A Major Commitment
The secret to success in mailing services, as with any service offered by print providers, is whether you can sell it—either to existing customers who currently are mailing, existing customers who might be persuaded to mail, or to prospects. Some customers and prospects have regular, recurring mailing requirements, such as those who use direct mail for marketing. But increasingly, customers are exploring Web-based communications for marketing, and it has become a harder sell even for experienced mailers.
The way to make money in mailing services is to have it be a substantial portion of your business mix—say at least 10 percent. This is the point where you’ll be an efficient producer and knowledgeable enough about postal regulations to be a reliable source of information for your customers. So calculate 10 percent of your current monthly sales volume, then divide that by 10-cents (or eight-cents or 12-cents) as an average selling price per piece mailed. That will give you an estimate of how many pieces of mail you need to regularly produce each month.
Now look at your existing mailing customers and likely mailing prospects. Calculate the regular, recurring monthly volume of mail they are currently giving you—or promising to give you. This number needs to be at least 50,000 pieces, or about 12,500 per week, for you to even consider making any investment in software, equipment, or even training. If you aren’t there yet, then concentrate on selling mailing rather than producing mailing until you get to 50,000.
If you find yourself saying, “I don’t know enough about mailing to sell it,” then recognize that won’t change just because you invest resources. Focus instead on learning how using the mail can benefit customers and on learning the basics of postal regulations so you can sell mailing credibly.
This isn’t meant to be a warning against adding mailing services. Many printers have made a lot of money in mailing services. But you can’t do it casually and expect success. If you have the fire in your belly to learn a new skill, the time to stay informed, and a good enough current ratio to invest resources, then go for it! You may be the next big success story.