Remember when you first started receiving your own mail? Maybe you rushed home from school, expecting your favorite magazine. Or perhaps a birthday delivery from grandparents was eminent. As we age, the pleasant stuff we find inside our mailbox is often outnumbered by mail that’s not as fun—monthly bills come to mind! Still, opening a mailbox after a long day of work is somehow exciting—if only for a second—and the experience has been dubbed the “mail moment.”
The United States Postal Service understands that some of us can’t wait to see what’s in the mail, and a digital preview is a great way to engage with the mail prior to getting it in our hands. In 2014, USPS launched a pilot program in northern Virginia called Informed Delivery, which gives you a digital peek into your mailbox each day. After its debut in Virginia, the program was expanded to five more states, and in 2018 it will be available nationally.
Informed Delivery has been especially well received by those who travel or who simply want to know what awaits them in their mailbox. To sign up, customers must enroll online for a free password that allows them to access a digital mailbox, which displays black-and-white images of physical mail they receive. Currently, images are provided only for letter-sized mailings that are processed through automated equipment. USPS says the plan is to include images of larger, flat-size mailings in the future, such as magazines and catalogs.
USPS has brought snail mail online to remain relevant in a digital age. According to Bob Dixon, Executive Program Director of Informed Delivery, “We realize consumers are very digitally engaged. We also know that mail is still one of the highest response-rate channels there is for marketing messages. It’s important for us because we want to be able to continue to demonstrate the relevance of mail, but provide the convenience of a digital response channel.” Among those surveyed, 95 percent of Informed Delivery users reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied, and 96 percent said they would recommend Informed Delivery to friends, family, or colleagues. In addition, on average, 70 percent of Informed Delivery notifications are opened daily (USPS).
What does this combination of digital and real-life mail mean for the marketing community? For starters, you can reach consumers digitally by knowing their physical address. Recipients will see a digital preview of your direct marketing piece online, which means they’ll be seeing your marketing material twice. Score! And integrated marketing campaigns with multiple touch points can significantly increase ROI on your direct mail as well as provide additional data insights to optimize your marketing spending. Score again! The best part of this program? Marketerswill have the opportunity to enhance or replace the gray-scale image with a full- color image. A URL can also be added in order to direct users to any website, landing page, or social media site. This content then becomes part of the Informed Delivery email and dashboard, ultimately offering more impressions for mailers. We thought that last part might pique your interest!
What should you do as a marketing professional using direct mail to take advantage of this new channel? Everything you’ll need to know is right here: www.usps.com/business/pdf/informed-delivery-overview.pdf