Let’s say you sent out 10,000 sales pieces, but where on earth did they go? And what condition were they in when they arrived? Unless you know for sure that they were delivered to the right place in the right condition, you’ll never know how to judge the effectiveness of your sales piece, your list, or any other aspect of your campaign.
Tracking your mail after it’s gone out is vital to the success of your direct mail business. In order to effectively track your mailings, you’ll need to know when your mail was delivered.
It also helps to know what condition the mail arrived in, like whether your envelope package was torn open in the postal sorting machines, or if the pages of your self-mail¬er got ripped in handling.
How did your mail look when your prospect received it?
It doesn’t matter if you are mailing 200 pieces or 2,000,000 … you should always monitor your mail.
Techniques to Monitor Mail
First, seed your mailing list. By “seed” I mean, add in a few names from different locations that you know will report back to you and tell you when your mail was delivered and what condition it was in when it arrived.
For example, if you are doing a regional mail¬ing of only 700 pieces, add in 4 or 5 seed names within that region. You could add in your own home address, a few of your friend’s addresses, and maybe a relative’s address.
If you’re doing a national mailing of 10,000 pieces, add in 10 seeds names from across the country. You could include your address, a vendor you work with who is in a different region, your list broker’s address, your great Aunt, your friends who live in other states, etc.
The goal is to get an accurate read on the progress and condition of your sales pieces. You’ll need to have reliable “seed” receivers who will report back to you.
Second, use US Monitor (http://www.usmonitor.com). If you are doing larger national mailings, you MUST subscribe to US Monitor. US Monitor will provide you with seed names that you can add into your mail file. These names are spread throughout the country. When you send your mailing out with the US Monitor names included, you’ll be able to track when your mail is being delivered.
For example, you may have 10 seed names in 10 differ¬ent locations throughout the country. US Monitor will keep you informed of when your mail arrives in Florida, Maine, Oregon, New Mexico, etc.
Not only will you get to see when your mail is arriving, you’ll also get reports on the condition of your mail. You can even have your seed pieces mailed back to you so you can see the exact pieces that went through the mail stream.
This is a good way to see if your printer is doing a quality job without them knowing!
Third, use TrackMyMail.com. TrackMyMail.com is the most effective way to track your mailing delivery times. This system works differently than adding in your own seed names OR using US Monitor.
TrackMyMail.com does not give you seed names; instead they work with your mail processer to put a special barcode on a number of your sales pieces (most of the time they barcode about 1,000 pieces). The USPS scans this special barcode every time the piece is transferred from one location to the next. You can log in to the TrackMyMail.com site and see exactly where your mailing is at and how many pieces have reached their final destination (at the SCF level).
For example, if you mailed out of Los Angeles, you’d be able to track your mail as it traveled across the United States. You’d see when it ar¬rived in the midwest, the south, the northeast, etc. You’d see which regions of the country were having their mail delivered right away and which regions were taking longer.
TrackMyMail.com will not tell you how your pieces look, but they will give you up-to-date information on where your mail pieces are located and when they are being delivered.
Each of these options has its own benefits. However, the most important factor here is that you are always monitoring your mail. How else will you judge the full effectiveness of your campaign?