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Address list management

How to clean up and maintain address lists

So, you've got a list of addresses. That requires some maintenance, especially if you use those addresses in your business or organization. Here we discuss the topic of managing all that information.

Part 1 - The Challenges of Address List Management

For companies that maintain mailing lists with street addresses, keeping accurate and up-to-date address data for contacts has always been a concern. As mailing costs continue to increase, it is becoming more and more important for organizations to reduce their returned mail and improve the effectiveness of their mailing lists. The solution is an address data management service that verifies the accuracy of addresses and standardizes them to accepted postal service standards.

Incomplete Address Data

Missing ZIP Codes, +4 codes, company names, apartment or suite numbers, and other segments of an address are common problems and lead to missed opportunities for an organization. Whether the missing info. results in a lost opportunity to follow-up on a sale with a customer or the inability to deliver a product ordered, a company's ability to communicate with contacts in its lists is impaired by incomplete address data.

Incorrect Address Data

Address data is highly susceptible to mistakes. Since the source of the data could be almost anyone, including customers and sales representatives, mistakes are common. The street name could be misspelled. An unacceptable city name could be entered. The wrong ZIP Code might be provided. Whatever the case, incorrect data in an address database will result in a higher percentage of undeliverable mail.

Outdated Address Data

Sure, a customer might file a change of address with the post office but wouldn't it be nice if a company could be notified of the change before sending out a mailing? How about knowing if a ZIP Code or street name has changed? Mailings sent with outdated address data may make it to contacts eventually, but it will require extra time to be processed and forwarded. Outdated address data is a problem especially worrisome for companies that send out time-sensitive mailings.

Updating Postal Service Data

Some companies have already implemented internal processes to validate their addresses. In these cases, maintenance becomes an issue. Address data can be very dynamic. Postal codes are added and removed. Homes are built and new streets and addresses are created. Street names and city names can even change. Most postal service agencies release updated data monthly. Companies that use this data to validate addresses must update it monthly to keep it current. Some may decide not to update it and validate their addresses with outdated data determining that some validation is better than no validation. In any case, keeping postal service data current is an issue all organizations that work with address data face.

A solution that can validate and standardize address data with low overhead and maintenance is needed.

Part 2 - Solutions for Address Management Concerns

Address standardization and verification services are used by organizations to maintain up-to-date address databases. These tools process address lists and correct mistakes, fill in missing address data, and update addresses with changes. These solutions use address data from postal service agencies such as the United States Postal Service® to standardize and validate addresses. Since these data files are updated monthly, it is important for companies to choose services that provide data updates on a monthly or bi-monthly schedule.

In order to maintain the integrity of the information in an address database, it is important to catch potential problems with address data quickly and validate this information often. Many companies will use batch processing to update the data in their databases. While this solution alone will catch and correct many incorrect, outdated, or incomplete addresses, validating an address at the time of entry will vastly improve the effectiveness of the data base. Address Entry Validation can eliminate addresses that cannot be fixed by list processing and assist organizations with developing completely verified and standardized address databases.

Part 3 - The Benefits of address entry validation & list cleaning

Address standardization and validation services overcome many of the difficulties that companies encounter when managing address databases. This is especially true when Address Entry Validation is combined with list processing.

Reduced Returned Mail

By validating that an address is correct before sending out a mailing, organizations will reduce the amount of undeliverable mail that is returned. Depending on the size and frequency of mailings, this validation can lead to significant savings for organizations.

Improved Quality of Address Data

Validating that an address is correct at the time it is entered into your database and then using list processing to regularly clean, verify, and update the address list will help organizations achieve significant improvements in address data quality.

Better Communication with Customers

Organizations depend on effective communication with customers to survive. Using services that verify and standardize the customers' addresses will improve your ability to communicate with customers via postal mail and open opportunities that may have otherwise been lost. Organizations that use address verification and standardization services are able to communicate with customers via mail faster and cheaper than organizations that do not use these services.

Reduced Mailing Costs

Many address standardization services will provide organizations with ZIP + 4™ and USPS® barcodes to enable them to qualify for discounts on mailings. Other postal services, such as Canada Post, also offer similar discounts for qualified mailings.

Increased Delivery Speed

By providing the USPS® with addresses in a standardized format and including information such as ZIP + 4™ codes, the post office states that companies can increase the delivery of their mail by one to two days.

Part 4 - The SmartyStreets Solution: LiveAddress

Our address standardization and verification solutions is called LiveAddress. This solution uses official postal data from postal authorities to validate the accuracy of address data without requiring customers to invest in additional hardware or software. LiveAddress gives customers unprecedented control over how and when their address verification and standardization is accomplished.

SmartyStreets has provided on demand address data management solutions to thousands of government and business organizations throughout the world since its founding in 2005. It has used its experience with postal data to develop innovative and customizable solutions that are user friendly and affordable.

How the List Processing Tool Works

Our list processing tool can be accessed by customers either at the time of entry using Address Entry Validation or by runing a list through our list service one by one. Addresses submitted to the engine are verified, standardized, and returned to the customer in the same file format.

Using the List Processing Tool

With the list processing tool, customers are able to copy and paste their address lists to our secure server. The customer submits the list for processing. Addresses are then run through the LiveAddress API engine where they are verified and standardized. Customers are notified via email when their list is finished (usually within seconds or minutes) at which point the customer can copy and paste the list back into their file.

Using the LiveAddress API

The LiveAddress API allows customers to submit addresses in real time and receive an immediate answer using HTTP. This API can be integrated into websites or any application capable of issuing an HTTP request.

Part 5 - Key Benefits of LiveAddress

SmartyStreets offers all the key benefits of address verification and standardization solutions: reduced returned mail, improved quality of address data, improved communication with customers, reduced mailing costs, and increased delivery speeds. Along with these standard benefits, the solution from SmartyStreets offers many additional benefits, which include:

No hardware costs

Because LiveAddress is a web-based service there is no need for our customers to invest in expensive hardware to maintain large databases of postal service data.

Elimination of time and effort spent on updating data

To obtain the most up-to-date data available a company would have to update its postal databases monthly when the postal authorities release updated data. Since the address verification and standardization is completed on Qualified Address' servers, it takes care of all data updates, thereby eliminating the time and effort that companies have to invest in keeping current data.

Fast Turnaround Time

Many address list services take anywhere from three days to two weeks to process submitted address lists. The technology that powers LiveAddress allows it to process addresses rapidly and immediately, thus allowing customers to receive list processes in minutes instead of days. Priority processing is also available for customers who need lists moved up in the queue.

High Reliability and Quality Service

SmartyStreets has taken extensive measures to ensure that customers can depend on its services to be reliable. The company is continually looking for ways that its address matching can be improved and enhanced. It also prides itself in offering some of the most extensive customer service options available in the industry.

Accessible by Multiple Users

Organizations that use more than one employee to manage their address data run into difficulties with desktop software. Because the services provided by SmartyStreets are web-based services, all employees at a company who need access to the address management services will be able to login and finish their assignments.

Secure Processing

SmartyStreets understands the proprietary nature of address lists. That's why it has gone to extreme measures to ensure that the data being processed on its servers is protected by some of the most advanced technology available.

Scalable Services

The services offered through smartystreets.com were created to be extremely scalable so whether a customer needs to have 500 addresses or 10 million addresses scrubbed, there is an affordable solution available.

Conclusion

Any organization that works with address data can depend on SmartyStreets to help it overcome many of the challenges that come with managing these databases. By reducing returned mail, improving the quality of address data, improving communication with customers, reducing mailing costs, and increasing delivery speeds customers will see the immediate impact of the SmartyStreets services on their bottom line. SmartyStreets is excited to be on the forefront of innovation in on-demand address database management.

Wow! You are quite the reader. Since you've made it this far your next step is to start verifying some addresses.