What to Expect With Your Direct Mail Order

Level: medium
Direct mail order

After placing your direct mail order with Smartpress, a VDP Data Specialist will begin to process your mailing list. They may reach out to you about any of the following:

Would you like us to run National Change of Address (NCOA) on your list?

  • NCOA checks against the USPS database for people who have moved and updates their address to the most current residence.
  • If you do not want to run NCOA, and instead focus on delivering to an exact location, we add “Or Current Resident” after the name.
  • One of these two options is required to meet the move update requirement set by USPS.

Do you have a Processing Acknowledgement Form on file?

  • If request that we run NCOA, we will check this.
  • If it’s not on file, we’ll send you a link to sign one.
  • This is a very brief form that can be completed in about two minutes.

Do you want your direct mail order to mail First Class or Standard Class (Marketing Mail)?

  • This can also be specified at checkout.
  • First Class typically delivers in two to five business days.
  • Standard Class typically delivers in three to 14 business days.

Did you seed yourself in the mailing list? Or would you like us to add you to the mailing list?

  • Adding yourself to the mailing list is a good way to get a feel for the delivery time.
  • You also get to see the quality of the final piece after it has been through post office processing equipment.

Do you want any blanks back?

  • Blanks are extra pieces from the print run that don’t contain addressing.
  • We ship these back to you to use as handouts or manually address and mail to additional contacts you may come across.
  • After cleaning your list, we remove any undeliverable records.
  • Be sure to specify if you want to use undeliverable records as blanks or reduce your order quantity to not include them and credit you back.

If you are registered with USPS and qualify for non-profit rates, we’ll ask for:

  • Non-Profit Authorization Number (NPA #)
  • Customer Registration ID (CRID)

Do you want us to remove duplicates by address or exact name and address match?

  • If you have multiple people on your address list with the same residence, we’ll ask you to specify if you want us to remove duplicate addresses or if you’d like one copy to go to everyone on the list, even if they have the same residence.
Custom direct mail

Mailing Permits for Your Direct Mail Order

  • If you have a mailing permit held at the post office in Chanhassen, MN or Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, we can use your indicia and have postage taken directly from your account.
  • If you do not have a permit or have a permit from a different post office, we can mail your online printing project with our mailing permit and charge your credit card for the postage.
  • Typically we use our permit imprint, but we can also stamp the piece if you prefer (additional stamp application fees apply).
  • By using pre-canceled stamps, we can still mail at bulk rates with the personalized appearance that comes with a stamp.

Processing Your List for Your Direct Mail Order

After we have all of the information that we need for your custom mailing, our online printing services experts get to work: a VDP Data Specialist processes the mailing list and a VDP Prepress Specialist prepares your art file for print.


You will receive a proof within 48 hours of placing your order, containing:

  • The final mailing list for your direct mail order
  • A list of undeliverable records that were removed
  • A list of move updates
  • Your PDF soft proof, which contains a sample of the addressing
  • Hard copy proofs also available to order
  • You must either approve or decline your proof

If you decline:

  • We’ll be notified and work on posting a revised proof.
  • You’ll be notified the proof is pending review and when the updated proof is ready for your review.

If you approve:

  • We’ll be notified that your direct mail order is ready to send to production.
  • We charge postage and give you a ship-by date.
  • The ship-by date is the day we drop off your mailing at the post office.
  • Your postage class selection will determine the time it takes to reach the recipient.

If you have questions about your direct mail order or printing direct mail, please contact customer service and chat with our print experts.