Top Five Reasons For Returned Mail

One of the significant challenges every business faces when it comes to direct mail marketing is returned or undelivered mail. Why? Because it is very expensive to send out bulks of mail that don’t reach the intended recipients. However, when you know why mail is returned, it can help you take steps to avoid wasting money in your future direct mail marketing campaigns. Here are the top five reasons why your mail is returned:

Invalid Delivery Address

One of the most typical reasons for returned mail is that the address isn’t valid. It may contain the wrong street names or numbers, or part of the address may be missing. You can prevent this from happening with data cleaning, which updates forwarding addresses and adds missing apartment/house numbers onto your list before you start the process of sending out mail.


Mail is Refused

Sometimes a person will refuse to accept the mail when they receive something. In such a case, the mail is labeled as ‘refused’ and sent back to the sender if a return address is listed. If there is no return address, it is labeled a ‘dead letter’ as it can’t be returned anywhere.


Return to Sender

Mail can be returned to the sender for several reasons. For example, it may have the wrong address or be refused by the recipient, as mentioned above. Additionally, the address may not exist, or part of the address may be incorrect or missing. For instance, there may be two buildings labeled as 1500 and 1520 with no 1510 in between. If the sender accidentally put 1510 in the address, it can’t be delivered, and it will automatically be returned. If the recipient has moved from the address on the mailing but didn’t leave a forwarding address, the mail will also be returned. The same situation will happen if they left a forwarding address that has expired. The same goes for if the address is vacant or the person is deceased, then the mail will be marked as ‘return to sender’.



Speaking of situations when a recipient is deceased or when the address is vacant, these come back as ‘return to sender’ or can be categorized more specifically as ‘Vac’ or ‘Dec.’ This is common with investor leads. People are leaving houses, moving, inheriting properties, changing addresses, etc., so returned mail is inevitable.

Your Database is Not Updated

The contact information of the recipient has changed, but you haven’t updated your data. Because of it, the postal services can’t deliver the mail with an insufficient address.


Take Away

It costs a lot of money to send out mail that will never be received, especially if you’re sending it in large quantities. That is one of many reasons why it’s essential to have clean data that is updated regularly to ensure more of your mail is getting where it needs to go. 

For more information about clean data and its value for your business, click here.