From legally required notices to postcards that engage your (potential) customers to invoicing letters and everything in between, direct mail is an effective communication channel. However, it can leave you at the mercy of human error, when mail boomerangs back marked “return to sender.”
Sending undeliverable mail can feel like an oversight that is beyond any one person’s control. Street addresses change over time and it’s common for people to move every couple of years. Even the right address can be undeliverable, if it doesn’t have the right formatting or isn’t legible.
Roughly 5% of mail is undeliverable, which costs the United States Postal Service (USPS) $1.3 billion every year to process. Sending undeliverable mail doubles postage costs, reduces the opportunity for timely engagement with your audience, and creates a poor customer experience.
Technology has transformed the way mail is sent, and enhanced the information collected around direct mail. Access aggregated insights on mail’s deliverability by running your addresses through a robust Address Verification software.
Using an Address Verification solution can clean your address book and validate a delivery point before you even start sending mail. Meaning that mail gets delivered to the right person, at the right location, every time.
Address verification is a process that runs addresses against the USPS database. Using an Address Verification API that is CASS certified, means that the software has full access to USPS's address data which contains a lot more information than you might get from more simple or lightweight solutions.
Address Verification APIs return information that enhances insights around deliverability and increase the overall operational efficiency of direct mail. Here is a highlight of some of the information that gets returned through USPS address verification:
Zip Code + 4
The 5 digit ZIP outlines a region to which you are mailing. The +4 extension, gives a more precise location.
There are 4 ZIP types: PO Boxes, military, unique and standard.
Delivery Point Barcode
A barcode that contains the ZIP + 4 plus an additional 2 numbers that identify the building type.
Recognizes if an address is commercial or residential.
Carrier Route Coding
Identifies the USPS carrier route this address gets delivered on.
Offers updated information to addresses that are impacted by emergencies.
Highlights addresses that are deliverable, but missing key information that can prevent it from reaching its final destination.
An address is composed of a street address, city, state, and ZIP code. While a delivery point is the specific place where a courier delivers mail to a recipient - this can be a mail slot in a door, a PO Box or a curbside mailbox. There can be many unique delivery points at a singular street address, as is common with apartments, condos, office buildings, etc. Including a point of delivery with your mail greatly improves the accuracy of it’s deliverability.
The point of delivery takes form in two additional numbers at the end of the ZIP+4 code. Chances are, you haven’t seen many 11-digit codes on your letters; that’s because they are converted into a Delivery Point Barcode. Just like a ZIP+4 code, this unique identifier was added to improve address validation and accuracy.
Address Verification API returns can be programmatically combined to create Delivery Point Validation, which gives enhanced insights into the deliverability of direct mail.
Some of the benefits gained through using Delivery Point Validation include:
Verify that your address is complete
Using the ZIP +4 and Delivery Point Barcode validates if an address needs secondary information.
Access discounts on postage with faster delivery times
Mail that includes sorting data, like LASC-Link and Carrier Route Coding, reduces USPS’s operational impact, a saving that is passed back to the mailer and speeds up delivery time.
Dynamic definition for what delivered is
Utilizing information from Suite-Link and Delivery Point Barcode, Address Verification APIs can allow for dynamic definitions on the strictness of mail’s deliverability.
Avoid sending undeliverable mail
Know the restrictions that can impact your courier’s ability to deliver from ZIP and Address types. (Examples: Freight carriers have different logistics for commercial and residential deliveries. FedEx and UPS can’t deliver packages to PO Boxes.)
Verify your address and audience
Know if an address exists outside of a database and verify that your audience has access to it.
Decrease customer facing friction
Increase the overall customer experience with a more accurate and faster delivery.
Reduce the cost on returned mail
Delivery Point Validation eliminates mail sent to invalid and undeliverable addresses.
Lob’s Address Verification API, saves time and money by automating the address validation process. It autocorrects common misspellings, appends missing information, translates information into relevant abbreviations, conforms addresses into USPS’s preferred format, and ensures the address is up to date - optimizing the way your direct mail is handled. Lob enables organizations to deliver intelligent mail, faster. Learn more about our Address Verification API to find out how you can take full advantage of the power of direct mail.