Showing posts with label Direct Mail. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Direct Mail. 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

Friday, October 5, 2012

Important - Required New Design Changes for Self Mailers

Design Changes Required for Self-Mailers in 2013

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) published the final regulations for Folded Self-mailers (FSM's) and other unenveloped pieces in the December 1, 2011 Federal Register.

These final rules take effect on January 5, 2013, so Mailers need to make plans to use up remaining stock and to make design changes for affected mailpieces that will mail after the effective date.

 These new rules do not apply to cards, envelopes, booklet style letters or mailpieces designed to carry discs - only self-mailers.

The notice lays out other specific requirements:
  • Length: A minimum of 5 inches and a maximum of 10.5 inches.
  • Height: A minimum of 3.5 inches and a maximum of 6 inches and
    Maximum thickness of 1/4".
  • The final fold must be at the bottom
  • Rectangular within an aspect ratio (length divided by height) of 1.3 to 2.5, inclusive (see Domestic Mail Manual 601.1.4)
  • The paper basis weight for folded self-mailers is based on book-grade paper unless otherwise specified and varies depending on the total weight of the mail piece.
  •  Minimum of two tabs
  • Can not use perforated tabs.
After January 5, 2013, folded self-mailers that do not meet these requirements will be assessed postage as follows: First-Class Mail® and Standard Mail® customers will pay nonmachinable prices; Periodicals mailers will pay nonbarcoded prices.

Please visit the USPS website to see all of the new rules affecting self-mailers.

https://ribbs.usps.gov/fsm/documents/tech_guides/FSMWorkshopPresentation.pdf

DBS - Helping You Mail Smarter

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

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Email Confusion

Several times in the past few weeks I have had conversations with different non-profit organizations about their use of emails and the confusion that exists about how they use member email lists.  And, I'm confident this same confusion crosses over to for-profit corporations as well.

The dilemma comes up when the organization wants to advertise a specific event coming up and they encourage its board members (and others)  to give their personal email lists to the organization so they can get the word out about the upcoming event and increase its email base.

Seems simple enough - wouldn't my friends want to know about my favorite organization's event?  I bet they would even like to come to it.   If I give my email list to the organization to use so I don't have to forward their emails - my friends could get the information straight from the organization and join in the fun.  Less hassle for me if I just let the organization send the information to my friends directly.

So what's the problem?

The problem is - it probably does not comply with the Federal Can Spam act that makes it illegal to send information to an email recipient unless that person has specifically opted in to receive emails from that specific organization.

So, while you as an individual can forward an email you got to all your friends, it would be illegal for everyone to just give their whole email list over to the organization to use -- unless the recipients opted in.

The solution?   Everyone should email their friends - forward the information on about the organization - and tell them to go the web page and sign up to be on their email list.  That way, they are opted in, get information on upcoming events - AND, they comply with the regs.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

When Customers Want Their Name Off a Mailing List

I recently had a client that contacted me wanting to know how to respond to a phone call they had from someone that received their mailer - upset that they were receiving the mail and worried that their personal information was being shared.

As I told my client, "there will always be people who will complain about the things that get mailed to them - and they are rightfully concerned about lack of privacy - especially in these days of identity theft.    Just because she has received mail from you and from others, does not mean that her private information about her health problems was leaked by the health institutions". 

Most mailing lists comes from public records - like home ownership records and US Postal records - but lists  also come from the census bureau, telephone directories and other places where they may have even given information themselves - like signing up for a free registration, magazine subscription, or a product purchase.  The credit bureaus track purchases and sometimes mailings are received merely because the mailing is going to every resident - regardless of any thing going on with them personally.

People can limit the mail that comes to their house by registering with the DMA (Direct Mail Association).  The DMA maintains a list of people who do not want their names on direct mail offerings.   Most legitimate list compilers bounce their mailing lists against this file routinely and should reduce the amount of mail they receive.  This is one of the best reasons why I routinely recommend that companies let me run their own internal files against the DMA lists to flag people who do not want to receive mail - and this also removes deceased names.

No company wants to spend money mailing to people who have no interest in their product or service. 

Here is a link to the DMA that explains almost everything you would need to know about getting your name removed from mailing lists:

http://www.dmaconsumers.org/offmailinglist.html#6

The DMA - Direct Mail Association

Friday, June 3, 2011

QR Codes

QR Codes are being seen everywhere - are you using one?



A QR Code (it stands for "Quick Response") is a mobile phone readable barcode that's been big in Japan forever, broke into Eurpoe a while back, and is now getting traction in USA.

 QR Codes are scanned from "Smart" phones that have a free downloadable QR Reader App.

This QR Code sends an email to me for information on our services.


You will soon be seeing these used to enhance marketing activities everywhere.  What are some ideas where this can be used?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ordering Medical Lists? Things To Know.

 There are many things to consider when ordering any list, but medical lists have some unique things to consider.  Some questions to ask yourself:

Monday, February 28, 2011

New Service Available for AMA (American Medical Association) Data

A new service has become available for getting mailing lists of doctor's addresses from the AMA.  The AMA list, while usually a better quality list over compiled directory lists, is quite expensive with minimum orders of 5,000 records or more.  In those cases where you only want a small quantity, the cost is the same as if you ordered 5,000 records.   But now, there is a prepay service available to that makes it easier and cheaper to order those lists that are smaller when mailing to a small regional area.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Is Direct Mail Still Alive?

The rising costs of doing a direct mail campaign have made some mailers hold back on how much advertising they do by mail and have increased their advertising with social media instead.  

Has social media taken over?  Even with the explosion of social media, reports show that direct mail is still one of the most effective way to advertise - and advertisers are increasingly coming back to what they know works.   Advertising by mail gives you the opportunity to personalize and target your advertising to the specific group of people that you are trying to reach in a way that social media can't.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Are you mailing to dead people?

I was talking to the receptionist at the assisted living facility that my Mother lives at and she told me about the mountains of mail she receives daily for people who have passed on to the great beyond and asked if there was anything that could be done to get it to stop.  I explained that most reputable list compilers pass their data against the deceased file, but once that list has been sold to advertisers to use, it would be up to the advertiser to keep the list updated.  A deceased name can come back on when people don't remove the person's name from telephone directories, utility billings etc. perpetuating the problem.

Are you mailing to dead people?

Unless you are routinely cleaning your list, then there is a good chance you are.  We can clean your mailing list by running your data through a process that identifies deceased people.  At the same time, we can pick up new addresses where people have moved and remove bad addresses.

It costs a lot of money for printing and postage -- don't waste your money -- statistics show dead people never order.  Increase your ROI - only mail to people who are breathing.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

When is it a bad thing to NOT be on a mailing list?

When it is your own project - that is probably the one time you actually want to be on a mailing list.  We just completed a project for a client who had us obtain a mailing list for them that was pretty broad based and her name was not on the list that she ordered and she questioned why wasn't it there - it should have been, according to her.  Since her name didn't show up, she wondered whether the list was even good at all - after all, if it was any good, her name would be there.

Well, the bottom line is that the list compilers don't know everything about everyone (contrary to popular belief).  The names on a mailing list come from a variety of places - from directories, telephone and utility hookups, warranty registrations, subscriptions, purchases etc.   Does it mean the list choice was a bad one -- not at all - especially if it meets the criteria and quantity that the project calls for.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Problems with Databases

A lot of our clients don't understand how important it is to keep their in-house databases in good shape - and it starts with making sure data is entered correctly to start with.  Bad data can result in unnecessary postage and print costs when there are a lot of duplicates, addresses that aren't deliverable, and worst of all....   comments entered into an address field.   No kidding - we get databases in that have comments like "he's an idiot", "owes money" or "don't deliver to this address" etc.   Can you imagine the person getting your mailpiece delivered to their home with the comment in the address field?  

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