Track Your Direct Mail with Informed Visibility™

For years, direct mail has been an effective communications tool for marketers. But as online campaigns have grown in effectiveness and trackability, marketers have searched for something that could connect the physical and digital, increasing the impact of each medium.

That’s why the United States Postal Service® (USPS) created the Informed Visibility™ service, which brings near real-time tracking data to deliveries of mail pieces like flats and letters. Keep reading to learn how this tool works, and what it can do to improve your direct mail marketing campaigns.

What is Informed Visibility?

This tool lets marketers know when mail has been delivered, allowing for quick and coordinated activation of complementary marketing campaigns.

How It Works

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    Once sent, a direct mail piece is scanned by the Post Office™ facility and entered into a tracking system. Senders can then track pieces using the Informed Visibility tool, which shows when a mail piece has entered different stages in the delivery cycle.

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    When mail reaches its destination, a final scan from the postal carrier alerts the sender that their piece is being delivered to a customer.

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    With this near real-time delivery information, the sender can launch complementary campaigns like emails or social media ads that target the same customers, maximizing the impact of each piece.

What data does Informed Visibility provide?

With this feature, mailers gain rich insights into the stages of the USPS® mail stream. They can learn when their letters move from sorting machines to trucks, and when they are ultimately delivered to customers’ mailboxes. Senders can view each piece by delivery-progress scans (such as “being sorted,” “en route” or “delivered”), delivery area or Zip Code™ destination, campaign name and more. Once a piece is delivered, marketers can then kick off digital campaigns on other channels to magnify the influence of the direct mailpiece.

En Route
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How does Informed Visibility impact communication?

The service makes it easier for marketers to run multichannel campaigns involving direct mail touchpoints. Knowing the stages your mail has entered and when it has reached your customer in near real-time makes marketing communications easier.

Marketing campaigns—from direct mail to broadcast TV to social media—can work together to boost impact rather than functioning in silos. A politician’s team, for example, could arrange a call to confirm a vote upon seeing that a direct mailpiece has reached a citizen. Or a retailer could send an email with more offers and direct links to increase the impact of a mailed coupon.

With Informed Visibility, you can plan out and manage your campaigns, present and future, more effectively.

Key Takeaways

Adding Informed Visibility to your next direct mail campaign is a powerful way to build on your marketing messages. By knowing when your piece has arrived in a customer’s mailbox, you can more effectively plan and manage which complementary marketing they see, and when.

Coordinating efforts between your mail and digital campaigns will increase impact on, and value for, your customers. At the same time, Informed Visibility can streamline campaigns internally, bringing you more powerful, measurable results.

Ready to set up Informed Visibility for your next campaign? Talk to a USPS representative to learn more.

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6 Helpful Tips for Working with List Brokers

Finding the right mailing list for your direct mail campaign can spell the difference between success or failure. If you’re looking to acquire new customers, working with a mailing list broker is key. List owners are individuals who own mailing lists with valuable contact information. List brokers are individuals who connect list owners with companies looking to rent their mailing list. Consider the following tips when working with these professionals to create the best mailing list for your needs.

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    Know your target audience.

    It’s crucial to know what persona you want to reach with your campaign. Consider the age, gender, household income and hobbies of the customers you want to acquire. This information will help your list broker find the most applicable list for your purposes.

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    Know what type of mailing list you need.

    There are two types of mailing lists your broker could show you: a response list and a compiled list. A response list is comprised of individuals who have made purchases or responded to marketing efforts in the past. A compiled list is comprised of contact information pulled from various public domains like credit files and county tax assessor files; it includes individuals who fit a certain demographic, but haven’t made any purchases. Naturally, since responders have shown interest in the products you’re selling or made similar purchases in the past, response lists are more expensive and should produce better response rates.

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    Know the size of your mailing.

    The size of your mailing will dictate the ultimate price of renting a list, so consider how many people you want to reach. Is it important for you to reach a wide swath of individuals through a compiled list or reach a smaller group of responders who have made similar purchases in the past? Collaborate with your list broker to decide which kind of list would work best for you.

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    Know the timing of your campaign.

    Finding a list broker and a mailing list takes time. When deciding direct mail campaign deadlines, bake in time for list exploration. That way, if you’re aiming to mail your piece before a popular shopping season like the holidays, you won’t miss your time window searching for a list. Have your deadlines in mind when you reach out to your list broker. This will keep you both on track.

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    Understand the terms of your list agreement.

    List agreements are contracts that state the limits of your rental agreement. Typically, they say that your company can only use the contact information one time. However, if you convert some of the contacts on the list into customers, their information becomes yours, and they technically become part of your house list.

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    Understand the cost of renting your list.

    Mailing lists are usually priced by every 1,000 contacts, with a minimum charge for use. Lists also typically have no services fees, as they are included in the cost. When deciding which mailing list is right for you consider the price and quality of contact information. If the contact list fits your target audience and the price is within budget, you’ve found the list for you.

In Summary

Working with a list broker is a time-sensitive, time-intensive process, but it’s an important part of a direct mail campaign. Do your research and come prepared with your persona, campaign timeline, budget and more. The more information you have ready for your list broker, the easier and more successful your list exploration process will be.