Direct mail is still an important aspect of your law firm marketing. From print newsletters to postcards to annual review letters, print marketing packs a punch that email and other online efforts just can't match. But, when it comes to direct-mail, the technical details can be overwhelming. For example, have you wondered what ancillary mailing endorsements are? Here is an overview according to the USPS Web site:
Ancillary service endorsements are used by mailers to request an addressee’s new address and to provide the USPS with instructions on how to handle undeliverable-as-addressed pieces. The endorsements consist of one keyword: “Electronic,” “Address,” “Return,” “Change,” or “Forwarding,” followed by the two words “Service Requested.” The endorsements are the same for all classes of mail, but the treatment and cost differ by class of mail. Use of an ancillary service endorsement on a mailpiece obligates the mailer to pay any applicable charges for forwarding, return, and separate address notification charges.
So, should you be using an endorsement on your law firm's mailing? Well, it depends.
Why use an endorsement?
In short, to keep your mailing list updated.
What endorsement should I be using?
That depends on what your goal is and what class of mail you are sending. If you are sending first-class mail with no endorsement then the postal service is following the guidelines for "Forwarding Service Requested." It's important to realize that while your letter is being forwarded automatically (months 1-12) your law firm is not being notified of the new address. Only after month 12 is the mailpiece returned to your office with the new address attached … at which time you may update your database. Simply by placing the endorsement of "Return Service Requested" on your first-class mailpiece you can utilize your mailing to ensure notice of available address updates because the postal service will return all non-deliverable pieces with the new address or reason for non-delivery attached. For time sensitive mailings, you may want to consider the "Address Service Requested" endorsement. This service combines the two previously mentioned services by forwarding the mailpiece and providing the address correction (along with the appropriate address correction fee).
What About Turnkey Mail?
If you are maintaining your mailing list by doing at least two first-class mailings yearly with a mailing endorsement, then it is most likely not necessary to add an endorsement to your turnkey mail. However, it would be one extra insurance for maintain your list, just be aware of the fee associated with the service.
But what if you are not doing first-class mailings? Adding an endorsement could be a useful tool for cleaning up your list. Be prepared to receive a larger return on the initial mailing and to then follow up by getting that mailing list updated! If you are a monthly turnkey mailer, please only do the endorsement for one month. This is due to scheduling/timing. You will need the time to get your list updated before the service should be used again.
Here is an Ancillary Service Endorsements Quick Service Guide with the appropriate services in the middle column "Standard Mail" as they would apply to your IMS Turnkey Mail.