Mailing List Maintenance + Good Practices
Understanding Data: The Big Picture
Data is like gold. You have heard it once and you will hear it until the end of time… Look at Bitcoin for example. Did you ever think that numbers, mining for “imaginary coins” and algorithms would ever be able to produce a legitimate form of currency that would allow you to purchase a large frappuccino at your nearest Starbucks? Neither did we. But they’ve done it and it is BIG business now-a-days.
Which brings us back to clean data and mailing lists: They are priceless and a good list is an absolute driving force in a successful direct mail campaign. Handling (and maintaining) data is not too complicated and should be tended to at least once a year. Organization and security are crucial when dealing with data and this is what you can count on when dealing with the CITYMAIL Team.
Cleaning Up + Polishing Your Mailing List
Cleaning your list (at least) once a year is suggested. Recipients are constantly moving and if your database is not up to date with these changes your mail piece will eventually get bounced back or thrown in the trash as “not being able to be delivered.” The easiest, and most effective, way to do this is to run your list through NCOA - National Change of Address. This service was designed for mailing lists and databases of all kinds specifically to update addresses. CITYMAIL offers NCOA Processing for any amount of records whether it is 100 or 100,000.
Once your list has been processed it is crucial to update your main database with the NCOA moves to keep an up-to-date master file. Sometimes a new address is not provided and at that point you may want to remove this recipient altogether. In addition to NCOA’ing your list we urge you to remove duplicates. There is nothing more hindering than getting multiple pieces of the same mail-piece. Also, you end up spending more money on postage from those duplicates that get mailed out. Trust us. Remove the duplicates for a cleaner list. CITYMAIL has the software and the know-how to handle all of your mailing list and database issues.
CASS Certification and Pre-Sorting Your Mailing List
CASS certification ( or Coding Accuracy Support System ) is offered to all mailers, service bureaus, and software vendors that would like the USPS to evaluate the quality of their address-matching software and improve the accuracy of their ZIP+4, carrier route, and five-digit coding. This is when a mail-house like CITYMAIL comes into play.
CITYMAIL is a USPS Certified direct mail company. Our bulk-mail software is integrated with the United States Postal System which means that all of the data processing, sorting and organization is reflected in the USPS Postal Reports. It is one thing to send out 100 wedding invitations but if you are doing a non-profit end of the year appeal and you need to send your campaign out to 25,000 individuals then bar-coding and presorting is the way to go. This process allows us to group zip-codes together and sort accordingly to get you the cheapest postal rate possible.
Ever wonder what that bar-code is on your mail-piece? That magic code is what tells the USPS where that mail piece is heading. This form of automation saves you on postage costs and speeds up delivery. It will not be as fast as first class mail but as far a bulk mail goes, it will be the fastest delivery time available.
The Bottom Line
Tend to your database at least once a year by running it through an NCOA process and by de-duping on the regular. Compiling a thorough and accurate database takes time and hard work. Once you have that list it is in your best interest (and your clients) to keep the list as polished as possible. Especially when it comes to a successful direct mail campaign. We have done thousands of campaigns from medical to real estate and we have seen so many wasted dollars that always seems to revert back to bad data.
Got a data question or issue? Our data team is ready to handle any questions thrown our way. Call now @ 978-587-2051 to make your direct mail campaign as successful as possible!