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Whether you are a business or a charitable organization, if you are using direct mail, the health of your list is vital to the success of your campaign. Keep reading to understand more about what National Change of Address (NCOA) is, and why you need to do it or face certain dwindling returns.

When a person or a business move and they want to continue receiving their mail at their new address, they fill out a change of address form with the post office. Letters, Bills, Bank Statements and all other first class mail is forwarded to the new address for a year. Information from this form is added to the national database with every other change of address form request. When you request a NCOA to your list, Russell House Marketing converts it to the specific NCOA format to cross reference your data against the national database. When results are returned, we convert your new clean data to the format you require along with a report on what was updated.

NCOA is the perfect opportunity for you to lower your total mailing cost and raise your response rate. Your database is the single most important marketing tool that you have at your disposal. No matter what you plan to mail to your customers or donors, all of the vital information to do this is found here. Your database is dynamic. It helps to think of it as an evolving entity, not some static file to try out every now and again. Your database needs to be active and current if you are planning to see any significant ROI.

According to Canada Post, over 1 million households file a change of address notification with them every year. If you have been compiling your list for any significant amount of time you have a percentage of non-mailable addresses that you may not even be aware of. Your customers or donors are busy people with busy lives. They do not have the time, and in some cases the desire to update their new information to every business or charity that they have frequented in the past.

Here are a few good reasons to run a NCOA:

  • Improve Deliverability – within your database there may be hundreds or even thousands of prospects or clients that simply do not get your mail.
  • Increase Your Return on Investment – By increasing your deliverability, you automatically increase the likelihood of a better ROI.
  • By maintaining accurate billing records, you reduce collection costs and increase cash flow.
  • Better Data Analysis – through comparison processing your data analysis will become more statistically relevant.
  • So how often should you run a NCOA?

    Depending on your list size and frequency of mailings, you should send your list off to be matched against NCOA once a year or twice a year and pick up any changes you can. Certain records will be updated and some records, which were thought to be good, will turn out to be no good. But do it. All requests are removed from the system after 4 years. If you have names older than that, they will come up as ‘no matches’.

    At Russell House Marketing we have the know-how and the means to make this happen for you – quickly and accurately. Contact your Direct Marketing Advisor and talk to them today about running your NCOA before your next campaign.

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