How to Fold Direct Mail for the Maximum Response Rate
Updated: Feb 16, 2021
US Postal Service Requirements
Since the USPS will be the ones handling your direct mail prior to delivery, take into consideration their requirements for folding marketing materials. For starters, if you want to get the best rate on your bulk mailings, at a discount of 13 cents less per item, then it’s time to follow some folding rules. By mailing sans envelopes using newsletters or mailers, you can save a substantial amount. Here are the USPS folding requirements:
The mail pieces have to measure at a height of 3 1/2 to 6 1/8 inches, a length of 5 to 11 1/2 inches, and .007 and 1/4 inch thick. Rule of thumb on thickness: use an index card to gauge the thickness, as this is on target with the correct size.
When folding, the fold must be at the bottom side of the page to prevent the USPS processing machines from jamming. Jamming is a costly situation, and open bottoms are not allowed.
To seal the fold, use a wafer seal or a mailing tab to secure the open end to the middle of each piece of mail. For folding mail of more than one page, use at least two tabs or wafers to seal the open ends together at the corners.
Common Folding Techniques for Direct Mail
When choosing how to fold your direct mail materials, there are some tried and tested methods. These include:
Folding in a bi-fold manner, i.e. is folded from top to bottom to create two panels
Tri-folds that involve a single page folded in a letter-style, so to create three equal size panels
Folding into quarters, which makes the unfolded paper look like a paned window; done by folding twice, once from top to bottom, then perpendicularly from left to right
Another method is the oblong folding technique. This involves folding the piece using a finishing fold along the short dimension, which is on the lead edge. Choosing the perfect folding technique for your response rate involves:
Optimizing for the type of materials being mailed, i.e. bi-fold is ideal for folding multiple sheets of paper, such as a mini-magazine or booklet, while tri-fold is best suited for brochures and flyers
Considering the fine details of folding is essential for putting out a direct mail product that will be best received by your target reader.
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