How to improve list hygiene

By: Andrew Glover
April 23, 2020

Mailing lists are the foundation of an effective marketing campaign. The clutter and disorganization happen subtly by members moving, people changing their names, and data aggregating from different sources, which leads to misaligned data. A clean mailing list is a crucial way of improving your marketing return on investment. You will improve your response rates because you are mailing content to people who are interested in your mission.

What is Mail List Cleaning?

Mail list cleaning or hygiene is the process of regularly purging outdated mailing addresses. Your organization should clean their mailing list every few months because you don’t want your message to fall on deaf ears.

Improving Mailing List Hygiene

You should review your data every six months, at the very least. Take these steps, and you will have a cleaner, more accurate mailing list that saves you time and money and ensures the optimum performance of your campaigns.

Refresh Outdated Contacts

You can tap into the post offices’ National Change of Address (NCOA) service to ensure your list stays current, even when your prospects and members move. There are millions of permanent changes of address records consisting of names and addresses of individuals, families, and companies who have filed a change of address with the Post Office.

Eliminate Duplicates

You can eliminate duplicates with a proper merge and purge. Sometimes this task is difficult because tiny changes or errors may hide duplicate entries. For instance, you may have two records for the same person, but one file has a misspelled email address. If you only re-duplicate by email, then that duplicate record remains. If you don’t have the expertise to help rectify this, then it’s a great time to reach out to a data specialist in your organization or ask your agency or list provider for help.

Organize and Align Your Lists

You have multiple lists, utilized across various campaigns, updated by different people all the time. They each may have slightly different organizational and formatting methods. The potential for human error creeps up rapidly when the number of people touching those lists increases.

Methods to Clean Data

Direct mail data files get old and need a review before mailing materials. The post office requires you to keep addresses updated, and you don’t want to waste money sending pieces that are not going to the intended people. There are many ways you can clean your data files before and after you mail a campaign.

Here are a few options to clean up your data files.

Coding Accuracy Support System

The Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) is a certification system from USPS for address validation. CASS-certified address validation will standardize your mailing list, update outdated addresses, and verify that addresses are valid and complete. It’s a great help when checking the accuracy of contact addresses in a contact list.

Delivery Point Validation

The Delivery Point Validation (DPV) service is a process of verifying that an address is truly deliverable. A delivery point is an individual mailbox or another place at which USPS delivers the mail. It differs from a street address, in that each address may have multiple delivery points, like an apartment or an office.

Address Change Service

Address Change Service (ACS) is a postal mailing service that allows you to receive the change of address and other reasons for a non-delivery electronically, which reduces the number of manual address notifications. ACS allows you to update your list after an initial mailing and before your next direct mail campaign.

Sending Personalized Direct Mail with Valtim

Valtim understands the importance of having an up-to-date mailing list. This is why Valtim performs a NCOA and CASS certification on every mail package we run. This is included as part of your normal pricing, and ensures your mail gets delivered.

Our VDP services allow you only to print what you need for your project. Using VDP will enable you to create more attention-grabbing direct mail pieces that appeal to your target audience. Direct mail allows you to create a tangible connection with your prospects and members by sending them a customized, focused message they can hold in their hands. Our personalization services also allow you to send highly targeted information to your mailing list.

Contact Valtim to hear more about our VDP and personalization options.

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