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5 Direct Mail Data Tricks You're Not Using

By: Trish Witkowski

Are you making the most of your mailing lists, or are you just going through the motions? The point is, if you’re not looking at your lists strategically, you’re just wasting money. I don’t want you to spend a penny more than you need to on postage, so I have 5 clever direct mail data tricks to get you started. 

You can also download my FREE tip sheet “Getting the Most out of Your Mailing Lists”


Trick #1: Analyze the List “Density”

Do you know where your addresses are the most concentrated? Are there concentrated clumps of addresses in certain regions? If so, I want you to start thinking about that. For example, if you print the mail in California, but you’re frequently mailing to Florida, why not produce the mail in Florida? 

If you can’t print the mail in Florida, can you drive the mail to Florida? This is called “Zone-Skipping” or Drop Shipping, and if you can get Standard Mail to the USPS destination entry facility that is serving its delivery point, you can save 3.5–4.4 cents per piece on automation rates. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a lot to you, so let’s put it into perspective:

That’s up to $44 per thousand pieces;
or $440 on 10,000 pieces;
and $4,400 on 100,000 pieces.

Getting the mail close to its destination has lots of benefits, like saving money on postage and the ability to better control the in-home timing, which is a huge advantage (especially for Standard Mail). As a result, you’ll also get sticky, happy customers (Bonus!!).

Here’s how to do it:

Start by running a presort analysis on your lists. Search for regions of concentration, focusing on 5-digit ZIP qualifications, bearing in mind that all presort qualifications help. Then, work with your local USPS mail acceptance staff for information about USPS entry locations across the country, and find a logistics partner to “move” your mail. Voila! What will you be doing with all of your extra cash, smarty-pants?

Trick #2: Add-a-Name

Have you ever missed the minimum quantity requirements for Standard Mail? In my world, we don’t give up and mail First-Class. Add names to your list instead!

Simply determine how far you are from the 200 piece minimum for Standard Mail.

For example, maybe you have 185 pieces, which means you’re 15 names short. Your mission: FIND 15 NAMES!

Doing so can save you full First-Class postage rates on 185 pieces. And don’t forget that there’s no automation option until the 500 piece minimum is achieved!

For those who are saying (in a snarky tone of voice) “Who cares, it’s under 200 pieces—just pay the First-Class pricing.” Let’s do the math and see:

185 pieces at full rate First-Class (Metered):

$0.485 x 185 = $89.75
200 pieces Standard rate (worst case scenario):
$0.304 x 200 = $60.80
Savings on 200 pieces: $28.93!

Hey, 30 bucks is 30 bucks. Why waste it? If you’re wondering where to get the names, that’s easy. You can pull names from other lists, add seed names, add “householded” names back in (see Trick #4), or simply buy more names. You can also identify the potential savings and ask your customer to work on adding names to their list.

Trick #3: Bubbling-Up

Often your mailing lists will have duplicates and near-duplicates. Some of these entries will have different and valuable bits of information. In the duplicate entry below, one of the entries has the email address, and the other has a phone number. 

Duplicate Example:
Sam Smith 123 Main Street 410-123-4567
Sam Smith 123 Main Street samsmith7 @

So, rather than deleting one of the duplicate entries entirely, combine or “bubble-up” the two entries to save the unique elements of both entries into one, more complete single entry:

Sam Smith 123 Main Street 410-123-4567  samsmith7 @

Although this sounds like a tedious manual task, a software program like AccuZIP6, for example, can make quick work of this project, and most of the other data tasks on this list.

Trick #4: Householding

Why send everyone in one household or business the same mail piece? After all, the recipients may see it as wasteful, and, since it’s highly likely that all of these individuals under the same roof are your customers or prospects, you’re also wasting money on production and postage.

Try “householding” your list. For consumer lists, take a look at the names that are listed under the same address that share the same last name and turn them into one:

Sam Smith + Mary Smith + Tyler Smith = The Smith Household 

For business lists it can be a bit more complicated, since you’re looking, instead for people who may all work in the same department, or to keep just the people in leadership or those that have directly done business with you. You will also want to try to eliminate the people who have left the company. In the B2B space, work to get to the right people more efficiently. 

Trick #5: Continuous Improvement

Often with data, we choose to focus on compliance, treating it like a “thing” that needs to be managed and maintained. Did you run that list through CASS and NCOA? Has the list been through a USPS PAVE Gold certified presort software? These are all essential and responsible things to do with our lists, but it’s not the only thing to do with our lists, and that’s where continuous improvement comes into play.

Continuous improvement is holistic and strategic. In general, you should always be looking at your data and searching for ways to improve upon it.

Areas for continuous improvement:

  • List density
  • Removing duplicates and near duplicates
  • Householding
  • Address verification (all touch points)
  • UAA / returned mail resolution
  • Internal company policies and best practices

Don’t forget to download my FREE tip sheet “Getting the Most out of Your Mailing Lists”

Need some help with your lists? Try AccuZIP6

AccuZIP6 5.0 is a complete and powerful direct mail and data quality software solution:

Correct and Standardize your address data with AccuZIP6 CASS Certified™ Software 

  • Remove Duplicate addresses using the criteria you choose
  • USPS PAVE™ GOLD Certified Presorting for every class of mail
  • Mail.Dat file creation for full-service eDocumentation uploads to PostalOne!®
  • Add Walk Sequence (DSF2®) Data, RDI™, Apartment Append Info, Flag Deceased Records, and add additional Change of Address data to your addresses with AccuZIP’s Integrated Data Enhancement Services
  • All Services, One Flat Tiered Price – No Minimums!

Call or Chat with AccuZIP Today!