Do you want to know what is in your mailbox before you get home?
Does your roommate or significant other always beat you to the mail?
Midway through 2020, the United States Postal Services eclipsed 20 million users to its Informed Delivery. The service is a notification feature to digitally preview what is coming via the letter carrier.
Putting a mail piece in the hands of a consumer remains a powerful marketing and informational tool. Further growing into the digital age, Informed Delivery is not only an informative tool for mail consumers, but also evolving to a mighty weapon for those sending pieces.
What Informed Delivery offers is traditional mail combined with digital marketing opportunities. Let’s delve into how the process works across the board.
Informed Delivery for Consumers
Implemented in 2017, eligible USPS consumers can sign up to be notified or see which mail pieces to expect when they physically reach them via residential mailboxes or personal PO Boxes.
Users can sign up through the USPS website and go through a series of security steps before an account becomes active in a process that takes a few minutes. Then, each morning, a mailbox’s owner can see digital images of what will be in the mailbox on which day. Scanned as part of the USPS’s sorting process, a black and white image is taken of the piece before it lands in your mailbox.
Wherever you are located, you can see what mail you will get later in the day by way of email notification. Is it close to your birthday? Be nosey and see if there are birthday cards bound for you. Expecting a college acceptance letter? Waiting for the semi-annual sale at your favorite local boutique or expecting to receive season tickets to the local theater or sports team? Be in the know before you flip open the box later in the day.
It’s an advance notice to receivers of mail. For busy people, knowing what is in the mail can help you plan your day. If traveling, you can be aware of what has come in the mail while you were out.
Advantage of Informed Delivery for Senders
Not all of us own and operate a mail opening robot (are those a thing?), so of course you can’t tear open a letter from your smartphone. What you can do, if you are the sender of mail, is provide an enhanced digital experience to emulate an advance on the mail you are pumping to clients.
Basic marketing is about touches by way of a phone call, newsletter, envelope, digital ad or logo signage. Informed Delivery presents an additional touch to a consumer without much effort. The scanned image a subscriber sees will have one side of your envelope/postcard appear in black and white. They see your logo. They see your campaign. They become more aware of your brand.
While the initial phase of Informed Delivery was presented as what the name suggests, the USPS has grown the program to present opportunities to make it more interactive.
To go with the black and white preview, the campaign can extend to including color images with a direct URL link. Referred to as a Ride-along image, it will accompany the scanned postcard or letter to create a second touch. Most importantly, in color!
How to create the enhanced features
L & D Mail Masters can assist along the way when you are ready to take advantage of this opportunity. Our experienced data and programming department can get the campaign started on the backend with the proper coding. In-house designers can offer direction on setting up what is considered a “ride-along” image to accompany the scanned mail piece. The advantage of the ride-along image is it can be vibrant in regard to colors, making it standout against the black and white scanned mailers.
Next is providing a URL or landing page. The ride-along image is clickable, which can drive consumers to the destination you desire be it a discount, informative or homepage to your website.
The basic campaign on the consumer’s end will show the scanned mail piece along with the clickable ride-along image.
Another option is a dual campaign. The dual campaign is a color version of the mail piece (typically designed without the mailing panel) along with the ride-along image. Digitally, designs should stand out against the additional mail shown to be delivered on that day.
See the benefits
Need some analytics? Summary reports can be provided when a particular mailing campaign has ended. The data includes the number of mail pieces sent, emails sent out to Informed Delivery users, number of emails opened, click throughs along with figuring email/click through rates.
Each organization or business is different with marketing approaches. The options of the basic or dual campaign sets up an easy A/B test to see which works best.
Is this a fit for you?
Many companies are in the planning stages for the upcoming holiday season. Be it shopping, travel or sending holiday cards, the ever-increasing use of Informed Delivery should not go unnoticed by marketing teams.
The uses can go beyond the retail market. Banks, insurance, telecommunications and government agencies could use the benefits of Informed Delivery to strengthen brand awareness.
Since one side of the mail piece is scanned, adding tag lines or creative flair to envelopes becomes more appealing. Can we be more eye-catching with an envelope on first glance to a person using Informed Delivery?
Don’t forget, after someone sees the digital version, the hard-copy, in-hand version will be waiting to be handled once again.