Direct mail marketing is very data centric. Marketers are great at leveraging data about their customers and prospects, but many have never thought of leveraging USPS delivery data. The USPS has made many technological advancements over the years to enhance the visibility of mail as it processes through its plants. This allows marketers access to not only delivery speeds, but also accurate delivery dates.
What information does the post office have available?
1. The USPS has first scan data — the piece is processed after being dropped at the post office.
2. The USPS has out for delivery scan data — the carriers have the mail on their trucks to deliver.
Why does this information matter?
1. Delivery Speeds
The delivery speed of your mail can vary greatly. Some areas of the U.S. process mail at faster speeds than others. When you have the information about which areas are slow, you can plan to mail to them sooner. This becomes really important when you have a hard deadline date on your mail piece. It needs to get to recipients before it expires.
2. Delivery Dates
When you know the dates your mail pieces are delivered, you’re able to coordinate follow-up campaigns. Because most marketers are using more than one channel, it becomes important to know when to send the next message. Accurate in-home dates provide you with a trigger point you can rely on. Knowing when your payments are coming by tracking your business reply envelopes can also be helpful for your accounting departments.
Since direct mail is an effective way to drive people to online content, it’s usually the first step in a multi-channel campaign. Knowing that, the USPS delivery information is the key to the steps that follow it. Since timing is everything in marketing, adding the USPS delivery information can give your ROI a boost.
Depending on the service provider of your tracking, there are many options for you to view the information. Some of the most common are:
- Scans by SCF
- Scans by NDC
- Scans by State
- Scans by Date
- Scans by DDU
- Scans by 5 Digit Zip
- Scans by 3 Digit Zip
There’s really a lot of valuable information in these reports. One of the best benefits of this information is being able to know when there’s a problem. If you have start of process scans but they have gone no further for several days, it’s time to reach out to a postal representative to find out what’s happening. If you’re able to catch a problem quickly, you can get a resolution quickly. In turn, your mail will get delivered in a reasonable amount of time.
Consider tracking your next direct mail campaign so you can see when recipients are getting your mail and then you can send out a follow up message. Remember, the more times and ways you touch your customers and prospects, the better response you are going to get.
Have you tried direct mail tracking? What did you like or dislike about it? One thing to keep in mind is that just because a mail piece was not scanned, it does not mean that it was not delivered. This is especially true for flats. Many times flat size mail is not run on the scanning equipment, so we see low scan tracking data on this type of mail. We recommend tracking letter size pieces for better scan results.