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7 Ways to Improve Your Database

Tip No. 1

Use a database program for data entry such as Access, Excel, Maximizer, dBASE. Word processing programs may be useful for generating labels, but they can cause big headaches when doing a mailing. Field information must consistently be input in the correct field and that's not easy with Word.

Tip No. 2

Divide the name into several fields:

Prename: Mr.
Firstname: Sam
Middle Initital: M.
Lastname: Smith
Suffix: Jr. or III
Designation: C.A. or Ph. D.

By dividing the segments of the name into separate fields, personalization can be achieved without alienating the recipient.

Create a separate field for city.
Create a separate field for province.
Create a separate field for postal code.
Create a separate field for country.

Tip No. 3

Create 2 or 3 separate fields for the street information. Addresses can be long and labels can be limited to 40 characters. Put the less important information in the first Street field such as the name of the building. The last street field should contain the delivery information - 1234 Any Street Apt 401". Your database will be analyzed for accuracy if your list is over 5,000. The program reads addresses from the bottom up and a building name or other references are not considered "delivery information".

Street 1: The Pender Building
Street 2: 1200 West Pender St Suite 400

PO Box numbers should be in the last Street field, before the City.
Street1 595 Burrard Street
Street2 PO Box 596

Tip No. 4

Leave out symbols such as #400 denoting Suite. Type "Suite" out in full and put it in after the street name and number. Leave out punctuation in the address. 1234 Manning St

Tip No. 5

Input the postal code like this: V6K 3P8 Do not add extra spaces, leave out the space or put in a hyphen. Your list will be sorted by postal code for mailings and odd input throws off the sort.

Tip No. 6

Check your data entry after each session. Sort the postal code column first. Missing postal codes will rise to the top - look them up. Codes input with numbers first instead of letters will stand out. Fix them up. Sort by the province field. Provinces should be input with no punctuation.

Here is a list of the provinces and their proper 2 letter designations. Note: Newfoundland has been changed from NF to NL. Please update your list.

NL - Newfoundland & Labrador
NS - Nova Scotia
QC - Quebec
SK - Saskatchewan
AB - Alberta
YT - Yukon
NB - New Brunswick
PE - Prince Edward Island
ON - Ontario
MB - Manitoba
BC - British Columbia
NT - Northwest Territories
NU - Nunavut

Tip No. 7

Check your postal codes again. Sort your list by province and verify your postal code input against this map. Ensure the appropriate first letter of the postal code matches the province.

All of the above tips will help ensure your mail piece gets delivered. The postal code is the most important aspect for sorting and bundling bulk mail.

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