How Does Address Standardization Make a Difference

Before you understand why an address standardization matters, you should know what address standardization is and why it is essential.

Address standardization is the process of formatting all of the addresses present in your database according to the format approved by your country’s postal authority. In our case, it’s The United States Postal Service (USPS; also known as the Post Office, U.S. Mail, or Postal Service).

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Here’s an example of how standardization works:

Regular address that a prospect enters Standardized Address
post office box 121
Abeeville, Alabbama
PO BOX 121
ABBEVILLE AL 36310-0121
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

You might be wondering about the capitalization and casing. Let me clarify, it’s not one of the format requirements of USPS. Most companies do this to make the addresses clearer and make the delivery process easier.
You can also have these addresses in Proper Case format, like

PO Box 121
Abbeville AL 36310-0121
United States of America

It’s equally acceptable.

Please note that address standardization API is only responsible for formatting your addresses correctly. It never guarantees the delivery of your direct mail unless you have validated the address.

However, before you can validate your customers’ location details with USPS’s official database, they should be standardized. This way, you can ensure that:

  • The customer information that you have is valid and precise.
  • All the addresses are deliverable.
  • You have removed the wrong and edited the incorrect addresses.
  • The typos and errors present in the valid addresses have been removed.
  • You have a high-quality mailing list, resulting in a low bounce rate and reduced misspending.
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How do You Standardize Your Addresses

Now that you know why standardization is so important, you must know how to do it as well.

You have two options: either you do it yourself, manually, or you get an Address Standardization API and do it automatically.

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Do It Yourself (DIY)

In this case, you’d need to follow a few steps:

  • Get the addresses you want to standardize.
  • Check the spelling, typos, and other errors.
  • Edit and correct the abbreviation where needed.

You should know that there’s only one authentic version of the abbreviation as per the USPS. To ensure you enter the correct version, check this USPS library of addresses.

The process may seem simple, but it can eat up tons of working hours and resources before you even realize it. Because no matter at what stage of business you currently are, your mailing list is bound to have tens of hundreds of addresses in it.

Keeping that in mind, if you decide to standardize all of your customer details manually, your team can miss out on things or create natural human errors. And if it happens, the whole point of standardization will go in vain.

Use an Address Standardization API

Most companies decide to get themselves an address standardization API. The API standardizes all of the addresses present in your database within minimal time and with higher accuracy.

Furthermore, it also arranges the customer details in standard format at the point of entry. This way, you’d not need to go through all of the hundreds or thousands of new addresses entering your system regularly.

The address standardization API does it for you automatically. Hence, it reduces half of the stress from your shoulders.

Without such an API, your tasks can eat up a lot of time, money, and, no-doubt, resources.

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Address Standardization API Details

When you do things manually, you take help from the USPS data directory, but with the advancement in technology and do things automatically and easily, you can choose other options too.

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CASS Address Standardization (United States)

Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) is a certification program to standardize and verify your addresses. United States Postal Services developed this program in 2007. Any software that’s CASS certified can standardize, validate, and update your mailing list’s outdated addresses as per the official database of USPS. The software can ensure the validity of your customers’ mail delivery details present in your system.

PostGrid is CASS certified, which is why we can standardize your addresses as per USPS guidelines in no time.

Software Evaluation and Recognition Program (Canada)

Similar to CASS, the SERP certification program is developed by the postal services of Canada. This certification aims to let the software validate and standardize the mailing list addresses of companies.

It guarantees correct and on-time delivery of your packages and mail pieces. And you can send any type of direct mail carefreely. For example:

  • Direct Mail Campaigns
  • License Renewals
  • Customer Awards 
  • The Donation
  • Discounts and Offers
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  • Loyalty Rewards
  • Rebate Offers
  • Financial Details
  • Legal Documents
  • Subscription Renewals
  • Billing Statements
  • The Newsletters
  • Political Messages
  • Compliance Letters, etc.

Why do You Need an Address Standardization API

As I told you earlier, to validate the mailing list details against USPS’s official database, companies need to standardize them. And address standardization API helps you do that quickly and accurately by fixing the typos, removing the errors, correcting the spelling mistakes, improvising the incorrect format, incomplete zip codes, etc.

Once it’s all done, the addresses are then passed to the validation feature to ensure the state, zip-code, city, and area mentioned are correct, valid, and deliverable.

Accurate addresses are essential because when you launch a direct mail marketing campaign or send your customers any other important direct mail or notice, it must reach the intended recipient. Otherwise, it may cost you money and reputation.

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Let’s say you launched a direct mail campaign without standardizing or validating your mailing list. In this case, your direct mail pieces may or may not reach all of the potential customers. It results in inaccurate analyses of the campaign results, misspending, and lost opportunities – as the prospect might have purchased if they got a chance to see the offer.

The reason for misspending can be lost and returned direct mail pieces, plus the ones you sent to the duplicate addresses. Depending on the length of your mailing list, you may have several identical addresses. And continually sending multiple similar mail pieces to a single prospect may annoy them.

Apart from all this, if you send regular direct mail pieces containing confidential information of the prospects, you must consider standardization and validation of your addresses. The loss of crucial information may cost you, and apparently your customers, a lot.

And it’s not only about this one cost, but you can also lose that customer for life, and it’ll result in negative word of mouth marketing.

Eventually, because of a single bad address, you’re risking the reputation of your whole company.

Additionally, the incorrect addresses present in your mailing list can also affect the efficiency of doing business that includes, but is not limited to, customer service, direct marketing, mailing, recruitment letters, compliance notices, direct mail billing and invoices, and so on.

Next to dropping your profit margin, incorrect addresses may also cost you money, primarily if you deal with a large mailing list — misspending, lost opportunities, and bad reputation are all a part of it.

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How Can PostGrid Address Standardization API Help You

PostGrid is CASS and SERP address standardization API. Despite your business type and mailing size, PostGrid can help you fetch and standardize each record of your database seamlessly within minimal time.

To use PostGrid’s API, you’d need to integrate it with your CRM or other systems. Once merged, it fetches your mailing list data within seconds and starts standardizing it upon instructions.

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Here's how it works:

  • It corrects all the spelling errors, viz., the state, city, or other location names.
  • Correct the formatting according to USPS, viz., capitalization.
  • Edit and correct the abbreviations as per USPS records.
  • Fixes the zip codes to ZIP+4 characters
  • Recognizes and highlights the information gaps.

Even though standardization can take you a step ahead towards cleaning your data, it alone cannot get your mail pieces delivered to the correct location. That’s why it’s recommended to get a complete PostGrid address standardization, geocoding, parsing, validation, and autocomplete API.

PostGrid Address Standardization:
A Practical Example for Better Understanding

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Most companies have customer data in different forms. For this example, we're considering:

  • SQL database for type 1
  • CSV file for type 2
  • A simple list of online details for type 3

Now, to get the details of the top 70,000 customers for some business event, you’d need to merge the data of these three different types of databases.

However, to accomplish this task, you may face several difficulties. The first issue that can arise is that all of the databases are in different formats. The second is that if one of the databases is standardizing its addresses, the other may not. Third, the formatting of all three types of databases can be different.

For example, if one of them is defining the full address in a single line, the other might be breaking it down into multiple lines.

Another problem for you can be the existence of the same customers in separate lists. If you’d send the same direct mail to a single prospect multiple times, it can cause two problems. First, it won’t be professional from your end. Second, depending on the number of duplicate customer information, it’ll be a total waste of money and resources.

The wastage of money and resources is not limited to the duplicate addresses only, but the invalid and wrong addresses in your database add to this cost too.

To avoid these things from happening with you, consider data cleaning, standardizing, and geocoding from a single API, like PostGrid.

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You can do it in three simple steps:

  • Standardization: The API will parse all of the customer location details present in your different mailing lists and arrange them in a single and consistent format. The format will be in line with the USPS. Eventually, your addresses will be clearer and easier to understand for the next step.
  • Validation: This step will ensure that all the addresses in your system are valid and deliverable. Plus, PostGrid address validation API updates its data regularly as per the USPS’s official database. Hence, you will have a high-quality and error-free mailing list.
  • Deduplication: Gradually, after validation of the customer details, the API will find and remove all the similar address details present in your database. You’ll find unique addresses in the merged database. However, if you deduplicate your addresses before the standardization and verification, then most similar addresses will be missed.

Once you’re done with these three steps, you’ll have a more reliable and high-quality mailing list. With a trustworthy database, it gets easier to track the lifetime value of a customer. You can track their purchase details, improve the buyer journey, and of course, eliminate a tremendous amount of misspending.

Benefits of PostGrid Address Standardization API

By now, you must have a clear idea of what exactly address standardization is and how it works. Let’s talk about how it can help your business.

Low or No-Bounce Rate

With the correct address details of your prospects in your mailing list, you reduce the chances of delivering your mail pieces to the incorrect and invalid addresses tremendously.

This step helps you reduce the number of lost direct mail pieces, returned mails, and the ones that get delivered to the wrong recipients. Thus, you save the efforts, money, and resources you put into creating these mailpieces. Plus, you maintain your brand’s reputation this way.

Reduced Misspending

Whenever you retarget your potential customers, they land on your website or online platform and usually enter their details to get the offer you’re making.
This way, sometimes, you not only let a single prospect’s or customer’s entry more than once but several times indeed. And that’s what we call duplicate address details.

Now, when you finally launch your direct mail marketing campaign or send other offers through this means, you end up sending the mailpiece to a single prospect multiple times.

Depending on how great your retargeting system is, you may have a bunch of such records.

There’s nothing wrong with having such records in your database, but you should always have a system or a way to eliminate them when a large amount of money and resources are at stake.

The address standardization with a few more follow-up steps can help you clear all such customer details. PostGrid API enables you to do it all automatically, ensuring you don’t have to spend hours or weeks just cleaning and formatting your data before launching a direct campaign.

Effective Communication

The most important part of a business’s success is sales. The higher the sales are, the better is your ROI. And the essence of sales is effective customer communication.

If you’re unable to convey your message to the right person at the right time, then you may lose a lot in business. Hence, you must maintain the proper customer record and deliver your mailpieces to the correct recipient on time.

Hence, you must parse, standardize, and clean your database gradually.

No Tedious Manual Work

With the automated PostGrid address standardization API in place, you can forget about putting hours in collecting, fetching, and going through tons of data.

Instead, all you’d need to do is integrate PostGrid with your CRM or other systems, and it’ll fetch all of your customer details within seconds.

You can use the time you thus saved on other prioritized tasks that’ll benefit your business more.

Which Industries Can Use PostGrid’s
Address Standardization API

Here’s a list of the industries that will benefit from address standardization API:

direct mail for insurance providers

eCommerce Stores

Mostly the online shopping stores need to capture and store only correct shipping address details of customers. However, it’s not possible without an address standardization and validation API.

The prospects usually make errors or typing mistakes, leading to failed delayed deliveries of their parcel. Hence an address API, like PostGrid, is way too essential for such companies.

Real Estate

If you display homes on your website and encourage your prospects to visit the places on your listing, you must display only accurate addresses.
Otherwise, they’ll waste a lot of their time just looking for the place in the wrong location.

Such experiences will result in frustrated and annoyed prospects who will never see another property from your website. It’s especially true if you let people display their properties on your website without micromanaging everything.

The automated address standardization API will help you keep and let people enter only correct location details.

Rental Homes

Like the real estate business, if you list rental vacation homes and hotels for prospects — an address standardization API can help.

The primary benefit is that your customers will reach the right location. The hidden advantage is that they can see all of the address listings in the same format. It’ll determine that you are a reputed company.

Financial Institutes

Most financial institutes, including banks, send their customers’ confidential information via direct mail piece. To keep the information you send secure and your company’s integrity intact, you must only ship to the correct addresses.

To ensure that you have only correct addresses present in your database in the right format — an address standardization API with validation and autocomplete features is a must to have.

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Address Standardization FAQs

Serving our clients for years, we have gathered some common questions that most business owners want to know about address standardization API. We have answered them below.

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How do you standardize an address?

To standardize an address manually, you should fix their casing, capitalization, abbreviations and convert the zip codes into +4 Zip code.

What does it mean when your address is standardized?

When your address has been standardized, it’ll have all the necessary elements of the address in the correct spelling. It’ll contain the abbreviations as mentioned in the USPS database and so the +4 zip code.

How long does it take for a new address to be recognized?

It takes nearly 14 days (two weeks) for a new address to be recognized by the official postal service’s database.

How do I write my address with USPS?

  • Keep your address and the postage stamp on the same side.
  • Always use the longest side of the envelope to write the address details.
  • Use capital letters.
  • Do not use any punctuation marks.
  • Keep one space between city and state
  • Keep two spaces between zip code and state

You can also check the detailed instructions on this page of USPS’s official website.

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