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Return Addresses

The Value of a Return Address

It may seem like a small thing, but including your return address in your postcard layout is a smart idea. This often-overlooked element can cost you money and stand in the way of keeping your mailing list up to date and accurate. Many of our customers use a return address because it's an excellent opportunity to "brand" their postcard with a company name or logo. The Postal Service also encourages mailers to use return addresses so that they can send back any undelivered pieces.

When you send out your postcards via First Class Mail, the USPS automatically forwards your mail to individuals or companies that have moved and submitted a Change of Address (COA). However, that forwarding is only good for 12 months. For the next 6 months, the Post Office will return the pieces to the sender and indicate the new address that they have on file. This allows you to update your list for future mailings.

After 18 months, (or if the postcards are undeliverable for any reason) the Post Office will return the cards to the sender with the reason for non-delivery. However, if you have not included your Return Address, they won't know where to return your cards and they will be thrown away.

This is another reason to take advantage of our FREE NCOA48 processing. This service runs your mailing list against the full USPS database of moves dating back four years (or 48 months). So, instead of getting those moves back after the mailing, have us run it before the mailing. You will still get some returns because the database is only as good as those who register a move, but it will catch a good portion!

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When mailing using Standard Rate you get significantly reduced postage rates, however mail is not forwarded or returned. Bulk Mail that cannot be delivered to the person at the mailing address on the card will be disposed of unless you provide specific instructions to the Post Office in the form of an Occupant / Exceptional Address or via an Ancillary Service Endorsement. Using an Occupant / Exceptional Address will result in the cards being left at the address regardless of the current occupant. An ASE is a phrase that tells the USPS how you want undeliverable pieces handled.

  • RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED tells them to return the piece to you with updated address information.
  • ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED means you want them to forward the piece to the new address they have on file and to separately send you a notice with the new address information.

For Standard Mail, both ASE's are provided at an additional fee on just the forwarded or returned pieces. For all ASEs, your return address must be on the card.

Thanks so much for making my holiday cards happen, in time, against a lot of odds. The cards look amazing.
Gabor Ekecs
Gabor Ekecs Photography