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How to leverage USPS’s incentives for effective direct mail marketing in 2024

by | Jan 3, 2024 | Marketing, Public Relations

Recently, the USPS announced a new mail volume growth incentive for first-class mail and marketing mail. The objective of the incentive is to encourage marketers that use the direct mail channel to increase qualifying first-class mail and marketing mail volumes to lower their overall postage costs on the incremental growth in 2024. 

This incentive, along with additional promotions, come at a pivotal time for the marketing industry. According to a recent survey by RRD, 69 percent of consumers reported feeling overwhelmed by digital brand communications, especially via email. The same report also showed a rising interest by consumers in receiving direct mail, particularly among younger generations. Given the resurging interest in direct mail and its reputation for significantly boosting response rates, it is in marketers’ best interest to take advantage of USPS’ incentives and make the most out of their mail campaigns. 

As marketing leaders look to leverage this USPS Growth Incentive in 2024, we have a few recommendations that will help them to make the most of this new offering and take their direct mail strategy further.     

Leverage all available promotions to maximize cost savings

Marketers should engage enthusiastically with this 2024 Growth Incentive in concert with other 2024 promotions that have also been approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). For example, postage costs for the incremental volume not only get the 30 percent credit but are also eligible for promotion discounts ranging from 3% to 5%. Direct marketers can increasingly integrate USPS postal promotions into their budgets to help offset the rising costs of postal services.  

Marketers can use the USPS’ incentives to their advantage by tailoring their strategies to align with specific promotions that are occurring throughout the year. Each phase of the promotional calendar has its own prescribed optimization strategy and the applications vary widely based on the type of marketing message, etc.  

The USPS postal promotions have encouraged more traditional and test-averse marketers to branch into promotional mail marketing tactics, like tactile or emerging tech, which have been proven to lift response rates. These ongoing promotions provide marketers with a tool to help protect against rising mailing costs while enhancing their access to a higher-performing and more engaging marketing touch point with their audience.  

Bridge the gap between digital and traditional channels

Direct mail isn’t an isolated channel anymore. It’s increasingly complementing online marketing efforts. Marketers can now send personalized direct mail to prospects who have visited their websites or abandoned shopping carts, effectively converting them into customers. Retargeting involves obtaining the visitor’s IP address from a website visit, or mailing address from an app visit, and then sending a dynamically printed postcard with a targeted message to their residence. 

Emerging tech promotions from the USPS encourage marketers to bridge the gap between physical and digital channels, ultimately enhancing engagement. Marketers are also encouraged through use of emerging tech promotions to connect their multi-channel marketing strategies by utilizing techniques including dynamic QR codes and Personalized URLs (PURLs). By implementing these methods, marketers not only witness higher response rates but also gain better tracking and attribution capabilities.  

The extension of the use of dynamic QRs is the implementation of PURLs. Through the PURLs, marketers can sharpen their response tracking and, more importantly, increase their response by offering prospects a personalized web landing. This allows marketers to take the key drivers from the mail impetus and carry them forward to greet the respondent as they continue their decision journey to the web page. Time and time again we are realizing substantial lift and persistence in respondents that move through this tactic.  

Another example of creating a bridge between the physical and digital through direct mail is Informed Delivery, which offers preview images of incoming mail and provides status updates for both incoming and outgoing packages. Informed Delivery has gone beyond being just a tool for promotion discounts. More marketers are now adopting this digital touchpoint to enhance overall marketing results. Informed Delivery presents a chance for business mailers to participate in a cohesive digital marketing campaign for mail that produces extra consumer impressions, interactions, and insights. This multifaceted approach means that the USPS’s incentives can benefit marketers by not only reducing costs but also by making their direct mail campaigns more engaging, effective and insights-driven. 

Adjust your messaging for improved customer engagement and experience

As they look to further incorporate direct mail into their strategies, marketers should also adjust their messaging, design and content strategies to engage their audiences effectively. By applying comprehensive insights that have been gleaned through digital touchpoints, marketers can give better direction to their teams about messaging and the overall approach.  

When are we communicating with this prospect or customer in relation to their experience with us and our previous messaging? Answering this question allows creative teams to be responsive and interactive as opposed to simply restating the same message over and over. Rather, the messaging can evolve and add interest to the recipient as they move along their decision journey.  

There is clear evidence that direct marketing requires multiple touches with a prospect to gain an optimal adoption rate and response. We now know the series or sequence of messages, along with the timeliness and relevance of the message content, factor heavily into this optimization as well. 

Wrapping up

There is a very exciting future ahead for direct marketing in general, as growth is encouraged through these incentives, and marketers now have added financial justification to increase their direct marketing reach and efforts. The USPS’s Mail Volume Growth Incentive is an opportunity for marketers to breathe new life into their direct mail strategies, save on postage costs, and offer an improved customer experience.

Additionally, the ongoing postal promotions program is also a lifeline that must be incorporated into the overall budgeting plan for direct marketers today. By adopting the right strategies and following best practices, businesses can capitalize on all USPS incentives and promotions to drive successful marketing campaigns in the evolving landscape of multi-channel marketing.  

Steve Arsenijevic and Stefanie Cortes
Steve Arsenijevic is Vice President of Client Strategy, Direct Marketing and Stefanie Cortes is Director of Strategic Analysis, Direct Marketing, at RRD.

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