The United States Postal Service (USPS) continues to invest in digital technology to improve their ability to provide enhanced services to both senders and receivers of mail. One of their latest fruits of that investment is a new service they have rolled out, called USPS Informed Delivery.
Informed Delivery allows mail recipients to see grayscale images of much of what will be in their mailboxes later that day, or in the words of the USPS, “it is a new consumer-facing feature that provides users with digital previews of their household mail arriving soon.” (USPS Informed Delivery Overview). These images are made available through a daily email feed or an online dashboard. Informed Delivery was first piloted in Washington D.C and New York City metro areas, but is now available in almost all parts of the country. This service has been received with 91% of pilot users surveyed reporting that they were satisfied or very satisfied and 9 out of 10 saying they would recommend Informed Delivery to friends, family or colleagues. (USPS). In addition, 88% of users check their Informed Delivery notification every day or almost every day. (USPS)
Nothing replaces the value of hardcopy mail, but Informed Delivery is the USPS’ way to respond to consumers’ increasing demands to interact and communicate digitally with everything, including their mail. This is where marketers can take advantage of the synergy that is created when combining The Mail Moment with a consumers’ digital routine. Response rates go up when marketers use email and direct mail together and according to the USPS, the combination increases response rates by 30% as compared to direct mail alone. (USPS)
Marketers are given the opportunity to supplement or even replace the gray scale image with a more compelling full color image that does not have to be from the physical mail piece, much like a banner ad with today’s technology. In addition, a URL can be added to direct users to any website, landing page or social media site. This content then becomes part of the Informed Delivery email and dashboard and ultimately offers more impressions for mailers. The other important factor which makes Informed Delivery such a powerful tool for marketers is it allows them to leverage the brand of the USPS which ranked as the fourth highest trusted brand in America and the highest of all federal agencies according to Gallop Poll. That trust in the USPS is what contributes to the increase open and response rates.
Informed Delivery has a lot of potential and promise to be a great fusion of direct mail and digital marketing. Marketers for no additional cost to their current direct mail campaigns will have the ability to get exponentially more impressions, increase email open rates and drive response while increasing their ROI.