Let’s talk about direct mail marketing. Yes, snail mail. Actual mail, that is sent to your physical address, for you to collect from your mailbox and review. Print brochures, catalogs, postcards, newsletters, and the like. Direct mail not only asks you to remove it from your mailbox, it asks you to take another step; buy something, for example. By this definition, even invitations can be considered direct mail, because they require another step — RSVPing. Just the other day I received an invitation from a photo card manufacturer asking me to RSVP for their holiday sale.
Think about what you personally do with your tangible “junk” mail. People may be creatures of habit, but direct mail marketing is far from dead. The first step toward change is commonly acknowledged as awareness. So here are a few mind-blowing facts about the environmental (and financial) impact of junk mail, with alternatives so you can change your habit if you feel compelled!
FACT: 5.6 million tons of direct mail marketing pieces end up in landfills every year; 44% of that junk mail is thrown away unopened.
We’ve all done it. Opened our mailbox, rifled through the stack, and tossed the majority (if not all) of it into the recycling bin without ever opening a single one. Actually, it ends up in recycling if we’re lucky. If not, Americans pay $370 million annually to dispose of junk mail that isn’t recycled.
According to data published by the NYU School of Law, the average American receives 848 pieces of junk mail per household, equal to 1.5 trees every year — more than 100 million trees for all U.S. households combined. That’s the equivalent of deforesting all of Rocky Mountain National Park every four months.
How can you prevent your direct mail marketing materials from joining the masses of junk mail? Simple. Elevate your outreach methodology through personalization, meaningful calls to action, tracking, and modern best practices.
FACT: It costs about $134 to mail 100 wedding invitations.
That’s just postage, not the actual cost of the invitation. Based on 2018 postage rates from the United States Postal Service, the average wedding invitation postage sits at $0.50 per envelope below one ounce. Each additional ounce is $0.21.
Per the USPS, both wax seals and ribbon enclosures require an additional $0.21 of postage per envelope. Having each invitation hand-cancelled, meaning a post office employee marks each stamp by hand, so that the stamp cannot be used again, will cost another $0.21 per envelope. Without hand-cancelling, the post office will run your invitations through a machine to cancel the stamp, which could result in wavy lines, mangled envelopes, and destroyed wax seals.
So far, if you use all the bells and whistles, that puts the cost per piece right around $1.34. That price could increase even further if USPS defines your rigid paper as a “parcel” rather than an “invitation.” For more on current rates, visit the USPS Wedding Stamps website.
If the math is giving you a headache, and you want to avoid a trip to the post office, there are plenty of alternatives to the traditional wedding invitation. Personalize all of your wedding correspondence with Bond Weddings to easily send handwritten save-the-dates, invitations, and thank yous — they’ll even take care of the postage!
Direct mail costs are increasing. Not to sound like The Lorax, but unless someone cares an awful lot, nothing is going to change. Paper is going to keep being consumed at a rapid pace and costs are going to keep rising as it does so. In 2018, the price of a forever stamp increased by $0.01 and all mail service products increased in cost by 1.9 percent. Most shipping services increased an average of 3.9 percent.
The good news is, advancing technology combats these price increases and offers us viable alternatives. Be sure to be remain aware and utilize the resources available to you, such as Bond!