Industry Insights

Things to Consider when Mailing Overseas – Industry Insights – Guy Cliffe


When you’re posting a marketing campaign or magazine overseas, it’s very easy to choose the cheapest supplier without thinking through the ramifications of your choice.

Several contributing factors are essential to consider when choosing your mail company:

  • When do you want your mailing to land?
  • Do you want it to look like it has been posted locally?
  • Does your UK mailing size and format work in another country and provide the most efficient delivery solution?

Some destinations worldwide are harder to reach than others – for example, Africa and South America – and some countries have different expected delivery times – for example, a Priority Mail service in the US can take up to 5 days to deliver and a 2nd class service can take up to 9 days to land, even in country!. Therefore, your mail company must understand the mailing systems in the countries your mail will reach so they can confidently advise you on the lifecycle of your mailing.

You must also remember that there are different service options when posting overseas, depending on how quickly you might want to deliver your items.

‘Direct Entry’ means we might use the receiving country’s postal authority and post your mailing on a local service. This means that if you are posting something from the UK to the US, we could use a direct USPS service. Industry Insight: Remember, the US has different weight and dimension restrictions, so a UK-size Letter may need to be posted as a Large Letter in the US, which could increase your anticipated costs. Similarly, all countries have different weight breaks and sizing bands, so the rules for posting on a Direct Entry service are different from posting on an International postal service.

Alternatively, we could use Royal Mail. This is likely to be a more expensive option and they still have to hand mail traffic over to be delivered locally in-country, so paying a premium for a Royal Mail service may not solve any potential delivery delays.

We can also post using another international postal authority; this might be a cheaper option. For example, we may choose Jersey Post to send items to China if their rate is better. There are many local country alternatives to the main postal provider (just like we have alternatives here in the UK like Whistl, Citipost Mail, The Delivery Group, etc.).

There’s also the thorny issue of Priority/Non-Priority/Standard/Economy; what do they all mean?

Most countries don’t have a 1st and 2nd class postal delivery services like those that exist in the UK: they just have a single post service. And whilst a UK 1st class service might take 1-2 working days to deliver domestically, a US 1st class service has a delivery expectation of 1-4 working days and for 2nd class that rises to 4-9 working days meaning a UK 2nd class service will likely deliver quicker than a US 1st class service when comparing domestic services. There is no like for like and it can add to the confusion when you’re managing a campaign that is delivering to multiple countries across multiple continents.

There are many different options available and I have always found that being completely transparent about all the options means I can provide the best possible advice to my clients when they are considering sending international mail. There really is no ‘one size fits all’ answer!

I’d be happy to discuss and provide the best advice for any future campaigns you might be considering posting and it’s never been more important to make sure you are using the most appropriate service to match your needs/requirements and get the best value for money.

You can reach me here:

Industry Insights