The Internet may be cutting down on how much consumers use postal mail, but businesses still rely heavily on the post office for shipping packages and mailing marketing materials. Unfortunately, rising gas prices are driving delivery prices through the roof.
Greg Brown, director of marketing at Melissa Data, offers small business owners advice on how to cut their mailing costs.
"Any time rates go up, businesses need to re-evaluate their current practices and look for ways to install efficiency ," said Brown. Melissa Data provides small business owners with software and tools to streamline their databases.
"De-duping" is one way to get rid of inefficiency. Sometimes businesses record their customers’ address and contact information in multiple ways, resulting in duplicate records for one customer.
"We see about eight to 10 percent duplicate records in an average database, many of which are hidden," said Brown. By sifting through records and removing duplicates --known as de-duping -- businesses can avoid sending mailings or correspondence to the same customer twice.
Another common problem is with address correction -- whether it’s a customer who moved last month or an employee who copied the address incorrectly, shipping to an incorrect address can be an expensive mistake. "The cost can range from $10 to 25 per package," said Brown. According to Brown, approximately 44 million Americans move each year, so address data becomes outdated fast.
Finally, Brown suggested grouping shipments by neighborhood or area to get a bulk mail discount.
"You get an incredible discount by identifying mailings by postal route," he said.