Keeping Your Mailing List Current

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Working to stretch your advertising dollars, trimming costs and improving efficiency?

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Take a look at your annual direct mail budget, especially the line item for postage. This is often the highest number on the bill. If you aren’t keeping your mailing lists current a lot of those postage dollars end up in the trash, not to mention your printing dollars.

Approximately 1 in 8, or 40 million, Americans pack up and move every year. The post office forwards First Class mail for 12 months. If Presort Standard mail (the new name for bulk mail) is undeliverable as addressed is not forwarded or returned to the sender; it is thrown away by the United States Postal Service (USPS). There are two exceptions to this, however. The first is if the mailpiece is marked with an address correction endorsement, and the second if it is marked “Current Resident”.

Those folks may very well be interested in your product or service, but mail addressed to a previous resident makes it appear as though you haven’t done your research. Creating a negative appearance with an unintended audience can damage your brand.

That’s where the National Change of Address (NCOA) comes in. Change of address records, including the resident or business name, old address and new address, are entered and sent to a master database. Then a provider, like Bluegrass, matches your lists against the NCOA file, automatically updating the list, returning it and it’s ready to go. In order for you to mail at a discounted postage rate, the USPS requires that your mailing list be run against the NCOA file prior to mailing. The critical portion of this process is to make sure that you update your list at its source with the new address changes. By following this procedure, your lists will always be as current as possible.


Bill Nichols

May 29, 2014

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