Archive | September, 2012

New Requirements for Folded Self-Mailers

17 Sep

The United States Postal Service has announced new rules for folded self-mailers (FSMs) which will take effect January 5, 2013. The rules are designed to reduce damage and delays on postal equipment. If you are working ahead on mailings for 2013, be sure to keep these specifications in mind as you design your piece.

Here is a summary of the requirements for basic bi-fold and tri-fold pieces:

  • Length: The piece can be a minimum of 5″ and a maximum of 10.5″.
  • Height: The piece can be a minimum of 3.5″ and a maximum of 6″.
  • Thickness: Needs to be at least .009″ if the height exceeds 4.5″ or if the length exceeds 6″. A minimum thickness of .007″ is required for 4.25″ x 6″ pieces or smaller. The maximum thickness for all pieces is .25″.
  • Minimum Paper Weight: 70# offset or text for pieces weighing up to 1 oz; 80# for pieces weighing more than 1 oz.
  • Maximum Weight: The maximum weight to qualify as a folded self mailer is 3 oz.
  • Shape: the piece must be rectangular with four square corners and parallel opposite sides. An aspect ratio (length divided by height) must be within 1.3 to 2.5, inclusive.
  • Maximum Number of Panels of Non-Newsprint Paper: 12
  • Closure Method: Non-perforated tabs or glue. tabs, pieces up to 1 oz must be closed with two 1″ tabs placed on top within 1″ of lead/trail edge or on the lead/trail edge within 1″ of the top edge. For pieces over 1 oz., 1.5″ tabs must be used. For glue, a continuous glue line (1/8″ wide), glue spots (1/8″), or elongated glue line (1/8″ wide x 1/2″ long) may be used. Three glue spots or elongated glue lines are required for up to 1 oz; four are required for over 1 oz.
  • Fold: The final fold must be on the bottom, parallel to the address. On oblong pieces, the final fold is on the lead edge, to the right of the address.

Regulations for variations of FSMs with additional folds, diecuts, perforations, inserts, etc., can be found at http://ribbs.usps.gov/fsm.

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Two Tips for Saving Time on Social Media

5 Sep

Ask any non-marketing person about social media and he or she will tell you it only takes a couple of minutes a day to maintain business social media accounts. Ask marketers, on the other hand, about social media and they will tell you it takes a big chunk of their day — every day — to do it properly.  What gives?

When done properly, social media connects you with your audience and allows you to engage with them on a regular basis. In order to do that, marketers who are responsible for social media not only need to frequently post items, but they need to answer questions and respond to posts received through social media in a timely manner. Socialbakers, a global social media and digital analytics company, estimates that only 30% of companies are doing social media correctly. Their findings show that 70% of questions received through social media are not responded to, and that the average response time to queries and posts which are answered is 26 hours.

So, assuming that social media is only one of many things you need to stay on top of, how can you more efficiently post and monitor your social media efforts?  Here are two tools which will help.

HootSuite, at hootsuite.com, allows you to simultaneously post to several social media sites. You can select various sites on a per-post basis. Social media choices include Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and Linked In. This free handy tool also allows you to schedule posts which means you can load posts for several days all at once.

Now that your exciting and engaging posts are out there, how do you keep track of activity and know when to respond to a post or question? Do you need to log in to each site several times a day? No, thank goodness!

Nutshellmail.com is a convenient piece of software which sends posts from your social media accounts to your email once or twice a day according to the schedule you set up. It is a free software also and you can keep track of Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, CitySearch, FourSquare, YouTube, and Twitter.

Using these tools will help you streamline your social media efforts which means more time for other marketing endeavors. And who doesn’t need more time?