Direct Mail Marketing Cost

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As of October of 2020, the new postage rates from the USPS were proposed to be put into effect on January 24, 2021. When there are rate increases, they typically happen in late January after being approved by the PRC (Postal Regulatory Commission), and they commonly impact mailing rates for mail categories across the board. All postal rates vary based on class of mail, weight, automation qualification, and postal processing and services. Below are the proposed and approved 2021 direct mail postal rates your business can expect to pay moving into the new year.

The cost of direct mail marketing depends largely on what you want to accomplish. Is it to increase brand awareness or promote a new product? It is in this light that you should first set your goals before diving into a direct marketing campaign. Promotional emails are one of the most economical ways for any business to connect with customers. Research shows a message is five times more likely to be seen through email than on social media like Facebook or Twitter. That’s why musicians use email marketing software to share their performance schedule with their fans, non-profits use it to get donations and photographers use it to. Promote a political candidate, referenda, or campaign using First–Class Mail ®, USPS Marketing Mail ®, or Every Door Direct Mail service. Direct mail marketing provides a personal and cost-effective way to get your message across. Learn More about Political Mail.

2021 Direct Mail Postal Rates

When planning out your direct mail campaigns, there are quite a few factors to consider. While laying out the perfect graphically designed mailer or assembling your swag packed virtual event welcome kit, you’ll need to consider things like packing size, class of mail, deliverability requirements such as timing and in-hand dates, and postage costs.

Direct Mail Marketing Cost

Direct mail piece postage rates are also impacted by whether or not they are compatible with the Postal Service’s automated processing equipment. Letters, mailers, or cards that fall within certain size and weight specifications can be automated through the USPS® and may meet your business’ needs and qualify for automated processing. Mailing at automation rates is one of the best ways to save money on postage.

As a rule of thumb, there are 3 primary mail category classifications for postage costs when determining the overall cost of your direct mailers or packages. They are broken out below for easy comparison.

Nonprofit 2021 Postal Rates

If your business is a nonprofit and has applied for and received authorization to mail at nonprofit rates, the USPS offers postage to qualified organizations at a discounted rate. To learn if your organization meets the requirements to receive discounted postal rates on your domestic direct mailers, please visit the USPS Nonprofit Mailer page here. Once you’ve verified that your organization meets the nonprofit authorization requirements and your application has been approved, it’s also important that your mail pieces meet all the specifications to ensure each campaign is compliant.

USPS Marketing Mail 2021 Postal Rates

To receive discounts on bulk marketing mailers through the United States Postal Service, there are minimum requirements that must be met. Marketing mail discounts can apply to a variety of parcels and mailer sizes and weights, and this option grants businesses a few more additional features when sending out their mail pieces. This is often the best option for direct mail campaigns for businesses due to the discounted postage rates vs. the cost of mailing first class.

USPS automation marketing mail 2021 postal rates

First-Class Mail 2021 Postal Rates – Non-Auto and Presorted

First-class mailers are a great option for lightweight direct mail pieces (specifically, those under an ounce, although presorted first-class mail utilizes a higher weight threshold and can be a viable alternative when delivery timing is crucial), and all campaigns where either first-class mail services are required or deemed necessary for other reasons. As with all mail classes, first-class is no different in that it has certain standards and qualifications, and your business mailers must meet specific weight and size requirements to be eligible. However, with First-Class mail, the USPS® also provides options for extra services like mail tracking, signature confirmation, certified and return receipt services and certificates of mailing.

The rate for a First-Class mail letter (1 oz.) is NOT increasing in 2021, and will remain at $0.55. Each additional ounce for First-Class mail will cost $0.20, a five-cent increase from 2020.

Planning direct mail campaigns to take advantage of all possible postal discounts is key to producing mailings that save money and flow through the postal stream as efficiently as possible. ProList’s team can also evaluate your direct mail efforts for additional options, such as Every Door Direct Mail, or EDDM®, which provides additional postal savings for geographically focused campaigns, or analyze it for other postage discounts such as drop shipping to take advantage of NDC (Network Distribution Center) and SCF (Sectional Center Facility) discounts.


As an experienced direct marketing team, ProList can handle everything from designing and planning a mailing to walking you through your postage options to maximize ROI and minimize costs. Rest assured; our team will help you choose the best postal options available for your unique campaign. To get started, give us a call today at 1-888-PROLIST or head to our contact page, here.

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