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
Mail innovations are transforming marketers’ campaigns, allowing for easy coordination of print and digital. Dive into this experience to see how these innovations work, what they can do for your business and how they can drive action at every step of the customer journey.
Informed Delivery® turned a dog named Petunia into an omni-channel campaign for the Oregon Humane Society, fostering donor action across every stage of the customer journey.
Put your mail in your customers’ email with Informed Delivery® from USPS®. Daily emails offer your customers a peek into their mailbox from anywhere and, for you, one mailing delivers two impressions to help achieve your business KPIs.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to Informed Delivery® for business mailers.
If you think you know direct mail, think again. Thanks to digital data, the marketing channel is helping companies achieve their goals more effectively. Our white paper tells the new story of direct mail as dynamic, fully integrated and hyper-targeted.
Today’s direct mail isn’t what it used to be. It’s better. No longer siloed from digital channels, direct mail and digital have become smarter together.
Leveraging digital data, direct mail has become dynamic. It’s hyper-targeted, integrated and a powerful part of omni-channel campaigns. Now that direct mail is more dynamic, every interaction can create action.40% conversion rates when digital and direct mail are combined1
To put mail to work, marketers can leverage three innovations that are here to stay: retargeted direct mail, Informed Delivery® notifications and Informed Visibility® tracking. Explore them all below.
Retargeted Direct Mail
With programmatic technology, companies can now retarget customers with personalized direct mail sent within 12 to 24 hours of a digital interaction.
By setting specific digital triggers and customizing direct mail designs to each customer, marketers can hyper-target their campaigns. That way, they can deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time.
Through research, USPS determined the following high-level trend:68% of marketing respondents who use retargeted direct mail reported an increase in website traffic2
This feature from USPS allows customers to preview their mail before it arrives—viewable via USPS® mobile app, email notification or online dashboard. In the preview, customers can access digital ride-along content that drives them to a company’s website or other digital channels.
Leveraging data, marketers can send different ride-along content by customer segment. That way, a loyal customer and a prospective customer can be served up messaging tailored to their needs.
Through research, USPS determined the following high-level trend:36% of marketing respondents who use Informed Delivery notifications reported an increase in ROI3
This tool from USPS allows marketers to track their direct mail campaigns and determine when they’re delivered. It also allows for a personalized, omni-channel experience.
With that information in mind, marketers can immediately launch omni-channel efforts on complementary digital channels like paid media and social. Each customer is then targeted at the most optimal time—once they receive their mailpiece.
Through research, USPS determined the following high-level trend:48% of marketing respondents who use Informed Visibility tracking reported an increase in website traffic4
Direct mail that is more dynamic has opened the door for more powerful omni-channel marketing, but the story doesn’t end there. In a USPS commissioned research study, we were able to break down the myths behind direct mail, the facts to remember and ways to optimize digital integration. Explore them all in our deep-diving white paper: The Future of Direct Mail Is Here and It’s Dynamic.
For businesses today, it’s high priority to understand how a customer wants to receive transactional communications. While a variety of digital alternatives have emerged, none of them cater to the basic preference of most customers: they want to receive these documents in the mail.
Transactional pieces like bills, invoices and statements are still the most read and opened pieces of mail: 96% of people open and read bills while 92% open and read statements.1 Physical documents have value for both the recipient and the sender.
With this understanding, you could make your transactional mail work twice as hard—using only one stamp. When you send your invoice alongside promotional marketing elements, you can generate additional revenue or exposure for your business.
Get more out of your transactional mail
Mail has an impact on consumers: 60% of consumers surveyed feel that direct mail helps solidify a brand name in their mind, and people almost always open transactional mailpieces.2
Sending bills and statements has more impact in the mail than in email:
- People surveyed spend an average of 2 to 3 minutes reading transactional mail and only 15 to 20 seconds reading transactional email.2
- Once opened, bills and statements stay in a home for an average of 17 days, while emails live only for about 2 seconds.3
- 63% of people surveyed see direct mail campaigns as more serious while only 17% of people surveyed think of email that way.2
Imagine the marketing potential of your company’s routine bills, statements and invoices if you incorporate brand messaging and direct mail tactics into them. Try restructuring your transactional direct mailpieces to do more work for your brand. Make sure that your branding is present on the envelope and the documents inside. Then, find creative ways to seamlessly fit in marketing messages and calls to action.
Here are a few ways to get more out of your transactional mail:
Introduce new products and services with digital enhancements.
A bill can be more than just paper. With QR Codes®4 and augmented reality (AR) technology, transactional mailpieces can engage customers and lead them to related content.
Use QR Codes or AR to:
- Connect customers to promotions or discounts
- Share supplemental content like a rich blog post
- Develop an app that lets customers experience a new product or service virtually
Incorporate Informed Delivery® ride-along content into your pieces.
Informed Delivery® lets businesses connect with customers multiple times with one mailpiece. The free feature from the United States Postal Service® sends people a daily email with images of what is coming in the mail that day. Businesses can also include a full-color image and a unique link that lives next to that image for free, driving consumers to connect digitally.
Create ride-along content to:
- Connect customers to a video, blog post or social profile
- Link users to your site to take an action, like buying another item
- Drive people to digitally schedule an appointment or finish completing a profile
Cross-promote relevant products and services, and offer savings.
When you’re sending transactional mail, you’re talking with existing customers. These people know and trust your business already – now you have a great opportunity to further your conversation with them.
Introduce relevant upsells to:
- Highlight the benefits of adding another service or product to their account
- Introduce savings offers, like bundled services or time-sensitive discounts
- Educate customers on your suite of offerings
Use personalized messaging and offers to encourage sales.
Because transactional mail reaches your current customers, you already know a little bit about them: from basic information like names to what services or products of yours that they use and how long they’ve been customers. Using the information that you have about them can help you create personalized messaging and offers.
Try personalizing your mail to:
- Reach customers who haven’t visited your location or site in a while
- Offer custom incentives to encourage repeat visits
- Celebrate milestones, like client anniversaries
Market your referral program to gain new customers.
Word of mouth is one of the strongest ways to gain new customers: people are 90% more likely to trust and buy from a brand recommended by a friend.5 Use your transactional mail to encourage current customers to bring their friends, offering incentives to each.
Share your referral program to:
- Introduce it to an engaged audience
- Offer current customers an incentive to share your business with friends
- Build up your network of customers organically
Share how-to content to help customers take advantage of your offerings.
Help your customers get more out of their product or service by incorporating helpful and instructional content into your invoices, bills or statements. This can live on the piece itself or as a separate piece within the same mailing.
Offer supplemental content to:
- Build up trust with your customers
- Establish yourself as a go-to informational source
- Provide customers with helpful information
Transactional mail can serve a dual purpose. Not only does it send important documentation and information to your customers by nature, it can also drive home your marketing messages, introduce other products and services in your lineup, and deliver educational content to your engaged consumers. With one piece of mail that does two jobs, you could potentially enhance your brand image and build up your business.
Elevate your transactional mail. We’ll show you how.
If you’re looking to learn more about transactional mail, talk to a USPS representative.
The United States Postal Service’s new Informed Delivery® feature allows organizations to connect their hardcopy mail and digital marketing strategies by providing users with a preview of their mail before it arrives — viewable via USPS® mobile app, email notification or online dashboard.1 This coordinated, double impression allows users to interact with digital content associated with their mailpiece. As a result, the Informed Delivery feature provides businesses with the opportunity to further showcase their well-designed mailpieces by expanding the reach of their mailing campaign.2
The Informed Delivery feature also provides mailers with valuable data, such as email open rates and click-through rates. This data appears in reports that allow businesses to evaluate the success of their campaign and root their decisions in metrics.3 Read on to learn more about supplemental content and find out how a real company has used this innovative feature.
Using Supplemental Content
Informed Delivery users can view a grayscale image of the exterior, address side of their letter-size mailpieces.4 At a minimum, organizations conducting an Informed Delivery interactive campaign are required to include a ride-along image and target URL to accompany this grayscale image. This supplemental content makes a campaign interactive and helps businesses enhance their call-to-action by providing consumers with an additional, digital impression. Following the best practices below can help make campaigns more effective by driving user action5:
- Sync the design of the ride-along image with the mail piece and grayscale image to maintain consistency.
- Treat the ride-along image as a branded, clickable button with a strong call-to-action, such as “Click Here” or “Sign-up Today.”
- Include a target URL that takes the user to a website or social media platform.
- See our Campaign Image Requirements document on our Informed Delivery for Business Mailers website for image specifications.
Mailers also have the opportunity to enhance their Informed Delivery campaign by replacing the grayscale image with an optional, full-color image known as a representative image. Mailers conducting campaigns on flat-size pieces, such as periodicals or catalogues, are required to use a representative image as images of flats are not captured or presented to users.
How One Company Used Supplemental Content
ESPN was one of the very first mailers to test Informed Delivery interactive campaigns with the USPS. For each periodical they mailed, they conducted an Informed Delivery interactive campaign by providing USPS a color copy of the front cover of their magazine to use as a representative image. The ride-along image demonstrates how supplemental content can strengthen a campaign’s call-to-action; the image prompts users to give a gift subscription. This ride-along image uses the design best practices outlined on the site linked above to encourage users to take a desired action. Additionally, the representative image gives subscribers a preview of the magazine arriving soon. ESPN’s Informed Delivery campaign enabled the company to connect and engage with subscribers in new, innovative ways.
Hardcopy mail and digital marketing strategies should not stand alone. Informed Delivery bridges the gap between the physical and digital worlds to create an innovative experience for consumers. This feature allows businesses to reach their customers in a new way that aligns with today’s increasingly digital environment.
It can be tough to create an effective marketing campaign that cuts through the daily digital clutter. It often means changing strategies, testing new concepts and broaching new messaging territories — all things that you might approach with hesitation.
But Informed Delivery from the United States Postal Service (USPS)® can help your business break through. The service allows participating customers to see what’s coming in the mail, from their email.
The Informed Delivery email, sent daily, includes black and white images of the physical mailpieces, as well as connected calls-to-action that the sender — a business owner like you — can customize to get the most out of the service.
If you’re interested in using Informed Delivery for your next direct mail campaign, here are three best practices, learned from real marketers who use it successfully.
Optimize Your Mailpiece
In the daily Informed Delivery email, your mailpiece is displayed in grayscale. Take this into account while designing: will the color contrasts still read in black and white? Does your message still come across?
It’s also important to think about the format of your physical piece. Odd shapes — even squares — and catalogs can’t be scanned like traditional postcards and letters, and thus won’t be displayed as images in the email. Instead of investing in that format of direct mail, consider investing in ride-along digital content that connects with the mailpiece. That video, animation or digital experience can be linked in the daily email to add a second touchpoint with your customer.
Entice with Ride-Along Content
In the daily email, ride-along content appears in color beneath the image of your mailpiece. Consider it a personalized, helpful complement to what participating customers will see in their physical mailbox. For example, did you know more than half of bills are paid online? If your business sends bills and uses Informed Delivery, ride-along content could feature a link, driving recipients to pay their bill online.
of bills are paid online.1
If you’re mailing promotions for new stores or products that these customers may not have connected with in person yet, build awareness quickly and effectively by sharing content that introduces the business in a memorable way — like a great video — or encourages another connection — like following your company on social media.
Enhance Using Data
of customers view their Informed Delivery alerts on mobile devices.2
They also value seeing what’s in the mail while they’re traveling as a top reason for using Informed Delivery. These types of data points can help you continuously improve on customer experience. Make your ride-along content mobile friendly, and offer the convenience of acting on your mailpiece’s call to action — like paying bills or taking advantage of a sale — even if customers don’t see the physical mail.
As you continue to use Informed Delivery, you’ll also gather data more specific to your business. Use that information to retarget your audience in a more effective and personalized way, whether with more physical mail or through other digital experiences.
Enhancing your direct mail is easier than you might think. With Informed Delivery, you get three touchpoints — email, digital ride-along content and the physical mailpiece — all in one swoop. Don’t hesitate to make the most out of your direct mail and create lasting engagements with shoppers.