If you missed this year’s National Postal Forum in San Antonio, the theme was Informed Customers – Customers Experience Delivered. One of the newer technologies the United States Postal Services (USPS) discussed was Informed Delivery. This is a free service where mail recipients can view what will be in their mailboxes each day.

Enrollees receive a daily email called the Informed Delivery Daily Digest with images of their mail pieces. These images are also accessible through the USPS online dashboard or via a phone app. Registration is easy and you can start realizing the benefits immediately. But what does this service do for mailers?

The mailers benefits can be numerous:  

  • Generates multiple views from a single mail piece via email, online portal and mobile app
  • Drive responses with interactive content
  • Potential increase in ROI from mail spend
  • Reach consumers digitally even though you only have mailing addresses
  • High email open rate since users’ opt-in

To date, there are 10.4 million registered users of Informed Delivery and the growth of registrants increases weekly at a rate of estimated 140,000 new users. Of the 10.4 million users, 5.8 million are subscribers to the Daily Digest email. The remainder either login to the USPS dashboard or look at their account within the mobile app.

Here at SourceLink, we analyzed a customer who currently uses Informed Delivery. We looked into the first 1 million records mailed over a one-month period and found that 3.51% of all mailed records were enrolled in Informed Delivery. Of those, 46% subscribed to the daily email and 65.4% of subscribers opened the email. Yes, over 65% of the email recipients opened the email to look at what was in their mailbox that day!

Everyone agrees that this large number represents an excellent opportunity to capture the attention of the prospect, but what do you need to do to capture their attention. Below are five things we learned from doing multiple Informed Delivery campaigns:   

  1. Add color to stand out – The standard image the USPS captures and sends to participants is black and white. This can be very discouraging for marketers that use plenty of color and artwork to their mail pieces, however the USPS offers mailers the opportunity to replace the black and white image with their own colorful representative image. Mailers can also offer a free digital experience by selecting a related ride-along image. Here, more creative artwork can be used and a target URL sending recipients to a website or landing page is included. With the free digital experience your mail piece image gets higher priority than the black and white images, and moves to the top of the daily email each recipient receives. This means that when the USPS email is opened your offer will be the first item seen. The recipient can click on the image, visit the landing page with your offer right away, and hours later receive the physical mail piece in their home mailbox. The email is an extra touch point and a win for the mailer.
  2. Convey a clear call to action in the email – Now that your offer is the higher priority in the email, make sure you have a clear call to action for the viewer. You want to use actionable words like “Click Here”, “Apply Now” or “Buy Now” to grab their attention and route them to your landing page. You want to make sure your recipients’ steps to follow are clear and not miss the opportunity of the click through.
  3. Design your landing page to be consistent to your mail piece –  Now that you got them to click and go to your page, don’t confuse them by having the landing page look and feel completely different than your mail piece. You want them to know, without question, they are seeing the same offer that is generated through the original mail piece, and that they are on the right page, getting the right offer.
  4. Customize the landing page – Carry your offer through to the landing page and try using personalized pages or PURLs so you can track the responses to the exact Informed Delivery users. PURLS are currently being tested and are expected to be live later this year. The purpose here is to track who is clicking through and responding to the Informed Delivery piece not someone that just falls upon your site. Having valid information will confirm or negate the true response rate of Informed Delivery conversions.
  5. Test to increase response – Test your offers and call to action statements. Test to make sure you are using the correct verbiage and the artwork is attracting the customer to click through. Just because one option didn’t yield great results doesn’t mean another offer won’t.

Overall, I believe Informed Delivery is an exciting offering.  In the coming months, the USPS will be promoting the service and focusing on user acquisition through direct mail, online ads, and grass roots efforts. Televised advertisements will not be far behind. The Postal Service plans to increase participation to 20 million people in the next 18 months. Once this catches on a little more, the response rate and click through numbers will continue to increase. Studies show that direct mail campaigns have up to a 30% lift in responses when email is used. When the email is being sent free of charge through Informed Delivery it sounds even more appealing, a definite win.