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USPS | Mail Dates For The Holidays!

USPS | 2014 Holiday Shipping Dates

DMM Advisory

September 15, 2014

Pricing keeping you informed about the prices and mailing standards of the United States Postal Service

holidaymailWith the holiday season approaching, we are reminding friends and families to mail early to ensure delivery of their holiday cards and packages, especially to APO/FPO/DPO destination addresses, by December 25. Deadlines for mailing to specific APO/FPO/DPO ZIP Codes vary according to the specific classes of mail being sent to them. They are listed below.

We also remind mailers that all mail addressed to overseas military/diplomatic Post Offices is subject to certain conditions or restrictions regarding content, preparation and handling.

Those restrictions are listed by individual APO/FPO/DPO ZIP Code in each Postal Bulletin.  To access this listing on the Internet, go to, click Postal Bulletins in the blue navigation bar, and then select the Pull-Out Information section.

Domestic Mail Class/Product Cut Off Date
First-Class Mail® Dec. 20
Priority Mail® Dec. 20
Priority Mail Express®* Dec. 23
Standard Post™ Dec. 15
DNDC Drop Ship Dec. 19
DDU Drop Ship Dec. 22
International Mail**
Priority Mail Express Military™ APO/FPO/DPO**

* Priority Mail Express postage refund eligibility is adjusted for shipments mailed Dec. 22-25

** See additional information below

Mail Addressed To Priority Mail Express Military Service (PMEMS)1 First-Class Mail Letters and Cards Priority Mail Parcel Airlift Mail (PAL) 2 Space Available Mail (SAM) 3 Standard Post
APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 090-092 Dec. 17 Dec. 10 Dec. 10 Dec. 3 Nov. 26 Nov. 8
APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIP 093 N/A Dec. 3 Dec. 3 Dec. 3 Nov. 26 Nov. 8
APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 094-098 Dec. 17 Dec. 10 Dec. 10 Dec. 3 Nov. 26 Nov. 8
APO/FPO/DPO AA ZIP 340 Dec. 17 Dec. 10 Dec. 10 Dec. 3 Nov. 26 Nov. 8
APO/FPO/DPO AP ZIPs 962-966 Dec. 17 Dec. 10 Dec. 10 Dec. 3 Nov. 26 Nov. 8

1 PMEMS: is available to selected military and diplomatic Post Offices. Check with your local Post Office to determine if this service is available to an APO/FPO/DPO address.

2 PAL: is a service that provides air transportation for parcels on a space-available basis. It is available for Standard Post items not exceeding 30 pounds in weight and 60 inches in length and girth combined. The applicable PAL fee must be paid in addition to the regular surface price of postage for each addressed piece sent by PAL service.

3 SAM: parcels are paid at Standard Post prices with maximum weight and size limits of 15 pounds and 60 inches in length and girth combined. SAM parcels are first transported domestically by surface and then to overseas destinations by air on a space-available basis.

International Mail Addressed To Global Express Guaranteed®


Priority Mail Express International™


Priority Mail International®


First-Class Package International Service™


Africa Dec. 18 Dec. 10 Dec. 2 Dec. 2
Asia/Pacific Rim Dec. 17 Dec. 14 Dec. 9 Dec. 9
Australia/New Zealand Dec. 17 Dec. 14 Dec. 9 Dec. 9
Canada Dec. 19 Dec. 16 Dec. 12 Dec. 9
Caribbean Dec. 18 Dec. 14 Dec. 12 Dec. 9
Central & South America Dec. 18 Dec. 12 Dec. 2 Dec. 2
Mexico Dec. 19 Dec. 14 Dec. 9 Dec. 9
Europe Dec. 18 Dec. 14 Dec. 12 Dec. 9
Middle East Dec. 17 Dec. 14 Dec. 12 Dec. 9

***GXG Notes 1) Cutoff date does not take into account time needed for customs clearance 2) Should allocate extra transit day(s) for delivery outside major cities.

2014 Holiday Season Import Dates (Provides mailing guidelines for foreign postal partners in order to achieve December 25 delivery in the U.S.)
Surface Air EMS
Dec. 9 Dec. 6 Dec. 15 Dec. 13 Dec. 18
December 6  Last day to send parcel post packages via surface transportation
December 9  Last day to send letters, flats, and small packages via surface transportation
December 13  Last day to send priority packages via air transportation
December 15  Last day to send letters, flats, and small packages via air transportation
December 18  Last day to send Express Mail Service items (any shape)
UPU Mail class by code
LC = Letters, aerogrammes (USPS no longer offers outbound aerogrammes), cards and letter packages
AO = Newspapers, magazines, matter for the blind, printed matter, small packages
CP = Packages – parcel post (surface), priority (air)

The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) and DMM Advisories are available on Postal Explorer® (


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What Are Barcodes?

Barcodes, Barcodes, Barcodes!

What are barcodes? Ever wonder why there are so many different ones?

The answer lies within what kind of data, how much data, and what the common uses are of the barcode. Barcodes are methods of machine-readable data identification and collection. They were first introduced in the 1940s and have evolved across a wide variety of industries. Barcodes have tracking capabilities that go far beyond the supermarket checkout. They provide a useful means to capture and share data electronically.

Barcodes are expressed as a series of wide and narrow bars. They usually have unique start and stop codes so that the barcode scanner can determine if the barcode is being scanned forward or backward. When scanned a signal goes to the computer and decodes the information.

Barcodes are split into four different categories. These include:

  1. Numeric-Only Barcodes:
    • Usually used for retail applications in the US and Canada
    • Have error correction and self-checking features
    • UPC barcodes fall in this category
  2. Alpha-Numeric:
    • All-purpose worldwide code
    • Can include large quantity of information and error reduction
    • Widely used in healthcare industry
  3. 2-Dimensional:
    • Used for order confirmation and material control
    • Ideal for encoding large amounts of information
    • QR codes fall in this category
  4. Industry Standards for Labels: Made up of industries using their own barcode systems
    • Bookland EAN encodes ISBN numbers, used internationally to mark books
    • ISSN and the SISAC Barcode: International Standard Serial Numbering
    • OPC: Optical Industry Association barcode for marking retail optical products
    • UCC/EAN-128: Widely used data formatting model for Code 128
    • UPC Shipping Container Symbol: ITF-14

With all these available options at times it can be difficult to decide which barcode is the best solution. To compare all the barcode possibilities check out: Do some digging and see what fits your present task the best!

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New Printer Alert!

Océ ColorStream 3500 Inkjet Printer

Interested in our high quality color digital print work? The video below highlights a variety of what we can offer along with introducing the newest member of the Strahm Automation family: Océ ColorStream 3500 Inkjet Printer. Give us a call today for more information: 913-756-2733


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National Postal Museum Exhibit: Behind the Badge

“Behind the Badge”

The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum has opened a new exhibit “Behind the Badge” showcasing the fascinating history of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

jcb-001_8x10The Postal Inspection Service is one of the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agencies, dating back to 1776.  Then USPS Postmaster General Benjamin wanted to measure the efficiency and security of mail routes. Today there is a network of U.S. postal inspectors whose job it is to keep the mail safe and help protect consumers and prevent crime.

The exhibit is interactive and has many interesting artifacts on display and videos where inspectors, forensic analysts and postal police officers share stories of their lives “behind the badge”.  At the close of the exhibit is a video commemorating fallen heroes who gave their lives in the line of duty.

Below is a link to a series of videos designed to keep postal customers informed about scams and how to protect yourself.  Make sure to watch the first video “We are the U.S. Postal Inspection Service”!

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Newest Member of the Strahm Family: Océ ColorStream 3500 Inkjet Printer

Introducing Our Newest Printer: Océ ColorStream 3500 Inkjet Printer


As our customer’s requirements evolve and grow, we continue to add efficiencies in our approach to all phases of production. Recently we have added an Océ ColorStream inkjet printer increasing flexibility for a wide range of applications.

The Océ ColorStream produces high quality, brilliant full color output ideal for transaction, transpromo, books and manuals, and direct mail. With reliable production and Océ’s DigitDot technology, even the most demanding of requirements can be met.

Keep an eye on our blog and social media for more details. Join our mailing list and you just may find an invitation to a future open house!

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Mr. ZIP And The Zip Code Turned 51!

How Much Do You Think About ZIP Codes?

logo1It’s just a string of numbers you add to your letters, cards and packages, right?

There is a whole history, and a pretty cute character, that helped educate your parents and grand parents on how to use these codes and improve mail service.

In July 1963, the postal service implemented the Zone Improvement Plan or ZIP code as it is commonly called. The ZIP code is comprised of 5 digits specific to an area. These codes assist in routing mail efficiently for the USPS.

Predicting that the public would be less than enthusiastic about memorizing not only their ZIP code, but those of family and friends, the USPS introduced Mr. ZIP in late 1962.

Mr. ZIP appeared on buttons, signs, magazines, and even the edges of a sheet of stamps. The point was to educate the public and ingrain the use of ZIP codes to all mailers. Including a ZIP code promised “space-age speed”.

51 years later and Mr. ZIP stands as one of the most successful ad icons of all time. The USPS notes that by 1967, 80% of all Americans recognized him and knew what he stood for.

Mr. ZIP was retired in 1986, but last year (2013) was the 50 year anniversary. As expected, he has been popping up all over the place. He even has his own page on the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum websitemr_zip_650x300_a01_101201_e

This simple doodle was able to move the general public into participating in the Zone Improvement Plan – which increased efficiency and speed for the USPS for generations to come.

Please enjoy this video from the mid-1960’s starring our friend, Mr. ZIP!

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10 Tips | Email Marketing

10 Email Marketing Tipsemail-marketingTips

      1. Provide Multiple Channels of Communication

Make sure you are reaching your audience wherever they are. Place a sign up form or guest book at a convenient location within your business. Add a button to your website and Facebook page to join your mailing list.  You could even use a QR code which allows a customer to join a list by scanning the code – add this to a business card, flyer or point-of-sale sign. Your customers are connected through multiple social media channels, make it easy for them to connect with you.

      2. Take the Pressure Off

Don’t require customers to give you too much information. Especially if they are joining using a mobile device, ask them for only the information you truly need. If you need a geographic location, perhaps ask only for a zip code instead of a street address or phone number. While an email address is really all you need, additional information will aid you in more targeted marketing. Just don’t expect a consumer to give you their life story in data; be respectful of their time and effort in connecting with you.

      3. Subject Lines of Email Messages: Be Clear and to the Point

The very best subject lines-the ones that get opened the most every time-are the ones that tell exactly what’s in the email. A good subject line should be as brief as possible (maybe 50 characters, including spaces), accurately reflect what is inside and motivate the recipient to open the message. If this were in your email box, would you be likely to open it?

     4. Keep Your Writing Simple

While good writing does matter, email does allow you to speak in a more casual voice – just like any other social media. Your customers are people too, write like a human and drop all the sales jargon and techno babble. You can be funny and loose and still get your message across.

    5. Give a Clear Call-To-Action

The body of the email should include a clear call to action.  Make sure your message contains relevant content and has a compelling reason to act.  Include links and make sure they are tracked so that you can continue to market to people who have shown interest in the past.

    6. Be Mobile Aware

No that some of your customers will access your email via a mobile device. Make sure you know how your email is delivered and displayed on various different mobile devices. Targeting by location is a great tool for mobile marketing.

     7. Send the Right Message to the Right Person

Make sure your list is kept up to date and clean. It is irritating to receive a message with someone else’s name, location or buying history. Customers only interested in one product or part of your business may not be interested in hearing every message you send. Maintaining separate lists by customer interest or preference helps you tailor email messages and campaigns.

    8. Use Surveys to Gather Data Quickly

If you need more customer data to properly segment lists, use a survey as a quick way to get people’s opinions or interests. For customers, it’s visual, it’s interesting, and it takes just a second to answer. Once you’ve got a good pool of responses, you can create new lists based on your results.

    9. Test: Don’t Spray and Pray

Spray and pray emails will never perform as well as tailored emails to particular customer segments.” Segmentation allows you to create targeted email campaigns based on behavioral information or other contact data you know about each recipient. Surveys also help to determine the right tactic for each customer group. This can be done through A/B testing, which tracks the performance of two or more entirely different versions of an email message. Try a soft-sell message to your active subscribers and offer a significant discount to those that are less active or haven’t clicked lately.

   10. Enrich the Contact Data

As you gain more data – and more insight – about your customers, update to manage customer segmentation. Utilize purchase history, click through rates, and additional data gathered through previous marketing campaigns.  Test new messages, new formats and even new segmentations as you improve on your data list.

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An Ounce of Prevention is Worth Thousands in USPS Fines!

US Postal Service EMM Trays

Perils of Printers without Mail House Experience

If your printed piece is going out in the mail, how important is it to choose a printer with in-house mail capabilities?

Last week we had a meeting with a local printer who found this out the hard way. Due to their lack of experience in mailing, they were subject to some hefty USPS fines.

Certainly an avoidable situation, but how do you make a print/mail vendor selection?  Contact them directly and by all means request a tour of the facility. Here are some helpful questions to ask.

  • Ask for credentials.
    • Are they a USPS sanctioned mail co-mingler?
    • Do they provide NCOA, LACSlink or Fast Forward services?
    • Do they provide CASS certification?
    • Do they have an onsite USPS verifier?
    • Do they have an onsite MERLIN?
    • Does the USPS pick up from their dock, or do they deliver to BMEU?
    • Do key employees hold any industry certifications?  How often are they updated?
  • What services do they provide within their own production facility?
    • Color, highlight color, and black and white printing?
    • MICR capable?
    • Inkjet addressing for postcards or envelopes?
    • Collating?
    • Folding?
    • Intelligent mail inserters?
    • Match mailings?
    • HIPAA compliant?
  • How secure is their facility?
    • What is their business continuity plan?
    • What is their disaster recovery plan?
    • Secure building access?
    • 24/7 video monitoring of facility and production floor?
    • If mail is delivered to them, is it left unattended on the dock?
    • Are employees background checked?
An ounce of prevention is worth thousands in USPS fines!

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Nine Surprising Facts About The Postal Service

Nine Things You Should Know About The Postal Service

“You probably know your mail carrier and the clerks at your neighborhood Post Office, but how well do you know the Postal Service itself? Here are nine facts that might surprise you.”

PostalFactsAbove is a quote from this great USPS blog we discovered. It can’t be said any better, “how well do you know the postal service itself?” Please take a minute to check out this wonderful blog: and learn nine facts that might surprise you about the postal service.

We would love to hear your feedback and see if you knew any of the facts or if you were truly surprised. Comment below!


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Get Started and Save with Every Door Direct Mail

Get Started with Every Door Direct Mail

How much do you know about the USPS program Every Door Direct Mail?

eddmJust this week I was able to provide a customer with a $31,000.00 savings in postage. Wow! What a way to control your marketing budget, right?

Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) gives you the ability to target a local neighborhood or to reach customers/prospects nationwide. The Simplified Mailing Process helps you identify which USPS mail routes to include in your targeted mailing area. There is a super cool, intuitive EDDM application available online to get you started.

You can access the online tool and get more information here:

Who can benefit from EDDM?

  • Retailers
  • Auto dealerships
  • Arts organizations
  • Restaurants
  • Business services
  • Attorneys
  • Doctors
  • Dry cleaners
  • Contractors
  • Realtors

The list could go on and on. If you want to reach a local, or even national, audience EDDM provides an easy, cost effective marketing channel. Remember that $31,000.00 postage savings for my local customer?

Some things to keep in mind when planning your mailing:

  • Mailpieces must meet Standard flats specifications
    • Minimum length 11 ½” OR
    • Minimum height 6 1/8”
    • Weight equal to or less than 3.3 ounces
    • Must contain at least 200 pieces (with a maximum per day of 5,000 pieces for the EDDM Retail option, but unlimited for the EDDM BMEU option)

The USPS is hosting a series of FREE business seminars designed to help you gain a greater understanding of this new service and how it can support your marketing plan.

I suggest reaching out to your local Postal Customer Council to find where and when the next seminar will take place in your area. You can search for your local PCC chapter here:

The Postal Customer Council is a terrific resource and I hope if you’re mailing, you are taking advantage of all the experience and expertise they can offer.

How do you see yourself using this new Postal Service program Every Door Direct Mail? We would love to hear your ideas and success stories!

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