August 10, 2016

2017 US Postal Service Upgrades Promotions

Over the last several years, the US Postal Service has run promotions designed to encourage mailers to try new techniques and technologies with their mailed communications while simultaneously saving money. This year, the USPS has improved some of the promotions with greater postage discounts, longer promotional periods, or new ways to qualify.

Additionally, the USPS has unveiled a new promotion, Direct Mail Starter, aimed at encouraging small businesses to take part in promotional programs.

In response to mailer requests, the Postal Service has announced the 2017 promotional program earlier this year. This gives mailers the opportunity and to plan and implement these programs, which ultimately means more customers will be able to take advantage of these cost-saving programs.

Take advantage of these promotions to save money and offer your customers additional value.

2017 US Postal Service Promotions

STANDARD MAIL: Tactile, Sensory, and Interactive Mailpiece Engagement (February – July)
The innovative use of sound, smell, papers, folds, or dimensional mail increases customer interest and engagement. Registered mailers using these techniques will qualify for a 2% upfront postage discount.

FIRST CLASS and STANDARD MAIL: Emerging and Advanced Technology (March – August)
Modern techniques such as interactive video, near field communications (NFC), or augmented reality (AR) are new experiences for many consumers. What better way to engage with customers and get their attention than mailing them documents using these technologies to connect physical mail pieces to digital environments? The USPS will reward mailers with a 2% upfront postage discount for campaigns mailed during the promotional period. New qualifying technologies for 2017 are virtual reality and technology facilitating programmatic and re-targeting marketing strategies, meaning that additional mail is generated based on actions taken by users online.

STANDARD MAIL: Direct Mail Starter (May – July) NEW FOR 2017
Qualifying for this new promotion is purposely easy, and the rewards are great. The US Postal Service wants to encourage more small businesses to take part in USPS promotions and leverage technology typically employed by larger organizations. To qualify for a 5% upfront postage discount on Standard Mail letters and flats, include any print-to-mobile technology, such as a quick response (QR) code leading to a mobile optimized website. Each mailer is entitled to the discount for up to 10,000 pieces.

FIRST CLASS: Personalized Color Transpromo (July – December)
Any company that mails transactional documents such as statements or bills can add variable/dynamic color messaging to earn an upfront 2% postage discount. These documents enjoy the highest open and read rates of any mail. Take advantage of this high level of customer attention to direct them to relevant offers or important information. Using color makes the messages stand out from the rest of the document and encourages action. The Postal Service will require mailers who participated in this promotion in the past to personalize the transpromo message with the recipient’s name or other recipient-specific information in 2017.

STANDARD MAIL: Mobile Shopping (August – December)
Creating mail pieces that feature technologies such as quick response (QR) codes or Snap Tags can send buyers from a mail piece directly to a shopping app or shopping website. Direct mail has much higher open and response rates than digital alternatives, making it an ideal driver for digital engagement. Mailers earn a 2% upfront postage discount by combining the visibility and response rates of direct mail with the ease and convenience of mobile shopping.

All these USPS promotional programs have qualification guidelines, and mailers are required to register for them in advance. Customers interested in taking part should contact a mailing service professional or the US Postal Service for guidance and detailed information.

Crawford Technologies can help you take advantage of any of these programs, with solutions that transform your output, automate print and mailing processes, and add additional value to your customer communications. If you are planning to attend Mailcom on August 22, you can attend one of my sessions to learn more about improving efficiency and getting the most out of your mailing programs.