Archive for category Mailing Lists

Addressing Your Mailpiece!

Where To Put The Address On Your Mailpiece!

We’ve discussed many times the importance of your address list – quality, completeness, Move Update compliant and list hygiene. Now that you know what you need for your address list, where oh where to put the address on your mailpiece!

The delivery address instructs the USPS where to deliver the mailpiece. You want to make sure you are giving all the necessary information as well as placing it on the mailpiece that makes it most efficient for the USPS.

Outgoing Address must include:

  • Recipients name or other designation
  • Street number and name (including any pre-or post-directional), or PO Box number, rural or highway route or box number, and secondary description such as a suite or apartment number.
  • City and state
  • ZIP Code or ZIP+4

Alternative Addressing Formats:

  • Simplified addressing is used for general distribution to all residences/businesses on a rural route, highway contract route or all boxholders at a Post Office.  In this case “Postal Customer” is used in place of a person’s name.
  • “Occupant” can be used instead of a recipients name on a mailpiece with a complete delivery address.
  • “Or Current Resident” can be used in addition to a recipient name. This indicates that the mailpiece should be delivered to the specific address even if the person named has moved.

Return Address:

  • A return address tells the USPS where the sender wants the mail returned if it is undeliverable. A return address is required on certain types of mail. The USPS preferred placement of the return address is the upper left portion of the mailpiece on the side bearing the postage.
  • Include all the necessary information as for the outgoing address

Tips:

  • The USPS prefers a simple sans serif typeface (some examples are Helvetica or Arial).
  • Use a minimum of 8 point type unless the address bears an Intelligent Mail Barcode, in which case you can go to 6 point in all caps.
  • Type or machine print in dark ink on a light background. Reflectivity between the ink color and the paper stock color may effect whether your mailpiece will qualify for automation rate discounts.
  • Left justify every line.
  • Use two letter state abbreviations.
  • There should be one space between city and state, two spaces between state and ZIP Code.

Now that you have all the address components down, where should you place the address on the mailpiece?

The address must always appear on the side of the mailpiece bearing postage. In order to claim automation postage rates, it must be parallel to the top edge.

The USPS will want to place a barcode on your mailpiece. The barcode acts as a driver for the mailpiece. USPS sorting equipment reads the address and sprays a corresponding barcode onto the mailpiece. For this reason you need to keep a clear space (Barcode Clear Zone in USPS speak) 5/8” from the bottom edge and extending 4 ¾” from the right edge. If you plan to seek automation discount postage rates, keep this area free from any logos, artwork or messages.

The outgoing address block needs to appear in an area that begins 2 ¾” from the bottom edge, and leaves a ½” space on the left and right edges.

Dark shaded area indicates “free space” for nonaddress printing.

Light shaded area indicates preferred clear zone to enhance readability.

If using a window envelope, make sure your address shows completely within the window and leaves at least an 1/8” clearance between the address and/or barcode and the edges of the window. Tap the envelope on a solid surface to make sure address doesn’t shift outside of window – perform this tap test on all four sides of the mailpiece.

Address placement for flat size mail differs slightly. As in letter size mailpieces, the address must appear on the same side as the postage. It should placed in the upper portion of the flat (top half) and should be parallel to the top edge although it may be placed perpendicular to the top, near or at the open or bound edge.

Now that your mailpiece is designed to meet postal requirements, you’ve included a great offer or call to action, you’ve compiled a clean, targeted mail list and perfect address placement you are ready to mail away! Happy mailing and good luck!

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USPS | What’s the Difference Between CASS and NCOA?

CASS vs NCOA – What’s the Difference

NCOAHow can you increase the number of mailpieces successfully delivered and reduce the number of those pesky return pieces? Return mail, or Undeliverable as Addressed (UAA) is costly for you (think printing and postage) and costly for the USPS to handle as well.

So what can be done?

Always, always, always run your mail through CASS and NCOA processes prior to printing.

 

 

What is CASS and why do I need it?

CASS stands for Coding Accuracy Support System. The process standardizes address data and certifies that your mailing list meets automation rate specs and USPS presort discounts. Note that this is only improving your address by confirming the carrier route, five-digit zip code, zip +4 code, and delivery point barcode. Name-related fields are not taken into consideration during CASS processing.

What is corrected:

  • Misspellings in street and city names
  • Street suffixes such as Way, Court, Terrace
  • ZIP code and ZIP+4

We let our customers drive what happens if an address fails CASS certification. We receive a report back of any UAA addresses and can either suppress them from the mailing, mail to that address knowing that it will result in UAA mail (some clients must mail to address as given for legal reasons), or return these addresses to client for research/updating as necessary.

What is NCOA?

National Change of Address (NCOA) meets USPS mandated Move Update requirements by bouncing your mailing list against an updated USPS database. The USPS database contains any moves where a Change of Address has been submitted. In 48 months the USPS records more than 150 million permanent address changes filed by postal customers.

In NCOA processing, both the name and address are compared in the database. Strahm receives a report back when a record is identified as having a change of address. This allows our clients the opportunity to update their own database with the new address information. It also prevents mailing to an old address resulting in UAA mail returns.

Keep in mind that you will still receive some amount of UAA mail even after NCOA processing. Not all movers submit a Change of Address to the Postal Service. Sometimes the CoA submitted to the Postal Service is not an exact match to the name in your database (John A. Smith on the CoA, John Smith in your data, for example).

What you gain with NCOA:

  • Reduce printing/mailing costs by reducing the number of UAA pieces
  • Ability to update your mailing list for future mailings
  • Reduce internal processes for handling returned UAA mailpieces
  • Speed delivery to mailboxes since USPS won’t need to reroute from an old address to a new address

To recap, you should always use CASS certification part of a process to qualify for presort postage discounts. Use of NCOA will reduce printing/mailing/handling costs associated with mailing to address which would result in UAA mail.

While you will probably not ever eliminate all Undeliverable as Addressed mail, managing the amount will reap rewards!

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USPS | Seeing An Increase In Return To Sender Mail?

Seeing An Increase In Return To Sender Mail?

officieel_Return_To_Sender_LogoA change to the Postal Service’s workforce is likely to mean an increase in mail that will be marked as Undeliverable as Addressed or Return to Sender.

Why is this you ask? A shift to using “transitional” carriers is changing the way your mail is cased and delivered. Long time carriers (or career carriers) have a deep knowledge of their routes, meaning they are often able to deliver despite poorly addressed pieces such as misspellings, missing apartment or suite numbers, etc. The USPS delivers approximately 2.2 billion pieces of mail annually that do not have complete, accurate address information. USPS claims that this special handling results in a cost to them of about $160 million each year.

USPS returned, forwarded or destroyed almost 7 billion UAA (Undeliverable as Addressed) mail at a cost of more than $1.2 billion.

What can you as a mailer do to help reduce the amount of UAA mail and make sure your mail reaches the recipient in the most expedient way? Make use of all the tools available for creating and maintaining a superior database.

As a pre-printing option, use a National Change of Address process. Your list is basically bounced against the USPS database and any addresses where a Change of Address was filed with USPS are updated. You can get a list of these addresses returned to you so you can update your database. Using NCOA as a pre-print process also saves you money on printing, envelopes and postage since you are mailing to better addresses.

Post production, consider enrolling in USPS Address Change Service. You will get a report with any updated addresses. Or try Move Comply usually available from your local mail service provider to update pieces with an improved address barcode.

Questions about creating and maintaining a clean database, or complying with USPS Move Update regulations? Call one of Strahm’s dedicated Customer Service Representatives. They will be glad to answer any questions.

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How To Improve Your Email Deliverability

Improve Your Email Deliverability With These Few Tips

Every month you strive to come up with relevant and timely information to include in your email newsletter or basic marketing campaign. Make sure more of your messages are reaching contacts by following these simple steps.emailinbox

  1. Understand Email Filters: Try not to use language that might look like spam content. This would include your subject line as well as body copy.
    • Spam like words include free, guarantee, credit card, sex, etc.
    • Do not use all capital letters
    • Do not use a lot of punctuation – avoid !!!, $$$ and other symbols
    • Include your complete physical address as required by law
    • Always tie your subject line to your email content. If it’s a newsletter, say so in the subject line.
  2. Encourage readers or customers to put your address in their address book, trusted sender list or approved sender list. Make it easy for them to do this by keeping your “From Address” short, easy to remember and easy to type.
  3. Review your bounce reports carefully.
    • Consider removing any addresses that appear on your bounce report repeatedly. There may be a problem with the address. If they are a known customer, pick up the phone and confirm their address for your records.
    • Check for typos in email addresses
    • Bounces marked as Undeliverable can often times be an email server temporarily unavailable, overloaded or not located. Unless this occurs multiple times, you may not want to delete this address from your list.
    • Full mailboxes mean that your email will not be delivered until the recipient makes room for them by cleaning out their mailbox. Sometimes your email won’t be delivered at all after a certain number of attempts.
  4. Because the unsubscribe feature has been used by spammers to verify addresses, be alert to requests to unsubscribe and respond quickly to permanently remove those email addresses from your list.

Use these tips next time you’re ready to send out that newsletter or other email communication and you will be on your way to a clean, productive email list!

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Data Tips | Don’t Let All The Talk of Big Data Scare You Off!

Don’t Let All The Talk of Big Data Scare You Off!

Here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. Decide on a strategy: How can you improve your current strategy with data? Think about what data you want to collect and how it will be used in future marketing efforts. How will this affect the marketing channels you choose – direct mail, email, social media?BigData
  2. What do your customers want?  Identifying what matters to your customers allows you to improve your communications with them. This also helps you craft and target personalized messages to customers through any of the marketing channels you may choose.
  3. Don’t ask for too much:  Give some thought to what data you really need right now. Do you need to improve your email address list? Find out what services/products are most important to customers? Determine how satisfied they are with your business? Keep it short and simple for them to respond. You can always dig deeper for more information down the road.
  4. Give multiple methods of responding:  If you are using direct mail to contact customers/prospects, include a website where they can submit information, take a survey, etc. Consider response cards, pURL’s and QR codes. Make sure all pieces are mobile compatible. Test, test, test to make sure all of your communication platforms work seamlessly.
  5. Don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged: Data is a big area and can be a lot to wrap your head around. Start small. And don’t expect overnight success. Build on what you have and tweak your communications as you add more data.

More questions about how data can help you grow your business and deepen relationships with customers? Call one of our qualified Customer Service Representatives today to discuss your needs. | (816) 756-2733

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Tips to Manage Postage Rate Increase

Tips to Manage Postage Rate Increase

Now that the Postal Service has raised rates again (this is the largest rate hike in the past 11 years), it seems like a good time to review steps you can take to help manage your postage costs.

  1. Take advantage of a local mailhouse or presort vendor.  Presorting your mail lets you take advantage of reduced postage rates. There are many ways you can work with a vendor; they can manage your data, print your mailpiece and mail it for you or perhaps all you need is a daily pick up of your already prepared mail. Either way, savings are there for you. uspostagerateincrease
  2. Keep a clean, healthy database.  Make sure all of your addresses are complete, correct and updated.  When you receive Undeliverable As Addressed mail back from USPS make sure you update your data accordingly. No sense in mailing people who have moved or are deceased.
  3. Dedupe your data.  If your data includes multiple contacts with similar sounding titles within a company, can you mail to just one of those people? Are you seeing duplicates such as John Sample and John Q Sample at the same address? Check for duplicates both by name and address.
  4. Personalize and target your mailing.  Studies have shown that the more personalized and targeted your offer is, the greater response you will receive. Build and manage data such as last purchase, date of last service or purchase, geographic area or household income. The list of ways to segment and create relevant messages/offers is endless. 
  5. Use multichannel marketing.  Follow up your mailed promotion with email. Try to keep the same look and feel of your mailpiece. Include a link to your website, other marketing page or survey if appropriate. You can use a QR code or pURL on your mailpiece to drive recipients to your website.

Postage rate increases are uncomfortable for mailers. The USPS points out that the increases over the past few years have kept pace with inflation. The change is intended to generate $2 billion in annual revenue for the Postal Service.

As a reminder, below are the new full pay, retail rates.

  • 1 ounce First Class letter – $0.49
  • Each additional ounce $0.21
  • Postcards $0.34
  • 1 ounce letters to all International destinations $1.15

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Strahm Holiday Card – QR Code – pURL – Freemium!!!!

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly – Falalalalalalalala

deckthehallsWe mailed our annual holiday cards this week and followed up with an email. We like to take a moment to show our appreciation to all of our customers and friends for their business over the past year.

Keep your eyes out for these cards and emails; we’ve included a special QR code and pURL you can use to order a (free!!) personalized 3D Cube or Accordion picture display perfect for your desk or home.

Not sure what to get your friends/family – or even a treat for yourself – these personalized picture displays make a great gift!

Happy Holidays to each and every one of you.

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7 Whys of Direct Marketing

Explore The “Why” of  Direct Marketing Instead of “How” To Do Direct Marketing

Technology is changing and getting better all the time. We all know this. We have easier, faster, less expensive options and channels to get our marketing message across. But perhaps we should explore the “Why” and the “What” of using direct mail.MarketingCampaign

It is important to understand your purpose for each campaign. The key objective for most direct mail marketing is to elicit a response from the recipient. This can be in the form of a purchase or action. You need to be clear, and make clear on your mailpiece, the purpose of your marketing campaign.

Here are seven key drivers to get your brain going in developing the “Why” of your next marketing campaign.

  1. Customer Acquisition. This is basic Prospecting 101. Direct mail is still a great option because it gets directly into your prospects mailbox. According to DMM, 98% of us still check our mailbox every day. Sure, you could purchase a list of email addresses for these prospects, but your impact may be slim. Think of how many unsolicited emails you receive (and quickly delete) every day. Now think of your mailbox and how many pieces of direct mail you receive. Not only that, but many people keep these mailpieces longer and refer back to them.  I know I do.
  2. Building Email List. For many businesses, their overall client list is far greater than their email list. If you need to grow your email list, direct mail can be a fantastic tool. Consider a personalized mailpiece with a nice incentive for signing up. Once you begin an email campaign to your new list, make sure you track response and keep your list clean. Include an Opt Out within the email itself. If a prospect has not agreed to your marketing emails, you should remove him or her from your list.
  3. Communication Preference. A study by Epsilon shows that people still prefer direct mail over email in almost every category including financial services, insurance and travel. Ask your customers how they like to be reached and respond accordingly. Tracking customer response rates of direct mail vs. email will also help guide you in communication channel. Don’t risk alienating customers.
  4. Multichannel Marketing. Aside from communication preference, why limit yourself to one channel of marketing? Combine a direct mail campaign with a follow up email campaign including the same marketing objective/message. Perhaps include a pURL on your mailpiece and a personalized link in your email. Use QR codes to drive respondents to your website for a special offer. While they are there, ask for their email address. Boom! Now you’ve accomplished driver #2 as well!
  5. Migration. Test, test, test and measure, measure, measure. This is all about knowing what works within a campaign. You want to make sure that not only is your message correct and relevant to a particular customer/prospect, but that it gets to them and is read.  If they aren’t responding to a mailpiece, are they responding to an email? Tweak your lists as necessary.
  6. Lifespan. Back to the issue of deleting unsolicited emails without even a glance! How quick are you to hit that delete button? But a properly crafted message, to the correct target and slated to be in mailboxes within a given date range, is most likely to make it into the home from the mailbox, allowing more potential to become actionable. 5 second email or 5 day direct mail?
  7. Differentiator. You have so many options available for direct mail. Think size, shape, feel. Think 3D and create a clever box or other shaped container. Most people can’t resist seeing what’s inside a box. The possibilities are really endless. The USPS will deliver most anything, anywhere for just a matter of postage. Make your mailpiece – and therefore      your message – stand out in the mailbox.

In short, take the time to determine why you are planning a marketing campaign. Make sure your message is relevant to and receivable by the correct person. Whether you choose mail or email, really grab their attention with something that sets you apart from all the other advertisers.

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How Data Drives Marketing

How Data Drives Marketing | Engaging with Digital Consumers

datapeopleInfosys recently released a study “Engaging with Digital Consumers” which offered valuable insight into what consumers want and how your data driven marketing plays a role.

  • 57% said they would be “more likely” to make a purchase from a retailer again if the retailer kept them updated on new offers and services through social media.
  • 78% of consumers said they would be “more likely” to purchase again if provided with offers targeted to their specific interests and needs.
  • 45% said they would be willing to trade “some privacy” for offers specific to their individual shopping needs.
  • 43% said they wouldn’t mind if retailers’ apps tracked their phone’s or tablet’s location if it meant they would receive ads or promotions targeted to their local area.

Data is so important to driving your marketing campaign. As marketing continues to move toward multi-channel applications, you have increased opportunity to gather data from digital marketing and apply it to printed pieces and vice versa.

Here are a few ways you can use digital and print both to build your marketing database.

Beef up your data and help make consumers “more likely” to buy from you and continue to buy from you in the future.

Have questions about data driven multi-channel marketing? Contact us at sales@strahm.com or (816) 756-2733 and one of our qualified Customer Service Representatives will be glad to help!

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Got Freemium?

FREEMIUMS! GET YOUR STRAHM FREEMIUMS!

SF-Enjoy-LongThe term freemium is coined using two powerful words ‘Free’ and ‘Premium’.

What is Strahm offering? Click here to find out!

From time to time, we like to ask customers if we’re delivering the highest level of quality on jobs and service. As part of the Freemium program, we’ve put together a quick, three question survey.

Once you complete the survey you will then be given access to our online store. Here you can choose your favorite Freemium, Accordion Pix or the 3-D Cube. They both allow you to upload your personal images to display and showoff on your desk!

SF-ApixAccordion Pix: An irresistibly fun way to display your photos at work. Accordion Pix allows you to upload seven images so you can show off all your favorites!

SF-3Dcube3-D Cube: A playful alternative to the traditional ways of displaying your photos at work. With this 3-D Cube you can display five images so you’ll have more of your favorites in view. Customize and express yourself in 3D!

(Ask how Strahm can help you with a Freemium Appreciation for your clients)

On Thursday, September 19th Strahm sent out a self-mailer to everyone on our mailing list. The self-mailer contains a QR code to scan, and a pURL you can use in your web browser.

On Monday, September 23rd Strahm sent out a blast email to all of our email contacts. The email contains a link to their pURL. They will simply click on it and go to their personalized page.

Make sure you’re on Strahm’s mailing list to take part in our next Freemium. Visit our website to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, or just send an email with all your contact information to webmaster@strahm.com.

Today is your chance to participate! Act fast, only 500 Freemiums available!!!! CLICK HERE NOW and check out the Strahm Freemium campaign for yourself … Enjoy!

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