The United States Postal Service launched the Informed Delivery USPS on a large scale back in 2017 and quickly got many fans. Currently, the service boasts a 64.7% open rate, with 86% of users expressing satisfaction. It is a big deal for direct mail marketers as the average email open rate is as low as 22%.
Informed Delivery presents a golden opportunity to put your brand in front of your customers long before your promotional materials arrive. If your customers are not using Informed Delivery, you're likely missing out on a quicker and more efficient way to reach them.
For those who aren't familiar with the service, here's a brief definition and guide on how to set up Informed Delivery.
What is an Informed Delivery Mail?
Informed Delivery Mail is a free service from the USPS where registered users receive notifications with preview scans of their incoming mail. According to the USPS, the service has engaged more than 44 million users since its full-fledged launch in 2017.
Informed Delivery enables customers to track incoming mail through the postal network. Users can gain access to Informed Delivery mail either through informeddelivery.usps.com or email. If you set up Informed Delivery via the USPS Informed Delivery mail website, you can use the service on a computer, mobile device, or tablet.
If you sign up for Informed Delivery mail via email, you will receive an email notification each morning before 9 AM (ET). The email will contain the photos of your letter-size mailpieces (envelopes and postcards).
In essence, Informed Delivery enables you to:
- Preview what's coming into your mailbox daily.
- View images of letter-sized mail and packages scheduled to arrive soon.
- Track your packages from the United States Postal Service® (USPS).
- Set up email and text alerts to track your packages.
Users may take action on their incoming mail and packages, depending on what they find in the daily notifications — such as prioritizing packages for delivery or requesting vacation hold — at no additional cost.
How Does Informed Delivery Work?
Once you set up Informed Delivery and verify your address, you will begin receiving emails containing black-and-white images of your letter-size mail pieces that are arriving soon. These images are grayscale. So, if the incoming piece is colored, it will only appear in shades of gray.
Informed Delivery users have long expressed concerns over whether the service is safe and legal. In reality, no mail is opened or scanned by USPS employees; instead, the information comes from automated equipment that photographs the outside of letters and postcards as they go through sorting machines. All this happens before any postal employee even touches your mail.
When using Informed Delivery USPS, only a portion of your mail is displayed. Occasionally, a letter will arrive without a preview. Plus, previews of mail sent to users will only show them the envelope since the USPS does not scan the contents of the mail.
This poses a new challenge. There is no way to remove junk mail from previews while using Informed Delivery USPS, which can potentially overload your dashboard.
Informed Delivery For Business Mailers: Step by Step
We all know the impact of technology on direct mail marketing. Informed Delivery has created a fantastic opportunity for business mailers to get their message across before the customer receives the mail.
Businesses can use the postal service Informed Delivery feature to increase awareness of their company, brand, products, or services.
By uploading images of their marketing mailpieces to the USPS® Image Library, businesses can add logos and other images that make it easier for consumers to recognize their incoming mail pieces in daily Informed Delivery email notifications.
To maximize the marketing efforts, businesses can take advantage of email notifications and drive customer engagement by encouraging them to take specific actions such as visiting websites, redeeming coupons, or opening other promotions included in the mail.
If you're new to how Informed Delivery works, this step-by-step guide will teach you how to set up Informed Delivery:
#1. Choose Your Method of Submission
The PostalOne system and the Mailer Campaign Portal (MCP) are two submission methods you can use to submit your mailing data to the Postal Service.
PostalOne enables mailers to conduct business with USPS® in a secure, electronic environment. In addition, it provides mailers with tools to help them manage their mailing processes, track mailpieces, and produce reports. It is ideal for mailing at scale.
#2. Set Up Your Customer List
To set up Informed Delivery, you'll have to define your customer list. If you don't have a CRM system or similar tool that tracks customers, use a spreadsheet to separate your customers based on predefined criteria.
Implement automated address collection and verification on your website for advanced address data processing. With an API, you can automatically gather addresses and put clean data into mailing lists.
#3. Create Content
Once you have segmented your list, the next thing is to customize the email notification recipients will get.
For example, you can customize your postal service Informed Delivery campaign so that in addition to a preview of their mail package, recipients can also view ride-along content in their inbox. It can be a clickable link to your website or a CTA. If you send bills to your customers using Informed Delivery, for instance, your ride-along content can come with a CTA or link that takes customers to the payment page.
If you are sending promotions for new products, a ride-along image of the new product can help engage with the customer quickly. Clicking on the image or the CTA attached can take the customer to the product's URL.
This way, your customers can respond to your campaigns immediately, instead of waiting for the mailpiece to arrive.
#4. Select a Delivery Timeline
When creating your Informed Delivery schedule, you'll need to consider both the class of mail and the delivery location.
Class of Mail: First-Class Mail takes 1–3 days to be delivered, Standard Mail takes 3–4 days to be delivered, and Periodicals take 3–5 days to be delivered.
Your options will depend on your mailing class and selected entry point. Choose one that best fits your needs.
There are endless benefits of using the Informed Delivery USPS service. Consumers are more likely to open promotional mail if they've seen it digitally first. Informed Delivery helps drive action by increasing awareness and encouraging your audience to open your mail before it reaches their doorstep. The result is a more effective mail marketing strategy and higher customer engagement, translating to higher revenue in the long run.
Inkit Send and Informed Delivery
The Informed Delivery USPS service gives you the power to reach and engage customers long before delivering your mail marketing items. The only problem is that such mail may seem intrusive, so here's another option.
Inkit Send can serve as an automated and more advanced alternative to Informed Delivery USPS. It's a direct mailing API to connect with your systems for automatic mail printing, delivery, and tracking. You have detailed information on the mailing progress to share with customers.
Besides, Send allows building cross-channel marketing campaigns where direct mail is a part of automated marketing workflows. It means that mail delivery becomes aligned with online user activity and events. Such mailings are more likely to arrive at the right moment even without informed delivery.
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This article has covered the postal service Informed Delivery and how to set up Informed Delivery campaigns. It's an easy process that delivers even better results when using Inkit Send.