In February of this year, the USPS introduced a new feature that gives consumers the ability to see a daily digital preview of their incoming mail. The program is called Informed Delivery and was initially piloted in 6 states. It is now available throughout the U.S. I’ve been curious since hearing about this, so I recently signed up to see how the program works.
In the morning the recipient receives a grayscale image of the exterior address side of incoming mailpieces. The image of the postcard from Missouri Baptist Medical Center is from my Informed delivery inbox recently. I was able to view the image at 8:15 in the morning and the actual piece delivered in that day’s mail.
For consumers, the process to sign up for the service is free and relatively simple. You create an account at USPS.com which requires some identity verification that validates your name is associated with the mailing address that you register. USPS uses existing processes to gather digital images of the letter sized mail pieces that are processed through automation equipment. The image of the mailpiece is automatically matched to the Informed Delivery user. The user is informed through e-mail with images of the qualifying mail and through a dashboard view of their USPS account. This scenario is described as “mailing as usual.”
Not every piece of mail that will be delivered in your mailbox will include in the Informed Delivery program. Mailers must provide pieces that are automation compatible and contain a valid IMb.
Informed Delivery offers enhanced options for the mailers to compliment the physically mailed piece. The first is the option to provide a custom color image in place of and/or below the grayscale scanned image of the piece. Users can be offered an option to respond on this digital channel via URL. This allows for measurable data insights.
Programs are in development for use with flat-sized mail pieces. The mailer will be able to provide an image that is to be used instead of the scanned image. Best use of this feature involves providing the USPS with a color “representative” of the physical mail piece. The mailer can also provide a second ride-along image with a URL that will provide the benefit of measurable data insights.
Informed Delivery is a work in progress with additional features planned to be announced before year’s end. As a campaign it has the potential to offer benefits to a campaign that could potentially increase the ROI of direct mail:
- It’s memorable –Informed Delivery generates multiple impressions from a single mailpiece.
- It demands attention – the service offers a call to action of the recipient – and gives them multiple reminders.
- It’s engaging – As recipients interact with their smartphones and computers throughout the day, a marketer can extend the message in both terms of time and medium.
- It’s omnichannel – The opportunity to combine printed direct mail can generate heightened interest across multiple generations.
- It’s measurable – Informed Delivery provides additional data insights from the digital interaction.
If you have utilized this option in a marketing campaign, we’d like to hear your thoughts. How did you use it? Were you able to measure the impact? If you have not used it but plan on trying it, how will you use it? What is the potential benefit?
For more information visit, USPS Informed Delivery.