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Easy Tips to Ensure Your USPS Marketing Mail® Arrives Successfully

Article - 2 Min. Read

Addressing mail may seem simple, but little mistakes can slow down or stop direct mail from reaching its target audience. Use this checklist to help avoid common errors.

A multicolor apartment building with outdoor decks.

You know how to address a letter. Or do you?

You invest a lot of time and money in your direct mail campaigns. That’s why it’s so important to avoid address mistakes. Automated mail-processing machines will be reading your addresses, and they don’t leave much room for error.

Here are some simple dos and don’ts to help ensure your mail reaches its destination.


  • Use at least 10-point type, and keep in mind that simple fonts are preferred.
  • Left-justify every line of the address.
  • Leave one space between the city and state and two spaces between the state and ZIP Code™.
  • Use black ink on white or light-colored paper.
  • Use a PO Box™ address or street address—but not both.
  • If the address includes a directional—for instance, “NW” for northwest—be sure to use it.
  • Double-check each ZIP Code using the USPS® ZIP Code lookup tool.
  • Print addresses in all capital letters if possible.


  • Include anything below the ZIP Code line. Automated mail-processing machines read addresses on mailpieces from the bottom up and will look first for a city, state and ZIP Code.
  • Use patterns, prominent flecks or shiny-coated paper for your envelopes. Some types of paper interfere with the machines that read addresses.
  • Use reverse type (white printing on a black background).
  • Let parts of the address slip out of view if your address appears inside a window.
  • Cut off important information when using address labels.
  • Apply labels at a slant.
  • Use punctuation, with the exception of the hyphen in the ZIP + 4® Code.

Double-checking that you’ve addressed your mailpieces correctly will help ensure they arrive where they’re supposed to. USPS Mailpiece Design Analysts (MDAs) can assist with mailpiece design and provide technical assistance on the use of special papers. Contact the Help Desk for more information at

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