How great would it be if you could get notifications about incoming mail to your address? Good news! Thanks to the United States Postal Service (USPS) and its Informed Delivery service, you can.
Even better, the service is free, and users can receive a digital preview of their incoming mail items from their computer or mobile device.
Postalytics is a direct mail automation tool encapsulating the essence of streamlining the direct mail process. It enables marketers to create and send direct mail campaigns effortlessly. And by combining direct mail campaigns with Informed Delivery, businesses can engage with their prospects and customers on a deeper level.
In this ultimate guide, we’ll help break down how the Informed Delivery service works and how to maximize its various benefits.
What We’ll Cover:
- What is Informed Delivery?
- Benefits of Informed Delivery Updates
- Limitations of Informed Delivery Updates
- When Does Informed Delivery Update?
- How Does Informed Delivery Updates Work?
- Informed Delivery and Direct Mail: A Winning Combination
Are you a marketing professional looking to generate more leads?
If you’re a direct mail marketer or looking to add direct mail to your marketing mix, then tracking your mail campaigns is crucial for generating more leads, driving sales, and keeping your clients happy.
To support your success, Postalytics has developed real-time mail tracking and analytics tools for your direct mail campaigns. So, if you’re mailing a direct mail campaign in the United States or Canada, get ahead by creating your free account today.
What is Informed Delivery?
Informed Delivery is a free notification service offered by USPS that allows customers to get digital previews of their letter-size mailpieces in transit or out for delivery.
The previews appear when USPS scans your mail piece and uploads it to the user’s dashboard. You can then see a grayscale image of the outside of your envelopes.
You can view up to 10 images in your email notification; the rest are available on your dashboard. These updates help customers get information on incoming mail and its sender and track mail before it arrives. This information ensures the recipient can be available when the mail arrives or reschedule it, if possible.
Benefits of Informed Delivery Updates
The Informed Delivery facility is available for eligible residential customers and PO boxes across most zip codes in the U.S. Since it launched, millions of people in the U.S. have availed of this facility to get updates and avoid theft.
Here are some reasons why it has become so popular.
Close Monitoring of Emails
Recipients can see the address side of the mailpieces that are about to arrive. While these images are grayscale and do not show you the content of the mail piece, they do allow you to track your package.
This data makes recipients aware and avoids those unwarranted surprises. It helps identify important or urgent mail pieces, and you can be available at your doorstep when it is scheduled to arrive.
If you’re a business that has adopted direct mail marketing, you can use tools like Postalytics that allow you to track direct mail and keep a finger on the pulse of your campaigns.
Reliable and Secure
Have your personal details ever been stolen when you tried to track your mail via a spammy third-party website? Instead of relying on shady websites, you can find information without any cost and without the fear of losing your important details by subscribing to Informed Delivery.
USPS’s Informed Delivery service is 100% reliable and secure. You can get timely informed delivery notifications, and you don’t have to keep entering your tracking ID to check the status. All you need to do is access an internet connection and sign up for their service here.
Increased Customer Response
Informed Delivery updates generate enthusiasm among your customers if they aren’t aware of what you’re sending them. You can include a catchy headline or remark on the mailpiece so customers can view it when they receive a grayscale image in their inbox.
Adding these prompts can encourage recipients to engage with your mail once it arrives on their doorstep. Higher initial engagement can boost your response rate and increase customer retention by cleverly using direct mail marketing.
Many businesses use personalization features available in Postalytics to create a catchy image or headline that appears on the envelope and creates a more engaging experience.
Marketing Opportunity for Direct Mail Marketers
These previews sent to recipients before they get their mail hold an excellent marketing opportunity for direct mail marketers.
You can provide interactive content, discount coupons, and offers to draw their attention.
Whether you’re sending postcards, self-mailers, or detailed letters, you can get creative with the outside of your envelope to generate enthusiasm about your mail. For example, if you’re sending a postcard with a discount coupon, you can use a catchy headline like, “A chance to enjoy big savings!”
You can personalize this headline by adding their name and creating a connection.
Limitations of Informed Delivery Updates
While there are many benefits to subscribing to USPS’s Informed Delivery service, there are some limitations.
Limited Content Preview
Informed Delivery currently only captures letter-size mail pieces. If you’re expecting to get notifications on all your mail pieces, this service may not be the right option.
The scans happen when your mail passes through the automated mail sorting system. You will often not receive information on the full content of your mail piece. For example, you may receive low-resolution, grayscale images that limit your understanding of what the mail contains.
Delivery Time Variability
While the postal service tries its best to adhere to the timeline it denotes on your emails or the USPS informed delivery dashboard, sometimes mail gets delayed.
Even if you receive an email notification with a digital preview and an expected date, you may see it logged in the dashboard for days without delivery.
These delays often occur during the peak season or the holidays. In other words, it’s important not to rely on the information completely and consider a buffer period while waiting for the delivery.
Requires Uniquely Coded Mailbox
Your locality or apartment building must have a uniquely coded mailbox to qualify for this service. You need a specific mailbox type while signing up for the USPS Informed Delivery service.
If you live in an area with no such coded mailbox, you’ll have to wait and check the eligibility later to sign up for this service.
Restricted Availability in Busier Localities
If you live in a densely populated area, informed delivery may not be available, or you might not get timely notifications.
You may even end up not getting digital previews for your mails. USPS needs to consider this limitation and take action to provide this service effectively in these areas.
When Does Informed Delivery Update?
Informed Delivery sends one update daily, usually around 9 a.m. You can expect an email once a day if there’s any due mail yet to be delivered to your address. Your online dashboard also gets updated with digital previews of the next day’s mail.
Depending on your locality, you may get these notifications as early as 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. the day before. It can also happen that additional mail items may be added after your early evening preview.
If you are not getting email notifications, check your spam/junk mail and add USPSInformeddelivery@email.informeddelivery.usps.com to your trusted contacts. You can even log in to your dashboard and tick “Send email notifications” in the settings menu.
Here’s a detailed guide to check the days when USPS delivers and other related questions.
How Does Informed Delivery Updates Work?
Whether you’re a marketer or receive a lot of direct mail, subscribing to Informed Delivery updates can help you. Here’s a step-by-step process on how to get started with it.
1. Sign up for Informed Delivery
First, you must have a P.O. box for personal use. This service is not available to business P.O. boxes. Your address and zip code should also be eligible, which will be checked during the signup process.
First, go to this site by USPS. You’ll be first asked to enter your address. Once verified, you can create a personal account. After that, you’ll have to verify your identity by completing the mobile verification process or requesting the code by mail.
After verification, you’ll arrive at the confirmation page. Click “Go to Dashboard” or wait for the web page to redirect to your Informed Delivery account automatically.
2. Image Capturing of Letter-Sized Mail
Once you create an account, USPS looks for any upcoming mail and captures grayscale images of these letter-size mail pieces. While the images are not high-resolution, you can get a rough idea of who the sender is and the kind of package you’ll be receiving.
Here’s an example of what this grayscale image looks like:
However, as these scans happen when the package moves from different postal stations, you can sometimes miss out on receiving these images.
3. Identification of Mailpiece with Barcode
USPS uses an Intelligent Mail Barcode system that assigns barcodes to every mail piece. These barcodes include details about the mailpiece and help USPS sort and deliver them.
Even marketers and businesses who wish to track their mail items can print these IMBs on their mailpieces and avail of the benefits.
There are a lot of components that go into a bar code, like barcode identifier, service type identifier, mailer ID, sequence number, delivery point zip code, etc. All these components help match images with scheduled deliveries and help recipients get accurate details.
4. Digital Notification for USPS Subscribers
Customers usually receive an early email notification from USPS by 9 a.m. This digital notification arrives in their inbox and contains a preview of their upcoming direct mail.
You can head to your Informed Delivery dashboard to get the same details. Select “Packages” to get the list of delivered and arriving packages. For more details like scan history or to schedule redelivery and leave any delivery instructions, click the arrow on the right of your package.
This feature is very helpful for people who must travel for work or are on vacation.
5. Monitor Daily the Status of Mail
If your mail piece is scheduled to arrive a few days or a week later, you can keep tracking its daily status with the Informed Delivery facility. You can get these notifications in three ways:
- USPS mobile application
- Daily emails
- Informed Delivery dashboard
You can open your dashboard by logging in to your account and then set up text and email notifications according to your requirements.
USPS provides the option of leaving delivery instructions and scheduling redelivery if you were unavailable to receive the mail.
Informed Delivery and Direct Mail: A Winning Combination
Informed Delivery by USPS is an effective service that helps recipients stay informed about their upcoming mail pieces. It sends regular notifications and is useful for recipients who get a lot of mail pieces.
It’s equally useful for businesses sending direct mail. Using Postalytics, you can automate triggered drip campaigns to create personalized and seamless direct mail campaigns that synchronize seamlessly with informed delivery updates.
Combined with the benefits of Informed Delivery, marketers can engage with customers at multiple touchpoints and reinforce the impact of their messaging.
Try Postalytics for free today!