1. Check your list. Good lists have a return rate of 5 to 7 percent.

2. Take advantage of discounts. Significant postage discounts may apply if you add bar codes and standardize addresses. Ask your post office, or try software packages such as Mailers + 4 Pro from Melissa Data Corp..

3. Double-check your design. Check with your post office before you print to ensure your piece won't be subject to extra postage for size or weight.

4. Share the expense. Find a complementary business that targets a similar audience, and mail your pieces together or create a joint promotion with that business.

5. Remove returns. As mail is returned, remove addresses from your database or notify your list broker to ensure your list is clean next time.

Excerpted from the May issue of Entrepreneur magazine