Informed Delivery 101: Your Direct Marketing Superpower
December 7, 2021   Karen Bartram

As a direct marketer or mail house, you’re always looking for ways to improve response rates. The United States Postal Service has created a tool that can be a total game changer for your next direct mail campaign. It’s called Informed Delivery®, and it has the potential to enhance your marketing services, bridging the gap between digital campaigns and printed direct mail.

Title: What is Informed Delivery®?

The USPS has been scanning virtually every piece of mail for quite some time, Informed Delivery  puts these images to use in a service to benefit mail recipients – and the companies that mail to them. Unveiled in 2017 by the USPS, Informed Delivery® gives consumers a digital preview of incoming mail via email before it arrives in their mailboxes, using that very scanned image.

Users sign up for the free service via the USPS website and begin receiving standard black and white preview images of their mail, via email notifications, mobile app, or online dashboard. Since most digital-first consumers demand online access to their banking, shopping, and virtually any other information, the USPS is bridging the gap between the convenience of the digital experience with the hands-on experience that direct mail offers. Customers get a first look at their bills, legal documents, election ballots, and other important mail pieces; the service provides peace of mind and a sense of anticipation for direct mail in a digital world. Recent features include a reminder feature that allows recipients to receive a reminder for a given piece of mail at a date in the future as well as package tracking,  making the Postal Service a more useful tool for generations that live and buy online.

A Win-Win for Consumers and Businesses

Positioned as a perk for consumers, Informed Delivery® becomes a much more useful tool for marketers, giving them additional opportunities to connect with their mail recipients. The USPS reports that over 43 million people have enrolled in the program, with 89% of users claiming to be satisfied or very satisfied, while 90% would recommend it. What’s even more surprising is the average open rate of the Informed Delivery® emails –rates over 64%! With an open rate that impressive, marketers have a unique opportunity to create more-powerful targeted strategies by adding Informed Delivery® to their direct mail campaign. Did we mention it’s FREE for markers and mailers as well?

The advantage of the Informed Delivery® program for marketers lies in the preview image of your mail piece. The program allows the image of the original mail piece to be replaced with a full-color “representative image,” making your piece stand out among the other black and white images in their notification.  Additionally, a smaller, full-color “ride-along” image is paired with the “representative image”, along with a call to action and a link to a website or landing page.  This engages the user to interact with the direct mail piece before they even receive it in their mailbox or when they are traveling and may not be able to read their mail right away. At the very least, the service provides an opportunity to strengthen your brand awareness and invites engagement with a link to a traceable webpage. Expert marketers will turn the entire process into a trackable sales funnel and convert leads into customers.

Knowledge is Power

The most valuable aspect to Informed Delivery® may be in its reporting. Marketers can access valuable data for open and click-through rates, providing the opportunity to change and adapt new marketing strategies for every campaign or mail piece.

The reporting is detailed from even before the first piece of mail is sent out. Pre-campaign analysis reporting is offered from the USPS and can provide an aggregate total of how many people on a list are Informed Delivery® participants. This information is useful when measuring the response rate after the campaign is over.  Additionally, post-campaign summary reporting provides results of the campaign, the number of users that received a notification, the open rate, and the click-through rate. For more in-depth data, the post-campaign detail report offers a deep dive into the campaign response, including mail piece ID, delivery date, IMb Serial Number, Customer Registration Identification (CRID), time stamp, and so much more.  You will likely need to work with a service provider such as SnailWorks to gain the greatest value of the summary and detailed reporting.

Informed Delivery® Tips

A helpful guide to Informed Delivery® campaigns for businesses will get you started and our list of best practices will maximize the program, giving you the edge you need to make your next direct mail campaign more efficient and effective.

  • Make sure your direct mail piece views well online by using colors that will represent well online in black and white or plan to create a campaign and replace the mail piece image with a full-color representation.
  • Track your efforts so you can compare and combine the data from USPS.
  • Be sure to use a powerful and inviting call to action.
  • Provide consistent messaging across the entire campaign.
  • Compare open rates with landing page activity for solid conversion rates.
  • Get in early! The ID program is still relatively new. Jump in before it becomes a trend.
  • Use custom landing pages for best engagement.
  • Use engaging design – treat it like a cohesive ad campaign.
  • Consider where users are viewing content – 59% of users are viewing via mobile devices.

SnailWorks is a leading provider in mail tracking services, Informed Delivery® advertising, political mail tracking, and digital marketing support. Our cutting-edge technology gives you powerful tools to build successful and efficient direct marketing campaigns. Contact us today to see how we can provide solutions to build more effective mail campaigns.