 feet deep, and gets up to 200 pieces of mail per day.

Mail is still delivered to the bottom of the
Grand Canyon by mule train
9. Mail is still delivered to Supai, AZ (at the bottom of the Grand Canyon) by mule train. Supai is one of the Post Offices slated for closure.
Source: USPS

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Direct Mail Trends from the USPS 2010 Household Diary Study

The 2010 Household Diary Study Report, conducted by the US Postal Service, was recently released. The study measures the mail sent and received by U.S. households and  tracks household mail trends over time. Here are the 2010 highlights that relate to direct mail:

Dollars Spent on Direct Mail

According to Magna Advertising Group, American businesses spent about $171 billion in advertising in 2010, an increase of 4.3 percent from 2009. Of this total spending, 12 percent went to direct mail postage only. This amount has remained fairly constant for most of the 20 years the study has taken place, even with the introduction of new and fast-growing ad markets such as the internet.

The next table shows that direct mail also remained one of the most popular advertising choices of 2010 advertisers. The weak economic recovery following the 2008-2009 recession stimulated only a 2.1% increase in direct mail spending over the previous year, but that number was still higher than most forms of advertising. Advertisers continued to count on direct mail’s targetability and measurability to get their message out.

Direct Marketing and its Relation to Income, Age and Education

The amount of advertising mail received by a household is closely tied to income, age and education. Households with less than $35,000 income receive less than half as much advertising mail as households with $100,000 or more income.

Among higher-earning households (more than $100,000), the amount of advertising mail received per week increases as the educational status of the head of household increases, from 12.4 pieces per week for households headed by someone who did not graduate high school, to 21.6 pieces per week for households headed by a college graduate.

Why is this? Direct mail is a written type of advertising, and education may play some role in its effectiveness, compared to TV or radio ads. Second, education is also tied to future household income. A recent college grad may start out earning a relatively low income, but is fairly certain to earn more in a few years.

But is it Read?

According to this study, 81% of households read or at least scan their direct mail. Broken down, 54 percent of people read their advertising mail, while an additional 27 percent scan it. Which leaves only 19 percent who say they don’t read their advertising mail at all.

This is an increase from the 9% who did not read advertising mail in 1987. Plus, given the large increase in direct mail volumes since then, U.S. households are definitely reading more direct mail now than in the past.

What’s interesting is what is being read. Catalogs are read by 51% of people, with an additional 13% setting them aside to read later. Only 17% of recipients reported that they discard them without reading.

Credit card direct mail, on the other hand, while having a 50% read-rate, has a 25% discard rate, and only 5% of people save it to read later.

Finally, the 2010 study shows that behavior toward direct mail is independent of the quantity the household receives. For example, of households receiving 0-7 pieces of direct mail per week, 82% read or scan their mail. But in households receiving more than 18 pieces per week, 81% read or scan their mail.

You can read the complete 2010 Household Diary Study here. (Warning: it’s 399 pages!)

For more information on Post Haste Mailing Services, visit, or email us at: You can also stay up-to-date with us on Twitter: @Chris_and_Bill.

USPS Wants to Accelerate Cuts

Sorry for the postal-speak in this, but I wanted to pass it on quickly.

This comes from a memo from a local Postal Customer Council:

The US Postal Service today asked the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to expedite consideration of the Postal Service's plan to make its operations more efficient, reduce costs and ensure the long-term affordability of mail.

The request filed with the PRC asks it to issue a non-binding advisory opinion on planned Postal Service network and service standard changes by mid-April 2012. The current moratorium on the closing of any Post Office expires on May 15, 2012. The USPS voluntarily agreed to the moratorium in response to congressional requests in the hope it would help to create comprehensive postal legislation.

The Postal Service had laid out a plan to return to profitability while meeting the changing needs of its customers. The plan includes reducing the number of mail processing facilities from 460 today to less than 200 by 2013, and revising mail delivery service standards. This would provide more predictable and reliable service, and is part of a broader effort to stabilize Postal Service finances, and continue to provide affordable, universal service for generations to come.

The PRC issued a schedule last week that guarantees it will not issue its non-binding advisory opinion until July 10, 2012, at the earliest. The Postal Service would like to move forward with its planned network and service standard changes with the benefit of the advisory opinion, which it would need to have well before May 15.

The Postal Service believes that more than four months, from Dec. 5, 2011 to mid-April 2012, is adequate time for the PRC to evaluate and comment on these proposed operational changes.

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USPS 2012 Rate Hike is Kind to Nonprofit Organizations

Nonprofit organizations can breathe a little easier concerning the 2012 postage rate increase.

An early look at the rates, scheduled to take effect January 22, 2012, show that nonprofit postage is going up only a fraction of a cent, and in several cases, will actually decrease.

Of course, the key to claiming the lowest rate is to ensure your mailpiece is machine-compatible. Just download this handy guide on our website before designing your mailpiece. Confused? Just send us a PDF and we'll be happy to do the checking for you.

Here are a few examples of the upcoming January 2012 postage rates:

Auto Letters
Current Rates (non SCF)
New 2012 Rates
Mixed AADC

And although flat-sized automation postage went up, the increase is negligible:

Auto Flats
Current Rates (non SCF)
New 2012 Rates
Mixed AADC

If your organization takes advantage of carrier route rates, the new rates will be .001 - .003 per piece higher than our current prices.

Carrier Route Letters
Current Rates (non SCF)
New 2012 Rates
High Density

Carrier Route Flats
Current Rates (non SCF)
New 2012 Rates
High Density

To see or download all the new postage rates and fees, click here.

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