Showing posts with label Data Management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Data Management. Show all posts

Monday, October 7, 2013

Are you getting the best postage rates?



The best postage rates - Automation and Presort - for large volume mailings require certification that your mailing list has been matched against NCOA (National Change of Address) within 95 days of mailing.  If you do not have this certification, the only way you will still get the best postage rates is to have "Or Current Resident" below the person's name.

What is NCOA ?   When people move, they fill out (or should anyway) a Change of Address (COA) form for the Post Office so that their 1st Class mail gets forwarded to the new address. Your mailing list is matched against the Change of Address (COA) records that will indicate COA orders sent to the U.S. Postal Service by individuals, families, and businesses.   Luckily, most  lettershops run mailing lists through a NCOA process prior to mailing, but not all do - this is something you should verify with your lettershop.

Why does the Post Office require NCOA matching?  According to their statistics, 45 million people move every year.  No matter how often a mailing list is updated, there will always be a certain percentage of your mailing that reaches households where people have moved.  Plain and simple - delivering mail to addresses where people have moved costs the Post Office money.  And, ultimately, it costs you a lot of money as well - producing a mail piece, paying for printing and postage for something that might not ever be delivered if the person who is on the address label have moved.  Best case is that if mailed 1st class, the mail will be forwarded.  But, is it best for you to have mail forwarded to someone that may have moved to a whole new area?  Or is it best for your mail piece to get to the people who are currently living at the address. 

If you are mailing something that is subscription or member based, it would be best to have the mail follow the person who moved.  But, the majority of mailings are intended to reach a base of people living within a geographic area and even if the person whose name is on the mail piece moved, it would be better for the mail piece to stay at the address rather than being undelivered or forwarded.

 Should "Or Current Resident" be on your address label?

Won't putting "Or Current Resident" make my mailing look like junk mail?  The only real answer to this is to test it.  In my opinion however, if your offer or message is relevant to a specific geographic area, it will rarely matter unless it is something formal like an invitation.

The question you should be asking yourself is..... is it more important for my mail piece to be delivered to a specific address that is in my geographic area - or is it more important that the mail piece follow the person regardless of where they live.

You can read more about NCOA and Move Update requirements at:  USPS - Guide to Move Update

DBS can help you mail smarter -- call us to see how we can help.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Have you looked at your database lately?


Chances are, it is full of addresses that have changed zip codes, have lots of duplicate records , or even worse - the record gets rejected by USPS because of key-in errors and sloppy data etry. 

All that effort you put into capturing data about your customers or prospects is only valuable if you can use it.  Clean up your database for better response.

DBS will quickly and economically turn your data into a form that you can use for mail merging and accurate reports, and return it to you in a convenient format that will work with your current software.

· Data Conversion
· Eliminate Duplicate Records ( Merge/Purge )
· Field Parsing
· Address Standardization
· Upper / Lower Case Mailing File
· NCOA (National Change of Address)
· Data Append (telephone numbers, email address etc.)
· Update Area Codes and Zip Codes
· Data Entry
· Repair Key-In Errors
· Personalized Laser Letters
· Database and Report Creation


 DBS - helping you mail smarter!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What exactly is "Junk Mail" ?

According to the dictionaries, junk mail is defined as......

       (Business / Marketing) untargeted mail advertising goods or services
                ~Collins English Dictionary

       Third-class mail, such as advertisements, mailed indiscriminately in large quantities.
                ~American Heritage Dictionary

I hear people say they are sooooo tired of all the "junk mail" they receive.  

Funny what some people say they consider junk mail.  When I ask them what part is junk, they are hard pressed to say but it usually comes down to -- the mail that isn't relevant to them at that moment in time. 

What kind of mail DO they want?

     -They DO like hearing about new businesses in the area.
     -They DO like getting notices of sales for products they are interested in
     -They DO like getting notices of upcoming community events - for activities they like

As long as it is something THEY want.... then it's not junk mail -- to them anyway.


Is your mailing going to be perceived as "Junk Mail" or are you targeting your mailing list so great that it will be perceived as "Wanted Mail".

What can you do for people to WANT your mail?  By Targeting your mailing list to mail to only those people interested in what you are selling!

DBS can help you with that!

We can help you target your mail by:

     -Radius around your business
     -By Demographics -- age, gender, income levels, homeowner, etc.
     -By Specific Interest -- if you sell fishing supplies.... target people who like to fish.

If your business is selling neighborhood services, then it would make sense to mail to every household in a specific radius around the business.  There is no need to blanket an entire area however if what you are selling is something that only a particular segment of population needs or wants.

Statistics show that people like having something physical to look at - to set aside until they are ready to take action. I have an area on my counter where I put advertisements for things I intend to buy, just not this week. Then when I am ready, I have it on hand, ready to take advantage of the offer.  Direct mail advertising is still one of the most effective ways to advertise.

DBS - helping you mail better - and smarter!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Direct Mail STILL works!


There is more opportunity than ever to 
get your advertising message out!

Internet and social media has fast become an alternative method of advertising but......

Direct Mail is still one of the best methods for getting a good return on your advertising budget.

Studies show that receiving a physical piece in the mail will improve the chances of it actually getting read.  The trick is to mail to those people who are most interested in your product or service and use smart mailing techniques to reduce costs.
Using a list brokerage like DBSLists.com can help target your mailing to those that most likely to be interested in what you have to sell by using demographically enhanced or direct response lists.  The best example I can use is one of my clients who sells fishing supplies.  Rather than mail to a broad base of people in a given zip code or geographic area, we find lists of people who are actually interested in fishing.  On the other hand, a local restaurant or hospital might want to mail to every household in a given radius or apply other demographic overlay, like age, income or home value.
Your direct mail costs can be reduced by cleaning and updating your in-house database.   

DBS can standardize your address list, check for people who have moved, remove duplicate addresses or people who are deceased, update for zip code changes and more.....


DBS can help you mail smarter -- call us to see how we can help.
AZ - 480-227-8685 / CO -  303-257-2923
Info@DBSLists.com

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Intelligent Mail Barcode

Will you be ready?


One of the biggest change is that instead of just being an option, the USPS is making IMB (Intelligent Mail Barcode) a requirement in order to qualify for automation discounts.

Intelligent Mail Barcode replaces the barcodes that are currently used for processing high voume mail for automation discounts.  The final ruling was posted on the Federal Register website on May 3rd.


The Intelligent Mail barcode is used to sort and track letters, cards and flats and offers greater versatility by allowing many services to be requested and embedded within one barcode. 

This REQUIRED new change will impact ALL volume mailers that get automation postal discounts including:

      - First-Class Mail - letters and flats
      - Standard Mail (Bulk) - letters and flats
      - Periodicals - letters and flats
      - Bound Printed Matter - flats
      - Business Reply Mail

You should immediately start thinking about.............

-- Who prepares your mail - do you process in-house or is it outsourced to a mail service provider (also known as mail house, or lettershop).

-- Does your mail service provider plan to have the software installed and be fully compliant before January 28, 2013 to print IMB and will their capabilities include basic or full-service.

-- If your mail is processed in-house, steps should be taken now to get your mailer ID code and make sure software is installed and compliant prior to January 28, 2013.

-- Do you need to change providers based on capabilities?

-- Compliance with IMB could result in needing to make design changes that could include more white space for addressing and the barcode on business reply mail.

-- Has your database been cleansed and updated?  NCOA (National Change of Address) is required now for all automation discounts and is currently enforced (or in the alternative, add "or current resident" to the addressing).

Failure to comply with IMB will result in loss of automation discounts on your mail - result:  higher postage.

Diversified Business Services (DBS) is already working with our mail service providers to make sure your mail will be fully compliant before January 28, 2013.  Make sure your outsourced providers are aware of this new requirement and fully on board -- this includes printers, graphic designers, mail houses and letteershops, and database managers.

Go to the USPS site for more information on Intelligent Mail Barcoding:

Overview to Intelligent Mail Service: 
https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_guides/documents/tech_guides/OverviewIntelligentMailBasicService.pdf

Intelligent Mail Guides and Technical Specifications
https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=intellmailguides

Friday, May 4, 2012

Are You Getting The Best Postage Rates?


The best postage rates - Automation and Presort - for large volume mailings require certification that your mailing list has been matched against NCOA (National Change of Address) within 95 days of mailing.  If you do not have this certification, the only way you will still get the best postage rates is to have "Or Current Resident" below the person's name.

What is NCOA ?   When people move, they fill out (or should anyway) a Change of Address (COA) form for the Post Office so that their 1st Class mail gets forwarded to the new address. Your mailing list is matched against the Change of Address records sent to the U.S. Postal Service by individuals, families, and businesses.   Luckily, most  lettershops run mailing lists through a NCOA process prior to mailing, but not all do - this is something you should verify with your lettershop.

Why does the Post Office require NCOA matching?  According to their statistics, 45 million people move every year.  No matter how often a mailing list is updated, there will always be a certain percentage of your mailing that reaches households where people have moved.  Plain and simple - delivering mail to addresses where people have moved costs the Post Office money.  And, ultimately, it costs you a lot of money as well - producing a mail piece, paying for printing and postage for something that might not ever be delivered if the person who is on the address label have moved.  Best case is that if mailed 1st class, the mail will be forwarded, but not if mailed at standard (or bulk rate) rates.

Is it best for you to have mail forwarded to someone that may have moved to a whole new area?  Or is it best for your mail piece to get to the people who are currently living at the address. 

If you are mailing something that is subscription or member based, it would probably be best to have the mail follow the person who moved.  But, the majority of mailings are intended to reach a base of people living within a geographic area and even if the person whose name is on the mail piece moved, it would be better for the mail piece to stay at the address rather than being undelivered or forwarded.

Should "Or Current Resident" be on your address label?

Won't putting "Or Current Resident" make my mailing look like junk mail?  The only real answer to this is to test it.  In my opinion however, if your offer or message is relevant to a specific geographic area, it will rarely matter unless it is something formal like an invitation.  And, putting "Or Current Resident" will ensure that your mail piece will at least get delivered to that particular household address.

The question you should be asking yourself is..... is it more important for my mail piece to be delivered to a specific address that is in my geographic area - or is it more important that the mail piece follow the person regardless of where they live.

You can read more about NCOA and Move Update requirements at:  USPS - Guide to Move Update 

DBS can help you mail smarter 

Need your database matched against NCOA?  Let us know - we can help!

In addition to NCOA processing, DBS can also standardize your mailing list, parse fields, remove bad addresses, and deceased names.

Mailing Lists * Database Management * Direct Mail Projects

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

1st Class Mailings and Returned Mail

Mailing at 1st-Class rates can result in mail being returned and not being deliverable as addressed.   There can be a lot of reasons why mail could be returned as not deliverable.  Some of the biggest reasons could include:
  • The person addressed moved and did not file a change of address with the post office
  • An apartment number or suite number was not included as part of the address.
  • An internal mailstop number wasn't included - some large companies require this before their internal mailroom will deliver it.
Most reputable list compilers keep their lists updated on a regular basis - but