There are three options for applying postage to your direct mail piece: using precanceled postage stamps, using a postage meter, or printing a postal permit indicia on the mail piece.
These stamps look like regular stamps and can give the recipient an added incentive to open the piece as it looks less like an advertisement and more like personal correspondence. You pay a lower rate of postage for the stamps and then pay the difference when the mailing is dropped off at the Post Office. There is typically an additional fee from a direct mailing company to affix the stamp to the mail piece.
Using a meter allows you to prepay the postage and then print the 4-numerical value of the postage on the piece. This type of postage is often used by businesses on statements and invoices. When their meter runs out of postage, they can replenish it. There is typically an additional fee from a direct mailing company to run the piece through the meter to apply the postage.
The mailer prints postage information in the upper right corner of the mail piece in a block called an “indicia.” It’s a convenient way to pay your postage as you don’t have to buy the postage in advance, remember to restock your postage meter, or worry about putting the right amount of postage on each piece. Postage is paid to the Post Office when the mail is dropped off. Permit imprints are common on self-mailers, postcards, newsletters and catalogs. This is typically the least expensive way to attach postage as the imprint can be included in the design of the piece and does not require an additional step to affix it. If you already have a mail piece printed without the permit imprint, your direct mail company can print it for you at the time the piece is addressed.
Be sure to discuss postage options with your direct mail service company before printing your piece. Choosing to include a postage permit indicia can save you processing costs, but you may decide that the added cost of a precanceled stamp is worth the potential in increased results.