8 Direct Mail Enhancements, Other Than Paper, Finishing, Coating

Enhancing your direct mail through paper, finishing, and coatings are great, but there is one more category to discuss. And Part 4 in this series is about “other” direct mail enhancements.

Enhancing your direct mail through paper, finishing, and coatings are great, but there is one more category to discuss. And Part 4 in this series is about “other” direct mail enhancements.

So why use these things in your direct mail? The special effects of enhancements change the appearance, dimensions, and texture of your mail piece. They are beautiful and eye-catching, so that they draw attention to your message and increase your response rates.

So what are some options to consider in beyond paper, finishing, and coatings?

Other Types of Direct Mail Enhancements

  • Die Cuts: There are many options for die cutting, based on your design and desired effect. Make sure to consult with your mail service provider on postal regulations if you are sending a self-mailer. Create something really fun.
  • Maps: If you are trying to drive traffic to a store location or event, use personalized maps to show your prospects and customers how to get there. The easier you make it, the more likely they are to attend.
  • Informed Delivery: The post office has this program that sends emails to people who sign up every day with images of the mail pieces that they will get that day. You can include a web link with the image of your mail piece so that people can start shopping right away.
  • Personalization: Personalization of offers is an easy way to enhance the effectiveness of your mail pieces. When you send someone a special offer tailored to them, you drive response.
  • Augmented Reality: This is a really powerful and engaging enhancement for direct mail. You can make your mail pieces come to life when your prospects or customers scan the piece with their smartphone. This is only limited by your creativity and your budget. Imagine what experience you could create.
  • Video: You can include a video screen on your mail pieces to provide an enhanced way to share your message and create a little fun. Keep them no longer than 3 minutes and make sure they are not just informative but also entertaining.
  • Social Media: When you run social media ads for your mail list on Facebook or Instagram in conjunction with your mail pieces, you increase your response rates. Of course, they need to have the same offer and general design to be recognized as part of the same campaign.
  • Google Ads: Just like with social media ads, Google ads help increase response rates. You target only the people on your mail list by appending IP address information to it.

These are just some of the things you can do with your direct mail to enhance your ROI. When adding these enhancements, you increase the value of your mail piece and make a better impression. What we touch shapes what we feel, so how are you making your prospects and customers feel? Use enhancements to create a better experience.

One thing to keep in mind as you add enhancements, you increase the production time of your pieces. So make sure to add extra time into your schedule. Make the best impression with your next direct mail campaign and see your ROI increase. Are you ready to get started?

Direct Mail Informed Delivery Enhances Your Campaigns

Are you ready to get more out of your direct mail campaigns? Direct mail is a very powerful marketing channel that can be enhanced by adding Informed Delivery.

Are you ready to get more out of your direct mail campaigns? Direct mail is a very powerful marketing channel that can be enhanced by adding Informed Delivery.

What is Informed Delivery? Basically, you provide to your customers and prospects with more touchpoints, more impressions and, therefore, create more impact. The USPS offers a free service to subscribers, which sends an email to them with an image of that day’s mail.

The default images are not in color, because they are scanned on postal equipment. When you participate in an Informed Delivery campaign, you can replace that image with a color image and even add a web link for quick purchasing or information about your product or service.

How Does Informed Delivery Enhance Your Mailing Results?

  • The USPS has a 72.5% email open rate. People will see your ad.
  • It has a 4.92% clickthrough rate on ads. People do click on the ads.
  • It encourages faster response rates, with the easy link.
  • It provides an easy way to have multiple touchpoints with clients and prospects.

Is It Complicated?

No, and that is the best part. Once you design your mail piece, you should design an image for Informed Delivery and also create a ride along ad. Both will then be sent with the landing page information to the post office, along with a mail.dat file so the post office knows who gets the mail and the ads. When the post office scans the mail piece for delivery, it will send the email to your customer or prospect with that day’s mail. Your color image with the ad and web page will be in that email.

How Can You Measure Results?

You will use your normal measuring tools for your direct mail results, plus the added Informed Delivery results. The best way to do this is to create a special landing page for your Informed Delivery ad and coupon code recipients enter at purchase. This will allow you to track how many hits come to the page, as well as how many purchases are made from the Informed Delivery portion. Your responses from the mail piece will go to a different landing page; they can also come in based on other response mechanisms, like phone or email, depending on what you provide.

Why Use Informed Delivery?

In 2019, there is a very good reason to try it out. Why? Because the post office is having a promotion for Informed Delivery. You can save 2% on your postage just for trying it out. The promotion period is Sept. 1 to Nov. 30. Over 14 million people have registered to receive these emails from the post office and that continues to grow daily. Many marketers are looking at new ways to use direct mail and Informed Delivery can help you grow your ROI. Are you ready to get started?

Direct Mail: Create USPS Informed Delivery Ads

What is USPS Informed Delivery? It allows customers who sign up to receive emails with grey-scale images of the address side of letter-sized mail pieces that have processed through automated equipment. Why is this helpful for companies that send direct mail?

What is USPS Informed Delivery? It allows customers who sign up to receive emails with grey-scale images of the address side of letter-sized mail pieces that have processed through automated equipment. Why is this helpful for companies that send direct mail? You are now able to send the post office your artwork along with your mail.dat file to be included in the email that is sent to customers with a link to a web page of your choice for the campaign. Basically, customers get a digital preview of their mailbox. This means that prior to getting your mail piece, people can click on your link and start buying.

Here is an example:

How it works:

  • Your content is associated with an individual mail campaign. You can run multiple campaigns at one time for a single mailing. You may also run multiple mailings and campaigns simultaneously.
  • Each campaign is triggered by and mapped to a single Mailer ID that is used on the mail pieces. You may set a date range, as well.
  • Mailers can also use the Serial Number range within the Intelligent Mail® barcode to provide a greater level of personalization.
  • When a mail piece scan for an enrolled Informed Delivery user and the MID or Serial Number in the IMb is associated with an active mailer campaign, the customer will see your customized content that you provided to the USPS.

If you would like more detailed information you can check out the USPS guide at: https://www.usps.com/business/pdf/informed-delivery-interactive-campaign-guide.pdf

This is an easy way to add a channel to your direct mail. Since customers have signed up to get the emails you can easily provide color artwork they will want to click on. So what do you need to qualify to participate in this program?

  1. Mail pieces must be automation compatible
  2. Mail pieces must contain a valid IMb
  3. You or your mail service provider must be IMb certified

This is a free program, so why not try it out and see if your customers like it?

How to Participate:

The process is simple; you create and send the normal hardcopy mail, then provide USPS with your image content and web address. There are two ways you can run informed delivery campaigns:

  1. Ride-along Image and Target URL: This campaign includes the USPS gray scale scanned image of the letter-size mail piece and an image provided by the mailer. This image is placed below the gray-scale image in the email. The Ride-along Image is clickable and so is the “Learn More” link. These are both linked to the same URL.
  2. Representative Image, Ride-along Image, and Target URL: In addition to the required Ride-along Image and URL, this dual campaign includes an image that is provided in lieu of a flat-size image or in place of the gray-scale letter-size image. In this version, your images are static, they are not clickable. The images must be clearly branded and must be directly related to the hard copy mail piece. One more thing, images are optional for letter-size mailings; but required for a flat-size mailing.

Now you are ready for the required components to actually do your campaign:

  • Campaign Display Name
  • Campaign Title
  • Campaign Code
  • Campaign Start Date
  • Campaign End Date
  • MID on Piece
  • IMb Serial Number Range
  • Image and URL
  • Images must not exceed 200 kilobytes
  • Images must be in JPEG (.jpg) format
  • Images must meet minimum or maximum pixel height/width, which varies per image type
  • Images must be representative of the brand or mail owner and directly related to the mail pieces

Now you are ready to submit your campaign. There are two ways to submit an Informed Delivery campaign, via the Mailer Campaign Portal or PostalOne!. The Mailer Campaign Portal is currently in beta testing. With PostalOne! mailers enter campaigns. You may also edit campaigns here. Are you ready to get started?

What You Need to Know About USPS Informed Delivery

You probably don’t like spoilers for movies, but what about your direct mail?

The U.S. Postal Service has rolled out a new tracking feature called Informed Delivery in the last few months. And it has implications for how the customer, the mail service vendor, and marketing agencies operate in the mailstream.

You probably don’t like spoilers for movies, but how about for your direct mail?

The reason I’m asking is because the U.S. Postal Service has rolled out a new tracking feature called Informed Delivery in the last few months. And it has implications for how the customer, the mail service vendor, and marketers operate in the mailstream.

USPS LogoThe first time I heard of it was in September 2015, when I spoke at the National PCC Day event in New York.

In his remarks, USPS Chief Marketing Officer Jim Cochrane mentioned a service undergoing trials that would let people see their mail before it gets delivered.

I was intrigued, and still am, as Informed Delivery is being implemented this year.

I agree with Tom Glassman, Director of Data Services and Postal Affairs at Wilen Direct. He calls it “a great integration of digital and physical mail.”

So last week, I signed up for the program and waited to see what happened.

How It Works

Consumers can enroll online for a free, password-protected account that creates a digital mailbox for the direct mail they receive at their house. Before it’s even physically delivered, they can log in and see a grayscale image of the front of a common-sized mail piece, like a #10 envelope or folded self-mailer.

It’s not available yet for P.O. Box customers. And jumbo mailers, catalogs, and packages aren’t included in the mix at this time.

What Marketers Should Think About

So if you’re a marketer, you’re probably asking, “What’s in it for me?” What’s the ‘why’?” There are complex answers to these questions.

If this service were only about giving consumers a sneak preview of their mail, one more impression of an offer, well that’s not too bad.

But Informed Delivery is more than that.

Marketers can build campaigns using the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) to reach target audiences in the digital and physical worlds simultaneously. Under the program, marketers can enhance a physical mail piece when it’s scanned into the mailstream with a representative full color image, interactive content, and a click-through URL, with individual URLs coming this fall.

I’m not going to get into all of the technical details about campaign management and how to set up Informed Delivery. That discussion needs a much deeper dive, so it can wait for another time and place.

And I fully expect USPS to change features based on feedback from industry users and the public.

But I do have some recommendations.

First, consider how your direct mail – or at least some of it – can stand out in a grayscale image. This means paying special attention to your images, teaser copy, etc., and testing all of them

Second, think about all how your mail or your client’s mail can be enhanced with an Informed Delivery campaign. So off the top of my head, I can see uses for retailers, transpromo, insurance, utilities, and financial services.

Finally, there are some great resources to consult for more information about why and how to implement Informed Delivery.

One other thing. Remember the words of the late Mal Decker: “Rule No. 1, test everything; Rule No. 2, see Rule No. 1.”