Data Enrichment & Validation

Why You Need Address Normalization and How to Implement It

October 22, 2020
Author
Inkit Team

Tidying your address data is one of the address validation routines you should be religious about. Otherwise, you risk running low-quality marketing campaigns with high return rates. Such mailings are very likely to be irrelevant, target wrong recipients, or take too much time to reach the delivery point.

Therefore, every record that gets into your address list must go through address normalization. This procedure will help you achieve USPS address standardization, keep all address lists in the same format, and prepare them for further validation.

Want to implement USPS address standardization now? Learn more about how it works in our blog post about:

  • What is USPS address standardization?
  • How to run USPS address standardization manually and use address normalization services
  • Why you need to standardize your address lists
  • How Inkit’s platform helps with solving USPS address standardization issues

What Is USPS Address Standardization

Address normalization (standardization) is the process of formatting address lists, so they match the format approved by the official mailing body. In the US, address books must meet the requirements established by the United States Postal Service.

USPS address standardization is a part of the address validation procedure necessary to prepare street addresses for verification. Standardization happens after validation software parses records into different components (e.g., street name, city, state, ZIP 4 code, etc.). Once the data is parsed, it can be standardized to match the necessary format. Note that USPS address standardization doesn’t mean that data entries are valid. To make sure a street address is mailable, you will need to continue with address verification.

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How to Run USPS Address Standardization Manually and Use Address Normalization Services

When it comes to USPS address standardization, the choice is quite simple. You can either use one of the address normalization services or take a do-it-yourself approach. Here is how both of these options work:

Address normalization services

If you like to simplify things, USPS address standardization services are something you’ll definitely appreciate. They can process any batch sizes, from a single address list to millions of postal addresses with equal ease. If done manually, the same work would take you several days.

Address normalization services don’t only standardize addresses but also correct spelling errors and format records to meet USPS requirements. Besides, such tools usually include address verification capabilities, so after standardizing data, you can instantly run validation and start mailing campaigns.

Deciding on what address normalization service to use, expect to choose among USPS and third-party tools. Although all of them draw data from official USPS databases, the functionality differs. Since third-party services are usually offered on a paid subscription basis, they provide additional functionality and integrations.

How do you know if it’s worth paying for a more advanced service in your case? – Consider your needs.

If address data is essential for your business processes, you should opt for full-featured third-party solutions. In case you don’t standardize address lists often but still want some automation, choose USPS solutions.

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Manual USPS address standardization

Even though address normalization tools are more convenient than manual USPS address standardization, you can do that if you like doing everything on your own. Manual checks are the most effective when you have a few addresses and already have some experience with address normalization. Below are the main steps to take:

  1. Collect mailing addresses from your customers and pick the records you need to standardize.
  2. Check address lists for any misspellings. Make sure each street, city, and state name is correct.
  3. Learn what format is approved by the United States Postal Service. You may visit this page for postal addressing standards or view street suffix abbreviations here.
  4. Make the necessary corrections. According to the USPS, your address should look like this:

If it does, great job! You have successfully standardized your address list and prepared it for address validation. This will make your mailing more accurate and bring a bunch of other benefits.

Five Reasons Why You Need to Standardize Your Address Lists

Apart from some obvious benefits, such as increased data accuracy, address normalization has some less visible advantages. Despite being less eident, they can significantly boost your business performance in the following ways.

Better customer relationships

Once you standardize global address lists, the quality of your mailing campaigns improves. Mailings become more personalized and always end up in their right hands. As a result, customers receive better service and start feeling more loyal to your company.

Reduced return mail and mailing costs

Even though direct mail is a highly effective communication channel, it’s more expensive than, for example, emails. Reliable address data contributes to lower return rates and, therefore, cuts expenses. That’s how USPS address standardization helps you make sure that every dollar spent on direct mail isn’t wasted.

Faster delivery

If you put the wrong street name on an envelope, the mail will reach the recipient anyway. Yet it will need to go through many additional checks and take a lot of time to deliver. Since USPS address standardization helps make sure that all address lists are correct, it also speeds up the delivery. Thanks to this, your corporate and marketing mail is always delivered within the shortest time.

Smoother automation

To use any kind of automation, you will need to start with your database. Make sure all records, not only mailing addresses, have the same format and components. By implementing address normalization for your address list, you prepare your business for digital transformation, which is critical for every company that wants to grow.

Improved security

Messy data records are more vulnerable to attacks. When the company standardizes and validates the information, it becomes easier to detect any unusual activity and fraud. A request coming from a suspicious address is more likely to attract attention. This way, by running USPS address standardization, you protect customers’ personal information and your brand image.

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How Inkit’s Platform Helps with Solving USPS Address Standardization Issues

Inkit is a full-featured service that automates all stages of address list management, mail printing, and delivery. Thanks to hundreds of integrations supported, it smoothly connects with your database and marketing tools to exchange information. Once the information is received, Inkit uses built-in data enrichment and validation functionality to ensure the data is valid and provide you with additional details when possible. As a result, you get a single customer view and automatically collect, USPS standardize, clean, and validate customer data.

Let’s see how Inkit works in practice. You have subscribed to Inkit’s platform and integrated it with your CRM and a web marketing tool. The tool supports web forms for collecting contact information, such as email, phone number, and physical address. After the data is captured, the CRM automatically records it and makes the address lists available to Inkit. Next, Inkit automatically checks, standardizes, and verifies contact details matching them against the USPS database. Now, the address lists are ready for further use. You can upload mailing templates and start personalized marketing campaigns. Inkit will fully manage postcard printing, mailing, and tracking, so no need to go to the post office.

Want to test Inkit for your project? Contact our team to request the demo.

Start verifying addresses today

Don't waste time and money dealing with lost shipments that never made it to your customers.
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