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A Clean Mailing List

By: Shelby

The Basis for a Successful Mailing

You’ve taken great pains to design the message and print it with the most beautiful elements to send to your target audience. Now how do you ensure that your appeal letter, postcard, brochure or self mailer gets into the right hands and at the right time? I can tell you it all starts with a clean mailing list.

From a marketing perspective, most businesses have learned that a targeted recipient list, a compelling offer, a call to action and the right timing are all essential parts of a successful direct mail campaign. Don’t forget to give that same level of care and time to how your mailing list is prepared.

Keep the Mailing List simple and clean

After working with mailing lists since 1984, we see common problems that are all easy to cure. SLB Printing shouldn’t have to bear the responsibility to guess at the right address or proper ID to use when your marketing dollars are at stake. Here are some easy tips to ensure that we can execute accurately on your mailing to help you maximize your response rate.

  • Export only the fields with information needed for your mailing. Many contact database programs have export options or “wizards” that make it easy to specify which fields to export. Leave out fields such as the phone numbers, email addresses and other data that are not going to be part of the address block.
  • Make “column headings” or “field names” clear. If you have multiple address fields, label the column you want to use as the primary address as “address1.” This will help you better manage the data for future mailings and takes the guesswork out of addressing your mail pieces.
  • If you need to include “Customer ID’s” or other special data in the mailing address block, give us clear instructions that these special fields are to be included on the mail piece.
  • If the software that generates your list can export the data in a variety of formats, we prefer tab or comma delimited formats. Check our Acceptable List Formats at the bottom of the “How to Order” page.
  • Lastly, the MOST IMPORTANT tip we can give you to help avoid delays is for you to take a few minutes to review your list before sending it to SLB Printing for processing. If it looks confusing, has information in the wrong fields, seems to be missing critical address data or doesn’t match your instructions, use the tips above to clean it up or call us at 310-558-4752 for assistance early in the process.

Following these five simple suggestions will help ensure your mail goes out to the correct addresses with the information you want to be included. Now that you have a clean list, keep in mind that it is only part of the puzzle for successful mail delivery. There are some additional steps that SLB Printing can perform to help get your mail into the right hands.

Tools That We Use

You now have followed all the steps to keep your list simple and clean, but that doesn’t mean the U.S. Postal Service will be able to deliver mail to them. Data in the wrong fields, typos and out of date addresses in your list can reduce the number of pieces that get delivered successfully. SLB Printing performs two services that help keep the undeliverable mail countdown: CASS and NCOA.


CASS stands for Coding Accuracy Support System.  It helps improve the chances of your mail piece being delivered to a confirmed physical address. Our “CASS Certified” software is used to format addresses according to postal requirements.  It will also help to identify addresses which are deemed “Undeliverable As Addressed,” or UAA. This not only helps remove any incorrect addresses that need fixing, it also saves you money by removing the UAA addresses from the mailing. When presorting for automation discounts, your list must qualify as 100% CASS Approved. This should not be confused with the correct recipient being at the address. That’s where our next valuable service comes in.


NCOA refers to the National Change of Address service.  The service checks to see if the mail recipient filed a move update card.  If they have, the address will be updated before the mail is sent. After the service has been completed, SLB Printing can email you the updated list to help you keep your address records current.

Using NCOA is a necessary step that must be done within 95 days for First Class, Non-Profit or Standard presorted mailing jobs.  It’s mandatory in order to comply with the new USPS “Move Update Compliance” rules. If you are blanketing a given neighborhood or zip code with an “Occupant List”, CASS is sufficient.

Keep in mind that NCOA still does not guarantee that your list is 100% deliverable. Some of the reasons we see for returned mail are: misspellings, out of business, movers who do not file change of address notices, deaths and incorrect move notices.  All of these situations will still cause a First Class piece to be returned.

By working with SLB Printing for your next mailing project, you can increase the number of mail pieces that reach their targets, reduce your mailing services costs, and ultimately boost response rates on your mailing campaign. Give us a call to find out more about how SLB Printing can reduce the guesswork with direct mail. We can also provide you with a targeted mailing list to best achieve your marketing efforts. Call us for details or you can visit our Mailing Page for more details. or call 310-558-4752.

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