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Maximize Your Mail for Informed Delivery


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
    notifications and tracking about their incoming and outgoing packages
  • 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 Successful is Informed Delivery?

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

  • 55 million registered users as of April 30, 2023, 46.7 million of them are email-enabled (Note: additional data is available for households, saturation, and email open rates by region and zip code)
  • 53,000+ campaigns
  • 38 billion impressions (mail + packaging) in CY 2022
  • 67.4% of notifications are opened every day

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 flats) 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;
  • And it creates instant convenience of a digital marketing experience through direct mail.

How Informed Delivery Works for Business

For businesses and nonprofits, Informed Delivery adds value to direct mail that’s sent to more than 55 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 for marketers
  • 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 4% promotional discount for an ID campaign (see below for details)
  • 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 website, 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.

1. Grayscale Image in Informed Delivery Notification

Informed Delivery example 3What 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 Liberty Mutual.

Informed Delivery example 2

What works well:

  • Prominent branding
  • Offer is shown (free quote)
  • Multiple benefits
  • Response options include smart speaker

2. ID Campaign with Grayscale Image & Color Ridealong

Informed Delivery example 4

What works well:

  • Identifies the sender with a “FROM” line
  • Multiple call-to-action options on self-mailer
  • Ridealong image with CTA button
  • Prominent USPS “Learn More” call-to-action logo
  • Option to set a reminder of mail piece’s delivery

3. ID Campaign with Color Representative Image & Ridealong

Informed Delivery example 1

What works well:

  • Identifies the sender with a “FROM” line
  • Prominent branding in both images
  • Ridealong supports the message in the representative image
  • Clear call-to-action in the ride-along image

Note: You can use the image from the front of the mailpiece as the representative image or substitute another image if you prefer.

4. The Informed Delivery Response Device

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

Direct Mail Experts on the Power of Informed Delivery

Here’s what a few of the industry figures interviewed for our “Meet the Mailers” podcast have to say about Informed Delivery:

Informed Delivery is also useful in both channels, whether it comes to marketing or servicing because you’re giving people another way to interact. Instead of having to rely on that mail piece, they may prefer to get the mail piece, but wanna interact with you digitally. So you’re giving them that method to click on digitally.

And the other good thing about Informed Delivery is that … because the postal service is curating that list and you’re able to take advantage of it, you may be able to get an email to somebody that you weren’t able to get to before.

Josh McCaully
Managing Director Solutions Architecture
GrayHair Software

Now, the great thing about Informed Delivery is that you can use it outside of the promotion period, and we found that with Informed Delivery, there’s a 72.5% email open rate and a 4.92% email click-through rate. So that’s more touches just on one mail piece.

… And another added benefit is that you can do a pre-campaign analysis and then you can do a post-campaign analysis. So that way you can really test to see how well your mailing campaign actually did as far as the return on investment.

Chlovize Washington
Senior Sales Mail Executive

Two big, main reasons we love Informed Delivery for our clients:

One is that they have a clickable digital message as a ride-along to their direct mail. That’s pretty fantastic. And because the audience has grown so much, this is a good thing for direct mailers;

Two – if you add Informed Delivery, if you add the big image and the small image at the bottom, or even just a small image at the bottom, you automatically get sorted to the top of the pile of that Informed Delivery digest. So here you have an opportunity to not only promote your brand and get people to respond before they even receive direct mail – now, we all want to be at the top of the pile. So this is a benefit for marketers to get to the top of the pile, get the first impression.

Mike Gunderson
Founder and President
Gunderson Direct

These campaigns provide marketers an opportunity to enhance physical mail with integrated digital marketing that generates additional consumer impressions, engagement, and results. Perhaps best of all…leveraging this powerful platform with interactive Informed Delivery campaigns is FREE.

Tracy Brooks
Senior Vice President
Salem One

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 that you decide to rely only 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
  • State Farm

USPS 2023 Informed Delivery Promotion

As in previous years, USPS is offering a discount to qualified direct mail campaigns.

Important details on the 2023 USPS Informed Delivery promotion include:

Enrollment Dates: June 15-December 31, 2023
Promotion Dates: August 1-December 31, 2023

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 increased value in your marketing spending.

Direct Mail Evangelist

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