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How to Maximize Your Mail for Informed Delivery

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How to Maximize Your Mail for Informed Delivery

Informed Delivery can be a powerful way to create impressions. In this article, we’re sharing some tips to help you optimize your mail to drive customer interaction.

As a marketer, you can engage customers across multiple channels at once. But do you use USPS Informed Delivery?

Introduced in 2017, Informed Delivery is an opt-in postal service program that gives millions of consumers a free daily digital preview of their mail before it arrives in their mailboxes. And as we’ll see in this article, you can take advantage of this opportunity to reach customers earlier by making your mail stand out to this audience with our design and copy tips.

How Informed Delivery Works for Customers

Consumers sign up online for a free, verified, password-protected digital mailbox account. They get a daily notification delivered through email, on their USPS dashboard, or on the USPS Mobile® app. It contains a scanned grayscale image of the address side of each mailpiece to be delivered that day.

Note: only scans of letter-sized mail or postcards are shown; images of larger pieces (e.g., catalogs or packages) are not included.

So how do consumers benefit from Informed Delivery?

  • If checking their mail is a meaningful ritual, Informed Delivery creates anticipation of what’s to come — whatever it is;
  • It also generates peace of mind knowing that important legal documents, election ballots, bills, and personal letters will be delivered soon;
  • Instant convenience of a digital marketing experience through direct mail.

The program has been successful in signing up subscribers, driving web traffic, and creating brand impressions. Here are some Informed Delivery statistics:

  • 41.7 million registered users as of August 11, 2020, 34.1 million of them are email-enabled (Note: additional data available for households, saturation, and email open rates by region and zip code)
  • 8 of 20 brands with the highest campaign volumes are in the financial services industry
  • 1.3 billion impressions delivered in 41,799 campaigns in CY 2020
  • 64% of notifications are opened every day

How Informed Delivery Works for Business

For businesses and nonprofits, Informed Delivery adds value to direct mail that’s sent to more than 40 million Americans (see above). It gives marketers an opportunity to reach customers more broadly with digital content as well as a physical mail piece with tactile appeal.

Any letter- or postcard-sized piece you mail gets scanned and shows up in the Informed Delivery customer’s inbox. In the grayscale image, only the address side of the mailing appears.

But knowing that your mail is showing up this way, do you really want to go with a bland look? Or do you want to use that image to capture the consumer’s attention? In the next section, we’ll talk about how your mail can stand out to ID customers.

To make an even greater impression, USPS has another option to drive action: the Informed Delivery Campaign. To take advantage of this opportunity, this type of effort must be submitted through the ID portal in USPS’s Business Customer Gateway.

Here are some of the reasons to make the most of Informed Delivery for your marketing campaigns:

  • Participation is free
  • Signups nationwide continue to grow each month, resulting in more impressions
  • ID is another way to bridge the gap between physical and digital mail with a cohesive multichannel experience that improves brand image and awareness
  • USPS offers a 2% promotional discount for an ID campaign (until end of Nov. 2021); in 2022, the discount will be 4% on an ID campaign
  • You can change the landing page that your clickable image links to with an updated offer even after the piece arrives at the consumer’s house
  • With an ID campaign, USPS gives you access to reports on metrics such as: number of users emailed; number and percentage of opens and clickthroughs, and much more

Additional detailed information about the program can be found on the Informed Delivery for Business Mailers page.

How to Maximize Your Mail

The most important design and copy tip for your Informed Delivery mail is to keep in mind your audience. Ask yourself:

  • How is the audience viewing my mail?
  • What can I do to stand out in the inbox, and maybe prompt action before the physical piece arrives?

Your customer’s smartphone or laptop screen is where they first engage with your mail piece, even if you don’t use an Informed Delivery campaign.

So, use clear, high-definition images, and easy-to-read, intriguing copy. You’ll be getting an additional bang for the buck from the impression your outer creates.

Keep in mind that your customers don’t need all that much from you even if you just maximize your grayscale image. By putting a web address, discount code, or phone number on the part of the mailing that gets scanned, you can make it more convenient for them to respond immediately.

So I mentioned earlier that Informed Delivery at its most basic level consists of a grayscale image of letter-sized mail that shows up in the consumer’s mailbox. Below, I’ve included an example of how this looks in a typical customer’s email inbox.

Grayscale Image in Informed Delivery Notification

informed delivery example

What works well:

  • For Informed Delivery purposes — nothing, because of the blank envelope

Some marketers, however, include enough information to determine the sender, show the offer , and some reply options, as illustrated in the lead generation mailing below from State Farm.

State Farm informed delivery

What works well:

  • Prominent branding
  • Offer is shown (free quote)
  • Contact information for insurance agent
  • QR code response device

ID Campaign with Grayscale Image & Color Ridealong

CleanChice Energy informed delivery

What works well:

  • Double window envelope shows more of the offer
  • Ridealong image makes call-to-action with an incentive (Amazon gift card)
  • Identifies the sender
  • Recent (mid-2021) shift to more prominent USPS “Learn More” call-to-action logo

ID Campaign with Color Representative Image & Ridealong

Meridian Bank informed delivery example

What works well:

  • Large image
  • Big headline in reversed-out serif type
  • Identifies the sender
  • Prominent branding
  • Clear call-to-action in the ride-along image

Note: Meridian Bank used the image from the front of its self-mailer as the representative image. You can substitute another image if you prefer.

The ID Response Device

Recently, we noted the rise of digital response in direct mail. With Informed Delivery, the clickable link included in the campaign can drive customers to take action by:

  • Visiting a home page or landing page
  • Opening an email client
  • Making a phone call

If you opt not to run a synchronized campaign, your mail piece’s image can still drive response by showing a website, email address, or phone number. Other options:

  • QR code
  • PURL
  • Voice assistant
  • Push to visit a brick-and-mortar location

Using Who’s Mailing What! for Informed Delivery

The mail in the Who’s Mailing What! collection can inspire your imagination to help you to stand out in the Informed Delivery daily email notification. As noted above, a dedicated ID campaign has a carefully chosen color ridealong image and clickable ad to make itself seen.

But let’s say you decide only to rely on what shows on the address side of your mail piece when it’s scanned in grayscale. That’s OK. You simply need to look at mail from companies that have sharp images and readable headlines or large copy to see how it should be done.

Some examples:

Bank of America
Capital One
Chase
Citi
GEICO
State Farm

Final Thoughts

When you give your customers a sneak preview of your message or brand before your mail piece arrives at their door, you create an opportunity to interact with that customer on a digital channel as well as build anticipation for the actual printed mailer.

Informed Delivery can be a powerful way to create impressions, add to your brand experience, and make a sale. With this platform — assuming every component is planned and synchronized perfectly — you’ll drive customer interaction across multiple channels, and get more bang for the buck in your marketing spending.

Direct Mail Evangelist

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