Mail that doesn’t get delivered to your customers or prospects is a waste. The time, resources and postage it takes to create and send out a message is basically thrown away if it never reaches the addressee. And people move a lot – according to the USPS, over 44 million Americans change their address each year.
In order to minimize the amount of undeliverable mail, the USPS has requirements to qualify for a reduced automated bulk mailing rate. One major requirement is CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) verification of your mailing list. In order to be CASS certified, a list must be checked against the USPS Address Matching System to make sure that the address exists, and the 11-digit zip code with barcode must be printed on the mail. To keep your bulk mailing rate, the list must be certified periodically – it is currently every six months, but will change to every three months this November.
Even if you don’t send out enough mail volume to qualify as a bulk mailer, your business can still benefit from using CASS certification software to check your list against the USPS database. Jeffrey McKenzie of Neopost, Inc. recommends a two-step process for checking your list to improve mail deliverability:
“The first step is to verify that every address in your database is an actual deliverable address; this can be done using a CASS-certified software tool. These tools are connected to USPS databases that are updated every two months with the latest carrier route information.
This is a good first step but not the end of the process. What CASS-certified software will accomplish is verifying that the address “exists” but not that the individual name in your database still resides at this address. For this, Move Update is used. The best address quality tools (software) also perform a process called NCOALink™. This process compares a company’s database to the National Change Of Address database maintained by the USPS. It will return updated address information on any individual or business that has submitted a change of address form to the post office. Many of these services have 18 months of data they compare with, while a few of the better tools maintain 48 months of data.
By implementing these address quality tools, any organization utilizing the postal service to communicate with customers and prospects can benefit.”
You can learn more about updating mailing lists from this USPS publication, and find a list of certified address matching software vendors here.
Laura Leites, Assistant Editor, Smallbiztechnology.com