So, you’re ready to send your first campaign, you’ve uploaded your creative design, written some fantastic text to engage recipients with your call to action, and uploaded your customer data, only to find that some of your addresses are not verified?
Don’t panic! The Stannp team are here to help, with some top tips to ensure your campaign reaches its intended recipients.
What is Address Verification?
The Stannp platform produces machine readable addresses to the requirements of national mail carriers (principally Royal Mail and USPS).
Because the addresses are machine readable and the mail is inserted into the delivery network through Downstream Access (DSA), Stannp’s customers receive the fastest possible mail service.
When you upload address data to the Stannp platform it automatically compares the data to the information held by Royal Mail (for UK addresses) and /or USPS (for US addresses), and sorts the data into three categories; ‘Verified’, ‘Not Verified’, and ‘Other International’.
- Verified; These addresses have successfully matched with Royal Mail or USPS address data, and will receive the maximum postage discount available.
- Not Verified; These addresses don’t match Royal Mail or USPS address data. Because of this they will have to be hand-sorted, and incur an additional charge. Please read the rest of this blog for more tips!
- Other International; These addresses are in countries other than the US & UK, and will be sent as international mail.
Why do Addresses Fail Verification?
A non-verified address means the data you have for that address is not 100% the same as the data for that address in Royal Mail /USPS records.
Common reasons for verification failures include;
- Postcode Error; A correct postcode is the most important part of the mail delivery system. Even if the rest of the address is correct, an error in the postcode will cause the address to fail verification (for more information on postcodes try our blog post “PAF matching, Postcodes, and Data Cleaning“).
- New Address; The property is recently constructed and hasn’t yet been added to the address file. (Note, this can still be the case even if the property has a valid postcode).
- Alias problems; The property owner has given the property a name but hasn’t registered that name with the Royal Mail /USPS, so it’s not part of the data file. The reverse error can also occur if the address does have a registered alias, but that alias is not included in your address data.
- Business Name; Unlike residential addresses, business names form part of their registered addresses and are included in the file. This can cause otherwise correct addresses to fail verification where the business name has been abbreviated, or the business is using a trading name etc.
- New Business; As mentioned above, business names form part of their registered addresses. If a business is new, they may not appear in the data file and won’t verify, even if the premises pre-exists the business and previously verified for another business name.
- False Address; The address given to you by your intended recipient is not a real address, (either deliberately falsified or miss remembered).
- Data Errors; Errors in the data are the most common reason for addresses to fail verification. Examples include;
- Spelling; Part of the address has been miss-typed when the data was gathered or entered.
- Data Structure; The Stannp platform will do it’s best to interpret your data in whatever format you upload it, but to maximise the number of addresses that verify, make sure your data matches the structure of our Example Data File before you upload it.
- Additional Characters; Sometimes data files include extra characters that will cause the address not to match, for example a full stop (period) after the postcode, e.g; “EX31 1JZ.“
- Hidden Characters; Some Excel functions (for example drop down list filters) add additional hidden data into the file, which can corrupt the data on upload or cause addresses to fail verification. To fix this try removing all filters and saving the data as a CSV file before you upload it to the Stannp platform.
As a minimum to verify correctly, address data must have a correct first line of the address and Postcode. Royal Mail strongly recommend that the data includes the post Town as well for a better chance of verification.
But I Know My Addresses Are Correct…
Don’t forget, in most cases mail will still be deliverable to unverified addresses.
Unverified simply means that your address can’t be put into a machine readable format, and will therefore have to be hand sorted (which incurs additional cost).
Many Stannp customers who are confident in the source(s) of their data will send to both verified and non verified recipients, and receive great response rates to their campaigns.
We hope you find our Address Verification Guide helpful. For more helpful hints, tips, guides and info you can find us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, or feel free to speak to your account manager if you have any questions or need any help.