Quick! If you had to identify the most important component of your marketing, what would you say? Did you say your mailing list? Let’s look at some basic steps
you should be taking regularly to keep your list in top shape.
1. Address correction.
If you do bulk mailings, the United States Postal Service requires you to run your list through NCOA within 90 days of every mailing. Even if your mailings don’t fall under the “bulk” category, using NCOA on a regular basis is a good idea.
2. Enhanced change of address.
NCOA is only about 80% effective. It only works for people who file their change of address with the Post Office, and it is only accurate for those who have moved within the past four years. Enhanced change of address services tap into the data from third parties and can yield 20–40% more matches than NCOA alone.
3. Address accuracy.
Running your list through CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) on a regular basis corrects and matches street addresses to postal specifications.
4. De-dupe names.
It’s easy for duplicates to sneak into your mailing list (for example, Jane Smith and Jane A. Smith may be the same person), but it’s just as easy to remove them.
5. De-dupe households.
Unless you are selling to businesses in which multiple practitioners may be at the same location (such as an office building), why send multiple direct mail pieces to the same address?
6. Deceased suppression.
This is another mailing service that may be unfamiliar to many marketers, but it should be a regular part of your routine.
7. Service endorsements.
With service endorsements, you are asking the Post Office to let you know if mail cannot be delivered because of an incorrect address. If a new address is available, the Post Office will provide it. If not, you can remove the name from your list.