USPS NCOA Requirement

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In return for the discount postage rates it offers for First Class Presort and Standard Mail services, the USPS requires that both of these types of mail meet its Move Update standards. This is also called the NCOA processing requirement.

USPS NCOA processingThe Postal Service maintains a sizable registry of people and organizations who have recently moved; and it compiles this info in its National Change of Address (NCOA) database. Mailings that meet the Move Update standard must be checked against the NCOA database, and updated for any address changes.

This is good for mailers, since it helps ensure that addresses are up-to-date. And it’s good for the Post Office, since it minimizes the expense of handling all those bad addresses.

The downside to the NCOA requirement is that it costs money. And for a small mailer with a small list, an NCOA processing fee can seem just plain silly.

Luckily, the USPS provides two ways to avoid the NCOA requirement:

Add “Or Current Resident” to all your addresses

Since you’re letting the Post Office know that you’d like the mail delivered to the addresses regardless of who lives there, the USPS will waive the NCOA requirement.

To receive the waiver, you can add the line “Or Current Resident” (or “Or Current Occupant”) under the name line on each of your address labels.

Add an Ancillary Service Endorsement on your mailing piece

There are a few special postal instructions called ancillary service endorsements which you can print in the addressing area, and which instruct the Post Office what to do if the mailing piece is mailed to someone who has moved.

Here are a few of the common ancillary endorsements:

  • Forwarding Service Requested
  • Return Service Requested
  • Address Service Requested

A full description of the USPS ancillary service endorsements is in Service Guide 507, a PDF file at the USPS site.

With an ancillary service endorsement, the USPS will waive the NCOA processing requirement. But be aware: you will be on the hook to pay the Post Office for subsequent postal fees that may result, depending on the ancillary service endorsement you select.

It’s worth noting that First-Class Presorted mail actually includes forwarding, or mail return, as part of its service. So, for First-Class Presort mail at least, adding “Forwarding Service Requested” would result in exactly the same level of cost and service without the endorsement.  In this case, it makes sense to use this endorsement to avoid the NCOA requirement.

By the way, if you decide to use an ancillary address, be sure to add a return address to your layout. (A return address is usually optional, otherwise.)

The Move Update Standard

So, to summarize, the USPS’s Move Update standard requires mailings to be either 1) processed for NCOA (usually for a fee), 2) have the “Or Current Resident” line added to the address (for no fee), or 3) have an Ancillary Service Endorsement added to the layout of the mailing piece (subject to postal fees, depending on the endorsement).

It may not be pretty, but the standard is the best way for the Post Office to deal with the 40 million people per year who have to go and change their address.

 

Another attempt to help explain a complex world by the folks at magnetbyMail, your source for postcards, magnets and mailing.

 

February 18, 2013 · Posted in Profitability, Resources, Standards  
    

What is Good Design?

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What is good design, exactly, when it comes to direct mail marketing?

The short answer is:  the design that achieves the results you need.

And with that you’ll note good design is above all, results-oriented.  The entire reason for good design is, not to make the world a prettier place, but to maximize the impact of the message.

Good postcard design

The longer answer is more helpful perhaps, although no more precise:  good design is using visual elements of form — space, lines, shapes, color and textures, along with function — a compelling message — that achieves an action or some goal for the marketer.   Often, it’s about finding an appealing balance between form and function — that is, a pleasing presentation;  but this is not always the case.

There’s no single design that is the perfect design.   Further, a design that works for one type of message may not work for another.

And a design for one audience may not work for another.

When it comes to postcard magnet mailers (what we do at magnetbyMail) we’ve seen all types of designs for all types of messages and audiences.

The designs that work best seem to be the ones that:

  1. get your attention, either through imagery, a few words, or both;
  2. draw you in to explore and learn more details;
  3. change your emotional state — make you angry, curious, intrigued, excited, etc.;
  4. and lead you to a next step — to a website, a phone #, a donation, etc.

Personally, I like simple layouts.  Grab the attention, give a message that’s succinct, and ask for action.

The design philosophy for this is “less is more.”   The principle is that unessential elements are distractions. So if an element isn’t necessary to your core message, consider doing without it.

Where do you find good ideas for good design?  I suggest starting on the Web.

For postcard designs, check out BestPostcardDesign .

On a future post, I’ll provide a list of my favorite websites that are helpful for design inspiration.

Until then, I suggest:  less is best.

 

Another little marketing nugget from magnetbyMail, your source for postcard magnet mailers and other nifty marketing aids.

April 23, 2012 · Posted in Design, Marketing  
    

Real Estate Postcards

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Sure, the real estate market is tough.  Nevertheless, with proper pricing and good real estate marketing, properties are still selling.

According to Bloomberg, realtors are selling over 4.5 million units of US existing homes per year.

Based on the average home being sold for about $150,000 (Real Estate ABC), that’s $675,000,000,000 in sales total, just for existing residential properties.

And it’s no secret.  Every good real estate agent knows the keys to selling real estate in 2012:

  1. Pricing it right
  2. Property looks its best
  3. Seller is flexible — it is a buyers’ market afterall
    and also, you should be
  4. Web savvy

Now, considering 90% of properties are being sold by agents who already know about these four keys, what can an agent do to make his/her properties stand out from the rest?

The answer is:  mail a folding postcard with magnet.

And if your response to that is ‘What?’, well let us tell you.  (You see, we happen to make these.)

real estate postcard magnet mailerOur Foldup Magnet Mailer is a large 8-1/2″ x 11″ postcard folded in half, with a large 3-1/2″ x 4″ magnet inserted inside.  The card is sealed with easy-peel glue, inkjet addressed on front, and mailed by the US Post Office to your prospect list or a direct mail list we can provide.

The postcard can be printed with all sorts of useful info, including color photos of homes for sale and listings in the area.  The magnet typically includes your photo, contact info, website address and facebook url.

Check out all our magnet mailers at magnetbyMail .

The Foldup Magnet Mailer makes a double impact: one, when it is received in the mail, and another when the magnet is applied to your prospect’s fridge or file cabinet.

The true power of the Foldup Magnet Mailer is in the distribution.  Our experience shows that you should target your own community. You’ll likely gain more listings for yourself and you’ll be creating an invaluable network of neighbors who can become your Facebook friends and a great source for leads.

And you’ll have accomplished a nearly impossible feat: getting people to focus more than 2 seconds on the properties that you’re marketing.

The entire Foldup Magnet Mailer costs less than a dollar (1000 are 64 cents each).  It provides you a high-impact presentation in the short term, and an effective way to keep your message in front for weeks, months or longer.

So be a part of that $675,000,000,000 in real estate sales, and kickstart your real estate marketing with a foldup magnet mailer.

 

Another service from magnetbyMail, doing our part to help promote the economy.

March 27, 2012 · Posted in Marketing  
    

The Next Big Idea in Direct Marketing

Late last year we asked potential customers looking at our products what they wished for.

They said, as much as they liked the idea of our postcard magnets, what they really wished for was more room to express themselves.

You see, we’ve always had our basic postcard magnets — these are jumbo postcards and custom printed magnets, one glued to the other and mailed via directmail.

But the Venti, our largest postcard magnet at 5-1/2″ x 10-1/2″ just wasn’t enough.  Some marketers want more than the Venti’s 115 square inches.

foldup postcard magnet directmail idea

So in January, we introduced our Foldup Magnet Mailer.  This a very big, 8-1/2″ x 11″ postcard, folded in half, a magnet attached to the inside, and sealed shut with easy-peel glue.  Marketers now can have over 200 square inches of printing area.

The fold provides lots of benefits.  The standard postcard format has two sides or ‘facings.’  But the Foldup Magnet Mailer has three facings: the front, the back, and the inside.  This gives marketers more space and flexibility to develop their message.

Another benefit of the Foldup is, because the folded piece is thicker than our regular magnet mailer, and the magnet is held securely inside, we don’t need to use poly laminate to keep the mailer as rigid for mailing purposes.

Saving poly laminate saves time and reduces costs. (We still provide a UV coating for shine and protection.)

Our customers can receive a Foldup Magnet Mailer for about the same price as our smaller postcard magnet.

A final benefit is that we can enclose custom shaped magnets with the Foldup.  (Our standard postcard magnets could use only rectangle shapes, mostly.)

Foldup Magnet Mailers make sense for any marketer who wants all the benefits of delivering a magnet to a home or office, but who needs lots of space to convey their message.

One thing we should mention for designers: the positioning of the Foldup’s magnet is more restrictive than for our regular postcard magnets. The magnet needs to be attached on the ‘inside’ of the folded postcard, and ‘behind’ the area where the mailing address is to printed.

But if your design can work with that location, the Foldup Magnet Mailer may be the perfect way to deliver your message. You can deliver it with a 200 square inch format, and provide a custom magnet to help keep your message in full view for weeks or months.

 

Another innovative marketing device from your friends at magnetbyMail.com, your source for magnet mailers and other ingenious communications tools.

 

March 8, 2012 · Posted in Design, Marketing  
    

To the Rescue

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Animal Rescue: A New Breed of Marketing

It’s startling to find out how many dogs and cats are rescued from our streets.  According to the Humane Society, there are 6-8 million dogs and cats in animal shelters each year, in the US alone.

Each one of these animals needs to find a home.  And many new organizations have sprung up to take on the challenge.

These groups don’t necessarily call themselves marketers, but that’s exactly what they are.

Their mission is to raise the awareness of the abandoned animal issue, recruit likely adoptee families, match animals with new owners, promote best practices to the community, and even sponsor legislation that helps save animals.

The animal rescue groups of today use many of the same cutting edge marketing strategies you might find in any major business, using social media like Facebook and Twitter to broadcast rescue news to thousands.

But because not everybody subscribes to their Twitter feeds, these groups have found they need to use traditional media.

And that’s where we come in.

Dog Rescue postcard magnet mailerYou see, we make postcard magnet mailers.  That’s a custom-printed, jumbo postcard and a magnet, one glued to the other, and mailed to a mailing list via the post office.

These magnet mailers are one of the most effective ways for rescue groups to get their message out: to ask people to consider adopting an animal in need.

Our Foldup Magnet Mailer is good for helping tell a more complete story — it’s designed with the magnet attached inside a large, folded postcard, and provides over a hundred square inches of space for text and pictures.

So how does the whole thing work exactly?   Simple: the Foldup Magnet Mailer reaches the family through the mailbox.  It will likely be opened and read, and maybe discussed.   The magnet will be added to a file cabinet or refrigerator, working as a mini billboard for on-going awareness.

Then, one day, the Forces of Good will converge  and the family will decide that they’re interested in learning more about adopting an animal and will find the rescue group’s web address on the magnet.

It sounds like great fiction but this process is really what happens every single day.

In fact, there aren’t many other ways for an animal rescue organization to get so much exposure, for so few dollars (…cents, actually).

It might take three or four months for a family to reach that magic moment, and decide to adopt a pet.  The Foldup Magnet Mailer provides all the right ingredients to facilitate that multi-month process, and help keep the rescue’s message at top of mind.

Of course, you don’t need to be rescued to benefit from our postcard magnet mailers.  You just need to be interested in getting your message out, and keeping it there.

Another timely message (we hope) from your friends at magnetbyMail.com , your source for of postcard magnets and other neat promotional devices.

March 2, 2012 · Posted in Marketing  
    

Ok, maybe you don’t run a pizza shop. You still could benefit from a marketing idea that helps deliver pizza sales from coast to coast.

Pizza Takeout Menu Postcard MagnetIt’s our Stuckup Mailer. We can print a takeout menu on one side of the postcard. On the other side we attach a magnet and inkjet a mailing address you supply.

We prepare all the Stuckup mailers for bulk mail, so you get a sizable postage discount, and drop them in the mail for you.

If you need a low cost way to reach an entire neighborhood, we can provide a saturation mailing list, and you could reach your entire community for pennies.

With an enticing offer or artwork, the card makes a quick trip from your recipients’ mailboxes to their refrigerator doors.

At 3-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ and UV coated on front, it’s just right for a small takeout menu (which is why pizza restaurants love it).

But it’s also a great size for advertisers and organizations who need to distribute lists of phone numbers, key contacts or web addresses. Or useful procedures, recipes, emergency preparedness checklists, key tips, calendars, schedules or campaign bios. Or maps, inspiring quotes, artwork or colorful travel vistas.

With a good Stuckup Mailer, you’ll discover that the refrigerator door is the most valuable spot in the whole house.   And you’ll be making the most of this space.

Best of all, your promotional message could be there for months or more.

Makes you want to order take out, doesn’t it?

 

Another marketing tip from magnetbyMail.com, your source for magnet mailers and other innovative marketing ideas.

February 3, 2012 · Posted in Marketing  
    

 

 

Or

How Postcard Magnets Save The Date


It’s one of the most challenging marketing assignments out there:

How to get hundreds of alumni to come together at a certain time and place?

Alumni are not an easy group to gather.   First of all, they’re scattered just about everywhere.  Second, they’re all doing their own thing:  some are trawling for shrimp and some are running billion dollar conglomerates.

So do you send an email and hope for the best?  Nope.  At least according to alumni organizers at the nation’s leading colleges.

Alumni save the date postcard magnetsWhen there’s an important event coming, alumni event planners have a go-to tool for maximizing attendance:  Save The Date postcard magnet mailers.

Hmmm.  Is there something that other marketers should know? Yep.

Because what makes postcard magnet mailers extremely effective for college alumni groups, also makes them effective for anyone else with a message that needs to be seen.

Postcard magnets are really two promotions in one: a full-color, plastic laminated postcard that makes it into a mailbox, and a magnet attached that makes it to the fridge or file cabinet.

Most other ways to communicate, from letters to emails, just get lost in the shuffle.

But postcard magnets work almost magically.  With a good mailing list, they reach a targeted audience.  With good graphics,  they grab attention.  And with an appealing or useful message they’re kept in the home or office and are seen dozens of times per day.

What would you have to pay for a TV ad with that kind of coverage?  Unless you’re GE or Coke, you probably don’t have enough.

But you probably can afford a postcard, a magnet and some bulk-rate postage.

So that’s why when it’s important to reach the right people with the right message, those alumni organizations may still have something to teach us.

 

Another marketing tip from magnetbyMail.com, your source for custom imprinted magnet mailers.

April 27, 2011 · Posted in Marketing  
    

Advertising to Gen-Y

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Ask most marketers how they reach the Generation Y audience and they’ll tell you it’s challenging.

cs-1-6-postcard magnetsGen Y, that demographic group born roughly between the mid-1970′s and early 2000′s, doesn’t use lots of the traditional media (newspapers, network tv, magazines).   So for marketers trying to reach the group, the media choices are the social networks like Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.  And unless a marketer can create a buzz that goes viral, he or she is not going to reach an audience at all.

So now it’s come this: when marketers think about going ‘outside the box’, they now mean ‘outside the Internet.’   The ultimate web-based marketers are finding new solutions using ‘traditional’ media,  like  magnet mailers.  Here’s how:

The cyber game world is a billion dollar industry featuring multi-player Internet games where the other players – one’s teammates and opponents – could be on the other side of the planet.  Games like  Starcraft or Counter Strike Source are run from independent network server companies, offering high-tech computer power that needs to be fast and affordable for their Gen Y customers.

But marketing a game server company isn’t easy.  Competition is global and its fierce.  Email marketing has become ineffective and even viral marketing strategies seem to return diminishing results.

We provided the solution in the form of our Basic magnet mailer – it’s a large, full-color laminated postcard carrier, and a custom printed magnet attached. With a good mailing list, and a postcard / magnet combo designed to promote a web address, we helped a US-based game server pinpoint its Gen Y target and deliver a message that could stick around.

The end result: a 20% increase in ‘guest’ traffic at the website and five new accounts for every 100 magnet mailers sent.

Which all goes to show that, even in the tough Gen Y marketplace, if you can get in front of your prospect, you can still win.

magnetbyMail:  helping make sure your message stays in front

March 29, 2011 · Posted in Marketing  
    

Breaking News from PRWEBWell, as if you didn’t know, our mother website for postcard magnets is magnetbyMail.com .

And, ta-dah!, we finally announced our website officially.

I’m sure this will mean that the phone lines will light up with calls from all sorts of news media.  And we’ll be giving interviews for weeks.  Isn’t that how it works?

Well, if you’ve been through this process yourself, you know that it actually rarely works that way.

Years back, when I was at a start-up sales promotions firm, we did get lucky with one of those ‘business announcements’ in the local paper.  An ad agency called looking for some ideas and, before you knew it, we were promoting Big East basketball.

But alas, marketing types like myself can’t be waiting for the inevitable lucky break.

So we’re planning a mailing — sending postcard magnet mailers to our active list of key decision makers.  The idea is to drive folks to our website.

This way, we can practice what we preach.

And  if the NBA calls because they saw our press release,  that would be good, also.

 

Oh, and if you’d also like to receive a sample mailer for yourself, just drop us a note from our Contact Us page and we’ll make it happen.

 

Always looking out for our fans….   magnetbyMail.com

 

March 18, 2011 · Posted in Marketing