You’ve probably heard about the many benefits of direct mail marketing. From highly targeted delivery to a long-lasting impact, direct mail provides businesses with a unique way to reach new and existing customers. While the positive outcomes provided by direct mail marketing are clear, you might be wondering – how much does direct mail cost? The direct marketing experts at One To One Mailing are here to discuss direct mail costs, so you know exactly what to expect when planning your next campaign.

How Much Does Direct Mail Cost?

If you’re wondering – how much is direct mail – the truth is, it depends.

Direct mail costs vary depending on several factors. As with any marketing campaign, the more customization you require, the higher the cost will be. The biggest aspect, however, will be the size of your campaign.

Below are some specific factors that will affect the price of a direct mail campaign. Our direct mail marketing experts have also included estimated costs based on the type of mail and campaign size you require.

1. Direct Mail Campaign Size

Direct mail costs will vary significantly depending on the number of households you want to reach. While the total cost to reach a larger number of homes will be more, the cost per piece will decrease as you increase your campaign size. This is because bulk discounts are offered for higher volumes.

Although a large campaign with a lower cost per piece may be beneficial in many instances, it is not the best option for every campaign. Sometimes, a smaller, highly personalized direct mail campaign will be more effective.

2. Design and Content Customization

If you’re using a design template, or if you have created your own design, your campaign will be less expensive. A full custom design provided by the mail house will be the most costly option.

On average, you can expect to pay around $85 per hour for professional designers to create a custom campaign design.

Keep in mind, some aspects of your mail campaign are more easily customized than others. For example, envelopes can be difficult to customize, as the artwork will not print right to the edge. As a result, you’ll find that custom envelopes are only available for runs over 10,000 pieces. In this case, pricing is based on the number of colours used, the type of colours used, and the style of the envelope.

3. Printing

The type of printing you require, as well as the size of your marketing materials, and the quantity you print, will also affect overall direct mail costs

  • Digital vs. Offset Printing – printing costs are based on volume in this case, with more value experienced at higher volumes. Digital printing is practical for small runs or variable pieces, while offset printing does not allow for variable printing.
  • Mail Size – the size of your marketing materials will impact the cost of the overall campaign. Why? Because this determines how many sheets of paper will be used for printing. You can maximize the value of your campaign (and minimize costs) by ensuring you choose a mail size that maximizes the use of space on a page. For example, if you choose to send out postcards that are 5 x 7, only four postcards will fit on a single sheet of paper that is 12.5 x 19. However, if you send out a slightly smaller postcard that is 4 x 6, you will be able to get eight postcards printed on a single sheet of paper. As you can see, this second option offers better value.
  • Quantity – the cost to set up a campaign comes at a fixed price ($85.00). Therefore, only the number of pages you print will affect the cost of your direct mail campaign.
  • Custom Printing – if you would like any additional customization, for example, UV coatings, you can expect additional fees. The pricing for any special coating is determined by the coverage area and the shape of the coating, which is determined by the artwork.

4. Finishing

After your campaign has been designed and printed, there are several finishing options to choose from.

  • Folding – mail can be folded is several different ways, depending on what you prefer, and the type of marketing material you are mailing out. The most common fold is a standard letter fold or a Z-fold. This is for 8.5 x 11 letters that are going into a standard #10 letter envelope. The cost to have your mail folded can range from $0.06 to $0.009 per piece, depending on the size of your campaign.
  • Inserting Mail into Envelopes – this is completed by hand or by a machine, depending on the inserts. Most commonly, a machine will stuff the envelopes. The cost to have your mail inserted into envelopes ranges from $0.11 to $0.02 per piece, again, depending on your campaign size. Please be aware – an envelope can only hold so much. For example, a standard #10 envelope can hold approximately six sheets of paper before it gets difficult to seal, and will most likely get damaged in the mail from being too thick.
  • Tabs – these are small pieces of circular tape that hold a piece of mail closed. Tabs are often used for catalogues or postcards that need to stay closed when going through the mail.
  • Sticky notes – these little notes can be applied to letters and postcards to help catch a recipient’s attention and add a level of variability to the piece.
  • Inkjetting – this is used to add variable or static information in black ink to a small area on a piece of mail. This option is great for adding specific addresses or applying a phrase to a sticky note. Inkjetting can cost anywhere from $0.17 to $0.045 per piece, depending on the volume.

5. Mail Prep and Shipping

After your mail is printed, it must be prepped and shipped to Canada Post for delivery. These direct mail costs are largely dependant on volume.

  • Shipping – shipping costs start at $35 and increase based on volume, as well as the size of the piece. Mail is sent out in cages, therefore, the thicker each piece of mail is, the more cages you’ll need. Approximately 24,000 letters (standard letter in an envelope) will fit in one cage. The cost of the first cage is $50 and $25 for every additional cage. The cost for shipping via truck is determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Mail Prep – preparing neighbourhood mail starts at $0.04 per piece. This price will decrease as the size of your campaign increases.

6. Targeting

There are three common targeting options for direct mail campaigns.

  1. Neighbourhood mail – send your direct mail to an entire neighbourhood.
  2. Postal code targeting – send your mail to a few locations in a given area.
  3. Personalized mail – send mail to specific addresses. This can be done using a mailing list that you already have or with the help of a rented or purchased list.

The targeting option you choose will affect the cost of a direct mail campaign in several ways.

Do you have your own mailing list that you’d like to target? If so, great! This will save you some money. If not, no problem – a mailing list can be rented but this will come at an additional cost.

If you’d like to rent or purchase a highly targeted list of recipients, you can typically expect to pay around $0.07 per record. However, the total cost will depend on the type of filters applied to the list and the record data fields used.

If you have your own mailing list, whether or not it is properly formatted can also affect your direct mail costs. For instance, if the data in your mailing list needs to be cleaned, many Edmonton direct mail providers will charge an extra fee.

A basic data cleaning fee is around $65. Additional costs may also be charged depending on the size of your list, any extra cleaning requirements, and the quality of the data fields.

Looking for other advanced targeting options? Many options are available at an additional cost. Keep in mind, the more targeted your campaign the better ROI you’ll experience. So, although it may cost more for advanced targeting, some options will provide a significantly better return on your investment.

7. Postage Rates

The postage rate you pay will vary depending on your targeting specifications.

For neighbourhood mail, you can expect to pay approximately $0.1805 per piece for standard mail. Oversized mail will be approximately $0.1905 per piece.

To have mail delivered based on postal code targeting, standard mail is approximately $0.327 per piece. Oversized mail, in this case, starts at $0.44 per piece.

Standard personalized mail is approximately $0.505 per piece, delivered. On the other hand, oversized mail starts at $0.71 per piece.

If you expect to send out multiple mail campaigns each year, you may be able to receive lower contract rates, reducing your direct mail costs. These special rates must be negotiated with Canada post by the end customer in advance of mailings. These rates generally require a yearly volume commitment.

Looking for international reach with your direct mail campaign? One To One Mailing has got you covered. We specialize in local, national and international mail.

8. Direct Marketing Analytics

If you want to closely monitor the effectiveness of your campaign, analytics are a must. Depending on the type of analytics you want to track, you can expect to pay an additional $50 to $300 or more.

For example, with One To One Mailing, you can measure the effectiveness of your campaign by tracking and recording calls, as well as QR code use. Call tracking is available for an additional $50 per campaign. Or, to integrate your mailing campaign with online activity, you can add web traffic tracking. This add-on will allow you to track traffic and web form leads with a dedicated landing page. The cost of this additional feature starts at $299.

9. Specialized Mail Marketing Add-ons

You can also choose to elevate your direct mail campaign with specialized add-ons. These add-ons can help your campaign stand out and increase conversions. For example, adding a Post-It Note or a complimentary digital campaign.

Average Direct Mail Costs – Examples

As you can see from the many options above, direct mail marketing costs can vary significantly. To help paint a better picture of how much direct mails costs, here are a few examples.

How much does it cost to send 500 pieces of direct mail?

To send 500 pieces of direct mail will cost around $1,010.00.

Here’s how it breaks down for a personal mail campaign:

  • Set up fee – $85.00
  • Database cleaning – $65.00
  • Design – $125.00
  • Printing (8.5 X 11, colour, single sided + #10 envelope)  – $277.50
  • Processing ($0.17 per piece) – $85.00
  • Finishing – $85.00
  • Delivery – $35.00
  • Postage ($0.505 per piece) – $252.50

Total – $1,010.00

Please note, this price does not include applicable taxes.

How much does it cost to mail 5000 postcards?

To mail 5000 postcards will cost approximately $2,367.50.

Here’s the breakdown for a neighbourhood mail campaign:

  • Set up fee – $85.00
  • Data (Neighbourhood Mail Data Work) – $30.00
  • Design – $125.00
  • Printing (5.5 X 8.5, card stock with gloss)  – $1,075.00
  • Processing (at $0.023 per piece) – $115.00
  • Delivery – $35.00
  • Postage (at $0.1805 per piece) – $902.50

Total – $2,367.50

Please note, this price does not include applicable taxes.

Calculate the Direct Mail Costs for Your Campaign

Looking for more personalized pricing?

One To One Mailing’s direct mail campaign online-ordering system will show you exactly how much your campaign will cost.

Follow the step-by-step process to see what costs are involved and how much you can expect to pay. Explore various options, create mock campaigns, and update your quantity to see the cost for different sized campaigns. Thes best part is – you can do all of this without ever having to pick up the phone or commit to a campaign! Plus, all of our prices include design template setup, print, mail prep, and postage for the most accurate estimate possible.

If you decide you want to move forward with your direct mail marketing campaign, our team will contact you to confirm quantities and costs before sending anything to print.

As you explore different options and direct mail costs, keep in mind that the lowest price per piece is not always the best option. Instead, focus on the value that you believe you’ll get from each campaign type and targeting option. Sometimes a campaign with a higher price per piece will result in a lower cost per response. In other words, although you might pay more for certain types of campaigns and additional options, these alternatives can result in a higher return on your investment.

As a Canada Post Expert Partner and the most advanced mail house in Western Canada, One To One Mailing can help you develop a direct mail campaign that reaches your ideal audience at the perfect time. Our direct marketing experts will help you develop a highly optimized and targeted campaign for maximum ROI.

Not sure where to start? Schedule a direct mail consultation today. The experts at One To One Mailing are here to help you every step of the way!