Believe it or not the answer is the new pilot program from USPS® “Informed Delivery”. The optional service for Business Mailers is ABSOLUTELY FREE (at least for now ...) and needs just a basic preparation and setup of the mailer side. Campaign setup and Ad design fees may apply.
What Is Informed Delivery®?
Informed Delivery is a FREE feature of USPS® that allows the subscribed consumers to preview their upcoming mail via email. The users receive a morning email with grayscale images of the addressing side of incoming letter-size mailpieces.
Informed Delivery integrates physical mail, email and internet providing multiple touch points which gives business mailers the ability to interact with their prospects after the direct mail drop.
How The Informed Delivery® Works For Consumers?
The pilot started in November 2016 in New York, and since April 14th this year is available to the most of the ZIP codes throughout the USA.
“Did you know? The acronym ZIP refers to Zone Improvement Plan, an initiative implemented by the USPS® in the early 1960’s improving the sorting and delivery of mail.”
2. Grayscale images are generated during mail processing.
3. Images are then matched to physical address.
4. Business Mailer interactive campaign is implemented.
5. Emails are deployed to the subscribers.
6. Users receive physical piece in their mailbox.
The service is Free for consumers and USPS® makes multiple marketing efforts to subscribe as much as possible consumers.
WHO ARE THE INFORMED DELIVERY® SUBSCRIBERS?
Using earlier projection numbers the Informed Delivery service should have about 15 million users by now, concentrated in the major cities and metro areas.
Almost 2/3 of the subscribers are males. Over 50% are with annual income of up to 150K. 76% are between 25 and 55 years old.
The BENEFITS for the mail recipients are obvious and undeniable
Convenience - users see the mail in the morning before the actual delivery and they have extra time to take action if necessary.
Visibility & Security - users view the mail images in their Inbox. They have access through the USPS® website where the mail images are stored for a week. In case there was an important mail which the user received an image for, bit not the actual piece, he or she can inquire about the missing mailpiece through their Informed Delivery online dashboard.
Access while away - if an user is away, it is beneficial and useful to get access to their mailbox even if the actual mail is on-hold.
97% of users would likely continue as a participant
88% of users would recommend Informed Delivery to friends, family, and colleagues
70% of notifications are opened daily
Source: NY Pilot Survey - Feb. 2016
How The Informed Delivery® Works For Business Mailers?
RIDE-ALONG INTERACTIVE CAMPAIGN - The business mailer provides a JPEG image (max 300x200 pixels) of an offer, special, announcement, etc accompanied by an URL. The clickable image and URL will be displayed below the scanned grayscale image of the actual physical mailpiece.
For best result - use your brand, logo and special offer with a clear CTA (Call-to-action) clickable message.
REPRESENTATIVE CAMPAIGN - The USPS® Informed Delivery program gives the mailers an added perk, also at no charge! Direct Mailers may supply a full-color JPEG image of the mailpiece to replace the scanned grayscale one which comes by default. The image must be maximum width 780 and max height of 500 pixels, the best part is that the image provided does not need to match the scanned addressing side. Image may (I think is a must, if you want to increase the response rate) include again your brand, offer and call-to-action along with clickable URL.
DUAL CAMPAIGN - When both campaigns mentioned above are used.
Even though the Flat-Size mailpieces cannot be scanned and emailed to the Informed Delivery subscribers at this moment, Business mailers can still run a Digital Campaign!
Mailpiece MUST be automation compatible
Mailpiece has to have a valid IMB (Intelligent Mail Barcode)
Mailer or Mailer Agent MUST be IMB certified
For technical details, help with execution, and to follow the above requirements, the best idea is to contact your direct mail service provider.
Direct Mailers Benefits
Integrating physical direct mail piece with digital channels will boost significantly response rates and the ROI. If you want to calculate the projected Return On Investment of your campaign, click here.
Additional digital impressions at no charge, to enhance the hardcopy message, visible to all members of the household who are Informed Delivery users.
Every day 79% of users check their mailboxes and 88% check their Informed Delivery notifications at least 4 times a week.
Opportunity to have the intended prospects take immediate action by clicking on the provided link. 68% of internet users respond to or act in digital promotions.
Reinforce the physical mailpiece message with digital image.
Reaching prospects even in case the mail is not retrieved from the mailbox, regardless of the reason.
Execute a multi-channel coordinated campaigns - direct mail, social, email, etc.
Better possibilities for tracking and analysis.
Probably one of the most important benefits for mailers implementing digital campaign through the Informed Delivery is the possibility to show your FLAT-SIZE mailpiece into the users emails since the USPS® does not provide grayscale images for flat size piece at this moment.
4. Execute your multi-channel direct mail campaign.
5. USPS® share insights - email open rate and click through rates. Analyze the results!
As a conclusion, I must say that with their new Informed Delivery service USPS® stepped up their game and by creating these new digital marketing opportunities for the business mail customers, the Direct Mail high response rates will go even higher.
Sample images: USPS®
Add #digitalmarketing to your #directmail campaign for Free