Unique Mailing Standards for Queens, NY

September 1st, 2017 Comments off

Queens, one of the five boroughs of New York City, is known for being the home of LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport, Citi Field (home of the New York Mets), the Unisphere, and its ethnically diverse community. Did you know that Queens Borough also used to have its own unique mailing standards?

Back in the 1920s, when Queens  was a collection of scattered rural settlements, each with its own little mailing grid, a master grid was applied to the entire area. This created a unique mailing system, in which mail sent to Queens street addresses needed a dash between the nearest cross street on a building’s block and the house number (for example, “139-30 Example Crescent”) and “18-05 XXXXth Street”).

However, while the traditional system of cross-street number, hyphen, and house number may still be well known to many mailers, the USPS has eliminated this requirement. This is part of an ongoing process of streamlining and standardizing the delivery of your mail.

When using the Stamps.com software, you no longer have to worry about including the dash after the cross-street number in a Queens postal address to ensure delivery. The Stamps.com software is fully compliant regarding Queens addresses and will automatically check and cleanse each address by accessing the powerful Address Matching System (AMS).

Therefore, rest assured that changes the Stamps.com software makes are correct and compliant.  You’ll see changes such as:

139-30 EXAMPLE CRESCENT

To:

13930 EXAMPLE CRES

AND:

18-05 XXXXTH STREET

To:

1805 XXXXTH ST

Using ZIP Codes

The dash (-) in the address line is no longer the crucial, required component of the address. While Queens has many distinctive neighborhoods, it is also not necessary to include the specific neighborhood names (e.g. “Rego Park”) in the mailing addresses. The critical and required pieces of information are the ZIP Code and the ZIP+4, which are scanned by the USPS.  Queens, the largest of the New York City boroughs, is actually served by four USPS postal zones.

The good news is that Stamps.com will check the ZIP Code and the ZIP+4 when you enter an address in the delivery address box. Whether you’re sending mail to Flushing, Ozone Park, Rockaway Beach, Jackson Heights or Corona, Stamps.com’s powerful software ensures that your mail will get to its intended recipient in Queens.

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Tips to Keep Your Customer Direct Mail Database Clean

July 7th, 2017 Comments off

Finding out your direct mail advertising items are coming back as undeliverable can be quite a frustrating discovery. You’ve lost money, time and potential customers on each piece that comes back to you. So, what can you do about it? By keeping your customer database current, you can make sure your direct mail is getting to its intended recipients in a timely manner and minimize the number of returned mail because of misspellings and bad data.

Tip #1 – Create One Central Database

It’s possible you’re getting your lists from different sources, so if you haven’t done so already, combine any information you might have for customers and prospects. This will make it much easier when you start planning future mail marketing campaigns.

Tip #2—Designate a Database Manager

You know what they say about too many cooks in the kitchen. Pick one or two people on the team to maintain and update your database in order to minimize the potential for error that may arise when too many people have the ability to access and edit your list.

 

Tip #3—Make Sure Your Addresses Are Clean

You’ll want to run your address list through Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) approved software in order to compare the addresses you have with the USPS database in order to find errors and inconsistencies such as typos, incorrect ZIP codes or non-standard state abbreviations. This address cleansing and verification process helps you to make sure addresses in your database match the preferred USPS specifications, and offers suggested changes for each potential error.

Tip #4—Watch Your Mailbox

If and when you do receive undeliverable mail, you’ll want to look into why your mailpiece didn’t get to its intended recipient and update your database accordingly.

Updating addresses with Stamps.com

You can use Stamps.com to keep your address list current! Stamps.com is a CASS-certified solution and regularly syncs with the USPS Address Matching Service Database, which verifies valid U.S. mailing addresses. If you want to meticulously review questionable addresses, the Automatic Matching System pop-up alerts may come in handy. If you’d prefer to update without review, you can easily turn off the pop-ups.

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Managing your Mail This Summer

June 2nd, 2017 Comments off

Summer’s coming, and you’re checking off a long list of tasks that need to be performed before you can relax on the beach. You’ve booked your tickets, compiled your summer reading list, and made sure you have all of the supplies and clothes you need. What’s left?

Don’t let your mail accumulate while you’re away! If you plan to be gone for a few days or more, you should request that the USPS temporarily hold your mail. Submitting a Hold Mail request is easy and can be done online here: https://holdmail.usps.com/holdmail/

If you’re a planner, you can submit a Hold Mail request up to 30 days in advance. If you’re a procrastinator, you’re still OK: you can submit a request a day in advance to have the USPS hold your mail. You can specify whether you want your carrier to deliver your accumulated mail on a specific day or you can pick up your mail at the Post Office by bringing in a photo ID. Just a heads-up: any accumulated mail that doesn’t fit in your mailbox would have to be picked up at your Post Office (the carrier will leave a notice in your box if this is the case).

In addition to holding your mail for you, the USPS will also help you transition back to your normal, non-vacation routine—regular mail delivery resumes on the next postal business day after you collect your accumulated mail.

Updating your address with Stamps.com

If you plan on shipping gifts or conducting business while on vacation, remember also to update your Postal Meter Address within the Stamps.com software so that your rates remain accurate for your new zip code.

To update your Postal Meter Address:

  1. Log in to the Stamps.com software and click on “My Account” on the left side of the screen.
  2. Go to “PC Postage Account” and select “Postal Meter Address.”
  3. Edit your address and click “Save” to finalize the change.
  4. Just a heads-up: you will also need to update your information in both the Meter Contact Information section (under “PC Postage Account”) and under the My Profile section (under “My Information”).

To change your Shipping Address:

  1. Log in to the Stamps.com software and click on “My Account” on the left side of the screen.
  2. Go to “PC Postage Account” and select “Shipping Addresses.”
  3. Edit an existing address or add a new one, and click “Save” to finalize the change.

Summer NetStamps

Stamps.com will help you get into that summertime spirit with its fun Summer NetStamps designs!  All of the symbols of the summer are here: Flip Flops NetStamps Labels, Barbecue NetStamps Labels, Citrus NetStamps Labels, and Summer Flower NetStamps Labels. Easily view and order Summer NetStamps here.

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USPS Announces Informed Delivery Program

April 7th, 2017 Comments off

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What if you could receive a digital image of a letter before it even arrives at your doorstep? Informed Delivery, a pilot program offered by the USPS, makes that possible! Just imagine: if you’re on the road, at work or in the middle of a vacation, you can see black-and-white images of the exterior and address side of incoming envelopes. That puts you ahead of the game and allows you to stay on top of what’s about to arrive at your door. What’s more, the service is free and can be accessed via your phone, tablet or computer.

How does it work? 

Go here to determine if you live in an eligible ZIP code and delivery point. If you are, you’ll be prompted to sign into your personal USPS.com account profile to sign up. You’ll be able to receive an email (the maximum is 10 envelopes) that shows images of your incoming mail each morning. Notifications are sent on mailing days only, so they won’t be sent on postal holidays. The images are stored for seven days. At this time, Informed Delivery only provides images of incoming envelope-shaped mail.  However, there are plans to offer this service in the future for other mailpieces, such as packages.

Making Informed Delivery work for you 

Just imagine how powerful the combination of using both Stamps.com and Informed Delivery could be!  Stamps.com makes it easy to print envelopes at home and transforms your home office into a powerful mailing center for outbound mail.  Now, if you qualify for the Informed Delivery program, your advance knowledge of incoming mail will keep you organized, efficient, and on top of your business or household correspondence!

Use Stamps.com to print directly to envelopes

Remember that Stamps.com’s Envelopes section allows you to print directly to envelopes. Mail printed under this option is considered metered mail and always includes a date. In order to print PC Postage directly onto an envelope, you can log into your software and click on the Envelopes option on the left side of your screen. In the “Mailpiece” drop-down menu, select “Letters.” Your “Print Details” to the right of this menu will display the available envelope types. Select the envelope type you would like to use.

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What’s the ZIP Plus-Four for?

March 17th, 2017 Comments off

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You may have noticed the extra appendage of numbers added to a ZIP code called the plus-four, ZIP + 4, or add-on code. What is it for? The USPS considers the five-digit ZIP plus those additional four digits to be the most complete kind of delivery code. Introduced in 1983, the plus-four is a helpful ally in the ongoing drive for even more efficient delivery and sorting.

What do the numbers mean? 

What is the breakdown of the plus-four and what do the numbers mean? The first two numbers of the plus-four identify the larger area known as the sector. The last two identify the segment. Segment and sector are actually terms that identify very specific geographical areas that pinpoint more than just a numbered house on a street. As explained at this USPS source, “the final four digits identify geographic units such as a side of a street between intersections, both sides of a street between intersections, a building, a floor or group of floors in a building, a firm within a building, a span of boxes on a rural route, or a group of Post Office boxes to which a single USPS employee makes delivery.” It can also identify an individual high-volume receiver of mail.

The plus-fours and Stamps.com

The good news is that the guesswork is gone when it comes to using Stamps.com. Our software can help the USPS expedite the sorting and routing of the mail, ensuring that your recipient is not waiting for too long for your shipment. The Stamps.com software will apply the plus-four automatically for you as part of the Address Matching System (AMS) cleansing process. After you enter an address in the delivery address box, and click on Print Sample or Print Postage, Stamps.com will first have your address checked against the AMS.

You can modify your AMS settings within the software. You can do this by going to File and then Preferences in the main menu on the top of the software. Then, click on the Address tab. Here you can move the AMS slider. Setting it to “High” will always add the plus-four to your delivery address. The levels of “Medium” and “Low” will generate alerts for you when the plus-four cannot be verified. The plus-four is important!

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