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 91% of people actually like receiving promotional emails - an optimistic statistic if you're an email marketer. So why is it, most email campaigns yield extremely low open rates, click through rates (CTR) and conversions?

 

As a marketer myself, I'm constantly perplexed. Even after tireless research on new email trends and trying every 'how to' on sneakily coaxing prospects and clients into opening emails, I'm never satisfied with the results. Are you? If you're anything like me, you want more and expect better than the average open rate of 16.9% or CTR of 7.1%. And, who could blame you?

 

If you're looking for fresh tips and tricks for more clicks and higher conversions, check out this video: Become a Jedi Master of Email Marketing: 10 Tips & Tricks for Clicks. Instead of the typical 'how to email' tips, you'll discover new ways for implementing data-driven strategies to get the results you're looking for. Jedi Master of Email Marketing, Luis Hidalgo, gives 10 tips for deliverability, enrichment, personalization and geotargeting.

 

Watch now - you won't be disappointed! 

Mailing List Accuracy Becomes More Stringent

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Mailers face additional penalties in not meeting new Post Service regulations requiring valid, deliverable addresses

 

The newest wrinkle from the U.S. Postal Service impacts businesses with substantial mass mailing efforts. New Mail Update regulations are intended to limit an unacceptable percentage of wrong addresses, which are costly for everyone concerned.

The key word here is "unacceptable."

Be warned: The threshold at which the Postal Service measures adequate mailing-list accuracy and the way it does it are changing dramatically.

Bad addresses already are costing businesses millions. When a letter or bill, package or flat, gets bounced as undelivered as addressed (UAA), the business and its mail house are on the hook not only for penalties, but also for poor customer communications and marketing effectiveness, lagging account receivables, fewer sales, and more unhappy customers.

As for the Postal Service, it doesn't want to eat the cost of hauling the bad stuff back to the mail facility, sorting it again, mailing it back to the mailer, and so on. It's no wonder the Postal Service has been levying compensatory costs on mailers with bad databases.

Now, as of March 1, 2018, that cost promises to become increasingly onerous--or shall we say increasingly motivating.

The old rules mandated that addresses be screened via a machine with the ungainly name of Mail Evaluation Readability Lookup Instrument. It's acronym, MERLIN, implies a certain magical ability to detect bad addresses, but in reality all these machines have been doing was randomly checking a portion of a submitted mailing list. If a generous 30 percent or more of that sample was faulty, the mailer was hit with a fee of 7 cents per piece for the percent of bad addresses above that threshold.

 

Now, the Postal Service will be leveraging its Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) technology to check every single address a mailer submits in bulk for accuracy, not just a random sample.

Further, the allowable threshold of 30 percent of bad addresses is history. Now, if only 0.5 percent of addresses are faulty, failing to mirror Postal Services change of address (COA) records beyond a certain cutoff point, the mailer is hit with an 8 cent fee on each bad address beyond this vastly more stringent threshold.

The potential for thousands of dollars in penalties due to out-of-date mailing lists is now very real.

 

What are direct mailers to do to achieve 99.5 percent address list accuracy?

First, they should get current with all change-of-address requests ... if they can. Each year some 40 million Americans move, and only a portion bother to submit COAs, and those that are filed only gradually find their way into the Postal Service's system.

Further, mailers should assure that all addresses match official Postal Service formats of street address, apartment number, accurate city name, and the like. It's amazing how often an addressee himself doesn't know what town he lives in ("Is it Hollywood or Los Angeles?"), and these sorts of things can easily gum up a mailing list.

Yes, there are some Postal Service aids, but they're not particularly user friendly. One service allows mailers to electronically receive change-of-address information after a mailing--a little late to avoid penalties, wouldn't you say?--while another provides a database of 160 million "permanent" change-of-address records.

A "permanent" database? I saw you smile!

Fortunately there are easier, more accurate, and less bothersome solutions. 

 

·         Melissa's SmartMover cloud service provides fast, easy change-of-address processing for U.S. and international addresses that are accurate in real time. With SmartMover, direct mailers can be assured of staying on the right side of the Postal Service's new Move Update and COA regulations, while increasing customer lifetime value and mailing ROI.

·         Melissa's Address Verification Service verifies addresses in the U.S. and worldwide, also in real-time. We're talking complete, standardized, and accurate USPS addresses while correcting errors and adding in missing components like postal codes.

·        And Melissa's Personator cleans, verifies, standardizes, and completes names and addresses (as well as phone numbers and emails if you need those), matching names to addresses to authenticate the identity of a customer.

 

Staying on the right side of the U.S. Postal Service's new Move Update regulations is good business for direct mailers and mail houses. It avoids costly penalties while assuring optimal mailing accuracy and customer satisfaction.

 

And you'll want to do it with a partner who's the leader in data accuracy: Melissa.

 

How to Minimize the Effects of Postal Rate Increases

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It is that time of year again, the annual postal rate increase. There will be a rate increase averaging 1.9% for Mailing Services products and an average increase of 3.9% for most Shipping Services products (3.9% for Priority Mail and an average of 0.8% for Priority Mail Retail) starting Sunday, January 21.

 

The Mailing Services price changes include:

Product

Current

Proposed

Letters (1 oz.)   

49 cents

50 cents

Letters additional ounces    

21 cents

21 cents

Letters (metered)

46 cents

47 cents

Outbound International Letters (1 oz.) 

$1.15

$1.15

Domestic Postcards   

34 cents

35 cents

 

The domestic Priority Mail Flat Rate Retail price changes include:

Product

Current

Proposed

Small Flat Rate Box

$7.15

$7.20

Medium Flat Rate Box

$13.60

$13.65

Large Flat Rate Box

$18.85

$18.90

APO/FPO Large Flat Rate Box

$17.35

$17.40

Regular Flat Rate Envelope

$6.65

$6.70

Legal Flat Rate Envelope

$6.95

$7.00

Padded Flat Rate Envelope

$7.20

$7.25

 

Although $0.01 may not seem like much of a price spike, the money adds up! Now, companies mailing to 20,000 individuals will incur an additional postage charge of $200 per mailing. Organizations that mail conservatively (let's four times a year) will have to budget for an extra $800 in postage, per year, for that same mailing.

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So how can you minimize the hit? Here are a few quick-fixes to help you save money:

1.      Clean your data - eliminate unnecessary waste from duplicate mailings or UAA mail

2.      Suppress your list(s) - remove individuals that match to one or all of these suppression files: Do Not Mail, Deceased or Inmate

3.      Presort your mailing lists - get the best postage rate when you mail more efficiently

With the deadline fast approaching, now is the time to figure out how you will be prepared for these changes.  Fortunately, we've got the perfect tools to help you prep and presort your mail effortlessly. Whether you are looking to clean your data, suppress your list or presort your mail, we've got you covered.

 

Here's how each of our solutions can assist you with incorporating the new postal rate changes into your business' mailing process:  

 

MAILERS+4 - CASS™, PAVE™ and SERP Certified™ Postal Automation Software will:

  • Reduce UAA mail by CASS and NCOALink® processing your mailing lists, updating outdated addresses, and verifying addresses are valid and complete
  • Add missing data like ZIP codes, carrier routes, delivery points, and suite and apt. numbers to ensure accurate and speedy deliveries
  • Eliminate duplicates to save on costs associated with waste
  • Presort your mailing lists to mail more efficiently and less expensively

 

MAILERS Online - The Cloud-based PAVE certified Postal Software alternative will:

  • ·         Standardize, correct, and verify address data to ensure deliverability & qualify for letter and flat-sized presort and automation rates
  • ·         Presort your mailing lists to mail more efficiently and less expensively
  • ·         Eliminate duplicate records in single mailing list to save on costs
  • ·         National Change-of-Address process your mailing list to eliminate mailing to the wrong address
  • ·         Add intelligent Mail barcodes for additional tracking

 

Presort Object - Our on-premise API solution that supports high-volume mailings will:

  • USPS PAVE Gold Certified for First Class, Marketing Mail (Standard Mail), nonprofit letters, cards, flats; automation, non-automation, non-machinable; Standard Carrier Route; and destination discounts for SCF, NDC and DDU
  • Provide palletization option for First Class and Marketing Mail for essential efficient processing of high volume mailings
  • Full Service Intelligent Mail® compliant and Mail.dat - generates iMB barcodes and all reports and e-documents necessary
  • Include a free Mail.dat License Code
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By Oscar Li, Data Quality Sales Engineer/Channel Manager for Global Email


Melissa recently introduced several improvements and new features to its Global Email Verification Solution - an all-in-one real-time email mailbox validation and correction service. Here's a quick list of our latest improvements:

  • Improved fuzzy matching of domain corrections
  • Updated our TLD database with the newest ICANN info
  • Increased control over the freshness of data returned
  • Better unknown status detection capability

In terms of the service's new features, Global Email now offers two validation modes: Express and Premium.

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Express can be used in time-sensitive situations and will give back a response in one or two seconds. Premium will actually perform a real-time validation of the email address and can take up to 12 seconds to receive a response back.

If you want to reduce the time taken in premium mode, we offer an advanced email option which will reduce the freshness of the data return in order to increase speed.

Using the Global Email Verification Solution to Protect & Increase Your Email Reputation Score

What does email reputation mean? A big part of a marketer's campaign is email marketing campaigns. It is important to watch your email reputation with a tool such as senderscore. Once you are blacklisted, your email deliverability will suffer, and as a result, you will have trouble sending out emails in the future as most mail servers subscribe to a spammers list.

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Integrators should consult with our data quality experts in order to understand what they need to look out for to avoid a bad campaign, and why certain emails should be flagged/inspected. Even if you avoid spam traps, sending out too many invalid emails will cause the mail server to flag you as a potential spammer. Email marketing campaign servers with a low email reputation score will typically experience aggressive filtering.

On the other hand, maintaining a high reputation score will see less intrusive filtering only applied to individual emails and email campaigns instead of blanket IP addresses. It would be definitely prudent to not allow other users to influence your email reputation.

For example, if you are on a shared server - other companies/users could be sending out their own campaigns without filtering emails through our service. It would be a waste if you spent all the time and investment controlling your email campaigns and another user is email blasting without mailbox validation causing the entire IP to be affected.

How do I improve my email reputation score?

If your reputation scores are already dismal for your current existing email campaign server IPs, it might be beneficial to do email campaigns on a new or more reputable IP to see better return on investment. This would start your email reputation on a clean slate. As a disclaimer, we are not sure how feasible this would be for everybody, but your team will need to discuss internally.

However, using our service on existing IP should raise the reputation score for that specific IP. On IPs with pre-existing high volume campaign history, the scores will be slow to change. You can now see why it is extremely prudent to invest in an email validation system early on and why Global Email is a valuable tool to utilize.

For more info, go to: http://www.melissa.com/contact-data-verification/global-email.html


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