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How to Fold Direct Mail for the Maximum Response Rate

Updated: Feb 16


Folding Direct Mail

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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:

  1. Folding in a bi-fold manner, i.e. is folded from top to bottom to create two panels

  2. Tri-folds that involve a single page folded in a letter-style, so to create three equal size panels

  3. 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:

  1. 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.

If you’d like help planning and executing an effective Direct Mail campaign, give us a call: (312) 663-4720.

Request A Quote Have a question or looking for a price quote on an upcoming project? If so, please give us a call at (312) 663-4720.

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3838 N. River Road

Schiller Park, IL 60176

Phone: (312) 663-4720

Fax: (312) 663-0680

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Since 1985, MidAmerican Printing Systems has been providing printing services to many of the region's largest businesses, organizations and institutions, in addition to a vast array of small businesses that exist in the community. A G7 certified printing company based in Chicago Illinois.

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