Archive for category USPS

USPS ColorTranspromo Promotion

ColorTranspromo Promotion

The Color Transpromo Promotion will provide upfront postage discounts to mailers who use dynamic color print for marketing and consumer messages on their bills and statements.

Promotion Period June 1, 2015 – November 30, 2015                                                       blog promotion
Registration April 15, 2015 – November 30, 2015
Discount 2% of eligible postage
Eligible Mail First-Class Mail commercial letters that are part of an IMb® Full-Service mailing

Now is the perfect time to take advantage of the USPS Color Transpromo Promotion.

Transpromo is the use of space on your transactional statements to add promotional content. A majority of people still prefer to receive paper statements. Recent data breaches aside, a paper statement is tangible and less likely to be deleted or lost in the massive amounts of electronic messages received every day.

USPS reports that consumers spend 7 minutes per day sorting and reading their mail. 98% of mail is brought into the home the same day it is delivered. Bills and statements are particularly important, read and saved for longer periods. Compare this with the 15 – 20 seconds a person reads an unsolicited email.

Don’t limit yourself to generic marketing messages. Versatility and personalization are virtually unlimited, allowing you to develop relevant messages and offers. Tracking response rates has become easier than ever with use of personalized web pages and codes.

Transpromo is not just for marketing, either. Traditionally used to up-sell or cross-sell, it should also be used to educate about your industry or service, remind them of upcoming events or deadlines, or drive readers to a website.

Using color as part of your transpromo campaign helps to draw the reader’s eye to this special messaging. How can you incorporate an infographic, a fun drawing or even charts and graphs into your message?

Register with USPS and take advantage of the 2% postage savings by using Color Transpromotional mail today!

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USPS 2015 Promotions

First-Class Mail 2015 Promotions

Registration Begins March 15
USPSpromo

As part of its commitment to grow the mail, the Postal Service is pleased to announce several First-Class Mail promotions that will offer incentives or discounts to mailers throughout 2015.

Earned Value Reply Mail is designed to encourage mailers to use First-Class Mail as the primary reply means for their customers, by providing a postage credit for each returned Business Reply Mail or Courtesy Reply Mail piece.

Color Transpromo is designed to encourage mailers to increase the value of bills, invoices, and statements by combining the power of digital and color technology, which can produce greater connection and response from customers.

Emerging and Advanced Technology is designed to create omni-channel marketing opportunities by integrating direct mail with mobile technology. This engages interactive experiences and encourages mailers to use “enhanced” augmented reality, Near Field Communications (NFC), and other technologies.

Promotion

 

Registration Period Program Period
Earned Value Reply Mail

 

March 15 – April 30, 2015 May 1 – July 31, 2015
Color Transpromo

 

April 15 – November 30, 2015 June 1 – November 30, 2015
Emerging and Advanced Technology*

 

March 15 – October 31, 2015 May 1- October 31, 2015

*Standard Mail is part of the Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion and is currently being

reviewed by the Postal Regulatory Commission.

If you have any questions, including whether or not your mail qualifies for any of the 2015 promotions, please call one of Strahm’s dedicated Customer Service Representatives. You can reach us at (816) 756-2733 or custserv@strahm.com.

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Curious About “Greening” Your Mail?

The USPS Asked In a Sustainability Campaign,

“How Green is Your Mail?”

Mailers have opportunities to decrease their environmental impact and any organization can implement these strategies. Oce Business Services shares these tips: images

  1. Manage Ink: When designing your mailpiece, choose fewer colors and less ink coverage/usage. This reduces chemicals used during the printing process.
  2. Think TransPromo: Create a document that combines transactional printing (think statement or invoice) with a marketing piece – all in one document and one envelope. In fact, USPS will have a 2015 promotion encouraging the use of TransPromo marketing.
  3. Paper Usage: Use a smaller font and/or decrease the margins in order to keep to a single page document. Can’t do it? Default to printing both sides (duplex). Going duplex can save you up to 50% on paper costs while serving the environment as well.
  4. Sourcing Paper: Choose paper stocks that come from managed forests. The Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) certification supports responsible forestry; forests are audited for best practices and must meet strict guidelines. As well, this sends a clear message to your customers that you care about forests.
  5. Utilize Print on Demand: This concept has been around for years and centers on printing only what you need/when you need it. This eliminates waste caused by document obsolescence. As well, you could select a printer at or near your point of consumption, reducing or eliminating transportation costs.
  6. Mailing Lists: Updating your mailing list may be a challenge, but the cost savings and environmental impact is significant. It is estimated that 15% – 20% of individuals and businesses move each year. Reduce waste and eliminate the printing and postage costs of mail that is non-deliverable.

Has your organization implemented green initiatives in their mailing practices? What outcomes did you experience? We’d love to hear your stories!

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USPS | How A Letter Travels OR How Does My Mail Carrier Know Where I Am?

How A Letter Travels OR How Does My Mail Carrier Know Where I Am?

USPSmailIn discussing with a customer the USPS Move Update requirements, she was curious how the letter carrier knows to take the letter to her house even though the address is wrong.

Here at Strahm Automation we use several processes to meet Move Update compliance.

Some customers choose NCOA as a pre-printing step – saving them printing and postage on addresses that may not ultimately make it into a mailbox. As well, they get reporting back of updated addresses and addresses that are just flat out “bad”.

Many presort only customers choose Move Comply as their update method. This process takes place at the presort level. Our MLOCR sorters bounce the address on the envelope against a USPS database and spray the correct barcode onto the envelope.

Back to Mary and her question of how the carrier knows exactly where to deliver her mail, this informative piece from the USPS gives a great overview of how a letter travels through the mail stream. I hope you find it enjoyable!

https://about.usps.com/publications/pub100/pub100_078.htm

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USPS | First Class Mail Delivery Times

Expect To See Slower Delivery Times For First Class Mail.

With the consolidation of up to 82 processing centers nationwide, a lot of First Class letters and periodicals will cease to be delivered overnight; they will arrive in two days, and mail formerly delivered in two days will now be delivered in three days.

According to the Federal Register, Standard Mail with have the same deliverability as today, with three to 10 days within the contiguous United States. Packages will take two to eight days.

As those 82 facilities close and 95 assume the work, USPS is continuing to focus more on its growing areas of revenue—package delivery—vs. its shrinking areas—First Class mail volume.

Current estimates indicate approximately 20% of the First-Class Mail volume is expected to be delivered overnight, more than 35% is expected to be delivered in 2 days and about 44% delivered in 3 days.

The graphic below illustrates an approximate breakdown of First-Class Mail service performance after Phase 2 implementation:

SlowerFirstClassMail

 

You can find the USPS official FAQ here: https://about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/our-future-network/ofn-phase-2-faqs.htm

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USPS | The Mail Eater

The Mail Eater

mail eaterYou’ve done it. You and your team have formed an alliance of the best of data, design and technology and brought forth the perfect mailpiece, a scintillating message that will bring you the ROI of your dreams. It is ready for launch.

Beware! Between home port and the final destination, a fearsome danger lurks: The Mail Eater.

It will shred your envelopes, mangle your budget and sink your dreams. But do not despair, there is something you can do to defend yourself.  The Mail Eater is nothing more than the machinery the USPS uses to process mail in a swift and cost-effective manner. Properly prepared, your mailpieces will sail through unscathed. But the unwary will fall prey to being macerated, rejected or slapped with the higher cost of manual processing.

Here are three of the riddles you must answer to get past the Mail Eater’s gaping jaws:

  1. What is your Aspect Ratio?
    • Take the length of the mailpiece and divide it by the height. If the answer is between 1.3 and 2.5, take heart, your message’s journey will be blessed. If not, it will meet its doom.
  2. What is your mail piece thickness?
    • Letters must be a minimum of .007 thick, or 0.009 inch thick if more than 4-1/4 inches high or 6 inches long or both. Thin paper makes poor armor against the speed and impact of the postal machines’ maw.
  3. What are your barcode reflectance properties?
    • What do you mean—background reflectance, print reflectance difference or opacity? The automation machines must be able to distinguish the printed barcode from any background designs or print showing through the material of the envelope. It is essential to refer to the USPS DMM code 708.4.4 to combat these issues.

It may seem daunting, but be brave! These answers and more are found in the USPS Quick Service Guide at http://pe.usps.com/.  Congratulations, you have now equipped your message to face and conquer the threat of physical damage and increased mailing costs. Good luck, and may the post be with you!

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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 | Holiday Mailing Tips

Holiday Mailing Tips

Follow these helpful tips for successful holiday mailing.

Here, from the U.S. Postal Service, are suggested tips for preparing and mailing cards, letters and packages this holiday season. 

Mailing Greeting Cards

Customers who receive door delivery are welcome to give their holiday and other mail they are sending to their letter carrier, rather than placing it in a collection box or making a special trip to the post office. Customers who receive curbside delivery may leave their mail in their receptacle for pickup.842811-01-main-600x600

Preparing Packages

  • PRINT addresses clearly.
  • Include all address elements (apartment numbers, suite numbers, directional information for streets, etc.).
  • Include both “to” and “from” information on packages – and only on one side; no extra writing.
  • Never guess a ZIP Code — NO ZIP is better than WRONG ZIP! Check USPS.com for a convenient ZIP code look up tool.

Packaging Tips

  • Select a box that is strong enough to protect the contents. Leave space for cushioning inside the carton.
  • Package contents with shredded or rolled newspaper, bubble wrap, or Styrofoam peanuts. Plain air-popped popcorn is also good for cushioning; it’s inexpensive and environmentally friendly. Pack tightly to avoid shifting.
  • Always use tape that is designed for shipping, such as pressure-sensitive tape, nylon-reinforced tape, paper tape, or glass-reinforced pressure-sensitive tape.
  • Do not use wrapping paper, string, masking tape, or cellophane tape.
  • Put the delivery and return addresses on only one side of the package.
  • Recommendation: Place an index card inside the package that contains the sender’s address and the recipient’s address along with a list of the contents. This will help us re-pack boxes that were improperly wrapped and came apart during transporting and processing and help ensure that the package is either sent to its destination or back to the sender.
  • Take packages that weigh at least 1 pound into the post office for mailing. Do not put boxes into your neighborhood mailbox or expect for your mail carrier to pick them up for you.
  • Obtain Express Mail and Priority Mail boxes, envelopes, and tubes for free from your post office.

Prior to Mailing

  • Stuff glass and fragile hollow items, like vases, with newspaper or packing material to avoid damage due to shock. When mailing framed photographs, take the glass out of the frame and wrap it separately.
  • Remove batteries from toys. Wrap and place them next to the toys in the mailing box.

Special Tips

  • Access the Postal Service’s web site, usps.com, for postage calculations, the latest addressing information, and unique gifts. Avoid waiting in line for your Holiday stamps by using Stamps by Phone (1-800-STAMP24), Stamps by Mail, or stamps from postal self-service vending machines, neighborhood retail outlets and ATMs.
  • Sign up for text and email alerts to track your package. Just go to My USPS.com

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USPS 7 Day Service for Holiday Mail

USPS 7 Day Service for Holiday Mail

Getting everything done – both personal and professional – during the holiday season can be tough. The Postal Service is stepping in to help you out by offering seven day a week delivery in major cities and high volume areas beginning November 17th through Christmas day.

They expect double digit growth of their package services during this period – up roughly 12% over the same period last year. The expectation is that they will handle 450 – 470 million packages. This is in large part due to continued e-commerce growth and improvements to Priority Mail services.

“Football has its season. But the holidays? That’s our season,” said Donahoe. “That’s crunch time for us, and year after year, we step up our game. E-commerce package business continues to be a big player now more than ever, so we’ve enhanced our network to ensure America that we’ll deliver their cards, gifts and letters in time for the holidays.”

USPS’ competitors recently announced increases to their services, while the Postal Service lowered some of its prices for businesses and other large shippers. The reduced Priority Mail pricing has affordable options and improved tracking ability.USPSHoliday

“The Postal Service will be out making deliveries every single day during the holiday season, including Christmas Day,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. “During the holidays, no carrier makes more deliveries to more places than the Postal Service, and this year, we’re raising the bar with enhanced tracking and Sunday delivery.”

With the continued growth of online retailers, more products are shipped directly to consumers.

“Every household in America relies on us to get their packages in time for the holidays, and we take great pride in taking on that responsibility,” said Donahoe. “We’re prepared to do whatever it takes to deliver for our customers.”

 2014 Christmas Shipping Deadlines

For expected delivery of holiday mail and packages by Christmas, the Postal Service recommends keeping the following mailing and shipping deadlines in mind:

  • Dec. 2 – First-Class Mail International/Priority Mail International
  • Dec. 10 – Priority Mail Express International
  • Dec. 15 – Standard Post
  • Dec. 17 – Global Express Guaranteed
  • Dec. 20 – First-Class Mail/Priority Mail (domestic)
  • Dec. 23 – Priority Mail Express (domestic)

Skip the lines and ship online

Consumers can avoid holiday hassles by visiting usps.com — the Postal Service’s website that will help make mailing and shipping easier. Nearly 75 million customers will skip the trip to the Post Office altogether and take advantage of convenient online shipping this holiday season. Click-N-Ship and other online services allow customers to print shipping labels, order free Priority Mail boxes, purchase postage and even request free next-day Package Pickup.

Next week’s blog? Our annual guide to holiday shipping tricks and tips!

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USPS Update | USPS Cyber Intrusion and Employee Data Compromise

USPS Cyber Intrusion and Employee Data Compromise

united-states-postal-service-usps-logo

You may have heard in the news this week that USPS has experienced a data security breach. This impacted USPS employees and also consumers who directly contacted the USPS call center. Mail Systems Management Association has provided a great review of what happened and who is at risk.

You can read it here:

USPS IT performed work this past weekend to upgrade system security, which resulted in some loss of system functionality. It is also in response to a cyber-intrusion into some of our information systems. You may see this in the news today.

The extent of the breach is somewhat limited. We have had some employee data compromised and some customer care data compromised. We are notifying our employees today and are providing resources for them.

The compromised call center data was submitted by customers who contacted the Postal Service customer care center with inquiries via telephone or email between January 1, 2014 and August 16, 2014. The compromised data consists of names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and other information for customers who may have provided this information. At this time we do not believe that affected customers need to take any action as a result of this incident. It appears that no customer credit card or financial data was compromised.

We are investigating the intrusion and are working closely with all the agencies you would expect – the FBI, the Department of Justice, our own Inspector General and Postal Inspection Service, and the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team. Additionally, we have brought in outside experts who specialize in investigations and data systems to help us understand what happened and how to improve our security.

We have already implemented some important security measures over the weekend and we will continue to roll out other new security measures in the coming days and weeks.

As things currently stand, it is business as usual for nearly every aspect of our operations – Post Offices are functioning normally and mail and packages are being delivered as usual. We have posted Q&As and other information about this on usps.com.

Click here to read FAQs written by the USPS.

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