C Tann-Starr's Outside Blog


Save some money on your next direct mail campaign - for my Active Rain Friends Only.


My girlfriend Inna was kind enough to make this post available for a re-blog. They have a wonderful reputation within our social media circles. You may want to check out their website if you are looking for a great on-line print, design & marketing service.


Judging by lots of comments on Barbara Todaro’s featured post on direct mail, a lot of you at the very least are toying with the idea of this back to basics prospecting method.  Barbara has been doing this for many years, and is consistently generating results, and the statistics quoted in her post are enviable.  Of course, the dedication and commitment of capital to those monthly mailings is something to contend with as well. 


The biggest stumbling block nowadays with this sort of marketing is the expense associated with it, whether factual or perceived.  I’d like to give you some pointers on how you can save a few bucks where it counts, and dispel some rather common misconceptions.  For those who get through to the end of this post, and I’ll do my best to keep it short, I’ll throw in a HaMediaShop.com discount on printing (Barbara’s’ Idea).

direct mail postcard for Coreen in HI


Actual costs of printing:

We routinely get emails from agents asking us to quote them a print job on ‘non-snobby’ paper, with maybe just black on the back side and or a two color process instead of four color.  The reasoning is that it has to be cheaper than shiny glossy stock with full color printing. 

The reality is that when printing commercially, it is MORE expensive to print on matte paper or to print two-color than to print on shiny glossy 14pt stock, at least with us.  The reason for this is quite simple – there is more demand for 14pt stock, and the coating is done at the same time as printing, so it doesn’t cost the press much extra to do it.  The matte stock is purchased in smaller quantities, hence it sells for more money.  So, if you want to save money, offset printing on 14pt UV coated stock will be your best bet.


Digital vs. Offset:

Most local print shops use a digital process to produce printed materials.  It’s akin to you running your postcards on your office printer, albeit at higher quality.  For small quantities, digital is the only way to go, as offset requires a 250 piece minimum.  Price per piece with digital will ALWAYS be higher than with offset, as your costs don’t really go down much with the increase in quantity.  The upside – you can get really small runs produced quickly.  The downside, the costs are higher than offset, and the quality is not as good, nor are these pieces weather-resistant.


Offset process requires the manufacturing of a plate (which is now done directly from a computer file), and because of that, the bulk of your expense goes toward making of that initial imprint, hence the minimum quantity requirement.  But you save quite a bit per piece from then on, and the quality is a LOT better.  There is no running inks with good quality offset prints, the colors are always exact, and everything is crisp and readable, down to the smallest fonts used for disclaimers.


Lastly, for now, as I mentioned in a comment on Barbara’s post, the bulk of the expense associated with direct mail is the postage itself.  The common assumption is that one has to purchase lists and mail first class or if you have a bulk permit, pre-sorted standard, where you do, indeed, save a few bucks.  There are other options available in most places in the Country where you can target the same farms and neighborhoods for half the postage rate of a standard postcard.  Few take advantage of it.  Watch for my next post on saturation mail, as this has gotten longer than I intended.  If your needs are of a more immediate nature, just email me.  No cost for advise, I promise.:-)

Just as an example of what you should be spending on your direct mail: you can target a farm of 2,500 with full color glossy postcards for roughly $500.00 for printing and mailing costs.


Now, for those of you with patience of Job – your discount code for 15% off all postcards, any size or configuration, printed at hamediashop is:  singingintherain

This code is good through Friday, July 9th.

There is also a special on design on our FaceBook page, but you’ll have to become a fan to get that.:-)


Thanks for listening, and thank you to Barbara for inspiring this postJ

Inna Hardison is owner of

Printing  Design  Web
We are the good guys of print, design & marketing
Design and Printing services for clients in Palm Coast and Daytona area locally, & all over the US and Canada.

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Comment balloon 7 commentsC Tann-Starr • June 23 2010 06:37AM


C Tann, thank you for sharing. Direct mail is certainly one part of an effective marketing campaign. It can be expensive so you must carefully look at your ROI.

Posted by Tom Priester, Paradise Sharks (Paradise Sharks ) over 10 years ago

As you know I have been running direct mail campaigns for 15+ years and the info about cost of printing is correct.  I would however offer this piece of advice.

Don't evaluate the cost of your marketing evaluate the return on the investment. To do this effectively you also need to test, test and test so every now and then you will need to take a financial risk.

You would be surprised how many people cut a profitable marketing channel because they only look at the costs.

Posted by Josef Katz, {Marketing Maestro} (Digital and Direct Response Marketing) over 10 years ago

Forgot one item - if any of your pals, friends, fans etc... want to talk about direct mail you know how to find me.  Happy to share wisdom and advice with friends of friends on AR.

Posted by Josef Katz, {Marketing Maestro} (Digital and Direct Response Marketing) over 10 years ago

Wordy - you are too darn good to me!  Thank you for the reblog, and hey, maybe I can learn something from one of your commenters now.  I LOVE learning new things:-)  XOXO

The graphic told me to choke a cherry.  Hmmm. I like cherries.  Go figure.

Posted by Inna Hardison, Wordpress for Real Estate & Design, Print HaMedia Group (ha media group) over 10 years ago

Thanks for posting this.  Tanya just wrote a post about the success of one of these campaigns.  And they may have ideas about discounted mailing in the U.S. as they do in Canada.

Posted by Jane Peters, Los Angeles real estate concierge services (Home Jane Realty) over 10 years ago

Jane - just contact me.  Tanya referenced my post (we did her postcard), where I mention some mailing methods that will save you money, but it's too long for a comment.  Just send me an email with some idea of where you plan on mailing and I'll let you know what you can do postage-wise.


Posted by Inna Hardison, Wordpress for Real Estate & Design, Print HaMedia Group (ha media group) over 10 years ago

Tom, I am weighing my pros and cons because of a new start up I am working on with the wee people and the help of some talented friends. It will be based upstate in Pawling, NY. :-)

Josef and Inna, I will be needing your help in July.

Jane, definitely call Inna. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 10 years ago

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