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-mailer got ripped in handling.
It doesn’t matter if you are mailing 200 pieces or 2,000,000, you should always monitor your mail. There are a few ways you can do this.
1. 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 mailing of only 700 pieces, add in four or five seed names within that region. You could add in your own home address, a few of your friends’ addresses, and maybe a relative’s address.
Or, if you’re doing a national mailing of 10,000 pieces add in ten seed 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.
2. Use US Monitor.
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 ten seed names in ten different 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!
3. Use TrackMyMail service.
The Pitney Bowes TrackMyMail service 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 does not give you seed names; instead they work with you 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 look online and see exactly where your mailing is and how many pieces have reached their final destination.
Related: Tracking Your Direct Mail Campaigns
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 arrived 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 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.