Real Mail Notification is a relatively new digital process that is in the pilot stages at the Postal Service. It is exciting for us direct marketers because it truly establishes mail as an integrated marketing channel. With this digital app, an email message is sent to the customer every day before they receive their mail with images of the mail pieces that are going to be delivered. The email is a preview of what will be in their mailbox, if traveling or at work, every day before they receive it.
The benefits of digital mail could be huge with more eyes on your direct mail and the email image of your mail piece can be clickable directly to your website/landing page or phone. Seeing a picture of the direct mail piece before it is delivered and being able to directly click through and order will likely have a positive effect on the ROI of the mailing! So far, the results have been positive. In northern Virginia, 90% of participating consumers checked their mobile devices daily to see what was in their mail. According to USPS Postmaster Megan Brennan, a 10-fold jump in response rates was seen for the pieces tested. If it’s all about response, then this interactive product could be a hit.
The mail images in the email are just of the outer envelope, not the contents, and in black and white. The sorting equipment at the post office takes a black and white picture of the outer envelope to scan the barcode and, with Real Mail Notification, this image is repurposed as a digital mail opportunity. Customers can sign up for an app to receive the daily emails or through My USPS from the Postal Service.
At this time there is no cost to participate in the pilot programs and another is scheduled in NYC this fall. The Postal Service will make a determination whether or not Real Mail Notification is popular enough to bring them additional revenue through market share or if they should charge for the service.