With the USPS® Informed Delivery feature, businesses can easily connect the physical and digital worlds, allowing consumers to see what will be arriving in their mailbox through the Informed Delivery app, email notifications or dashboard.
Through these channels, users can also access digital content that complements your mailpiece. Whether this content includes promotions or interactive experiences, consumers can engage easily from a mobile device, laptop or desktop computer.
Let’s explore the process from start to finish to see how you can put Informed Delivery campaigns into action.
The Informed Delivery Feature, Step‑by‑Step
Your business creates a direct mail campaign.
You provide USPS with the ride-along content you wish to include in your Informed Delivery campaign.
“Ride-along content” refers to complementary content associated with your mailpiece, such as a promotion or newsletter sign-up.
You send out the direct mail to your targeted list of consumers.
Any recipients signed up for the Informed Delivery feature will be alerted of the incoming mail. They’re able to see a digital preview of the letters in their mailbox that day, plus any ride-along content.1
45% of Informed Delivery users responding to a survey said they act on digital promotions distributed via Informed Delivery notifications and other digital channels more than once a month.2
The recipient clicks on the ride-along content, which lives below the preview of your mailpiece.
The recipient returns home to open the direct mailpiece in their mailbox.
In a survey of users utilizing the Informed Delivery feature, 92% said they view notifications every day or almost every day.3
Make an Impression—Three Times Over
The Informed Delivery feature gives businesses three opportunities to connect with consumers—and, ultimately, convert them into loyal customers.
The consumer checks the Informed Delivery app, email or dashboard and views the preview image of their mailpiece.
The consumer interacts with the ride-along content—whether a link to an exclusive discount or an event sign-up.
The consumer opens the physical mailpiece at home and responds to any included offers.
By combining physical mail with engaging digital content, Informed Delivery campaigns help keep your brand top of mind, driving customer action when it matters most.
Learn more about the Informed Delivery feature at https://www.usps.com/business/informed-delivery.htm
Neuromarketing research shows physical advertisements have a pronounced effect on consumer decision-making.
The most successful marketing campaigns are multifaceted endeavors, mixing various mediums to engage their target audience. Magazine ads, websites, billboards, direct mail, social media and smartphone apps are just a few ways companies can convert customers. To drive profits, businesses must allocate their marketing dollars across the right channels. Today, no brand can dispute the power of the digital world, but what about physical advertisements like direct mail and print ads? What gives them their edge?
To get to the heart of this question, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General partnered with the Center for Neural Decision Making at Temple University’s Fox School of Business in 2015 and again in 2019—first to study the power of print and digital advertisements, and then to dive deeper into how different generations react to them. Expanding on the original study, the 2019 research specifically analyzed the effect of print versus digital ads on young and old consumers.
Research showed that physical advertisements were more effective in leaving a lasting impression than their digital counterparts, regardless of consumer age.1 Below, we dive deeper into the research and the results.
What Is Neuromarketing?
Neuromarketing serves as the foundation of these studies. This emerging field combines the insights of multiple disciplines, including neuroscience and psychology, to answer questions about marketing, consumer behavior and advertising phenomena.2
Working with Temple University, USPS® used neuromarketing tactics to explore how consumers processed and engaged with physical and digital advertisements, both consciously and subconsciously, and how different age groups engaged with these ads.
Neuromarketing Research Techniques How It Works What It Reveals Eye Tracking A camera and infrared technology monitor eye movements, in terms of speed and duration of attention. Tracks visual attention. Core Biometrics Sensors placed on fingertips measure heart rate, skin conductance (sweat), motion and respiration. Gauges the depth of emotional engagement. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging This brain scanner measures change in oxygenated blood flow to show what parts of the brain are activated during a task or experience. Pinpoints specific deep-brain activity beyond surface cognitive function; e.g., empathy and reward.
By looking at these neurophysiological measurements, researchers were able to make conclusions about consumers at different stages of the buying process: exposure to information, retrieval of information and action. In the most recent research, researchers used the same neurophysiological measurements to make conclusions about the way consumers of different ages respond to digital versus print ads.
By understanding consumers’ subconscious responses, businesses can optimize their marketing strategies and determine when to use mail, digital media or a combination of the two.
In the original study, Temple University used survey questionnaires, eye tracking, core biometrics and neuroimaging to compare the effectiveness of print versus digital advertisements. In the first study session, participants viewed physical and digital ads for products, services and restaurants. The physical ads were printed on postcards, while the digital ads were embedded in emails. Eye-tracking equipment captured which ads participants looked at and for how long. At the same time, biometrics equipment measured heart rate and skin conductance, which indicated physiological response resulting from emotional engagement.
A week later, researchers carried out a second session in which they tested memory and willingness to pay. During this session, a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner measured the participants’ brain activity while they answered a series of questions about the advertisements. Each subject had to indicate which ads they remembered from the week before. Finally, they underwent a simulated purchasing process in which they reported the amount they were willing to pay for each service, product or meal. Parsing through this data, researchers were able to make a number of telling conclusions.
Expanding the Study
For the 2019 study, researchers used self-reported measures, behavioral responses and fMRI technology to evaluate the role that consumer age plays in the effectiveness of an ad’s format: physical versus digital.3 Most of the analyses compared two groups: a younger group with participants aged 41 and younger, and an older group with participants aged 47 and older.
The fMRI analysis allowed researchers to measure brain activity as the study participants viewed and replied to questions about advertising stimuli; this provided insight into the effectiveness of advertising stimuli on a subconscious level. The behavioral responses and self-reported measures reinforced the findings from the fMRI analysis and gave further insight into the effectiveness of digital versus print ads.
As with the 2015 study, the research was carried out in two phases, approximately one week apart. During the first phase, participants viewed 60 ads, split into two sets of 30. The print ads were shown on postcards; the digital ads were shown on a tablet. After viewing, participants were asked about brand recall (remembering which brands they had just seen), brand association (matching a slogan to a brand) and brand discrimination (recalling whether certain images were associated with brands just viewed versus competitors’ ads). Special eyewear measured how long participants viewed the ads.
During the second phase, researchers asked the participants to recall the ads they had viewed a week prior. fMRI was used to measure brain activations as participants performed the required recall tasks; this helped show differences at the subconscious, neurological level. Participants were tested on this outside of the fMRI, as well.
In the original study, physical advertisements were proven to have more influence than digital ads in a number of ways. Not only did participants spend more time with physical ads, they also remembered them more quickly and confidently. Physical ads also elicited a stronger emotional response than their digital counterparts and, overall, had a longer-lasting impact. Looking at brain activity, researchers discovered that participants showed a greater subconscious valuation and desire for products or services advertised in a physical format.4
This means physical ads are particularly effective in two stages of the consumer journey: exposure to information and retrieval of information. Digital ads trumped their physical counterparts in only one area: focused attention. Though participants did show more attention to digital ads, they gained the same amount of information from both types of advertisements.
Expanding the Study
Findings from the 2019 research confirm and expand upon these findings, with physical ads once again showing to be more effective in leaving a lasting impression than digital ads. Physical ads were found to result in stronger memories, and this was found to be true across age groups.5
However, although both the young and old participant groups processed physical ads faster than digital ads, the younger adults were shown to process these ads much faster than the older participants. Time exposed to the ads—which was self-reported—played a part in the higher effectiveness of print over digital, which may point to the benefits of digital ads in circumstances involving limited audience attention. However, the younger group reported spending more time with the physical ads—more than was reported by the older group.6 For younger generations, physical ads may hold an air of novelty.
What Neurophysiological Factors Did the Ad Affect? Factor Definition Most Effective Ad Format Attention Focusing on key components of an ad for a sustained period of time Review Time The amount of time a customer spends with an ad Engagement The amount of information a customer processes or absorbs from an ad Stimulation An emotional reaction to an ad Memory Retrieval Accuracy Accurately remembering the advertising source and content Memory Speed & Confidence Quickly and confidently remembering advertising sources and content Purchase & Willingness to Pay Whether the customer is willing to pay for a product, and how much Desirability A subconscious desire for the product or service Valuation The subconscious value a participant places on the product or service
In addition to being cost-effective, digital media is the fastest way to communicate an idea to customers. Consider using digital ads when you’re looking to gain attention and quickly deliver a message. However, print materials—like postcards, catalogs and magazine ads—have a more pronounced emotional effect on consumers. For marketers who want advertising with long-lasting impact and easy recollection, a physical ad simply has more psychological influence. Both mediums have their advantages. The most effective campaigns will use both in combination to create omni-channel experiences that excite and engage.
Today’s marketers have a range of options available to amplify their campaigns. Discover eight ways to drive consumer action and set your brand apart from the competition.
Mail is a cornerstone for many successful businesses. Sending monthly statements and occasional postcard campaigns helps companies grow and thrive.
As the volume of mail grows, many businesses find it hard to get to a Post Office™ location to calculate the exact postage for each piece. Instead, they estimate postage to save time, which ends up costing them.
One solution to save time and money? A postage meter. This tool makes sending mail quicker, less expensive and more customized. Here, we’ll highlight four benefits of having your own postage meter.
For a more in-depth analysis of metered mail’s benefits, see our article, “Metered Mail 101: The Benefits of Digital Meters.”
Save on postage
Instead of estimating postage by using traditional stamps, you can weigh each piece you send—whether it’s a letter or a package—and pay the exact postage required.
Plus, as of January 2019, USPS® offers businesses that use postage meters a $.05 discount on every First-Class Mail® letter they send. The savings add up: A small business sending 1,000 mailpieces a month could save about $600 a year by using a meter.1
Avoid surcharges and delays
When you estimate the cost to send an item—especially one that is large, heavy or unusually shaped—you may underpay for postage by using stamps. This leads to surcharges that could delay delivery or make an item undeliverable entirely.
With metered mail, you’re always paying exact postage, which helps to ensure that your mail gets to its recipients without costing you time and money.
Drop off mail and skip the line
Finding the time to get to the Post Office location can be tough, according to 37% of small businesses who participated in a Pitney Bowes study.2 With a meter, you don’t need to go out of your way or wait in line.
Once the metered postage for your mail or packages is printed on your pieces, it’s ready to mail. Drop mail in the nearest blue collection box or at a convenient drop‑off point and get to the next thing on your to-do list.
Boost your brand
Meters can print more than postage on your mailpieces. You can add a personalized message or your company’s branding to envelopes, too, which boosts your visibility.
Envelopes with messages specific to the recipient—as simple as “Kate, your offer is inside!”—are shown to be effective: In a survey of U.S. consumers, 90% of respondents said they find marketing content personalization “very” or “somewhat” appealing.3
Metered mail offers true value for small- and medium-sized businesses. By using a postage meter, you can save on the cost of postage, cut down the time it takes to send out mail and focus on growth.
Interested in how metered mail works and how it can benefit your business? Read our article: “Metered Mail 101: The Benefits of Digital Meters.”
See what research is telling us about how direct mail can help you market to Millennials. In this guide, you’ll also find examples of effective pieces and tips for creating effective mail for a tech-savvy generation.
Direct mail can be a powerful marketing tool, but incorporating it into omni-channel efforts can seem daunting—especially if you’re running a small- or medium-sized business. In this comprehensive white paper, we show you how to create a highly actionable campaign, helping you decide whom to target, what kind of message to send and how to measure overall effectiveness.
In the frenetic pace of our digital world, physical mail has secured its position as a credible communications channel with staying power and popularity. In fact, a Royal Mail study of mail users in the United Kingdom found 87% of customers rate mail as believable, compared to 48% for email, and 65% of customers are likely to give it their full attention.1
Small and medium-sized businesses know this. Sending invoices and other client communications by physical mail is a daily occurrence for them, but many are generating unnecessary costs. Without knowing the exact postage for a mailpiece, senders find themselves estimating costs, resulting in postal surcharges and delays or even returned mail.
Metered mail can help prevent all these issues. Read on to learn the value of this service when it comes to postage and the benefits of using digital meters.
The Perks of Metered Mail
Metered mail allows small and medium businesses to use a meter to print postage on mailpieces as proof of payment. By leveraging this service, businesses could easily simplify their mail process. They could also improve accuracy and save money.
A meter’s built-in scale is designed to accurately weigh everything from postcards to packages, removing the guesswork and ensuring senders pay exactly the right postage every time. Meters also offer discounts unavailable in a Post Office™ retail location or when using stamps. As of January 2019, using a postage meter saves $0.05 per piece for envelopes up to 3.5 ounces, lowering the cost of your postage to $0.50 for First-Class Mail® letters weighing 1 ounce or less.
Save Time and Boost Your Brand
Replacing manual mail operations with a meter saves time, the most valuable asset. In a Pitney Bowes study, 37% of small businesses said that finding time to go to a Post Office retail location was their biggest hassle in regard to sending mail.2 Meters eliminate this, giving businesses back valuable time that can be spent on growing their business.
Meters also boost the professional look of business mail, as a company logo or personalized message can be printed on the envelope, boosting brand visibility.
The Next Generation of Meters
Today’s meters integrate advanced digital technology with design innovation. Some models even use Android® operating systems, so it’s as easy as using a smartphone, with convenient functionality and a simple interface. It helps businesses select the ideal sending option for every letter, flat and parcel they send, while delivering savings and helping track costs.
Older analog connected meters still have a place in many mailrooms across the world today, and for some organizations, they are a viable and effective option. However, it’s worth taking some time to consider the benefits of digital meters.
Digital is faster and more flexible.
A dial-up Internet connection can vary from 1.2 to around 56 kilobytes per second. A digital connection is 100 megabytes per second, which could make it up to a thousand times faster than the connection of an analog meter. By connecting to Wi-Fi or Local Area Networks, digital meters don’t vie for Internet access with your other communications technology. Also, if you connect via wireless and switch offices, your meter can move with you.
Rate changes and software updates are simple and precise.
These inevitably require preparation and attention. Without a meter, businesses must remember to accurately factor in the cost of the new rates into their postage. With an analog meter, time is spent establishing a connection first before information can be transferred, then there is the additional need to wait for the downloading and installation of new rates for a rate change, for example. A digital system is always connected, so rates can be updated anytime.
Digital meters provide enhanced accounting.
They allow you to track how much your business spends on postage down to the product level. You can also measure what time of the year your spending goes up or down.
Digital connections are reliable and future-proof.
If an analog line disconnects while trying to credit your meter before a mailing, it can cost you time and productivity. The copper analog network can also be costly to maintain and vulnerable to service outages. In the future, service providers are likely to become less willing to provide and support analog connections. Digital meters help alleviate this concern.
Digital meters can generate additional savings.
An analog-connected meter requires a dedicated phone line, which for most businesses is an incremental cost they often overlook. Many organizations are already paying for broadband, so there is no additional cost for a digital meter connection, and no need for the analog line.
Today’s connected customer draws information from a diversity of platforms but the value of physical mail remains. Postage meters help ensure that businesses continue to benefit from this vital customer engagement channel, while optimizing their budgets.
Connect with USPS®
Looking to learn more about metered mail? Speak to a USPS representative.
Get in touch
Explore the basics of a retargeted direct mail campaign, then try your hand at a fictional one. Select a digital trigger, format and element to test then see the results.
Effective marketing means getting the right message to the right person at the right time. With retargeted direct mail—sometimes referred to as automated direct mail— companies can now connect digital behavior with personalized direct mail. Retargeted direct mail can be seamlessly triggered, personalized and sent based on customers’ digital behaviors. This makes direct mail as easy to send as email.
Better yet, by leveraging programmatic technology, each piece of mail can be sent while products are still top of mind. One company saw conversion rates as high as 40% using this strategy.1 If you have the budget, consider contacting a mail service provider who can help handle the fulfillment, shipping and tracking of your automated direct mail campaigns.
To optimize an automated direct mail campaign, companies must identify the right digital behavior triggers for their marketing needs. Below, we dissect the triggers and messaging that can help you create effective retargeted direct mail for four different marketing stages.
A common trigger for this marketing stage entails a user browsing an e-commerce site without making a purchase. The programmatic technology behind automated mail can capture a number of events for this purpose: customers browsing the homepage, category-level pages, and product pages. To drive conversion, a business should tailor messaging to the user’s activity. For example, send a mailpiece as simple as a postcard that speaks to trends or sales in a category they were exploring.
Users in this marketing stage have a slightly different behavior. Possible triggers for these customers include: consistently browsing the same product pages over and over or signing up for a retailer’s email list. To drive conversion in this case, send a mailpiece that highlights the specific brand they were interested in with an offer to help first-time customers make a purchase.
In this marketing stage, the telltale trigger for purchase behavior is the abandoned shopping cart. Over 4 trillion dollars of merchandise is left unpurchased in digital shopping carts each year.2 When creating mailpieces for these customers, it’s important to remind them what’s been abandoned. Up the ante of the message by offering the customer a discount on their next purchase.
Following the Pareto principle, 80% of sales come from 20% of customers. That means loyalty mail can have a lasting impact on your bottom line.3 The trigger for this marketing stage is simple—once a customer makes a purchase. Use direct mail to upsell products that complement their recent purchase or deliver information about your loyalty program, if you have one. If you choose the latter, describe the perks of joining the program and the long-term savings customers can see.
Retargeted direct mail sits at a powerful crossroads of digital and direct mail, thanks to programmatic technology and personalized print messaging. With the right marketing strategy, the right triggers, and the right message, any size business can begin targeting and converting prospects into customers.
In a competitive market like financial technology (fintech), where growing startups brush up against traditional finance companies, marketers need a way to differentiate and convert customers. One way to turn prospects into customers is through retargeted direct mail.
By observing the actions of prospects on your website or mobile app, you can trigger personalized direct mail that is sent out within 48 hours of the interaction.
Direct Mail Has a Huge Impact
Reaching people in their mailboxes can impact growth.
In fact, one financial services company found that 90% of borrowers were acquired through offline channels—the largest of which was direct mail.1
Compared to emails and display ads, direct mail: Generates 10% more customers2 10% Has a 90% or higher open rate (compared to email’s 30%)3 90% Drives 60% of consumers back to the website4 60% Has a house-list response rate of 5.1%
(compared 0.06% click-through rate on digital ads)5
Mail is also secure. There are more than 200 federal laws enforced by the Postal Inspection Service to protect Americans from fraud.6 This assurance, as well as the less intrusive and more tactile experience of direct mail, leads 76% of consumers to trust direct mail when it comes to purchasing decisions.7
Retargeted Direct Mail Converts Prospects
When you use data gathered from digital channels to inform direct mailpieces, you get the best of both worlds. You can understand what a visitor to your website or mobile app is interested in based on what they looked at, then send a personalized piece of direct mail to help convert them from prospect to customer.
7 Reasons to invest in Retargeted Direct mail1
Combining the scale of digital and the efficacy of direct mail yields close to a 40% conversion rate.840%
In a space as competitive as fintech, where customer acquisition costs are high, conversion rates matter. When a company sends a personalized email, conversion rates hover between 1% and 5%.9 A physical direct mailpiece is 8 to 40 times more effective, converting close to 40% of prospects into customers.8,92
Used together, digital and direct mail can result in 20% or higher response rates.1020%
That’s 10 times higher than the response rate for all digital channels combined and more than 200 times higher than the click-through rate for digital retargeting.10 To get prospects to invest, borrow or bank with your business, consider using retargeted mail to translate digital behavior into an opportunity to engage and ultimately convert prospects.3
Multichannel campaigns saw a 37% increase in response over single-channel campaigns.1137%
On its own, direct mail outperforms other marketing channels. But combining direct mail with other digital media, such as email, gives you a greater chance of reaching your customer with the right message at the right time. A site visitor may not be ready to sign up today; if you send regular reminders to their inbox and mailbox, response rates could see growth.4
One study showed that using direct mail and digital media together increased customer purchase or signup intent by 10x.1210x
Fintech businesses need a sustainable customer base to survive. When digital media and direct mail are used in conjunction, one large study of a telecommunications advertiser showed a brand-to-customer connection that is 10 times stronger than digital-only campaigns.12 This translates to greater rates of consideration or intent to sign up and could mean a strong opportunity to capture and convert consumers in search of investing, borrowing or banking services.5
Research has shown that campaigns that use direct mail and digital together produced 10% higher brand recollection than single-channel digital campaigns.1310%
Brand recognition is vital for fintech companies solidifying their place in the market. Using well-branded content across digital and direct mail channels has been shown to increase a customer’s recollection of a business: Brand memorability in one study was 5.5 times higher after an omni-channel campaign than that of a digital-only campaign.12 When a person recognizes a brand in a competitive market, they are more likely to give that company their business.6
Recipients of omni-channel campaigns paid 39% more attention to the messaging than to that of single-channel campaigns.1239%
Messaging helps differentiate your fintech business from competitors. When you use a mix of digital media and direct mail to communicate a consistent message, people will pay more attention than they would if you were using just one channel or the other.7
Research has shown that integrating digital and direct mail in campaigns resulted in 5% higher emotional intensity than single-channel digital campaigns.135%
Ninety-five percent of purchasing decisions are made subconsciously, based on emotional connections and brand recall.14 It’s possible that positive emotions could correlate to an increase in a prospect’s likelihood of investing, borrowing or banking with you instead of your competitors.
Combine your rich digital data with effective direct mail communications to create a comprehensive marketing campaign that works. You can convert prospects visiting your site into customers at a higher rate and build a strong, loyal customer base that will help your fintech business stay ahead of the competition.
USPS® Can Help
Looking to learn more about retargeted direct mail? USPS representatives can help you find the best solution for your business needs.Close