A new offering for 2019 in the United States Postal Service (USPS) promotion and incentives program is the Informed Delivery Promotion, which runs from September 1 through November 30 of 2019. Registration for this promotion starts on July 15, 2019 and runs through the end date of the promotion period.

The goal of this promotion is to increase the adoption rate of Informed Delivery by offering a two percent discount on postage to mailers who leverage Informed Delivery to reach their target audience through the Informed Delivery digital channel.

You may be thinking that this promotion is months away, so why do anything about it now? This thinking is misguided; mailers definitely need to be investigating this promotion now, as it involves advance planning of mail pieces and campaigns. Also, if you have not yet submitted an Informed Delivery campaign, you need to become familiar with that process, determine which submission method best meets your needs, and try submitting some campaigns to get some experience under your belt.

Campaign Planning
Mailers should take a look at their planned mailings for 2019 and determine which mailings may be candidates for Informed Delivery campaigns. From a business mailer perspective, the goal of Informed Delivery is to increase the reach and touch points of your physical mail pieces by offering Informed Delivery participants the opportunity to interact digitally in their delivery notification emails. To optimize the effectiveness of these campaigns, mailers should carefully plan the design of their mail piece and what web content they want to offer to the recipients.

The mail piece design is important, regardless of whether you plan to use the gray scale USPS scanned images of your mail piece or use color replacement images for your campaigns. In either case, pay special attention to how the mail piece will appear to the recipient in their email notifications. The goal is to attract attention and encourage recipients to click through to your digital message. If the addressed side of your mail piece is not particularly attention-getting, you may wish to use a color replacement image, change the design of the addressed side of the piece, or perhaps do both.

You will also want to spend some time working on the design of your ride-along image for the campaign. This is the image that the recipient clicks on to access your digital content. Again, this should be designed to grab attention and encourage recipients to click through.

You’ll also want to plan ahead for your digital content so you can create new content or modify existing content as appropriate. Consider what the goal of your physical mail piece is and offer the same calls to action in your digital content.

Dip Your Toe in the Water
If you have not previously submitted an Informed Delivery campaign, you will want to educate yourself on the process and determine which campaign submission method best suits your needs. For more basic campaigns, using the Informed Delivery portal on the Business Customer Gateway is definitely the easiest method. However, if you have more complex campaigns, such as multiple URLs for different segments of your mailing list, then submitting the campaign to PostalOne! using a Mail.dat file may be more appropriate. Keep in mind that the latter method does require advance testing with the USPS in the Customer Acceptance Testing (CAT) environment of PostalOne! In either case, we encourage you to test some campaigns BEFORE the promotion period. This will get you accustomed to the process and work out any kinks before the postage discount is at stake. Keep in mind that USPS resources for campaign assistance may be tied up in the time frame close to the promotion, so the earlier you start implementing campaigns and getting assistance, the better. Our advice: start with simple campaigns until you become more comfortable with the process and see what your campaign results are.

The USPS has many resources available to business mailers to become familiar with Informed Delivery campaigns. The best place to start is the USPS Informed Delivery for Business Mailers website. This site has links to many guides, FAQs, and other valuable resource. You may also contact the USPS at USPSInformedDeliveryCampaigns@USPS.gov or 1.877.329.7206. Many mail service providers and mailing software providers also provide assistance with submission of Informed Delivery campaigns, so check with your providers to take advantage of this help.

Jeff Peoples is Founder and CEO, Window Book, and a frequent speaker at industry events, such as the National Postal Forum.

This article originally appeared in the May/June, 2019 issue of Mailing Systems Technology.