When a new year rolls in, a lot of us tighten our belts, literally and figuratively. We do our best to ditch the inches we added by inhaling holiday pumpkin and pecan pies. We also scrutinize our businesses’ budgets; where might we trim some fat to offset rising costs?
I always have some ideas, and I’ll be talking about them a lot more as 2019–and a postal rate hike–arrives. Starting Jan. 27, the U.S. Postal Service will raise its rates, for mail and shipping. Postage increases for mail will vary, depending on the class and size of the mail. But the average increase is 2.5 percent this coming year. Shipping will go up even more.
My best tip for keeping your mail costs in check is this–shape up your mailing list. Too many businesses let their mailing lists get flabby and out of shape. It’s one of those seemingly little things that can really add up.
A big mailing list is not necessarily a good mailing list. If you haven’t looked at your list for a while, give it a quick scan. Chances are unless you’ve been practicing good mailing list hygiene, it will be peppered with problems. These problems come in the form of wrong addresses, duplicate addresses, outdated addresses, and misspellings. There are multiple ways an address can go wrong, but there are also a number of easy ways to clean up and correct them. When we start working with a client, one of the first things we do is ask how they maintain their mailing list. If they aren’t having it checked on a regular basis for these problems, we will suggest that they have us do so. We do charge for this service, but the savings in postage offsets the cost.
There are several measures that can be taken to keep mailing lists in good order. A mailing list can be run through the U.S. Postal Service’s National Change of Address system, which compares it to 48 months’ worth of address changes. By taking this step, not only do you avoid the charges incurred for a lot of undeliverable mail, but you also qualify for postage discounts. However, NCOA doesn’t update all addresses because a large number of Americans don’t file a change of address card when they move. Duplicate addresses are also a common problem; we have specialized software that can be run on mailing lists to eliminate duplicates. And we also use Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) software to clean up carrier routes, five-digit and Zip + 4 and delivery point codes. By using CASS, postal customers also qualify for postage discounts.
Give us a call, now or in the new year, if you want to talk about ways you can keep your mailing budget in check in 2019.
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