How to best use direct mail is one of our areas of expertise. And the topic seems equally popular with readers. We’ve been getting a ton of hits and feedback on our new health club promotions page regarding direct mail pricing. So we thought we would go into more detail on the subject.

First and foremost, keep in mind we put out direct mail on a massive scale. The rates we receive aren’t going to be anything close to what you would get if you popped into your local mail house.  These cost savings are passed directly onto our clients.  At United Fitness Marketing we do NOT use our direct mail pieces as a source of revenue. You pay what we pay and it saves each promotion thousands of dollars.

I should also point out we do offer direct mail through our mail house on a commissioned basis if you want to run your own promotion.  Our commission is 3 cents per piece for 10,000 pieces or greater, which would still be substantially cheaper than any pricing you could get on your own. With that being said, let’s dive down into some of the different types of mailings that are the most cost efficient for health clubs and fitness centers.  

The first thing your gym has to do is consider all the different types of mailings and the associated postal costs and benefits.  As a general rule of thumb the more specialized the list, the greater the cost of the postage.

health club promotionsThe most expensive and exclusive commercial mailing is First Class.  It does have its advantages, but for health clubs we have found a walk sequenced bulk mailing is just as effective and it’ll saves a ton of cash, let’s compare.

On bulk mail saturation mailings, just the postage alone will run around 14 – 19 cents per piece(prices vary depending on your list and the weight of postcard).  A First class Mailing is around 26 cents.  That’s a pretty wide margin.  Now we will go over the advantages versus the cost savings.

First Class Mail.  For commercial mailings, first class mail takes top priority with United States Postal Service.  They have a three day window to get it out and delivered.  But nine times out of ten it will be delivered the next day. You can drop it yourself at any postal location throughout the United States no matter the destination. If the post office seems disorganized, a little polite persistence usually pays off.

Bulk mailings aren’t quite as turn-key as first class mailings.  The USPS now has a five day window to deliver bulk mail.  For the type of mailing we use the most, postage is around 14 cents. The great part is in most cases we get ours delivered in one to three days, when dropped locally.  So for a 12 cent spread, going bulk is a no brainer for our clients.  

Now understand that there are many different kinds of bulk mailings and prices vary depending on how specialized your list is.  Good luck trying to get info on exact pricing from mailing companies in a timely manner, as in most cases you can’t get straight answers from the post office themselves. They have a fat book they pull out with all the different bulk mail variations and pricing if you go to the USPS in person.  In most cases we use a walk sequenced saturation mailing (form 8125).  These are called drop shipments and they simply start at the beginning of the carrier route in a given zip code and goes to the end (usually around 200-400 pieces per route). 

The big disadvantage is that due to USPS cutbacks, you now either have to ship the trays to the regional distribution center or haul them there yourself.  If you go with this type of mailing be sure and do your homework on where your distribution center is located.  Generally, you’re okay  if you live in a major city but if you live in a rural area you may have a substantial drive or shipping costs associated.  Be sure you factor those costs in before deciding on what type of mailing you’re going with.  

How specialized your mailing list is plays a key role in determining the cost of your bulk mail postage. There are all kinds of nifty tricks you can do with mailing lists.  Some of the restrictions you can add are income, different demographics , college address, rural routes,  you can exclude mobile homes and apartments, decide whether or not to mail businesses etc.  At United Fitness Marketing We don’t mess around with those shenanigans as we want our advertising to go out to everyone but those options are out there.

If you want to add 200-500 new members with a professional on-site sales manager, we are your source.  There are no upfront costs or out of pocket expenses to the client and we work of commissions so if you don’t make money we don’t make money.  Complete our market analysis to see how we can help or if you would like to run your own promotion, we can sell you the mail for a great price.  Either way we look forward helping you out.

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