Your USPS Service: 7 Steps to Sending a Certified Letter Successfully

Sending a certified letter is a great way to get important documents to someone, especially if you need proof that they received the mailing. The United States Postal Service has been offering this service to its customers for decades, delivering millions of certified letters to the recipients on time and with proof of delivery.

In the past, sending a letter via certified mail required a cumbersome process that was time-consuming and stressful if you didn’t know what you were doing. You may have had to wait in long lines and fill out forms by hand with repeated information multiple times. Now, however, you can send a certified letter successfully in 7 easy steps.

What is a Certified Letter Used For?

 Before you take the time to learn how to mail your letter certified, be sure that this is the method that you need. There are other ways to send mail and still have proof of delivery, so take a minute to understand what certified letters are generally used for. If you’re not sure whether or not you need to use certified mail for your document, this will help you make the decision.

Certified mail is used for the following reasons:

1 . If you need to receive proof of postage, you can use a certified letter. Important documents that need to be received by a deadline, such as your tax filings or important bills, should be sent via certified mail. This helps you track your mail at each stage of the process and gives the intended recipient proof that you did your part. You can see how long it takes for your document to get there and have the peace of mind of knowing it was received.

2 . If you need to ensure something is delivered, certified mail is the way to go. Millions of letters are sent every day through the USPS. With this tremendous influx of mail constantly going in and out, it becomes statistically possible for the USPS to lose or misplace your envelope. With certified mail, you can ensure that your mailing was delivered and track it every step of the way.

3. When you need to ensure that your document is not accidentally tossed with the junk mail, certified mail is a good choice. Nowadays most people only get mail they are expecting and junk mail. If yours doesn’t quite fall in either of these categories, it may get tossed with the junk. Instead, be sure it stands out as important by sending it certified.

4. If you need a signature confirmation of receipt. Certified mail automatically requires a signature from the recipient when it is delivered. If the person is not available, they will receive a notice that they have a certified letter waiting for them and they can then schedule a time to have it delivered or pick it up.

If your needs for your mailing falls into any of these categories, keep reading on for the 7 easy steps to send a certified letter successfully without stepping a foot in the post office.

How to Send Certified Mail

 Isn’t technology wonderful? That long line that you once had to wait in while filling out multiple forms to send a certified letter is a thing of the past. Now you can do it online from the comfort of your home and only have to leave to put the letter in the mailbox.

Here’s how you can send certified mail directly from your computer:

1. Sign up for a free account at a web business that offers USPS Certified Mail delivery. Be sure to find one that does not require monthly fees. Shop around and check the prices that each business charges until you find one you are satisfied with. Reputable businesses have prices comparable to the post office.

2 . Decide whether you want the web business to mail your letter or you want to do it yourself. Some mail services offer the option of online pdf scanning and mailing. This means that you can scan your document, upload it to your account, pay for the delivery fees, and the service will mail the letter that same day. Otherwise, you can purchase certified mail envelopes ahead of time and then pay for and print a label.

3. Prepare your letter. Create and compile your document. Scan and upload it if you have chosen to allow the web service to send your mail to you.

4. Add the address and information. Use your web service to import the addresses from your address book or manually insert them yourself. You will also need to know the weight of your package.

5. Print the forms. Now you need to choose the USPS service that you want to use. Certified mail is only available with Domestic First Class and Priority Mail. Then you can choose to receive an electronic return receipt. Once you choose your preferred method of delivery, your web business will compile all of the information that you provided and either print and send it themselves or you can print it from your printer on the envelopes you had ordered earlier.

6. Affix the labels correctly. Be sure you put the labels on as shown in the image on your computer. Save any receipts if applicable.

7. Mail your letter. Your mail carrier can now pick up your certified letter and send it out for processing and delivery. You didn’t have to write anything by hand, fill out copious forms in triplicate, wait in a long line, or even leave your home.

For Those Important Papers, Use Certified Mail

 Sometimes, the thought of dealing with the post office is simply overwhelming, especially if you live in an area where the lines are always long. When that happens, you may have decided that the document that you needed to send really didn’t have to have to go via certified mail, and that may have been a wrong choice that caused you difficulties later.

Now, you don’t have to make that decision. Instead, simply sign up for online mail service and you can submit all of your important documents without any inconveniences.

Image: Gellinger

Buying Vs Hiring: Which is The Best Remedy for Your Generator Problems

It can be upsetting to have your power go off when you need it most. But power failure is a tragedy any savvy home or business owner should be prepared for. No one wants to lose revenue due to a blackout or have their party ruined because of an outage.  Luckily, there’s a simple remedy for it; a backup power source— most times a generator. There are different types of these, the most popular ones being the diesel generators which are an economical and convenient option.

But which is the most cost-effective solution— a hire or a purchase? Well, whether you settle for a purchase or a rental will depend on several factors from availability to finances and maintenance, but eventually, it’s you to determine what will work best.

While there are indeed a few advantages that come with a rental generator, discover why buying will save you more dollars in the long run.

The Many Perks of a Purchase

 1-Instant Automatic Backup for Your Home

Power cuts can ruin your entire life at home; and lack of electricity means no lighting, no power for entertainment equipment, no security, and you won’t be able to use all your electronic household appliances.

Having a personal diesel generator, and not depending on rentals, makes sure you have immediate household backup power. You can have a technician make an automatic connection made such that your generator kicks into action as soon as your home power cuts, so your food stays fresh, security systems stay live, and those with health concerns involving the use of electrically-powered medical gadgets are not in danger.

 2-An Extra Layer of Insurance for Your Businesses

You know well your business needs and what a few hours of blackout could to your bottom line.  Think how much you’ll have lost by the time you order and have the backup power source installed and you’ll realize buying your own is a solid investment.

Apart from instant backup power, a personal generator adds another layer of insurance to your business by making sure you stay in operation uninterrupted. That way, revenue that’s strictly dependent on power supply keeps flowing in. All firms that offer online services, malls, farming, mining, farming, hospitals services (mostly those that power life-saving machines) or business that serve in areas prone to power failure, can depend on generators.

Furthermore, generators also offer protection from voltage fluctuations in power grid to safeguard delicate equipment from sudden failure. Having a standby generator gives your businesses a competitive edge.

3-The Cost-Effective remedy

In the long run, you’ll realize buying your home or business generator is a cheaper alternative. Hires can be expensive, depending on how frequent you’ll need one, the supplier’s rates and many other factors.

Some hires don’t offer transport so that’s an extra cost you’ll need to cover. Plus, any extra fuel will go back with the generator vs. when you have your own where you can save it for next time. Lastly, some vendors will make you pay for complex installations like load sharing generators and use exorbitant payment models like hourly rates.

4-No restrictions on Size or Different Power Demands

Buying your diesel generator allows you to select your size— one that will serve your different power needs; both low and high. Sometimes it is not easy getting the right rental generator for your needs when you need it, yet some of your demands are time conscious, and power failure is unpredictable. Owning your generator ensures you don’t experience delays waiting for backup power.

5-Safety for Homes in Areas Prone to Power Failures

Severe climates like floods, tornados, and hurricanes suffer frequent blackouts. If your area experiences these weather conditions, then a power outage is the next worst thing that can happen to you. Having a generator can help you power portable heaters or a furnace to warm up the entire family.

Coastal regions are prone to such climate conditions— so a diesel generator is a must-have. Plus, it needs to be set up correctly and on standby for emergencies instead of waiting for last-minute hires when severe seasons are around the corner. Though you’ll have to cater for maintenance costs, a purchase remains the most economical and safest solution for your case.

The few perks of a rental generator

  • Support Services— An excellent generator rental offers field support right to your doorstep. So it is a safer and faster remedy for if you know little about generators.
  • No Maintenance costs- Generators require maintenance from time to time depending on how much work they do. With rentals, you don’t have to worry about maintenance at all.
  • High-performance generators- rental companies work to ensure their customers are getting the best generators— industry latest models to provide convenience.
  • You get to test Before You Buy- some service providers agree to sell you rental generators under special terms. Or if you have been looking to buy one, a hire is an excellent way to test the model you’re eyeing before you make the purchase.

 The Verdict

Whether you buy or rent is your decision. But the choice should be determined by many factors including:

  • How often do you need the generator?
  • How stable is your power?
  • Do you have technicians who can monitor your generators, or are you willing to outsource one all the time?
  • How much harm can an outage do to your company’s bottom line?
  • Which decision is more economical for your business or home

Still, you will realize buying is cheaper.  But be sure to scrutinize your service provider if you have to go with rentals. Compare rates vs service quality, look for nearby suppliers so that you reduce time wastage due to long waits.

Wrapping Up

Backup power is a necessity you can’t ignore, don’t wait for a power cut only to start running up and down trying to make a desperate order. Late deliveries can be more harmful than helpful especially in cases where the demand is an emergency.

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How To Start A Direct Mail Marketing Campaign Successfully

Even as direct marketing becomes focused on email campaign strategy, a direct mail marketing campaign can still be effective. A direct mail campaign is harder to ignore than a mass email. It also provides potential customers with a tangible example of a company’s desire to sell to them. As the owner of a start-up, using a direct mailer could set you apart from your competitors. You may wonder how to set it up though. Your start-up has not done such a campaign before. A bad campaign could be expensive in postal fees. However, the following steps will show you how to start a direct mail marketing campaign.

 Build A Mailing List

Before you can mail anything out, you need to decide who to mail it to. Like other marketing, your mailing will only be effective if it is carefully targeted. Do your research and produce a list of leads the same as you would for an email campaign, only taking their home addresses instead of emails. You can then buy more mailing names depending on the criteria you are looking for in customers. Together, these two methods should produce a list of people likely to buy your products. This list will ensure your investment in printing and postage is not wasted.

 Create The Mailer

You now need to design the mailer you will send to the customers. This should be a custom-made piece that uses window envelopes. It should be much more noticeable than your company’s usual brochure’s or pamphlets. Your mailer should be informative, providing the reader with all the info they need on the product your advertising. It should also encourage a call to action, a statement that encourages them to call or email you back if they are interested. Additionally, use plenty of graphics, but make sure they are relevant to your message. This mailer needs to do one job, sell your product. You should avoid including anything that interferes with that goal.

 Test The Campaign

Before you start the mass mailing, test the mailer to make sure the campaign works. To do this, send the mailers to one small area of your overall target and measure the response to your sales department. If you get a good rate of leads following the call to action, you can expand the rollout to other areas. This process of test and expand ensures that you don’t spend money on a failing campaign. Every expense comes after you’ve proven interest in the one before. This scale up also makes it easier for your company to respond to interest by staggering the roll-out. Testing like this is the only effective way to make sure your assumptions about the customers are true.

 Process Responses and Analyze

Now that the mailers are going out, your company needs to be ready for responses. Potential customers interested by your flyer will quickly lose interest if they can’t get a hold of you. If you put a phone number on the mailer for response, make sure your company is ready for the call volume, without putting people on hold. If you told them to go to a website, make sure you can take the surge in users. You should also be ready to take the data these responses will generate. This data will be essential to determine your return of investment, or ROI. Your ROI lets you know whether the campaign worked. This step is the most important, since it is where potential customers become actual customers.

Repeat The Process

Now that your mail campaign is a success, you need to do it again. These fresh customers will forget about your company quickly if you don’t jog their memories from time to time. A good direct mail campaign will interlock with the next campaign, and the one after that. Marketing like this needs to be a constant process. You should always be thinking of new mailers to send or ways to connect the mailers to your other marketing. That way your brand is constantly reinforced in the customer’s mind.

The following steps will help you build a successful direct mail marketing campaign. Research your desired audience and create a mailing list that is likely to respond to you. Use this knowledge to create a mailer that will call people to action. Test the campaign in a small area to prove it works. As you launch, be ready to respond to interested leads, and study their data to produce an ROI. Repeat the process with interlocking campaigns so your customers don’t forget you. These steps will let you dominate the mail marketing space.

Image: Geralt

5 Cross-Contamination Prevention Strategies Every Pharmacy or Restaurant Owner Should Know

Cross-contamination involves the movement or transfer of harmful pathogens from one individual, object or space to another. Bacteria can be spread from food to prep areas or to other food in a restaurant, and from a counting tray to other prescriptions in a pharmacy. It is essential to prevent cross-contamination since it can lead to serious illness. There are steps that a pharmacy or restaurant owner can take to prevent cross-contamination.

 1. Establish a Personal Hygiene Program

When it comes to food and prescription handling, personal hygiene is an essential part of preventing cross-contamination. According to an article in Pharmacy Times, unclean hands often introduce contamination, causing 30% to 40% of acquired infections. Pharmacy staff members should practice proper hand hygiene, using antiseptic handwashing every time they enter or reenter the aseptic area. To minimize the possibility of cross-contamination in your restaurant, institute policies addressing important hand practices, including proper handwashing, hand care, and glove use to ensure food handlers limit the risk of cross-contamination.

2. Keep Equipment Sterile

In compounding pharmacy cleanrooms, all materials of previous product manufactured should be removed and no residual cleaning agent should linger. All toxic solvents and active compounds should be removed from the equipment and must be verified. Visual inspection and swabbing should be used to analyze the surface of equipment, which should be wrapped with polythene bags until use. In a restaurant, each type of food should be prepared and handled with a separate piece of equipment. For instance, the cutting board that you use for raw poultry should not be used for produce during the same prep time. It’s best to prep food at different times and clean and sanitize equipment between each product.

3. Train Personnel

Be it in a pharmacy or restaurant, employees must be trained and should be able to identify a potential cross-contamination situation and prevent it from happening. Personnel should wear appropriate, clean body coverings that are required for their job. Food workers, for example,  should always follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) to prevent the transfer of microorganisms and allergens to the food. Pharmacy staff should change clothing after every product change or breaks and should not be contaminated by cleaning agents.

4. Practice Correct Storage

Safe food storage in a restaurant is crucial, while proper storage of pharmaceuticals is vital. In a restaurant, it’s extremely important to protect both food quality and food safety to prevent foodborne illness. Each item of food should be kept at a specific temperature and the food storage areas need to be kept clean and free from bacteria and other pathogens. In a pharmacy, proper temperature, light, humidity, conditions of sanitation and ventilation are important aspects of the total drug control system wherever drugs and supplies are stored.

5. Clean and Sanitize All Work Surfaces

The work surfaces in a restaurant and a pharmacy should be cleaned regularly. All surfaces that come into contact with a food item must be effectively cleaned and sanitized to ensure food safety and the prevention of foodborne illness. In a pharmacy, the need for vigilant cleaning and sanitizing practices should be reinforced, while the surfaces of the sterile compounding areas should be cleaned frequently.

 It is vital to prevent cross-contamination in a pharmacy or restaurant. The health and safety of your customers should be a priority. The cross-contamination prevention strategies can help you, your business and your customers.

Image: AndreaEgger

How To Branch Out As An Ecommerce Site

Operating an ecommerce store can be highly rewarding, but there will always be room for growth. If you want to compete with the bigger brands in the world, then you will want to identify ways in which you can branch out and expand your operation. This will help to bring in more customers and increase your sales, and when you use the best expansion methods this could have a huge impact on the amount of money that you make from your ecommerce business. So, if you are looking to brand out but you are not sure how then read on for a few tips.

Diversify

One of the best ways to branch out is to diversify your operation so that you appeal to a much wider group. When you expand your target customer base you are not limiting yourself and could double your business. This can be done by:

Targeting new customers: Identify a new target customer base but be sure not to neglect your current target market. This new customer may be closely related to your current, so retain your identity.

Add new products: It can also be highly effective to add new products to your range. Again, this may be related to what you currently sell so think about the type of person that purchases your current products and what their wants and needs are. Additionally, it is worth looking at trending products and consider adding these to your lineup.

Sell Your Products Elsewhere

It can be frustrating when you have high-quality products, but you do not get the same amount of traffic as the larger, household retailers. Fortunately, there is a great solution to this problem in the form of marketplace integration where you can sell your products through larger retailers but still under your name and allowing you to handle the shipments, enquires and more. For instance, www.sellercloud.com allows ecommerce stores to integrate with Walmart which is one of the biggest and most recognizable retailers in the world which could significantly increase product demand and brand reputation.

Increase Visibility

One of the most effective ways to upscale your operation is to increase your visibility online. You could have the best products on the market, but if you are not easily found online, then you will never succeed. This means that you can branch out by taking steps to increase your visibility and online presence. Internet marketing is an excellent way to do this, and it could help you to climb through the organic listings and compete with the top names in your industry. Additionally, you need to make sure that your ecommerce store is of the highest quality with professional standard photographs, detailed product descriptions, customer reviews, and a seamless shopping experience.

Branching out with the above strategies should enable you to go on and find greater success and increase your brand awareness. The ecommerce industry is one which is fiercely competitive which means that it can be hard to stand out from the crowd and succeed, but with a little patience and hard work you should be able to branch out and bring more customers to your store.

Image: Bruce Mars