Here you will find some answers to common questions when it comes to Direct Mail.

When will USPS be closed in 2017?

2017 USPS Mail Holidays

  • Monday, January 2 New Year’s Day (observed)
  • Monday, January 16 Martin Luther King Jr. birthday
  • Monday, February 20 Washington’s Birthday
  • Monday, May 29 Memorial Day
  • Tuesday, July 4 Independence Day
  • Monday, September 4 Labor Day
  • Monday, October 9 Columbus Day
  • Friday, November 10 Veterans Day (observed)
  • Thursday, November 23 Thanksgiving Day
  • Monday, December 25 Christmas Day

What is the minimum quantity for bulk mail?

To qualify for certain postage discounts, you must mail a minimum number of pieces

First-Class Mail

  • Minimum Weight: none
  • Maximum Weight: 3.5 ounces
  • Minimum Quantity: 500 pieces

USPS Marketing Mail

  • Minimum Weight: none
  • Maximum Weight: less than 16 ounces.
  • Minimum Quantity: 200 pieces or 50 pounds of mail.

Click here for more information on bulk mail.

 

What is CASS certifying and presorting?

Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) allows the USPS to validate and updated addresses before a job is printed and mailed. CASS Certification software must be renewed annually with the USPS.

CASS certifying a mailing list will correct and standardize the addresses. When possible, it will also add missing address information such as ZIP codes, cities, and states to ensure the address is complete. By correcting an address, it saves the Postal Service money and time. This can reduce the mail that’s non-deliverable.

Here is what we do to your mail file so that we can try to ensure the highest deliverability rate:

  • ADDRESS STANDARDIZATION – This will format the address to meet USPS standards. This fixes spelling errors and corrects abbreviations.
  • DEDUPLICATION – This will remove duplicate records based on address (or address and name).
  • ADDRESS CORRECTION – This will attempt to correct any misspellings and apply missing information like a ZIP+4.
  • ADDRESS UPDATING – If a street name has changed, we will update that for you.
  • DVP (DELIVERY POINT VALIDATION) – This provides the highest level of address accuracy and checks the deliverability of a physical mailing address. NOTE: CASS processing does not validate the person or business that is at the address, but it does validate whether mail can be delivered to an address.
  • PAVE (PRESORT ACCURACY, VALIDATION, AND EVALUATION) – This will allow us to sort your mail by zip code, bundle it and place it in trays before we take your job to the post office. By doing this, it saves USPS time and allows us to get the discounts so that we can get you the lowest possible postage rate.

Below is an example of what CASS software will do to correct an address.

Before

412 Golden Bear CourtSuite B
Murfreesboro, TN 37128

After

412 Golden Bear Ct Ste B
Murfreesboro, TN 37128-5515

What is an IMB (Intelligent Mail Barcode)

The Intelligent Mail barcode, formerly referred to as the 4-State Customer barcode, is a new Postal Service barcode used to sort and track letters and flats. The Postal Service is promoting use of the Intelligent Mail barcode because it expands the ability to track individual mailpieces and provides customers with greater visibility into the mailstream.

Benefits include:

  • Using the IMBarcode gives you the lowest postal rates
  • Improved deliverability of your mail
  • Easier way to process of returned mail
  • Ability to track mail from drop off to delivery
  • And much more

Click here for more information on IMBarcodes.

What is mail tracking?

We use AccuTrace Intelligent Mail Barcode Tracking for all of our mail tracking reports. Every job that we mail has AccuTrace coded into the IMBarcode so that we can pull reports. Anytime a mailpiece is scanned by USPS, the information is reported back to AccuTrace. This data is updated every hour, so reports can be ran at various times each day.

We are able to offer various reports based on the scans. Below are a few:

  • Out for Delivery (Today)
  • Out for Delivery (By Date)
  • Out for Delivery (All)
  • Results by State
  • Results by NDC
  • Results by SCF
  • Results by 3-Digit ZIP Code
  • Results by 5-Digit ZIP Code
  • And more

Here are a few sample screenshots from our tracking system.

What is an indicia?

An indicia is an imprinted designation on mail that denotes postage payment (e.g., permit imprint). Your permit imprint may be four or five lines long. There are some required elements of a permit imprint indicia. This is the way we currently print them:

  • Line 1: Class marking
  • Line 2: The words “U.S. Postage”
  • Line 2: The word “PAID”
  • Line 3: The word “Permit” and your permit number
  • Line 4: City and state where permit is held

Click here for more information on indicias.

What is a precancelled stamp?

You have the option to use a precancelled stamp instead of an indicia that is printed on your direct mail. This can make your mail look like it was mailed with a normal first class stamp without paying the full stamp price.

Precanceled stamps are available for the following classes of mail:

  • Presorted First-Class Mail only
  • Presorted First-Class Postcards only
  • Regular USPS Marketing Mail only
  • Nonprofit USPS Marketing Mail only

Click here for more information on precancelled stamps.

What is a postage statement?

A postage statement is a special form produced by the United States Postal Service that shows the quantity mailed and the total charge for postage. It also includes other info such as total pieces, total weight, date mailed and much more.

What is the largest postcard I can mail?

Below are the minimum and maximum sizes of postcards that you can mail.

Dimension Minimum Maximum
Height 3-1/2 inches 6-1/8 inches
Length 5 inches 11-1/2 inches
Thickness 0.007 inch 1/4 inch

To qualify for mailing at the First-Class Mail postcard price, your postcard must be meet the “Standard Postcard” dimensions below:

Standard Postcard Specifications

Dimension Minimum Maximum
Height 5 inches 6 inches
Length 3-1/2 inches 4-1/4 inches
Thickness 0.007 inch 1/4 inch

If it’s larger than that, but no larger than 6-1/8″ x 11-1/2″,you will have to pay letter rate postage. Even though it’s still a postcard, it will not qualify for the First-Class card rate postage. Those are what we consider to be “Jumbo Postcards” and must be meet the “Jumbo Postcard” dimensions below:

Jumbo Postcard Specifications

Dimension Minimum Maximum
Height 5 inches 11-1/2 inches
Length 3-1/2 inches 6-1/8 inches
Thickness 0.007 inch 1/4 inch

If your postcard exceeds any of the above dimensions, you will have to pay flats (large envelope) postage prices.

Click here for more information on postcards.

Do you have templates that I can use for design?

Absolutely! We have made the process simple for you.

Click here for templates for several of the most common size jobs. When sending artwork, please do the following:

  • 1/8” bleeds on each side (example: an art file for a 4″x6″ postcard would be submitted as 4.25″x6.25″)
  • 300 dpi resolution, in CMYK color
  • Send a copy in Adobe (PDF) file format. We also accept Pageflex, Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign files. For other file types, give us a call to discuss.
  • If you are using Adobe InDesign, please package the file and send us the zip file with all fonts, links, etc.

What is your proof and approval process?

Here what a typical job would look like from start to finish:

  • STEP 1: First we will consult with the client to see exactly what they are offering and then get with our proofing team. Once we receive the art, we will start the proofing process.
  • STEP 2: Send a mock up to the client. If there are any changes to be made, we will start working on those to get the proof send back to the client.
  • STEP 3: Merge data and generate a live PDF proof of at least 10 records and get final approval from the client. We will also send an invoice, payment form and approval form. After the job is approved and paid for, we will start data processing. Here we will do mail file prep such as: postal sort, merge/purge, dupe elimination and CASS certify the file. We will get the file ready for production.
  • STEP 4: Now the final merged print file is ready to be dropped to press. We will run a few samples and have our QC person check the piece line by line. If we see any errors, we will let you know and they will be corrected. If none, the job will start printing. Depending on the type of job, there could be multiple stages in this process.
  • STEP 5: Finally the job is loaded on the truck and delivered to the Bulk Mail Entry Unit (BMEU) where it is processed and shipped out. Depending on the class of mail, clients could see calls from their campaign in as little as 3 days.

How long does it take for my mail to be delivered?

We cannot guarantee delivery time frames of the USPS, however you can use these as a tool. All of our mail is mailed from the BMEU in San Diego, CA and Dallas, TX. The below maps reflect service standard changes that are effective April 1, 2017.

Our Strategy

We are the premier source for direct mail printing and mailing services. We help organizations with the acquisition, development, and retention of a profitable client base. Influence Direct understands the need to reach your target market at just the right time. We direct your efforts to increase and maintain market share profitability.