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How much does it cost to post a letter?

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Not so long ago the answer would have seemed obvious but today the answer is rather more complicated.

The answer will actually depend on a number of factors – including the size of the envelope the letter goes into, the number of items you are sending and the quality of the data you are using for the letters you are sending.

Most of us now know that Royal Mail has a range of weight and size formats for letters and envelopes and choosing that format can have a major impact on the cost of sending a letter. Although the cost difference per letter may be pennies, when you multiply this up by the 1000s of items in a typical campaign then you can see there can be a big impact on cost.

The speed of delivery has always been a factor in the price of postage and this remains true today. Some direct mail campaigns are time critical – either because they want to leverage a particular event, topical or ‘hot’ issue etc – but others less so and there are opportunities to reduce the cost of delivery by having flexible delivery options.

Royal Mail discounts

One of the other complications when answering our question is the myriad of discounts that are available from Royal Mail that are dependent upon the quality of the data, the nature of the material sent and the amount of sorting required. For example there are different rates for the following

Advertising Mail – The contents must be given prior approval by Royal Mail and all items must be uniform.
Sustainable Advertising Mail – The same criteria as Advertising Mail apply but in addition the item must comply with the direct marketing environmental standard, PAS 2020.
Publishing Mail – This could include items such as magazines, newsletters, journals or other periodicals. All items must have prior approval from Royal Mail.
Business Mail – Any other item which doesn’t fit into one of the above three categories and is being sent for the purposes of establishing or maintaining relationships, or are of a contractual or transactional nature.

Discounts are available for sustainable mail and machine-readable barcodes etc. Many regular users will have PPI codes and utilise franking machines that will also enable them to reduce the postage cost-per-unit. For those planning direct mail campaigns it is essential to speak to a bulk postage specialist at the outset to minimise your postage costs.

A further complication is the number of companies offering delivery services. TNT, DHL, UK Mail and others can now offer competitive solutions for volume users and again their best rates are often more achievable using specialist buyers.

Image Credit: Inter Parcel

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