How to Persuade Buyers With Your Direct Mail

Direct mail marketing is a very powerful response driver when used correctly. If you have not been getting the results you need, there are many different choices you can make to change the outcome based on several possible problem areas.

Direct mail marketing is a very powerful response driver when used correctly. If you have not been getting the results you need, there are many different choices you can make to change the outcome based on several possible problem areas.

The problem area we are going to highlight today is your copy and messaging. If your copy and messaging is not compelling, you will not get a good response to your mail.

How can we best create compelling message and copy?

  1. Storytelling – The first way to draw people in is with storytelling. You need to make sure that you are telling real stories about real people. If you are not authentic, your prospects and customers will know. Keep in mind that details make it seem more real and believable.
  2. Emotional associations – These are very important especially if there has been a strong negative association with your product or service. You can counteract these associations with good emotional associations you create. The simpler they are to comprehend the better. Emotions often trump logic, so make sure you manage emotions in a positive way.
  3. Statistics – Statistical evidence is a credibility builder, and should be used to illustrate a relationship. It’s more important for people to remember the relationship than the actual number. Keep in mind that statistics are not inherently helpful; it’s context that makes them helpful. Use them correctly in your copy to convince people to buy.
  4. Recommendations – Authorities are a reliable source of credibility; we trust recommendations from people we know, like, and want to be like. Use these testimonials on your mail pieces to show how great your product or service is.
  5. Details – Identify details that are compelling and human as well as meaningful; details that symbolize and support your core idea. Don’t be long winded.

This can seem like a lot of information you need to convey on your mail piece, but you can do these things in a concise way. You also don’t have to do all five on every piece. Pick the ones that will work best for what you are trying to say. You also need to consider the type of piece you are using. A postcard will have less room for copy than a letter.

The most important thing is to be authentic. Direct mail is the most trustworthy form of marketing according to consumers, but you can override that inclination with misdirection or shady copy. Don’t be the “used car salesman” that no one likes — be the honest, helpful marketer and win the business. Did you know that 62% of people who responded to direct mail made a purchase? Are they purchasing from you or your competitor?

Good direct mail drives increases in response rates, so make sure that you are creating the best direct mail with compelling copy and a great call to action. Consider trying one of the options above on your next campaign, to see for yourself what works. Are you ready to get started?

COVID-19’s Effect on the USPS and Direct Mail Marketing

We’ve heard a lot on the news about essential businesses during COVID-19, but one we all count on that is not mentioned much is the USPS. The Postal Service, like many of us, have been greatly impacted by this crisis, and so has direct mail marketing in general.

What strange times we are living in right now as individuals and businesses. In 29 years of working with direct mail, I have never seen anything like this. We’ve heard a lot on the news about essential businesses during COVID-19, but one we all count on that is not mentioned much is the USPS. The Postal Service, like many of us, have been greatly impacted by this crisis, and so has direct mail marketing in general.

First there has been a dramatic drop in marketing mail with numerous events canceled and businesses shuttered, causing a need to send fewer mail pieces. Second, the USPS must maintain facilities and personnel based on CDC guidelines, which can be very difficult in a processing facility. For more details on that, you can read the statement that was issued to address this. And third, the USPS was already having financial troubles before the crisis without congressional action.

To address the drop in marketing mail, Mailers Hub along with several other industry associations have sent a letter to Postmaster General Megan Brennan and Robert Taub, chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to express concern about marketing mail volumes.

They offered suggestions like a per-piece discount, deferring collections, extending or adding promotions and incentives, and deferring planned price changes for international mail.

As the letter stated, “Now is the time for action from the Postal Service and the PRC to keep businesses using the mail.” While the USPS may understand this, the challenge will be to find a “stimulus” for mailers that is within the limitations of the CPI cap and the rate setting process that the PRC is charged with enforcing. What the USPS may want to do to help mailers and what the law allows them to do may be very different.

So, one would think that when Congress is working on legislation to help businesses and individuals through this crisis that there would be some help for the post office as well. Check out what Leo Raymond, Managing Director of Mailers Hub wrote in the last newsletter issue:

“By voice votes in the Senate on March 26 and the House on March 27, Congress last week passed HR 748, the Middle-Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2019, a $2.2 trillion program to help the nation’s economy and citizens deal with, and recover from the consequences of the ongoing virus-related crisis. Conspicuously missing was any aid for the Postal Service.

Instead, the bill only allowed it to borrow another $10 billion from the Treasury, going even deeper in debt. The final version of the bill was a dark disappointment for many in the mailing industry as well as the postal unions and their allies, who’d hoped Congress would use the occasion to lift some of the Postal Service’s burden of debt – not make it worse.”

From Target Marketing’s sister brand, Printing Impressions, Lisbeth A. Lyons VP, Government and External Affairs of the Printing Industries of America (PIA) shared additional thoughts about the $10 billion line of credit, and what PIA is looking to do in regard to the situation:

“This is a short-term victory as it throws a lifeline to USPS, which is reporting an 18-percent drop in entered mail this week as compared to the same week last year. However, simply extending more credit is not the best solution to what could be an impact to USPS greater than that of lost volume and revenue post-9/11 or post-2008 financial crisis. PIA is redoubling efforts to achieve more structural changes and financial stabilization such as full repeal of the onerous pre-funding of retiree health benefits requirement in the next phase of Congressional response to COVID-19.”

This crisis is going to go on for a while and those of us that send direct mail could use some relief in order to get marketing mail numbers back up. We have seen movement in the B2C mail stream as many people are now stuck at home; well-designed and executed direct mail is something they look forward to getting.

Sending Direct Mail During COVID-19

If you are a B2C marketer, you should take advantage of this situation and provide good quality direct mail offers that your customers can use. On the other hand, the B2B market is a whole other story. With many companies closed and employees working from home, your direct mail may not get to the right person. For now, you should plan to hold your mail pieces until your customers return to the office, and consider other channels that may be more appropriate for reaching your B2B customers.

As we continue to navigate the coronavirus pandemic and get closer to reopening the country fully, you can expect marketers to be planning and executing as many relevant marketing campaigns as possible to help get our economy moving again. What has been happening in your area? Do you have any bright spots to share? Let us know in the comments!

7 Interactive Direct Mail Marketing Ideas

Direct mail marketing can be fun! The more interactive it is, the better your results are going to be. With all the marketing messages people see each day; you need to make your mail stand out. How are you doing that now?

Direct mail marketing can be fun! The more interactive it is, the better your results are going to be. With all the marketing messages people see each day; you need to make your mail stand out. How are you doing that now?

Getting your customers and prospects excited about your mail creation is the key to driving better response rates. There are several ways to do this; the one that is right for you will depend on your goals, your message and your audience.

7 Direct Mail Marketing Ideas to Make Your Mailings Fun and Interactive

  1. Consider 3D Mail: There are so many choices for dimensional mail. These can be expensive for postage as most are considered parcels; however, the response rates for this type of mail are significantly higher. They are well worth the postage costs.
  2. Use Cut-Outs: Create cut outs that, when put together, create fun objects: such as paper airplanes, buildings, dolls and so on. Make sure to send instructions on how to assemble your design. You can also create a special hashtag for social media sharing.
  3. Print a 3D Image: Create 3D art for the recipient to enjoy. This is a fun throwback technology. Make sure to send glasses, too.
  4. Try PopUps: These are fun and surprising for people to interact with. The recipient pulls out the piece and it pops from a flat form into a 3D one. This is usually accomplished through the use of tuck tabs and rubber bands.
  5. What About Scratch-Off or Scratch-and-Sniff? This can really be a fun one when doing contests; people like to scratch off and see what is beneath. The fun twist is when you have scratch and sniff, which works really well for floral, food, perfume or anything that smells good. It’s probably not a good idea to have them scratch a bad smell.
  6. Incorporate Augmented Reality: Bring your mailer to life with the technology of Augmented Reality (AR). This is a really great way to showcase how interactive direct mail can be. It is super cool and fun to play with. If you think this is too expensive, you are wrong. Check out Layar or HP Reveal.
  7. Think About Video: You can add video to your mailers! These have actual screens embedded into the mailers. They can launch content when the mailer is opened or when a button is pushed. These are on the more expensive side, but if you are selling a high-end item and want to really showcase it, this can be a great choice!

These ideas can spice up your mail campaigns and get your customers excited to see your mail pieces. Get creative and have fun, but remember that there are many postal regulations. So before you create your desired format, check with a mail service provider. You will want to avoid paying extra postage. What interactive and fun mail pieces have you seen or created?

3 Ways to Combine Direct Mail With Digital Marketing

When you combine your direct mail with digital marketing, you enhance it and drive better results. There are many ways to add digital to your direct mail campaigns in a cost-effective way so that you can test to see how it works for you.

Direct mail has been around for a very long time and it is easy to continue to send mail the same way it was done 20 years ago, but this is much less effective now. Direct mail marketing in 2019 is so much more targeted and personalized, which makes it more effective. However, many marketers continue to silo their direct mail. This is a mistake. When you combine your direct mail with digital marketing, you enhance it and drive better results. There are many ways to add digital to your direct mail campaigns in a cost-effective way so that you can test to see how it works for you.

Let’s check out some winning digital and direct mail combinations.

  • Display Ads — You can use display ads in conjunction with your mail. You can match your direct mail data file to an IP address file to target specific people on your mail list. This is cookie-free marketing that displays banner ads on web pages as your customers and prospects are browsing. It gives you more opportunities to persuade your prospects and customers to make a purchase. Keep in mind that display advertising can affect people at every stage of the marketing funnel from awareness, education and evaluation to purchase. You can see real-time click rates to monitor progress.
  • Facebook Ads — You can use Facebook ads in conjunction with your mail. You can match your direct mail data file to Facebook. This will allow you to send targeted ads to your customers and prospects. They will see an ad in their News Feed. There are several ad options you can choose the one that is right for you. Your prospects and customers spend a lot of time on Facebook, so using these ads helps keep you top-of-mind. As with display ads, you can monitor click rates to make sure you are getting the results you need.
  • Email — Surprisingly, most marketers are using email, but are not combining it with their mail campaigns. The great thing about adding email to direct mail is that you can use it both before you mail to help build curiosity about your mail piece and after they receive it to keep your offer fresh and remind them to respond. This also gives you a chance to make an additional special offer to get them to buy now.

You can choose to use all three with a mail campaign or pick and choose what is best for your customers. If you don’t have enough people on your mail list, you can create a list of people who look like your current customers to send them mail, as well as display and Facebook ads. Email address append is also an option, but it usually only has about a 40% match rate. So if your list is small, it may not be worth it.

Increasing your exposure with customers and prospects increases your response rates, so by adding a digital component, you can increase sales. The best part about digital marketing is that it has a relatively low cost and can be tracked in real time. Plus, you will have additional metrics about your prospects and customers when they interact with you across channels. Are you ready to get started?

6 Direct Mail Messaging Strategies That Work

Direct mail messaging strategies work when they’re simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, and filled with emotion and stories. Here’s how to create them.

Direct mail messaging strategies work when they’re simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, and filled with emotion and stories. Here’s how to create them.

The best direct mail marketing is able to communicate your message in a way that is understood, remembered and acted upon. Are your direct mail results as good as you expect them to be? In many cases they are not; and your direct mail messaging strategy could be the problem. So, how can you improve your message to increase your results?

6 Direct Mail Message Strategy Ideas

  1. Simple: This is not to say use the “Keep It Simple, Stupid” method, but to refine your headline message even more. To create a sentence that is both simple and profound. You want your headline to grab people and require them to read more.
  2. Unexpected: Do the unexpected in your messaging. The message needs to generate interest and curiosity in order to resonate and drive response.
  3. Concrete: Many times, direct mail messaging is ambiguous; this leads to poor response rates. You need clear concrete language to ensure that your message means the same thing to everyone.
  4. Credible: Your brand can help with your credibility, but so can enlisting customers to create testimonials that you can use in your marketing messaging. In order for people to respond to your mail pieces, they need to trust you and the product or service they are buying. Money-back guarantees or free trials work well, too.
  5. Emotion: In order to get people to respond you need to draw on their emotions. Nonprofits are great at this, but most other businesses could use some help. Humans are wired to feel for other people; when you can harness this effectively, you increase responses. There are many emotions you can tap into: anger, empathy and happiness are the most common emotions businesses try to elicit.
  6. Stories: People are drawn to stories. The best messaging is captured within stories. Are you currently formulating your messaging around stories, or are you just listing the facts and statistics on why people should buy from you? No one buys facts. They buy benefits that are communicated well through stories.

These six ideas in combination can help you create a strategy for better direct mail messaging to increase your response rates. One common messaging problem that organizations run into is that they have much more knowledge about their product or service than the people they are trying to sell to. This perspective can make it difficult to communicate effectively with prospects. You do not know what they know.

To combat this problem, you can use people outside of your organization to see what they think of your messaging. This can come in the form of an advisory group, an organization or a few select customers and prospects that you use as a focus group. There is a ton of knowledge that can be gained by doing this. In many cases, you will find that what you thought was a great message did not resonate or confused people. It’s better to learn that before you mail, than after the fact.

Your messaging strategy is extremely important; it can make or break your direct mail campaigns. Spend at least as much time on constructing your messaging as you spend on design. In many cases, effective message creation takes longer than design. Are you ready to create direct mail messaging that is understood, remembered and acted upon?

5 Key Direct Mail Design Strategies and Elements

After your list, your direct mail design strategy is critical. Your images, layout, fonts and colors all contribute to whether your mail piece will be read or thrown away. Obviously we want our mail pieces read and acted upon, so how do we best design our direct mail pieces to accomplish that?

After your list, your direct mail design strategy is critical. Your images, layout, fonts and colors all contribute to whether your mail piece will be read or thrown away. Obviously we want our mail pieces read and acted upon, so how do we best design our direct mail pieces to accomplish that?

5 Key Design Elements

  1. Images — These are extremely important. Images that are emotionally compelling work really well. Facial images stand out and our eyes are naturally drawn to them, so use faces if possible. You can also use images that are iconic and easily recognizable; our eyes and attentions are drawn to familiar images. You need to make sure that you are using images that are consistent with your brand and your message.
  2. Fonts — These are commonly overlooked in direct mail marketing. Not all fonts are the same. When you use interesting or unique fonts, you draw people in. Be careful about using too many different fonts. Your mail piece can look cluttered with too many fonts. The same goes for font sizes, try not to use more than three sizes throughout your mail piece.
  3. Layout — The layout of your mail piece is crucial to response rates. You need to make sure you include white space so that the layout is not cluttered and overwhelming. Images and concise copy need to flow together in sync with each other. Depending on the type of mail piece you may need more than one image, so make sure they work together and do not clash. Do not place wording over the top of images, it will be ignored.
  4. Copy — Keep in mind that people find it easier to read copy that starts on the outer left edge and reads into the center. They pay less attention to copy that starts in the center and reads to the right edge. Make sure you are concise and use common language without acronyms. You want to make it easy to understand quickly.
  5. Color — Colors evoke emotional responses on a subconscious level. Choosing the right colors on your mail piece can make a difference. If you are not sure what colors are right for you, there are many color guides online you can check out.

All five of these elements must work together to create an irresistible mail piece. Your message and call to action are also important so make sure you plan those out thoroughly, too. Your design is there to stand out in the mail box and compel your prospects and customers to read your message and respond. Once you have a design in place, it is a good idea to show it to a few customers to get feedback before your roll it out. You want to make sure that it is compelling to them. If not, you will need to fix areas that they identify as issues.

Direct mail design can seem daunting, but if you take it a step at a time, you will have a well-designed piece before you know it. Keep in mind when you are choosing your mail piece format that you need to allow enough room for your images and messaging. This may mean that a small postcard is not going to work. The last thing to remember before you print is to make sure you are meeting postal requirements. You do not want to have to pay extra postage because your design did not meet regulations. If you are not sure, send a PDF file to your mail service provider to review. They can let you know of any issues before you print. Are you ready to get started?

Direct Mail Marketing Can Be a Pleasure, Not Just a Workhorse

Most marketers look at direct mail marketing as a must-do in their marketing mix; but really, direct mail can be fabulous with the right strategy. If you have been using direct mail for a long time, you may have reached the point where you continue to recycle the same strategy over and over again. This becomes less effective each time. So how can you rethink your strategy to get better results?

direct mail marketing
Credit: Pixabay by ElisaRiva

Most marketers look at direct mail marketing as a must-do in their marketing mix; but really, direct mail can be fabulous with the right strategy. If you have been using direct mail for a long time, you may have reached the point where you continue to recycle the same strategy over and over again. This becomes less effective each time. So how can you rethink your strategy to get better results?

Check out  these five creative direct mail strategies:

Turn a Standard Holiday Card Into an Adventure

SS+K changed from a traditional flat holiday card to offering a 360-degree virtual reality bobsled ride. Here is how it works: The folds will turn the 2D card into 3D VR glasses. With the cardboard glasses, the recipients get to take their seats in the bobsled. After sliding through banked turns, jumps, an upside-down loop and more jumps, the bobsledder will bash through a bank of snow at the finish line, where they are greeted by cheering polar creatures that they’ve encountered along the way.

Create a Memorable Experience With a Pop-up Cube Mailer

Schemmer, an architectural firm, wanted to reach out in a creative and memorable way to potential clients. The mailer arrived flat and, when opened, popped into a cube shape, highlighting images and messaging to get a response. How can you use a pop-up to grab attention an increase response?

Unique Invitations Are Fun

Enogarage created an invitation with a cutout wine glass sleeve. As you start to remove the invitation from the sleeve, the wine glass fills up. It is a great way to showcase the invitation in a fun and unique way. This is also a very cost-effective way to do something different.

Include Other Senses to Increase Engagement

Voyanga, a travel company, created a mailer that includes sound. You can listen to the sound of the sea coming from an image of a conch shell. This is a great way to get people to interact with your mail piece and share it with others. They tied in the message of travel well with the call for them to respond to the sea. Check out the piece at No. 10 on this list.

Playful and Interesting

For World Water Day in Belgium, a letter was sent out that could only be read when in water. It highlighted the importance of water and built more awareness.

One more marketing example to showcase having fun with direct mail marketing: Planet Kids created a hand puppet invitation that was a hit with both parents and kids. How can you incorporate fun into your mail pieces?

Conclusion

As you can see with the five creative examples, direct mail can be more than you have ever thought of before. Don’t limit yourself to what you have done historically, because that limits your response. One thing to keep in mind as you get creative is to make sure that you are tying the marketing creative to your message. Doing something fun while not incorporating it with your call to action and message is a waste of money, because it does not work. Well-crafted messaging with creative that supports it drives response. Your strategic mailing plan should address all the usual requirements, as well as how a more creative approach can increase response.

Not sure it will work for you? Try a test. Grab a segment of your list and send the new creative to them then check your results. Are you ready to get started?

How to Create Influential Variable Data Direct Mail

The real power in direct mail is sending the right offer to the right person. In order to do this effectively, you need to be using variable data direct mail for offers and images, not just names.

The real power in direct mail is sending the right offer to the right person. In order to do this effectively, you need to be using variable data direct mail for offers and images, not just names.

“Dear Summer” does not grab me. What draws me in are offers that I want. So if you send me direct mail, send me offers for fishing, camping, reading and, of course, the normal household requirements. Yet, every day I get mail that is not appropriate for me, such as offers for baby gear (my kids are adults now).

When direct mail is sent to someone who is not interested in it, it’s basically junk mail and is thrown in the trash. So how can you prevent that from happening with your mail? Use your list wisely.

  • Step 1: Your Data — You need to make sure that your data files are correct. This means not only checking to see if addresses are correct, but that you have all of the purchase history and any other relevant information up to date. You can’t use bad data.
  • Step 2: Your Offers — Now you will need to decide what your offers are going to be. You can have as many offers as you want, just be sure you send one offer per person.
  • Step 3: Your Copy/Messaging — You will need to create your copy/messaging to highlight your offer and raise interest. Compelling and relevant copy drives response. Take the time to write yours. Remember to stay away from acronyms and keep your word choice simple and concise.
  • Step 4: Your List — Now you are ready to target people in your list based on your offers. Select people into groups for which offer best matches them. You can code them and use that offer code for them to respond. This will with analyzing your results later.
  • Step 5: Your Images — Now that you have your offers and your data segmented you are ready to select the variable images to match each offer. The image should help convey your message without words. It should also grab attention. You will want at least one image per offer and depending on your design you may need more than one.
  • Step 6: Your Design — You will need to decide what your design will be no matter whether it is a postcard, self-mailer or booklet you will want to create a layout that has static elements across all versions and areas where your variable copy, offers and images will drop in.
  • Step 7: Your QC — Variable data requires extensive quality control. You should sample each version with multiple people to make sure that everything is working correctly. We have also found that once everything is good then create batch pdf merged files rather than printing direct to the printer. This helps maintain your quality through the run and prevents any hiccups in large file transmission across a network.
  • Step 8: Your Results — Since you coded your offers you will know who responded and what they responded to. This allows you to plan future mail campaigns based on what worked and what did not.

Obviously variable data is not the be all and end all of direct mail marketing, but it can really help you to save money by only sending pieces to people who are interested in it. You will also see a response increase when you send the right offer to the right person. Another benefit is that people look forward to getting mail that they like. So when you have a track record of sending offers they want, they will take the time to read your next mailer to see what great offer they can get now. Are you ready to get started?

Should Your Direct Mail Campaigns Be Lean?

First of all, what is “lean”? It is a systematic way to reduce waste without sacrificing return on your investment. So how can we apply the lean concept to direct mail campaigns?

First of all, what is “lean”? It is a systematic way to reduce waste without sacrificing return on your investment. So how can we apply the lean concept to direct mail campaigns?

First, you will want to look at both customers and employees. Lean is a great fit, because you can save money with a lean direct mail approach. Reduce internal costs and increase customer response. The more you save, the more you make. Are you ready to apply the five lean principles to your next direct mail campaign?

5 Direct Mail Lean Principles

  1. Define the Value: This is extremely important. You need to determine what value your product or service has for your customers and prospects. Look at your company from the eyes of your customers. When you can easily identify all of the benefits to them, you are able to convey your value. Your customers and prospects buy the value of what you sell, not the product or service you are selling.
  2. Value Stream: Now that you have identified the value, you need identify all of the steps it will take to create the best direct mail piece to target the values. You can create a map of what needs to be done and who will be doing it. Ideally, you can identify any congestion points and plan around them before you execute your campaign. This will decrease the amount of time and frustration with actual campaign creation.
  3. Flow: After you have identified all of the potential waste points and worked out a plan, you are ready to make sure the plan will flow smoothly without bottlenecks or other issues, both internally and for customers receiving the direct mail pieces. The quicker you can start the campaign, the sooner you are making money. You should also create flows for each campaign stream, such as retention, acquisition, and events that trigger marketing communication to customers and prospects.
  4. Pull: This is where it gets fun; you have created the system to expedite your direct mail campaigns. Therefore, you are ready to provide mail pieces as people are ready for them. You can have triggering events that have you send mail to your customers and prospects, such as when a product or service is about to change or customers reach a time period which would require them to buy from you again. The customer needs pull the mail pieces to them based on the campaign flows you have created.
  5. Perfection: Now that you have the steps in place, you need to continually work to perfect them. By checking in with people at each step, you can identify more problem areas and ways to improve them. You can then look at your direct mail results and improve them with better data, targeting and offers. This is a continual process to keep your mail performing better and better internally and with customers/prospects.

This process is probably a new way of looking at planning and executing your direct mail marketing. Most of the time, we are running behind and throw mail campaigns together at the last minute, then wonder why we are not getting the response rates we planned on. With this process, you are trying to create more value for your customers and spend less time and money creating it. Are you ready to get started?

Direct Mail: Data Structure Really Matters

Many times, one key aspect of direct mail marketing is overlooked and that is the structure of your database. What information you put in each field can really make a difference when you process data through CASS, DPV and NCOA. The postal service has a set of expected fields for each type of processing and when your data does not match that structure, you will have issues with correct output from the software.

Many times, one key aspect of direct mail marketing is overlooked and that is the structure of your database. What information you put in each field can really make a difference when you process data through CASS, DPV and NCOA. The postal service has a set of expected fields for each type of processing and when your data does not match that structure, you will have issues with correct output from the software.

First and foremost, your data should be consistent within each field. If your data field is “company name,” then the only data found in the field is “company name.” Likewise for all other fields. If the information is not consistent, the coding programs cannot find the proper information which can cause them to code the record as invalid. This means it will cost you more money to mail it, as it will not be able to mail at automation postage rates. You can, of course, choose not to mail bad addresses, but it could have been a good address if the information were where it should be in the record. There is no reason to lose out on contacting a prospect or customer just because of your data structure.

You are welcome to have as much information in your database as you need. We always recommend keeping purchase history and any other information you collect to be used to target people to the right offers. You will just add that information into additional fields. Never add extra information to fields required by the USPS, it will be stripped off in the CASS/DPV process or it can cause the address to be found invalid. Create new fields to hold extra information.

So what does the post office require for processing with CASS and DPV?

  • Address
  • City
  • State
  • ZIP code

If you want the process to add information for full-service barcoding your mail service provider will need to add required blank fields to your data, they will be populated by the process. Once complete, your file will contain information on which addresses were found and which were coded as bad addresses. You may choose how you wish to deal with the bad ones.

What does the post office require for NCOA?

  • Name
  • Company
  • Address
  • City
  • State
  • ZIP code

You must have either a company name or a person’s name in order for NCOA to match. The verification process looks to see if that person or company is at that address. You can expect your processed data to come back to you with fields that code records as good, moved or moved, no address on file. You are then able to use the new addresses for the people who moved, as well as remove the bad ones.

So what other pitfalls are there in data structure? Many times, it is unrecognized characters that get pulled in by exporting lists from CRM software. The most common one are hard returns in fields, those need to be removed before data can be processed. There are others that crop up too, such as foreign characters. Each filed needs to consist of only letters or numbers. Commas and periods are okay, as well, but keep in mind the post office prefers no punctuation. The cleaner your data file is, the better results you will get when processing them for mailing. If you are at all concerned about your data structure, contact your mail service provider, they can help guide you.