The U.S. Postal Service recently rolled out Informed Delivery, a new program that gives subscribers a digital preview of the mail they will receive later that day, either through an email, mobile app, or online dashboard. It also provides marketers with the ability to use their mailpiece to make an additional digital connection with the recipient by adding personalized images and links to the preview received by subscribers.
While still in its first year, Informed Delivery has already opened doors and presented challenges to marketers who want to stand out in the mailbox. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of this new tool to drive response rates.
Using Informed Delivery to Entice Opening
When used as a preview tool, Informed Delivery is sort of like having a restaurant menu that shows pictures of the dishes—they catch your eye, prepare you for what you’re going to get, and spark your interest. But, like the menu example, not everything you see about your mail transfers from mailbox to screen and back with 100% fidelity. Just as the food pictures wouldn’t include smell or temperature, Informed Delivery doesn’t translate texture, color, size, or weight as effectively as actually holding the mailpiece does.
For the most part, Informed Delivery acts like any other mailbox in the sense that marketers are still competing with other mailpieces for attention. However, it has an added bonus for marketers in acting as a teaser. The goal here is to create an outer envelope (OE) so intriguing and compelling that the recipient goes to get their mail as soon as they can.
Keep in mind, Informed Delivery works by scanning the address side of a letter-sized mailpiece, so take these notes into consideration when you’re designing a mailpiece:
- Images of larger mail like catalogs or magazines are not scanned;
- The back of the OE will not be shown;
- The scans will appear in grayscale.
Tips for Designing for Informed Delivery
Informed Delivery’s unique position between sender and recipient means direct marketers need to think differently about how they design their mail campaigns. Here are some of our design team’s best practices for designing your direct mail with informed delivery in mind:
- Use messaging and branding thoughtfully. Since the recipient won’t be able to see anything other than the OE, messaging and branding will play a big role in how they understand the piece through Informed Delivery. Headlines like “Exclusive offer inside” or “Limited time offer” will help drive interest. It’s also important to consider how much of your brand you show—is this a communication that they’re expecting? If so, make sure your brand is prominent. Is this an acquisition piece from a business the recipient hasn’t heard of before? It might be better to show less of your brand on the OE.
- Consider graphic elements. Graphics are a great way to catch the eye and drive interest to the mailpiece. Even if the OE doesn’t include a teaser about what’s inside, a strong graphic can keep the mailpiece top-of-mind.
- Match your envelope to the tone of your messaging. If you’re sending an official document, it’s important to choose an OE that communicates official or important. Standard sized envelopes and windows, barcodes, urgency messaging, etc. are all elements that recipients expect their more crucial documents to contain. By utilizing these features, you’re alerting the recipient they should open your piece right away.
If you’d like to learn more about Informed Delivery, or if you’d like to make sure your mailpiece is Informed Delivery ready, contact us today.
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