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Recently, I was asked to present at a Brand United webinar entitled, Dynamic Direct Mail Campaigns, Innovations, Performance, Marketing Integrations, and Advocacy. I took the opportunity to discuss a tactic that we feel presents a great advantage to mailers: Informed Delivery. This digital add-on to direct mail is offered by the USPS at no cost, so every mailer should look into it.
The slides below are from my presentation and will help you to understand Informed Delivery, and even how you can implement it for your business.
There are many reasons to implement Informed Delivery right now!
The USPS does the heavy lifting. All you have to do is supply them with images and a link to your landing page. Most of this can be done with the help of your agency or production partner. Or, you can have a USPS rep help you directly.
Refer to the slide above as I walk you through the design elements of an Interactive Campaign below.
- Representative image: This is not mandatory – It can be a scan, recreated art of the mail piece in a clearer form, or an ad. We recommend adding this image to consider how to best optimize the user experience.
- Ride-along image: This is mandatory if you are adding a link to a landing page. In addition to a link, use other CTA best practices to optimize response.
- Return address: The brand or company name of the sender.
- Action buttons: This includes a “Learn More” button that links to your campaign landing page and a “Set a Reminder” button that allows the prospect to set a date and time to review this offer again at a later date.
In our examples below, I’m highlighting design nuances to consider when using both a promotional creative mailer and a stealth mailer.
Ride-long only: If you are already providing promotional creative design, then a basic scan may be enough to entice the prospect to click. However, scan quality can suffer, making the scan hard to read. Unfortunately, the mailer does not have any control over how the scan appears unless they provide a replacement image.
Representative clone image: You can really make your mail come alive by providing a representation of the actual artwork – so it appears more like an ad – but keeping the integrity of the mailpiece for greater recall at the mailbox. This tactic works especially well at communicating offers for very promotional mailings.
Representative clone image (black and white): A recent case study from The USPS provides insight on using a greyscale image vs. a color image. This tactic works especially well at communicating offers for very promotional mailings. Black and white images may actually get a better response. Just another reason to test!
Full ad image: This image replaces a visual of the actual mail piece and appears more like a digital ad. In this example, we also included a larger arrow to draw the prospect’s eye to the call-to-action (CTA) ride-along image. To add brand and package recall, consider adding a thumbmail of your package as we did here on the bottom right of the ad image.
What about a stealth/blind mail package strategy? Here at Gunderson Direct, we have done a ton of testing to determine that, in many cases, a stealth, or blind, envelope will outperform a promotional envelope. The issue is that, by revealing the stealth OE in the Informed Delivery email to prospects, we risk undermining the effectiveness of the stealth strategy. What to show? Our next slide presents our solution for this dilemma.
Consider using an ad image in the place of the scan. This approach gives you two opportunities to win the prospect’s response. The first opportunity is when the prospect is ready to buy and the ad image is enough information to get them to respond to your offer. Since the Informed Delivery campaign utilizes the same targeting as your mailpiece, there is a good chance your prospect will be interested in the ad image and take action. The second opportunity is for the prospects that need more information to make a decision. They will receive the stealth mailing and benefit from the additional content that’s designed to move them to take action.
We could argue that a combo approach might also work. Entice the prospect with a full ad image that includes a small stealth envelope image below and to the right as we’ve done above. We’re testing this option now!
TEST! These are just a few design tactics to try as a starting point – but make sure you A/B test and measure all your iterations.
The USPS provides a response report that includes how many targeted prospects received your interactive campaign based on their subscriber base. We have seen up to a 25% match on consumer campaigns and this audience is continuing to grow. Additional metrics included are the open and the click-through rates. With this simple reporting, you should be able to effectively test and optimize your Informed Delivery creative.