Costs are up everywhere, and postage is no exception. In January, the USPS raised the price for 1-ounce metered mail from 57 to 60 cents and the price to send a domestic postcard from 44 cents to 48 cents. Despite postage continuing to be one of the most expensive costs for a business, there are several ways to save money while ensuring the deliverability of print mail to customers.
Processing Files to Meet USPS Requirements and to Ensure Address Accuracy
When mail files get processed in a way that meets USPS requirements, they become eligible for discounted rates. This starts with address hygiene. The USPS’s Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS™), Address Correction Encoding (ACE) and National Change of Address (NCOALink®) corrects and standardizes addresses as follows.
- adds missing address information such as ZIP codes, cities, and states to ensure the address is complete;
- performs delivery point validation to verify whether or not an address is a deliverable one; and
- checks against the USPS Locatable Address Conversion System, updating addresses renamed or renumbered.
- helps put mail pieces in the best format for the USPS, including reformatting all parts of the address to be capitalized;
- moves the full address, including the apartment or suite number, on the same line; and
- adds the delivery point zip code.
- stores change of address information for the millions of individuals and businesses that move each year;
- compares the addresses in your mail file to the NCOA database looking for movers within the last 18 months;
- provides the new address where available; and
- identifies individuals who have moved and left no forwarding address.
Address hygiene improves the quality of the address which ultimately improves deliverability, and is a USPS requirement to qualify for reduced postage rates.
OSG also has proprietary technology that helps you keep your addresses current. Our automated return-mail system is integrated closely with the USPS to provide you with updated address listings to ensure future mailings are delivered.
Designing Mail the Right Way
OSG works with our clients to ensure all mail piece designs are aligned with USPS postal regulations. This ensures they can run through USPS equipment in an automated fashion which ultimately results in improved delivery and ensures your mail pieces qualify for reduced postage rates. This blog post has some other design tips to maximize customer response to your mailings.
Commingling to Cut Costs
Commingling is the combining and sorting of finished mail for presentment to the USPS. Mail is combined and sorted by zip code in an attempt to meet USPS minimum quantities. The process includes creating an Intelligent Mail® barcode (IMb) that appears on each piece, so as it runs through USPS equipment, it tells them where to deliver. This allows our qualified customers to save money by taking advantage of reduced postage costs.
We recommend that businesses always use mail tracking. Keeping this feature on all your mailings helps you see how each piece is delivered to provide an ongoing window into the mail stream.
OSG’s MailTrek℠ program uses USPS data captured in real time to provide delivery updates so you know where each piece is from the time it leaves our facility until it arrives at your customer’s mailbox.
Keeping up with USPS postage changes, systems, and challenges takes work to do on your own. OSG has a long, strong partnership with the USPS—our relationship with them is as important as our relationships with our clients. This history combined with our deep experience in bill presentment and payment across all channels, including print, means we can help you manage all the nuances of your operations to save you resources and budget while improving deliverability.