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Saving $$$: Mailing to a Clean List

Jan 02, 2011

Saving Small Businesses a Buck: Mailing to a Clean List

We all know the importance of small businesses to the American economy. But sometimes, it seems like small businesses can't catch a break. From bank loans to tax incentives, so many breaks are aimed toward the big guys. So Click2Mail has decided to start a new article series focusing on ways that small businesses can save money.

For the first article in our new "Saving Small Businesses a Buck" series, we're going to explore the issue of mailing list hygiene. The cleanliness of your mailing list makes a big difference to the return you see on your direct mail investment: U.S. companies lose an estimated $2-6 billion every year on mail that is undeliverable as addressed. And a poor quality list can reduce mail deliverability by as much as 30% - that's nearly a third of your direct mail investment potentially wasted.

The costs of mailing to a poor quality list

A poor quality mailing list is one that has not been run against the U.S. Postal Service's national delivery point database to standardize and validate the addresses, nor has it been run against the National Change of Address (NCOA) database to ensure that the addresses are the most up-to-date. The costs of missing the list-cleansing step can be huge. . .

1. Lower response = lower ROI = valuable marketing dollars down the drain. When you're mailing to a list that hasn't been verified, you could be mailing to addresses that do not match your target prospects (because those prospects have moved, for example). Because targeting recipients (and personalizing your mailer for them) is an important way to maximize response, if you're not reaching your intended recipients, your response will be lower than it could be. That's valuable marketing dollars down the drain.

2. No standardization and validation = no mailing discounts. Mailing discounts are only accessible to those who make the Postal Service's job as easy as possible - that means addresses that are standard (and can be sorted by machine) and move updated (so there's less forwarding and returning to sender). According to the USPS, 45% of all First Class mail did not qualify for postage discounts - a large percentage of that is business mail that could have qualified for discounts (so it represents a significant lost opportunity to save on postage costs).

You can clean the list yourself. . .

Having a clean list is clearly critical. But how to clean your list? You can, of course, do it yourself. But before you do, think about the costs involved:

  • Cost of CASS-certified software (the USPS uses CASS, the Coding Accuracy Support System, to evaluate the accuracy of address cleansing and matching software)
  • Your time (or your staff's time) learning how to use the validation and standardization software
  • Your time (or your staff's time) running the validation and standardization software
  • Your time (or your staff's time) pre-sorting the mail
  • Cost of non-discounted postage - $0.44 for non-discounted First Class (compared to Click2Mail's rate of $0.38 for First Class or $0.27 for Standard)
  • Limited availability of tracking information - Tracking your mail allows you to further clean your list for your next mailing, as well as plan future communications based on known delivery dates

Click2Mail helps you avoid those costs, for free!

Click2Mail includes address validation and standardization (using CASS-certified list processing software) and NCOALink (to ensure the update of recently moved addressees) for free, every time you mail with us. We automatically standardize your addresses by matching them to valid addresses listed in the USPS's national delivery point database and making corrections or adjustments if necessary. It's a process that minimizes returns, speeds delivery, and lowers the cost of postage. And, almost all the mail we send is trackable.

That can mean quite a difference to the return you see on your direct mail investment - when you minimize costs and maximize response, you maximize your ROI. And we know how important that is for small businesses like yours, especially in an economy like this one. So visit today to see for yourself how much you can save when you click to mail!