In light of the recent news around deliverability issues and the United States Postal Service (USPS), our agency has been researching the best methods to ensure our clients can monitor their deliverability. Direct mail is an increasingly popular method of sending marketing materials to prospective and existing customers due to its package flexibility. These packages typically consist of a letter, brochure, and envelope, although some mailings also include a response device. However, the contents of direct mail may change as this marketing method continues to evolve. Direct mail services of greatest interest to businesses include informed delivery, commingling, and tracking.
How does informed delivery work?
Informed Delivery is a delivery service that allows customers to preview their incoming mail before it arrives. The post office sends them a digital image for each piece of mail, which is known as the informed delivery digest. Informed delivery was originally restricted to designated areas, but it’s now widely available. Informed delivery is free, but customers must still sign up for this service to receive it.
The most important benefit of informed delivery for marketers is that it allows them to show an ad to the consumer, making it an effective way of combining direct mail and digital marketing. It also lets them track the open and click-through-rates, which is an essential capability for marketers wondering “how effective is informed delivery?”. Informed delivery is available through a web portal and mobile app, allowing direct-mail ads to live beyond the receipt of a direct mail piece.
What is commingling?
Commingled mail services may be classified into one-pass and two-pass services. One-pass commingling uses files containing mailing input data to determine the best approach to pre-sorting a particular set of mailings. The service then sorts them into individual pieces using the data files and specialized equipment. Two-pass commingling uses the actual mailing addresses to sort mail. The first pass him consists of putting the mailings through the equipment, which develops a mail plan. The second pass through the same equipment actually sorts the mail.
The best option depends on factors such as the type of mail and usually requires the business to use an experienced commingling service provider. Commingling is essential for businesses that send out direct mail regularly, especially those with tight budgets. This is often the case since the USPS regularly increases its postage rates.
How do you track direct mail?
Direct mail tracking is the process of confirming the location of a single direct mail piece at various stages in its journey to recipients. The USPS provides the information needed to track direct mail, which can generally confirm when a particular piece of mail or the entire campaign has been delivered. Although the post office supplies this data, a third party is needed to provide tracking reports.
The best use of direct mail tracking is timing the touchpoints of direct mail campaigns with multiple communication channels. This capability allows marketers to release ads from different channels such as emails and Facebook posts on a schedule that maximizes the campaign’s effectiveness. Businesses with call centers or sales forces can also use direct mail tracking to increase staffing before the mail arrives, ensuring they can handle the expected increase in call volume. Furthermore, direct mail tracking is used to determine when mail is being held up at a particular stage in the delivery process.
- Informed delivery services allow recipients to preview their mail before it arrives
- Commingled services help businesses identify the best strategy for sorting their mail
- Businesses can track their mail by the individual piece and entire campaign
Ballantine’s experts have years of experience in the direct mail industry, allowing us to be a great asset for both companies and individual customers. Contact our team of experts today to find out more about how informed delivery, commingled services, and mail tracking can expedite and benefit your next print marketing campaign.
I'm the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine, a family-owned and operated direct mail & digital marketing company based in New Jersey. and started in 1966 by my great uncle!