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

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Summer's Over

Well.... here we are - at the end of the summer - Labor Day Weekend is coming up.   Where did the time go?  Vacation times are over and time to get down to work.

Direct mail is still one of the most effective ways to advertise - let us know how we can help get your message out to the people who matter most.   We can target by zip code, radius around a specific location, or by demographics and direct response.

Let's work together on your next advertising campaign.

DBS - Helping You to Mail Smarter!

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

Thursday, January 19, 2012

USPS Issues Advisory About Bogus Emails

The Post Office has issued an advisory to be on guard against bogus emails that people are reporting about having a package delivery.   I have seen these same bogus emails saying there is a UPS delivery.   If you are not expecting a package, do not click on any link about package deliveries.

https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/radDocs/consumer/SpamAlert.pdf

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

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 databaseDBS 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.
 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy  Veteran's Day --
To all who gave service to our country -- and those currently serving --
We appreciate your service 
Thank you

---------------------------------------------
While we celebrate this day to give thanks to ALL of our soldiers, don't forget the origins of this day and why it is celebrated on November 11, at 11:11 in the day.
In 1918, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month, the world rejoiced and celebrated. After four years of bitter war, an armistice was signed. The "war to end all wars" was over.

In 1918, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month, the world rejoiced and celebrated. After four years of bitter war, an armistice was signed. The "war to end all wars" was over.
November 11, 1919 was set aside as Armistice Day in the United States, to remember the sacrifices that men and women made during World War I in order to ensure a lasting peace. On Armistice Day, soldiers who survived the war marched in a parade through their home towns. Politicians and veteran officers gave speeches and held ceremonies of thanks for the peace they had won.

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.

Follow Up - When Things Don't Go Right

So, as it turns out - the postcards DID in fact get delivered - but was received at various addresses between 4-6 weeks AFTER the event.  Since different people received the postcards at different times, it would tell me that they got hung up with different carriers at separate post office locations.   This would make sense if the postcards were sent at bulk rates, but they were sent 1st Class Mail - absolutely no reason they should not have been delivered prior to the event.  Doesn't help the non-profit that was holding the event though :(

Thursday, January 13, 2011

When things don't go right.......

I recently took on a very small project of printing and mailing a postcard for a local non-profit group - under 150 pieces.  I donated my time and costs for getting a mailing list for them.   Because it was so small and virtually no budget, and the local printers had minimums, setup fees, etc. that made it not feasible to order from them, I ordered postcards from an online East Coast print company that was offering a great deal - and they provided mailing services as well with a guaranteed two-day turnaround.   Sounds like a great solution, right?  Except it was for a specific event and the postcards never arrived in time for the event even though the postcards were sent 1st class.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Give Thanks to our Veterans

Happy  Veteran's Day --
 
To all who gave service to our country -- and those currently serving --
 
We appreciate your service 
 
Thank you

---------------------------------------------
While we celebrate this day to give thanks to ALL of our soldiers, don't forget the origins of this day and why it is celebrated on November 11, at 11:11 in the day.
 
In 1918, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month, the world rejoiced and celebrated. After four years of bitter war, an armistice was signed. The "war to end all wars" was over.

In 1918, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month, the world rejoiced and celebrated. After four years of bitter war, an armistice was signed. The "war to end all wars" was over.
November 11, 1919 was set aside as Armistice Day in the United States, to remember the sacrifices that men and women made during World War I in order to ensure a lasting peace. On Armistice Day, soldiers who survived the war marched in a parade through their home towns. Politicians and veteran officers gave speeches and held ceremonies of thanks for the peace they had won.

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

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Zip Code Changes - Phoenix Area

When the U.S. Postal Service changes central Arizona ZIP codes next month, the hardest hit may be the small-business owners struggling to survive in a slow economy.
ZIP codes that start with 852 will switch to 851 in much of Pinal County, Queen Creek, and some unincorporated areas of Maricopa County beginning July 1.

Click here to read rest of story: http://www.azcentral.com/php-bin/clicktrack/email.php/8789504
Source: The Arizona Republic
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DBSLists.com / Listfinders.com

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

DBS is now affiliated with Vertical Response

  • Whether you're an email marketing pro or just starting out, VerticalResponse lets you create, send and track professional-looking emails quickly and affordably.
  • Vertical Response, Inc. is the leading provider of self-service and customized direct marketing solutions, empowering small and medium sized businesses to build, control and measure their own direct marketing campaigns.
  • Vertical Response offers an easy-to-use web-based tool that gets you up and running with opt-in email campaigns in minutes - and gets your email delivered.
  • Did You Know? VerticalResponse doesn’t burden you with contracts, surcharges or hidden fees. Just pay-as-you-go and realize volume discounts for buying in bulk.


    Click here for more information - or to get started creating your email campaign !

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Postage Rates - as of May 11th

USPS has raised their rates again --

First-Class - single piece 1 ounce letter rate increases:2 cents from .42 to .44
First-Class - single piece 1 ounce flat rate increases:5 cents from .83 to .88

First-Class - single piece postcard rate increases:1 cent from .27 to .28

Click here to see rates for bulk mail and other categories: http://dbslists.com/Index_files/Page1183.htm

What kind of lists are there?

LIST BASICS

There are two main types of mailing lists available:

Compiled Lists
Direct Response Lists

A Compiled List is comprised of names that have been gathered from a variety of sources that simply list those names that fit a given criteria, i.e. all Phoenix residents; all Insurance Agents, Restaurants, or Used Car dealers. A compiled list can also include expanded information such as all people living in a specific zip code with incomes over a certain level and within specific age ranges. There are many types of compiled lists that reflect lifestyles and professions.