List Maintenance

June 21, 2010 at 4:40 pm Leave a comment

Anyone who has done a lot of direct mail marketing will be acutely aware of how much postage they spend.  It is generally the most costly portion of any campaign.  So any measures you can take to reduce those costs should be carefully considered.

All of our Sales & Marketing Consultants will tell you to be repetitive with your mailings.  You need to keep yourself in front of people so they’ll think of you next time they need your services.  That would usually mean you’re using the same mailing list over and over again.

If you send your cards out First Class, you’ll know how many returns you receive back whenever you do a mailing.  The postal system is imperfect and even when we check all the addresses in your list using our USPS-approved address validation system (which we always do), you will still receive some number of returns.

The question becomes what do you do with those returns?

You can leave them in the list and keep mailing to them or you can remove them from the list.  If you keep mailing to them, chances are they’ll keep coming back returned to you and you’ll be paying postage on pieces that are just being sent back to you.  If you don’t plan on using your list many times you may choose this option.  However, if you’re going to continue using the list for some time, it makes dollars and cents to remove those undeliverable addresses from your mailing list.

If you choose to remove returns, make sure you take note of the reason the Post Office gives for returning the card.  These reasons will usually be noted on the card, sometimes on a yellow sticker.  If it is simply vacant you may want to keep the address in your list in the hopes someone will soon move into that address. Especially when mailing to the “Current Resident” or “Current Business”. However if it simply says “undeliverable as addressed” you’re usually better off removing it.

You have a few options when removing returns from your list:

  1. Have someone in your office go through the returned cards and delete each record from the mailing list one by one.  How much do you save by doing this?  If you pay the person doing the list deletions $10 per hour and it takes them an hour to delete 300 addresses and you planned on mailing to that list another six times, you paid $10 to save approximately $360 in postage (if mailing 4×6 postcards). Well worth it!!
  2. You can buy a barcode scanner that will upload the address on the postcard into a file on your computer simply by scanning the barcode.  Google search for a barcode scanner and be sure to get one that can read an Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB).  You’ll probably spend a few hundred dollars on a scanner.  But then the same 300 pieces will only take 15-20 minutes to scan.  You can then send us the file and we’ll purge those addresses from your mailing list.  And you can do this with every list you ever use.
  3. You can ship us the returned cards that you want removed and we’ll scan the pieces and remove them from your mailing list for a small fee.

In any case you’ll save quite a pretty penny on postage when you send out subsequent mailings using that mailing list.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Targeting Beyond Demographics (Part 3 of 3) Mail Tracking

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