Data Enrichment & Validation

Extended ZIP Code Lookup for Business Offline Communications

September 29, 2020
Inkit Team

Most business owners and marketers treat ZIP codes as something unimportant. They fail to realize that mailing details, especially a complete ZIP code with a 4-digit extension, are a valuable source of information about their customers. If they tapped into 41 thousand ZIP codes that currently exist, they’d be able to collect additional demographic data about their target audience to use it for personalized marketing later on. Besides, verified ZIP code plus 4 addresses are subject to mailing discounts and can help optimize business expenses.

Are you more likely to start using a complete ZIP code with the 4-digit extension now?

The United States Postal Service offers a simple tool that enables mailers to obtain full ZIP codes. Extended ZIP code lookup generates ZIP code plus 4 data based on a street address, city, and state. Learn how this information can benefit your business or marketing and the limitations of the Extended ZIP code lookup service below.

  • What is the Extended ZIP code lookup by USPS?
  • Pros and cons of Extended ZIP code lookup for offline business communications and cross-channel campaigns
  • Inkit as an alternative to complete a ZIP code with a 4-digit extension and further enrich customer data

What Is the Extended ZIP Code Lookup by USPS?

Extended ZIP code lookup is an online service supplied by the United States Postal service to enable businesses, organizations, and individuals to complete a ZIP code with a 4-digit extension. It’s a basic web page that allows users to find a ZIP code plus 4 by address, search standard ZIP codes by city/state, or find a city by ZIP code.

Extended ZIP code lookup uses USPS databases to generate ZIP code plus 4 entries, which are considered the most complete versions of street addresses. At the output, users get the formatted address of the recipient with a nine-digit ZIP code. The first five digits stand for the delivery area or the destination post office. The additional four digits of the ZIP code plus 4 indicate a specific delivery route within the overall mail delivery area. Apart from regular street addresses, a ZIP code plus 4 can also be assigned to PO boxes. This information helps the postal service to sort the mail and, for this reason, is rewarded with USPS mailing discounts.

Note that you will be able to complete a ZIP code with a digit extension only if the street address is standardized, validated, and mailable. To clean your street address database, use postal address verification tools. A native USPS postal address verification and a bunch of third-party services can help validate, enrich, and format the postal data automatically at an affordable fee.

Pros and Cons of Extended ZIP Code Lookup for Offline Business Communications and Cross-Channel Campaigns

Once you complete a ZIP code with a 4-digit extension, you will be able to enhance your offline business communications and use the obtained data for cross-channel marketing campaigns. Even though Extended ZIP code lookup can benefit both the business and marketing domains, it has some considerable limitations to note. Let’s discuss the pros and cons below.

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Offline Business Communications

Pros of Extended ZIP code lookup for business communications

  • When you complete a ZIP code with a 4-digit extension, your offline communications are delivered in a single drop-off, enhancing the shipment quality.
  • The generated ZIP code plus 4 addresses have already gone through verification and standardization approved by the USPS. The validated customer data helps to cut return rates and, hence, improve the return on investment.
  • The postal service is more likely to provide a bulk mailing discount for ZIP code plus 4 addresses. Since such contact information is verified and accurate, the USPS spends fewer resources to deliver mail pieces and charges less. This makes offline business communication more cost-effective, enabling companies to optimize their operational expenses.
  • When Extended ZIP code lookup completes a ZIP code with a 4-digit extension, the USPS delivers direct mail much faster. Thus, businesses can send critical communications, including invoices, bills, or bank statements, within the shortest time and minimize the risk of being late. As a result, the quality of customer service also increases.
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Cons of Extended ZIP code lookup for business communications

  • Although this tool enriches customer data, it poorly integrates with automated mail printing and delivery systems. Businesses will need to hire a separate team that handles offline communications and organizes mail fulfillment. This strains the budget and distracts the staff from more critical business activities.
  • ZIP code plus 4 data does speed up mail delivery and make you more likely to get a discount, but that’s it. To send tailored business communications and track them, you will have to supplement extended ZIP code lookup with a range of other mailing services. This could make your offline mailings poorly managed.

Cross-Channel Marketing

Pros of Extended ZIP code lookup for cross-channel marketing

  • When you complete a ZIP code with a 4-digit extension using an Extended ZIP code lookup, you narrow down the geographic area where the target customer lives. This enables you to collect additional demographic data about your leads. You can use governmental bodies’ official statistics to learn the average household income, median age, and other useful details. This supplies your marketing teams with integrated customer data to provide more personalized advertising across several marketing channels. For example, once you relate a specific customer to the delivery route, you can select the advertised products based on these findings. Reliable demographic data enhances the quality of all marketing communications regardless of the channel used to deliver them.
  • Extended ZIP code lookup makes cross-channel marketing more accurate. It allows companies that don’t have much information about their customers and cannot afford to invest in paid services to learn a little more about their leads.

Cons of Extended ZIP code lookup for cross-channel marketing

  • Effective cross-channel campaigns rest on marketing automation software and require advanced tech solutions. Extended ZIP code lookup is one of the basic USPS services with limited data enrichment capabilities. Simply put, it may not be enough to implement truly personalized cross-channel strategies.

Inkit as an Alternative to Complete a ZIP Code With 4-Digit Extension and Further Enrich Customer Data

If you’re looking for something more potent than regular USPS services, try Inkit’s direct mail automation tool. This software is powered with a postal address verification API that can automatically complete a ZIP code with a 4-digit extension and benefit your business and marketing communications in many other ways.

Full direct mail printing and delivery automation are among the core Inkit’s capabilities. The tool automatically manages mail fulfillment freeing you from looking for a printing house or taking mail to the postal office. Before printing, it checks your database against the latest USPS address records to verify the existing information and add the missing details if necessary. Inkit also formats addresses based on the generally accepted standards to deliver direct mail within the shortest time seamlessly.

Hundreds of supported integrations make this tool particularly useful for cross-channel marketing. You get a chance to align direct mail with SMS notifications, emails, social media, online advertising, and other digital channels.

For more information about Inkit, contact our sales team, and request the demo.

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