Author: Lois Ritarossi, High Rock Strategies
As creatives and marketers, we are always looking for ways to improve our campaign responses and engage with customers. Having a compelling message, design and an omnichannel approach (print, email, mobile, digital) can help. And now the United States Postal Service is making it easier than ever with their USPS Informed Delivery service. If you haven’t added it to your campaign design and planning, you might want too. Here’s why.
What is Informed Delivery?
The USPS launched Informed Delivery in 2017 to increase the value of mail by delivering a digital preview of the mail and packages scheduled to arrive in your mailbox. As of August 2019, over 18 million consumers have signed up for Informed Delivery and receive a daily email or use the USPS app to view images of their mail. The digital preview contains a greyscale image of each first class and marketing piece of mail scheduled to be delivered.
Informed Delivery has hit the tipping point with approximately 15% of US households now subscribed. More impressively, the email open rates are averaging 70%. You read that correctly, 70% compared to the typical email marketing send which has a 18.1% open rate.
Are you designing for Informed Delivery?
Now imagine the possibilities if you replace the greyscale image of the direct mail piece with color? Luckily, the USPS Informed Platform allows any mailer using full-service Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMb) to create Informed Delivery campaigns. The Informed Platform allows you to replace the greyscale image with a color image of the mail piece; a color ride along image; and a call to action link that drives recipients to a brand website or landing page of the offer for greater interaction.
Marketers and designers can use the Informed Platform to design and create Informed Delivery campaigns which can increase the awareness, effectiveness and results for traditional direct mail. Brands now have a platform to link direct mail with omnichannel communications across email, SMS, apps and the web. This enable consumers to respond and interact with products, services and offers before they receive their physical direct mail.
If you are not using Informed Delivery campaigns, customers are only seeing greyscale images. To get the benefits of color, call to actions, and links, you need to incorporate Informed Delivery into your design planning and execution!
For example, consider the two images from the Informed Delivery system. Which one is likely to drive a higher response rate?
The results speak for themselves
Recent Informed Delivery Campaigns have produced impressive clickthrough rates, over 3 times higher than email alone, and produced conversions prior to receipt of the physical mail. People trust the USPS and this daily email gets opened and read. B2C brands can leverage Informed Delivery to create meaningful interactions and results for mail campaigns. Print and mail service providers can guide their customers through the process to add a campaign on the postal platform and track results for open rates and click through for 45 days after each mailing.
Combining Informed Deliver with mail campaigns just makes sense. For example, a study by Market Reach Group in the UK highlights the power of mail in boosting memory and increasing the effectiveness of social media campaigns. The study compares reaction and recall for mail, email and social media campaigns. After testing brain activity for each type of media, the researchers concluded mail can play a pivotal role within the media mix to boost memorability and can potentially increase purchase intent. Our brains interact and retain information differently when we touch and read paper compared to reading it on screen.
More interestingly, researchers found a strong correlation between how mail interacts with social media advertising. Printed direct mail plays a “priming” role, enhancing the impact of social media advertising. This garners a better response. The report showed physical mail is 33% more engaging than email and 35% more engaging than social media advertising.
Brands, marketers and creatives alike are challenged to cut through the clutter to create awareness and action to purchase. Direct mail is a proven channel with demonstrated ROI. The Informed Delivery Service and Informed Platform is a marketer’s tool to enhance the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and communications in an omnichannel world.
Postage Discount Promotion
The USPS is currently offering a promotion with a 2% discount in postage for Informed Delivery campaigns. Marketers and mailers will be heroes by enabling their clients to test Informed Delivery campaigns while saving 2% in postage fees. The promotion period is for campaigns mailed from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30th.
The Fourth quarter is the biggest direct mail season. Designers and marketers can make sure their mail pieces get the extra impact of a digital preview with Informed Delivery Campaigns. Imagine the possibilities this could provide for your holiday promotions and mail campaigns? You can increase the number of touch points for direct mail and engage customers through a trusted digital channel.