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USPS Finance News: 2017 Year-End Results Reported

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November 14, 2017

USPS Finances:  2017 Year-End Results Reported

“The U.S. Postal Service reported revenue of $69.6 billion for fiscal year 2017 (October 1, 2016 – September 30, 2017), a decrease of $1.8 billion compared to the prior year. The lower revenues were driven largely by accelerated declines in First-Class and Marketing Mail volumes.

“Our financial situation is serious, though solvable,” said Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan. “There is a path to profitability and long-term financial stability. We are taking actions to control costs and compete effectively for revenues in addition to legislative and regulatory reform. We continue to optimize our network, enhance our products and services, and invest to better serve the American public.”

Brennan stressed that the path forward for a financially stable future must also include urgent actions needed outside of the Postal Service’s control. They include advancement and passage of the postal reform provisions contained in H.R. 756 in the 115th Congress and the adoption by the Postal Regulatory Commission of a new pricing system as part of its 10-year pricing review, enabling the Postal Service to generate sufficient revenues to cover our costs.
CLICK HERE for the complete financial report.”

Quoted from USPS.COM


usps news for direct mail


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PRC Approves Proposed Competitive Rate Price Changes for January 2018

direct mail blog FL, Jack

PRC Approves Proposed Competitive Rate Price Changes for January 2018

On October 6, 2017 the Postal Service filed notice with the PRC concerning changes in prices for competitive products. Yesterday, the PRC approved the proposed changes which are scheduled to take effect on January 21, 2018.

The full order is available on the PRC’s website:

 2018 proposed postage rates

The full order is available on the PRC’s website:

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Minnesota Direct Mail Center, PrimeNet Promotes New Plant Manager

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We are pleased to announce Scott Sabelko’s promotion to Plant Manager in Shakopee, MN. Scott has been working with PrimeNet for three years now, and has expanded his direct mail production expertise and responsibility during this time!

Scott has a management background at Mystic Lake Casino, where he worked as a Head Chef, managing of a team of 40 staff members. He has proven his fast-paced management and highly efficient leadership skills with PrimeNet, where he now leads our Minnesota team!

We are delighted to have Scott on board in this role.

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USPS Announces New Prices for 2018

U.S. Postal Service Announces New Prices for 2018
Penny Increase for the Forever Stamp




Vanessa Blog Image 2015 Hurricane Season

The USPS filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) on October 6th of price changes to take effect Jan. 21, 2018. The new prices, if approved, include a one cent increase for the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp from 49 cents to 50 cents.

Postcard stamps and metered letters would also have a one cent increase. This filing does not include any price change for single-piece letters being mailed to international destinations or for additional ounces for letters.

The proposed prices would raise Mailing Services product prices approximately 1.9 percent, and most Shipping Services products will average a 3.9 percent price increase. While Mailing Services price increases are limited based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Shipping Services prices are adjusted strategically, according to market conditions and the need to maintain affordable services for customers.


The proposed Mailing Services price changes include:

Letters, (1 oz.) – 49 cents, increase to 50 cents
Letters, additional ounces-  21 cents, remains at 21 cents
Letters (metered) – 46 cents, increase to 47 cents
Outbound International Letters – (1 oz.) $1.15, remains at $1.15
Domestic Postcards – 34 cents, increase to 35 cents

New Shipping Services product prices would increase Priority Mail 3.9 percent and Priority Mail Retail an average of 0.8 percent. As in the past, the Postal Service will not include surcharges for fuel, residential delivery, or regular Saturday delivery.

The proposed domestic Priority Mail Flat Rate Retail price changes are:

Small Flat Rate Box – $7.15, increase to $7.20
Medium Flat Rate Box – $13.60, increase to $13.65
Large Flat Rate Box – $13.60, increase to $13.65
APO/FPO Large Flat Rate Box – $17.35, increase to $17.40
Regular Flat Rate Envelope – $6.65, increase to $6.70
Legal Flat Rate Envelope – $6.95, increase to $7.00
Padded Flat Rate Envelope – $7.20, increase to $7.25

The PRC will review the prices before they are scheduled to take effect on Jan. 21, 2018. The complete Postal Service price filings with the new prices for all products can be found on the PRC site under the Daily Listings section at For the Mailing Services filing see Oct. 6, 2017, Docket No. R2018-1. For the Shipping Services filing see Oct. 6, 2017, Docket No. CP2018-8.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

From USPS:

2018 Price Change Filing Webinars
Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at 3 p.m. (EDT)
Thursday, October 12, 2017 at 2 p.m. (EDT)

Please join Sharon Owens, VP, Pricing and Costing and Steve Monteith, VP, Marketing on Wednesday, October 11 at 3 p.m. (EDT) or Thursday October 12 at 2 p.m. (EDT) for a high-level overview of the 2018 Price Change filing. Attendees will have an opportunity to submit questions to the panel during this webinar. If you would like to submit your questions before the call, you can submit them to   Details below:

Read More

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Tips for Advertising After a Natural Disaster Recovery Period

direct mail for natural disasters blue hurricane icon In the aftermath of the recent Hurricanes, sales can take a downward turn despite your perceived best advertising efforts. But they don’t have to! Why? It comes down to sensitivity and delivering the right message to the right demographic. For direct mail, that may simply mean altering your scheduled message to include post-disaster resource information as soon as an event is predicted, and an emotionally sensitive, useful follow up after mail delivery service restoration.

It’s important to think about shifting your marketing in response to serious events.

Residents in areas where natural disasters are prone to happen tend to be keen on planning ahead. Whether we’re talking about earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, brush fires or tornadoes, when they do happen, the impact on daily life can be so severe that advanced preparation is critical.

Marketers don’t typically think about this unless they are in a prone area themselves. We hope to shed some light on the issue and help you with some tips for advertising pre, during and post natural disaster.

For utilities businesses, a natural disaster boosts business activity as crews respond to outages. However, in many situations, marketers are likely to put the brakes on regular marketing efforts since marketing to customers at the time of outages can be seen as pointless. BUT natural disasters can provide important opportunities to communicate unique, relevant messages to those who are preparing for, or have fallen victim to a natural disaster. In fact, if planned and executed properly, your outreach during disaster periods can deliver a brand experience these folks will appreciate and remember.

Being proactive in your planning approach to post-disaster marketing is key to understanding the role your message can play in maintaining customer satisfaction in these tough times. This process includes:

*Understanding geographical trends so you can identify possible events that could occur in your marketing territory

*Learning how people use different channels of media during and after a natural disaster

*Considering media redirection strategies that will help open communications channels for immediate needs to minimize potential losses from advertising that has already been contracted

Here are a few considerations for a natural disaster marketing plan:

Know the geographical event areas and probability calendar.

Make sure you brush up on which areas you serve are more prone to specific types of natural disasters. For example, hurricanes are most common near the Gulf and East coasts. Central Texas to Nebraska is known as Tornado Alley, and earthquakes have the most common occurrence in Coastal California, Oregon and Washington State. Of course, each type of natural disaster will affect people differently and the recovery activity that follows one type of disaster will look very different from another. Knowing how the landscape is likely to be affected will help you come up with scenarios that can possibly occur and shape the communication frameworks that are needed to address each separately.

Disaster planning, from an advertising point of view, becomes much more important to campaigns that are typically scheduled for the months when the disasters are more likely to occur. For example: Tornadoes are most common from March to May. Atlantic hurricane season runs from late May to November. Wildfires are most common in the summer,because of heat, droughts and winds. While flooding occurs year-round, there is a bit of seasonality based on things like snow melt and coastal storms. Earthquakes, are unfortunately not seasonal, so tentative planning is crucial.

Google has a useful tool to show early watches and warnings for specific areas:

google disaster map screenshot 2017-late-sept

Google Disaster Map Sample

Learn to adapt your media utilization to changes in consumer use.

The big ‘wild card’ a natural disaster introduces into campaign planning: consumer media usage. Most marketers have a good idea of how their target audience uses different media from day to day. But not nearly as much is known about how media use curves when disaster strikes.

Right before an event, it’s been shown that television local broadcast channel usage increases most, followed by social media and radio, accounting for over 75% of media consumption during this time. Then, during a natural disaster, TV and internet usage drops when signals cut out, while radio, mobile devices, and word of mouth increase. Mobile device usage has been shown to more than triple, mainly due to loss of power. After an event, radio is typically the first medium people turn to for information, even after power returns. But TV and internet usage quickly recoup as recovery begins.

Social media channels like Facebook and Twitter have become the go-to for millions of people, making social media a major media resource during recovery efforts following natural disasters. Approximately 76% of US natural disaster survivors use social media to contact friends and family posting images and sharing stories of their experiences.

Common hashtags seen during recovery periods include:  #NoFuel #NoGas #PowerLineDown #FoundGas #PowerOut

Companies and charities can leverage social media as an effective way to locate people in need of help. In addition to providing updates on power outages and anticipated return of service, utility companies in particular can partner with government, relief agencies and local minimally affected businesses to extend their traditional customer support and emergency response. Customers will appreciate the community message that “we’re in this together” and “here to help” long after the disaster, which will result in improved customer satisfaction and value.

Redirect your previously scheduled media.

There are a few best practices you can follow to ensure that when disaster hits, your response is relevant and effective.


Planned marketing activities, such as media placements that are ready to deliver, may need to be put on hold. This allows you to shift your resources to marketing activities to support disaster communications.

Plan and develop criteria ahead of time to make it easier to decide which events would prompt you to cancel or pause a campaign, or interrupt a campaign with new content specific to disaster support.

Know your cancellation or change policies for media used in each campaign, as well as the process and timing requirements to replace campaign content.

Have relevant alternative messages and pre-packaged content ready to go, in case you are unable to cancel a media schedule or wish to update your advertising to highlight disaster sensitivity and useful information. Use flexible formatting for your content so that you can easily insert relevant copy into key messages.

Maintain your database of current contacts from each media vendor to ensure 24/7 vendor availability.

Have a database of contingency vendors in case your usual partners are affected by the disaster and need to temporarily close for business.

Ramp Up.

Pre-planning is critical to maintaining, even increasing communications on the fly.

Understand ahead of time, your local media options and the geographic coverage they can provide before, during and after an event. Natural disasters rarely match up with marketing and demographic schedules, so you should stay abreast of the effective coverage – and associated waste – that will occur with each media option.

Pre-negotiate rates and schedules that can be quickly activated if needed for contingencies.

Build a creative toolbox of pre-formatted messages you can adapt to varying circumstances, and be certain that your messaging is sensitive to your audience’s recovery period.

Maintain a list of relevant hashtags for your social media usage so that you can search for opportunities and extend your reach. The White House, FEMA and U.S. Department of Energy have standardized hashtags: #PowerLineDown, #NoFuel and #GotFuel to enable citizens to report downed power lines or whether a gas station has fuel. The Weather Channel has committed to publicizing these hashtags to its audience.

Develop partnerships with federal and local entities and cause-based companies to plan how you can work together to support shared agendas.

The bottom line of natural disaster advertising:

Natural disasters can arrive with little to no warning. By knowing when they may be more likely to hit, and how the public use of media changes in the moments of an event, you can be ready with a good communication plan. This may mean jumping right into action or waiting for the right moment to return to regularly scheduled marketing.

Planning ahead with your marketing will help you make informed and logical decisions when there is little time to shift your message.


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Get a Head Start on Your Direct Mail Campaigns for Fall

Latte Thanksgiving Mailer Ideas


Before you grab that pumpkin latte…


Oh, nevermind. Go get the latte and read while you’re sipping…
Because it’s time for the FALL marketing season to begin!
And we’ve got some unique new mailers for you.

September opens the door to a busy marketing season – a time of profitable sales and ramped up customer engagement for a lot of  businesses. BUT, it also means a TON of competition. By getting a head start with your mailings while your competitors are just on the outskirts of thinking about their online campaigns, you will be reaching customers right at home, and right in the mailbox – with individual personalization.

Fall Mailer Ideas Autumn Advertising

Cozy up with a Festive Fall Mailer Design –
and psst
check out our unique new off-fold self mailer for this Fall!

Now is a great time to begin transitioning the look of your offers. Send your customers and prospects the delight that comes along with the changing of the seasons. Fall is a joyful and happy time, so let your direct mail material reflect that. It’s also a good time to experiment with new unique designs and promotions for the Fall holidays. When your prospect receives their unique new Autumn direct mail piece, especially when it comes before the influx of Autumn sales mail, they will notice and remember.

Take a look at some newest pieces we have to offer for Fall…


Holiday marketing is getting earlier and earlier.

While some of us are still coming in from the beach, approximately 34 million people have already started thinking about their holiday shopping. Christmas shopping is starting as early as September, A.K.A “Now” at the time of this publication! It’s wise to go ahead and take advantage of this time at the start of the season so that you are at the very front of the line and the top of your audience’s mind before and during the holidays.

Savings for Fall are as tasty as that pumpkin spiced latte.

Who doesn’t love getting a good deal any time of year? BUT, with Autumn in the air, promotions are even more enticing during this particular time. For one, it’s because people are on the lookout for good deals as the holidays draw nearer – Plus there is just something about Fall that makes people want to go out – and come home with something new. So go ahead and give your prospects something to be happy about … early in the season!

Get your Autumn direct mail marketing rolling today! Starting early with your Fall campaign will help you increase sales and gear up for your holiday campaigns too! Want help getting started? Call on PrimeNet. We’re here to help.


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This Week: Direct Mail Tips for Restaurants

Learn How Direct Mail Increases Restaurant Revenues

Having been a guest at a recent hospitality Marketing and Operations Summit hosted by one of our valued partners, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, we were able to gain a lot of knowledge about the hospitality industry that we were previously unaware of.

One of the things that surprised us was how many private, family or individually run restaurants had little understanding of what a good direct mail strategy could do for their business, while many of the corporate chains and franchises were using it to their advantage.  So, with the following information, we hope to help restaurant owners and managers learn the benefits of a direct mail strategy which will boost their customer traffic and increase restaurant revenue.  And the good news is: It doesn’t need to cost a ton.

increase restaurant revenue

Why Use Direct Mail to Increase Restaurant Revenues?

Restaurants make up one of the largest groups of direct mail users out of all industries. Why? Because it is effective in getting new and repeat business. Restaurant owners are able to see positive, measurable results through their targeted restaurant direct mail campaigns.

More Restaurant Consumers Each Year

With full work schedules, who wants to cook at home anymore? Each year, consumers across the nation are spending over $700 billion (and growing) at dining establishments. Because of this, there isn’t much ‘convincing’ necessary since half the work is already done. What you will need to convince people of is to dine at YOUR establishment, and restaurant direct mail is a tool that has proven to make that happen.

Immediate Measurable Results with New Movers

Approximately 40 million people will relocate each year. Seeing how many of these people will try a new local restaurant once they have made the move, getting your name out ahead of the competition is ‘kind of a big deal’. Direct mail marketing is a great way to accomplish this. A postcard or brochure mailing targeted to your radius and demographic presents a fairly inexpensive strategy to introduce consumers to your restaurant.
Here is an example to show just how inexpensive this can be:
(prices are for example only, and can potentially cost even LESS per piece)

• 3 mile radius # new movers per month ............. 100
• Uniquely designed postcard w/time sensitive, 
  can't-pass-it-up offer & call to action .......... $1 each including postage
• New customers redeeming offer per month .......... 12
• Cost of obtaining new customer ................... $8.33
  ------------------- Let's take this a step further : -------------------
• Average spend per ticket with offer discount...... $30
• Profit per ticket on this offer alone ............ $21.67
Average annual spending per new customer returning x12 = $2,160.

$2,060 seems like a pretty nice return on a $100 investment, right?

As the owner or manager of a restaurant, your best chances to engage new movers are as soon as they have relocated. Statistically, 80% of new residents will redeem coupons from restaurants or merchants in their new neighborhood. Restaurant direct mail marketing helps you target these individuals and families to offer them your best deals the moment they arrive in your neighborhood.

With new residents moving into the neighborhood, restaurants will experience immediate results with direct mail. Deals with limited-time offers or discounts will get people through your doors instantly. New residents are always eager to explore their new surroundings, and you want your restaurant to be known from the start of their new residence.

Customer Retention and Maintenance

Restaurant direct mail is a great way to get and keep a ‘top-of-mind’ awareness with your repeat customers. By keeping your branding consistent and continually changing your mail offers – like sending coupons for discounts, weekly promotions, local events, and keeping customers informed of menu changes, your restaurant will become a familiar brand. As an advantage to sending tangible offers, you will notice immediately if customers are redeeming certain coupons more than others – You will see where your customers are mostly concentrated geographically – You will benefit from the ability to hone your mailings and maximize business from this tracking, and keep your marketing campaign on a consistent schedule for continual repeat direct mail postacard sample

Targeted Mail vs. Digital Offers Means Less Competition in Your Market

Having a good local search ranking is one of the best feelings ever, but it’s good to keep your targeted offers off-line. Direct mail marketing will minimize the chances that your direct competitors will see your offer details. Of course, there will still be competition in the form of actual restaurants, but this ‘secret’ provides a big advantage.

Importance of Mailing Persistently and Consistently

It WILL take more than just mailing out a one-time postcard offer to really get customers frequenting your restaurant. You will have to work to create a long-term direct mail marketing strategy involving your restaurant mailers which will put you in the position to engage repeat customers. Your first mailing should always include some kind of incentive such as a discount or coupon for free appetizers or drinks, and be sure to follow up on your subsequent mailings with a different but valuable offer each time.

Keep Your Restaurant’s Website Current

Bear in mind that many people who receive your restaurant’s postcard or mailer will visit your website before they visit your restaurant or place an order, so be sure to include menu information and how customers can find you, both digitally and on the map. Additionally, always include great-quality images of your best dishes with your menu and contact information, and be sure to provide online ordering if you have the capability, and a clear phone number in the same view as your menu if you offer pick-up or delivery services.
And keep it current.

Restaurant Direct Mail Tips and Tricks:

Magnets showing your restaurant branding are useful.

One of the best ideas for restaurant direct mail is to add a magnet. This is a useful gift that many people will appreciate and stick right up on their refrigerator or file cabinet. This keeps your name in their mind and your logo in plain view.

Unique graphic design will set your mailers apart.

Your mailer design is important. This is one of the details on restaurant direct mail that many people overlook. Take advantage of your direct mail company’s design service to help create materials that are unique so that your mail does not blend in with all of the other mailpieces that the recipient may receive.

Target, Target, Target.

Evaluate any specific groups and populations in your area and then work with your list manager to target these groups with your direct mail campaign. Are there many students in your area? senior citizens? millennials? Parents? Look at the targeted groups and hone your message to resonate with them.

restaurant direct mail image sample food

Give your customers a dining deal they won’t want to pass up.

Offer your recipients a great deal. Few consumers can turn down a sweet deal. If your mailing includes an offer they can’t refuse, your response rates will be much higher as a result. A higher response rate means more interest and bigger profits for your shop.

Offer deep discounts on new menu items.

If you have new items on your menu that you want to try out on the public, include great photos of these menu items in your graphic design, along with a worthwhile discount to come in and try out your restaurant to see what they think of your new menu items.

Bring back your past customers – frequently.

Offering an exceptional experience at your restaurant will always remain the number one thing you can do to keep patrons returning, so always be sure to include current and past customers with your direct mail list. Entice them with a special coupon for returning guests. Whenever possible, collect contact information for your diners to build your mailing list, because there is a good chance they will return if they have that reminder in-hand to spark their memory of a great dining experience.

Size matters.

The restaurant business is a highly competitive marketplace. Your restaurant direct mail is likely to be one of several delivered to your area. To make your piece stand out, go large.

An alternative to just LARGE is to make your piece an unusual shape with the use of die cutting. If you get a custom die made, you will pay more initially, but think about it – A mailer in the shape of your logo – or a burger – will stand out, so who gets the attention? YOUR restaurant. If your specialty is pizza think about a slice shape. Bar? Drink shape. The possibilities are endless.

Showcase your food with enticing photographs.

Few things, besides the word itself, shout ‘delicious!’ more than a good quality photo of a mouthwatering menu item. If possible, use a professional food photographer for your mailers. It will be worth every penny.

restaurant food image sample

Restaurants are huge business and the billion-dollar revenue statistics prove it. Whether you are a gigantic chain of restaurants or a mom and pop business you can significantly improve your bottom line with restaurant direct mail.

We hope you’ve gained some insight on why restaurant direct mail works for establishments of all sizes, from Mom&Pop shops to Nationwide chains. If you are interested in learning more, or setting up a direct mail campaign of your own, please give us a call. We’re happy to help grow your dining room sales.



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Two HOT New Labor Day Mailers Ready to Bring in the Business

Summer is ending and Labor Day is fast approaching.

Labor Day means sales galore – SO, How will you get your Labor Day Weekend Sale message to stand out from your competition?  We’ve got you covered.

Without further ado, we present you with TWO cost efficient takes on tried-and-true pieces you know and love; the peek-a-boo prize mailer and affixed key mailer – but with a cost-saving twist:

Labor Day Peek-A-Boo Game Piece Mailers

Labor Day Letter with Peek-a-Boo Game Piece

A creatively formatted double window envelope shows off a potential prize that has been won which makes this letter a definite must-open. Labor Day Weekend often means time off work – which of course is a great time to boost sales by sending potential customers your message. This letter with attached savings voucher, grouped with a Peek-A-Boo insert, and patriotically decorated really stands out and boasts a winning message – Why? because the recipients clearly “have won a prize” and will need to know more! Inside, the peek-a-boo game piece is just screaming to be opened – but there is that little catch of having to wait until they arrive at your location. Customers won’t want to miss out, so they just HAVE to come in and see what they have won.  More info and samples can be found here.

Letter with Affixed Key

Labor day Letter with Key Affixed

Labor Day Weekend Bonus Cash, a Key Contest, Sale Pricing – Wait? A Key Contest? Now there’s a new idea for your Labor Day campaign.

A Labor Day Weekend promotion letter with a key attached gives potential customers a tangible and fun way to remember your event. It’s a holiday weekend, folks are relaxed and ready for the time off – so they will be sure to come try their luck, and be ready to win. When you make it a game, you’re already halfway to closing your deals.

Why does this letter stand out?

Unlike postcards with an affixed key, this key is presented in a sealed envelope. Your recipients don’t know it’s a key inside until it’s opened, and really, who wouldn’t want to know what they’ve received if there is a solid item in their envelope? These letters get opened!  Find out more about our key letters here.

Give us a call today to get your Labor Day campaigns rolling
with these HOT new pieces!



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