Postage discounts represent a significant cost savings for business owners who actively use the mail to communicate with prospects and customers.
The rationale for USPS postage discounts is pretty straightforward. Undeliverable-as-Addressed (UAA) mail costs the postal service $1.6 billion a year. Anything that can be done to avoid returned mail is win-win for the postal service and for business owners who use bulk mail to grow their businesses.
To qualify for bulk postage discounts, a small business mailing initiative must adhere to three postage discount requirements, as outlined below.
Step 1. Address Standardization
Address standardization involves formatting addresses to the USPS standard. This involves doing things like using the correct ZIP + 4 Code associated with a physical address and creating mailing address that use correct abbreviations and spellings.
Standardizing postal addresses is best done with CASS approved software. CASS is a United States Postal Service (USPS) acronym that stands for Coding Accuracy Support System. There are a variety of ways to get access to CASS address verification software.
Step 2. Address Cleansing
CASS approved software can also be used for address cleansing.
Address cleansing is designed to ensure that an address actually corresponds to a current physical address. In other words, you could have an address that has gone through Address Standardization (step 1) but that corresponds to an address that no longer exists or has changed.
Address cleansing ensures that mailing address are consistent with the addresses in the USPS Address Matching System database. The goal is to validate that mailing addresses are actual delivery points and ensure that addresses are updated when mail recipients move.
Step 3. Mail Sortation
The final requirement to get bulk mail discounts is to sort mail in a way that makes it easier for the post office to process. Doing this makes the post office more efficient and they pass on the savings to you.
It's mostly about sorting the mail so that mailings going to the same zip codes or nearby zip codes are in a group. Your local post office can offer more detailed information on how to sort mail to receive postage discounts. In fact, many post officers offer short classes on mail sorting that qualifies for bulk postage discounts.
The combination of having valid addresses that contain complete and accurate address elements and sorting your mail can save your business a ton of money. At the same time, it requires a substantial amount of work and expertise. In many cases, using a postage meter vendor or an outsourced mail house may be the better way to go, rather than processing your bulk mailing internally.