Stop your direct mailers from being returned to sender
How to stop your direct mailers from hurting your business
Undeliverable As Addressed (UAA) direct mailers are the bane of many a company. If there are enough of your direct mailers being returned to sender (that’s you), it can add up to big losses for your business. Postage is lost. So is the cost of marketing materials. And to add insult to injury, there’s the loss of customers and business opportunities. To stem or better yet prevent these losses, you need to determine the reason or reasons why your mail is being sent back to you as UAA.
The main culprit for UAA mail is bad data
It’s a fact: databases decay over time. After just a year, it’s not unheard of for mail lists to deteriorate by as much as 25%. After another year the degradation doubles. People and businesses moving are the biggest reason for this. Besides changing addresses, mail lists often have typos in addresses, incomplete zip codes, or incorrect suite or apartment numbers.
According to the United States Postal Service (USPS), nearly 7 billion pieces of mail were identified as UAA mail in 2014. That’s a lot of mail and a lot of money. Not to mention a lot of missed business opportunities.
The USPS and businesses have tried to reduce UAA mail, but it isn’t easy. This is because of the complexity of the address verification process, and the fact that businesses have to abide by conflicting laws and regulations. This example sounds crazy, but it’s true: companies in the financial services and insurance industries are legally required to send mail to the last known address even if the USPS systems indicate a change of address has been submitted!
The USPS is creating programs to help, by making it easier for recipients to change addresses online. And on the business side, the USPS has set up the Seamless Acceptance program, which relies on electronic documentation. This program should help some, but stopping the tide of UAA mail is still a challenge.
What can you do to help?
It begins and ends with quality control. It’s the most effective way to turn the tables on UAA mail. Quality control involves putting into place a set of formal, automated and ongoing processes to help you profile, clean, enrich and update your data. It’s a lot of work, but it must be done if businesses hope to stop the flow and the drain of UAA mail.