How to Capitalize After Major Changes to the USPS' Service Offerings
Will the USPS slowdown affect your industry? These changes could enable direct mail marketers to lower acquisition costs and make direct mail more viable.
The best time to educate yourself is always RIGHT NOW.
The USPS is making major changes to its service levels, significantly impacting the direct mail industry. They announced the largest price increase in USPS history and new (slower) service levels across its entire product offering.
Marketers can leverage these changes to their advantage if proper action is taken, and they can even expect higher conversion rates than they would with the present system. To make the most out of this new system, you'll need to take the required measures and be able to discern critical information without succumbing to the potential pitfalls that others may see as opportunities.
Are You Already Too Late?
Companies like Amazon and eBay have been anticipating how momentous this shift will be for months now. Long enough to even attempt to sue the USPS. While the price increase is slated to begin in the third quarter of 2021, there will be much more in October. By slowing the flow of mail, the USPS will begin its system slowdown in favor of more "cost-effective" delivery services.
You, as a wise professional, may be wondering "what can I do to take advantage of this situation?" There is an optimal course of action to pursue in order to capitalize on these broad changes and get a significant advantage over your less-informed competition.
We seek to provide the answers to these questions for you as we accrue more data during this shift in direct mail marketing.
HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Be wary. Inept and inexperienced marketing and sales leaders who capitalize on providing the bare minimum to otherwise uninformed clients in exchange for overpriced "services" are expected to whine, and then fumble the ball during this transition. Much like that one greasy kid from little league who seemed to disappear off the face of the earth once the season was over. The savvy marketer, however, will know how to capitalize on the decreased competition.
Why would we assume that "savvy" marketers will excel in the coming months and years? Well, we know that year-after-year direct mail campaigns continue to deliver better results at a lower cost - when done correctly.
For those of you still playing at home, here are some bonus facts that USPS themselves divulged from their own research:
- Consumers spend an average of 7.4 minutes reading their mail.
- 82% of people retrieve their mail at the first opportunity.
- 50% of consumers tried a new product or service in the past 6 months after receiving a direct mail piece.
Direct Mail Will See Competition Drop by Almost Half
Yes, the most successful marketing channel will see a huge drop in competition. We also know that the coming changes from the USPS could make direct mail campaigns harder to manage and more costly to execute. As a result, marketers who are young or lazy will abandon the direct mail channel quickly. They'll soon be followed by inept marketers who can't generate a positive ROI from direct mail campaigns. As a result, your competition at the mailbox will decrease by 30-40%. So, the remaining 60% of marketers who didn't quit on direct mail will clean up.
Get in Front of Your Customer -- Not Just the Competition
As any good marketer or nervous high schooler knows, you're never going to get a "yes" from your prom date without the ask. With these new changes in levels of service and delivery speed, you'll be able to cut in line in front of the competition.
Delivery service levels by class of mail are going from 3-5 days down to 1-3 days (and in some cases less). This means that marketers can deliver highly targeted and valuable pieces faster than ever before. Why wouldn't you take advantage of this opportunity? We know that consumers spend more time reading direct mail than any other channel, they're willing to engage with it, plus they act on it. The difficulty comes with knowing who your ideal customer is, how to target them, and what to say when you have your message in front of them.
The key to capitalizing on these changes is adjusting your mailing list and improving your copy while also understanding where customers are in their journey. If you deliver a piece at the wrong time, you get into spam traps and lose that opportunity forever. The data shows us that people don't change their minds as much as we think they do. When someone says they like chicken wings but haven't tried yours yet, they still might not be ready to buy! Understanding when each prospect will experience an "aha" moment will ensure you're delivering mail at just the right time for maximum engagement and conversion.
"So, How Do I Stay Ahead of This?"
We'll be writing an extensive series on the USPS changes, so contact us to receive our updates. You'll want to know what's really changing at a detailed level.
In this world of ever-changing technology, marketing channels look different than before. We need to stay aware of these changes if we're going to optimize results and beat out our competition. If your competitors are not taking advantage today, they'll be left behind tomorrow.
These changes will enable direct mail marketers to lower acquisition costs and make direct mail more viable. And for all reading this thinking it's not possible - regardless of your vertical - I'll prove your business can make direct mail more viable because of these changes. In fact, I'll happily buy you lunch if I'm wrong.