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Don't Mail the Dead Letter office

August 10, 2020

There is nothing more frustrating for a direct marketer than returned mail packs. According to data from Forbes, 54% of those returned letters would have been read for more than a minute. So, it is not just the cost of the mailer wasted, but the opportunity cost of the lost revenue could be huge.

Three steps to Better Address Data

Given the scale of this lost opportunity, here is what you can do to make your address data more accurate.

Form Design

Good form design makes it both easier for your customers to complete your form it also ensures that the data is in the format you need. Start by using postcode lookup to auto-populate the rest of the address details. Each UK postcode has an average of fifteen addresses. Once the user enters the postcode, they have a short list from which to choose. This also overcomes the B2B issue of people entering the company name differently to what the post office thinks it should be.

Also make sure that your form is flexible enough to handle both the longest and shortest possible addresses in the country to which you are marketing. In the UK for example the longest address in the Postal Address File (PAF) is for the Human Resources department for the government of the Isle of Man. It has eight lines whereas the shortest address on PAF only has three. Finally, you can prevent mail getting lost due to simple spelling mistakes by using dropdowns for common fields like state, county and district data.

Validate Address Data

While good form design will help, you will still need to ensure that it has all of the parts you need: name, building number, street, city, postcode, etc. At the same time, you should be checking that each of these is formatted properly. Here in the UK postcodes are alphanumeric, just letters or just numbers clearly will not work. Finally, protect your brand by ensuring none of the data elements include rude words. Somebody’s idea of a funny joke could offend people who interact with the letter between you and the recipient.

Verify Address Data

Lastly, make sure that you verify that the address exists and is likely to be assigned to the person completing the form. Going back to our earlier example, Buckingham Palace is the only address in the SW1A 1AA postcode. That is certainly a valid address but how likely is it that somebody at the Palace is completing your form?


At least half of all of the bad addresses you collect would have read your letter for more than a minute and are therefore lost opportunities. While getting good address data is tough, helping your customers to give you the right address and your ability to validate and verify is straightforward but labour intensive.

LOLAMATIC makes this easy. We have been helping clients prevent bad address data from entering their systems for twenty years. There is no need for you to change your existing forms you just need to add the code that we provide, and LOLAMATIC does the rest. Working with our implementation specialists we can have the LOLAMATIC code up and running on your form in about ten minutes.

Check out our address validation and verification then get your free account.


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