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Welcome to PS’ Cost Savings Series! Topic 1: Formats

Michelle Johnston Michelle Johnston Senior Manager of Strategic Development

Welcome to our new Cost Savings Blog Series!  For the next 6 weeks, we will be highlighting some ways that you can find savings in your mailings by making a few changes to your creative and postal strategy.

We are so excited to share these simple tips and to implement ideas with you.  As with most budget items, there is no “one size fits all” answer to budget questions, but we are here to help you navigate ideas for you!

If you are interested in a program audit, we would love to talk to you about how Production Solutions can help you better navigate the complexities of your budget!

This week, we will focus on changes you can make to your formats that may bring cost savings to your program.

Tip #1: Combine elements so that you are printing less pieces.

Cost savings can be found by looking at your creative to see where you may be able to change the format, even slightly, by eliminating one (or more) pieces of printed content.

For instance, the simplest of packages – an outer envelope, return envelope and a letter/reply – could be turned into a self-mailer where the letter, reply and outer envelope are all 1 piece – leaving you to print just 2 pieces instead of 4 (self-mailer and the return envelope).

Or, perhaps you have a package with a printed insert. This could be added to one end of a letter/reply form or printed on the back of your letter. There are a multitude of package design options that will allow you to rethink a conventional envelope package layout to take advantage of printing efficiencies and print fewer pieces!

  • Who can benefit: Any package can be reworked to take advantage of this, but there may be more options for packages with less than 5 inserts.
  • Things to remember: Combining pieces means that you are standardizing your paper and color choices.

Tip #2: If you are mailing using a notecard-style format, consider a flat card instead of a folded card. 

This tip is relatively simple – if you are using folded over notecard, and your copy only fills up half of the inside, consider if you can change to a flat card. This will allow you to use half of the paper that you normally use and should add some cost savings in the printing process.

  • Who can benefit: Notecard style packages with shorter copy inside.
  • Things to remember: This type of notecard will not have space for an image (that would normally appear on the front of the notecard).  Consider adding an image to the back of the flat card and inserting it, so the image is showing when the envelope is opened. The donor can then flip the card over to see the copy.

Tip #3: Reduce the physical size of inserts in your package.

Are you printing an 8.5 x 3.5 insert for your #10 envelope? Would you still be able to fit all of your information onto a smaller insert? While having inserts that take full advantage of the size of your envelope feels like the best choice, you can find some savings by reducing the size of the piece. When printing generic inserts, cost can be influenced by how many pieces can fit onto the paper that is being printed. By reducing the size, you may be able to maximize how many pieces are on the sheet, making each piece less expensive.

Work with your production team (or suppliers) to find out what size will maximize the sheet size and give you the biggest cost savings. You can also look at reducing the number of panels in a brochure or the number of pages in a booklet.

  • Who can benefit: Any package that uses generic inserts.
  • Things to remember: Work with your production team to make sure that the changes you want to make will actually save money. Not every reduction in size will result in savings – the idea is to maximize the paper usage, and your printers will need to be a part of that conversation.

Look for more tips next Tuesday, July 6, as we talk about savings you can find when producing premiums!

About the Author

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston Senior Manager of Strategic Development

Michelle, PS’ Senior Manager of Strategic Development, has
been serving with PS since 2013. Michelle is from
Woodbridge, Virginia and she telecommutes full-time from
Leesburg, Virginia. Michelle enjoys spending time with her
husband, singing and papercrafting!
Michelle has over 10 years of experience in our industry, and
she has worked with more than 10 of PS’ clients, including the
Wildlife Land Trust, National Jewish Health, Heifer
International, The ALS Association, HelpMeSee and Special
Olympics. Michelle works on developing PS’ strategy and her
dedication to communicating authentically and investing in
success are just some of the reasons that Michelle is such a
valuable asset to her team.