My first questions will be: Who are you? What kind of mailing do you currently do? What are you trying to accomplish? How do you plan on accomplishing it? Yes, there may even be more, but bear with me. My purpose is not in trying to interrogate you but to get a quick overview if you are even a true candidate to purchase in the first place. I have turned away many “prospects” who thought mailing software was the answer to their problems or because the boss said to “check it out”. After listening to my explanation as to why they shouldn’t purchase they are genuinely pleased. I saved them both money and time chasing a rainbow. If you have the time, read on.
What Mailing Software Does.
In simplest terms, it reads your
mailing list, assigns the correct Zip +4 and then re-arranges it to be
printed out in the order the post office wants. It also provides all
the reports that have to be taken to the post office with the mailing
including one that tells you how much postage to bring – presto - you’re
done. It can do a lot more but that’s the basics.
Aside from saving you postage, mailing software typically saves labor
costs (man hours) when mailings are prepared in-house because there is
no sorting. The output is already in the proper order along with
matching tray/bag tags.
What Does Your Company Do?
If you mail in quantity on a bi-monthly, monthly (or more frequently) basis or you’re trying to begin a marketing campaign you are a candidate. If you mail only quarterly and/or in small volumes mailing software may not be a wise investment.
The various brands of software we sell each have versions that handle mailings of only 5,000 addresses (we call them records). Lists in excess of that size can be split into 5,000 record segments and multiple mailings can be generated. That’s why I try to find out about you. The price difference for software that handles lists bigger than 5,000 can cost two or three times as much.
In the 5,000 record category, all the brands we offer will do the trick – each has it’s own bell or whistle here or there – but in general terms, price is the biggest difference. It’s when you step beyond the 5,000 record versions that things really start to happen both price wise and capability. That is why you need to review the comparison charts and prices for each software listed on the previous page under the heading “Combination CASS & PAVE”. You have to make the determination as to whether or not the bells and whistles are worth the extra funds. Conversely, if you were to tell me that you have a big letter shop or own mailing software far more expensive than that we carry I might only recommend one because of the diversity of mailings that letter shops face. Each in my opinion fills a niche when you get into the 5,000 plus category.
Why A Subscription?
Earlier I mentioned that it “reads your mailing list, assigns the correct Zip +4”. In post office language it is CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) certifying your addresses (all the addresses together is known as a file or database). To get the postage discounts you seek, the post office requires that you use the most currently acceptable postal data and present a print out to prove it. Thus a new disk containing the updated info is sent to you every other month. Zips can change, carrier routes can change and even where the trays are sent within the post office can change. That is where the PAVE (Postal Accuracy Verification – you get it) comes in.
Earlier I also mentioned that the software “ re-arranges” your list “to be printed out in the order the post office wants”. More accurately I should have said the order you better take it to the post office in or you won’t get discounts. More on that in a minute. Trays provided free by the post office must have addresses on them when you take them to the post office. Called “tray tags”, this are barcoded little cardboard slips that tell the human eye as well as the automated machinery where the tray is going allowing it to be sorted to a certain conveyor belt, truck, airplane, SCF (Sectional Center Facility – major sorting location) and/or carrier route. Where the post office internally wants things to go changes frequently, hence you need updated software, a subscription.
The tray tags are generated by the software and completely correspond to the order in which the addresses are being printed out. There is no hand sorting into piles – all you have to do is put the pieces into the labeled trays as they are addressed.
That’s It In A Nutshell
For many, the motivation is postage savings. For others, the goal is cost avoidance in the expense of having a lettershop prepare your mailings for you. In any case, even the most imaginative person doesn’t try to fit a size 12 foot into a size 6 shoe. Nobody has ever just called up and placed an order for mailing software without first asking a bunch of questions – I welcome them, and I look forward to answering them. I have years and years of experience and I pass it along free. The software? Sorry, it’s not free. But a good charge card will take care of that. Just dial 800-471-8500 and ask for Larry while you’re still thinking about it.
PS: In the morning I’m full of
wisdom – but by late afternoon my brain turns to mush – you take your
chances if you call then.