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We often get asked for help to make Direct Mail campaigns more cost-effective.

Here are our top ways to save you money on personalised Direct Mail

You can also see innovative direct mail ideas at


1. Brief early
The most important thing to remember is, talk to your supplier. All suppliers have their own ways of designing products which fit their way of working. For example, we can produce a 210mm bled product on the inline presses at no extra cost, just because of the cylinder circumference. What this means for our customers, is that you can have a larger product, with more selling space, for the same price as something measuring 196mm.

4fold2. Size economically
Then, consider the overall size. For example, your one piece mailer may design to 541mm width for a 6pp A5 with a response device. It may also look better at 230mm depth rather than a conventional 210mm. However – this product can only be produced at GI Solutions one across the web and three out of our cut off. This is only 76% efficient and will result in a higher cost.

3foldSo what do we suggest?
Remove the current response device and add in a double thickness card of 80mm width.
This gives a more substantial response device and more impact. 

Then reduce the depth of the product to 226mm non-bleed. The product can now
be produced two across the web and four out of our cut-off. This is a 100% efficient use
of material and machine time and will result in a lower unit cost.

3. Paper
The next point to consider is material. You may be able to use a lighter weight of material and still achieve the same result. Dummies of your product on different paper weights can help to show you the choice you have. Similarly, you may benefit from ordering a making of paper rather than using stock reels which can be wasteful. To benefit from a making you may need to order paper in advance – another reason to speak to your supplier as early as possible in the design process.

4. How many do you need?
Run length is an important consideration. Low volumes – say below 50,000 items – are better produced on cut-sheet machinery. These tend to be slower than reel-fed machines and have a lower hourly rate so make economic sense for lower runs. This applies to the printing, personalisation and finishing process. For higher volumes – 50,000 to 250,000 – both sheet-fed and certain reel-fed processes will be more economic. For example, continuous laser should give a better personalisation cost for these volumes than sheet-fed and as GI Solutions' machines are duplex as standard, this cost is even better. For high volumes – 250,000 to many millions – web printing, particularly inline web printing, starts to become cost efficient. Inline web printing at GI Solutions means printing, personalising and finishing down to the last fold in one operation. This saves time and money and gives our customers improved time to market. You only print what you need.

5. Use Variable Digital Print
For some applications, digital printing can save money. As there is no need to pre-print or hold stationery, warehousing costs are reduced or eliminated and there is no destruction of stock which has gone out of date. Multiple print versions can be printed in a single print run without high plate change costs. And a single print run will attract high postage discounts. Digital printing can also improve response rates. We have case studies which show how companies have improved their response rates, increased occupancy and improved the use of their loyalty scheme. This was achieved by using highlight colour for specific customer-oriented offers and changing the images to suit customer profiles. 

6. Postage
There are many ways to save money on postage:

Downstream Access – Talk to us about optimising your postal discounts with Royal Mail and getting the best deal avaliable. We also have good relationships with all Downstream Access providers.

Pricing in Proportion – The Royal Mail charges an additional 25% on envelopes over 165 x 240mm so keep your finished size under this to save money.

Machineable – We can design a product which is sealed on all edges to allow it to go through the post 100% enabling you to get a CBC discount.

Sustainable MailTM – Go one step further and make additional savings by sending your mail Sustainable MailTM. We can help you with your data to ensure you meet with the requirements. More information on this is available at

Most of all... Talk to your supplier. The earlier you involve them in the creation of the mailing, the sooner they will be able to offer their advice, guidance and help. GI Solutions’ Commercial Team are always happy to help – just call on 0116 232 1711 or email commercial2