Why using scent can save you 5% on postage in 2023

Credit: Getty Images by filo

Did you know that the sense of smell is linked to the systems in the brain that evoke emotions and memory more directly than any other sensory system combined? What does this mean for marketers? It means that we can use smell to influence emotion and purchase intent. This therefore increases purchasing. In 2023, the USPS is offering a 5% postage discount if you integrate scent into your mail piece so you can not only drive additional sales, but you can also save money on postage.

The purpose of this USPS promotion is to encourage sensory engagement with physical mail pieces. This is my favorite promotion that the USPS is running because you can only provide a tactile experience with direct mail. No other marketing channel can do this!

Interesting Scent Facts:

  • 75% of the emotions we generate on a daily basis are affected by smell.
  • 81% of consumers would choose a product they can smell and touch over one they can only see.
  • 65% of consumers can remember a memory associated with scent after a period of one year.
  • 90% of respondents indicate the scented advertisement stood out from the clutter
  • 67% said that fragrance print advertisements were fun.
  • 80% of consumers actually interacted with the fragrance sample.

So how can you add scent?

Companies like Scentisphere create coatings and labels so you can easily add scent to your direct mail. Such as:

  1. Rub’nSmell is a scented varnish that prints in-line like a fifth color directly on the piece itself, and you can feature multiple fragrances on a page. Approved for use on the outside and inside of mail.
  2. Scent-A-Peel Labels – Transparent, multi-ply label inviting consumers to experience the fragrance by lifting the label to smell. Approved by USPS for application to the outside of a mail piece.
  3. Scent-A-Coat is Ambient Coating, so no rubbing activation is required. Best when placed inside an envelope.

The most common we see is the Rub and Smell. With any of these options you are going to want to use a clear call to action to get them to rub, lift or sniff. Adding scents creates a fun experience for your customers and prospects. It also qualifies you for a 5% postage discount between Feb 1, 2023 and July 31, 2023.

If you decide to add scent, what kind of results can you expect?

  • Using Rub’nSmell on a drop with two coupons ($3 off 2, $1 off 1), while the other only had one coupon ($1 off 1). The scented coupons outperformed our expected results by +50%.
  • Business Reply Card Inserts with scent had results of 0.79%, which is +68% higher than expected.
  • Overall, our scented campaign generated more than 2x sales.
  • A credit card issuer experienced response rate lifts varying from 12% to almost 50% depending on the scent featured and the imagery the scent was paired with.

Not sure how to find the right sent? Check out Nature’s Garden. This site is great for brainstorming and seeing what fragrances are available.  You can view all kinds of options based on themes or thoughts you want to provoke. Keep in mind that the USPS 2023 Tactile, Sensory, & Interactive promotion will save you 5% on your postage by adding scent.

Feeling like scent is not the right fit, but still want to save 5%? You can by using one of the other options.

There are three featured categories in this promotion:

1. Specialty inks – Qualifying inks may include but are not limited to:

  • Conductive inks: Inks with a circuit that can be used to activate an electronic device. Users press a “button” to activate lights, sound chips, or other electronic sensors and components
  • Leuco Dyes/Thermochromics: Heat sensitive dyes or inks change color in variation in temperature.
  • Photochromic: Changes color with UV light exposure.
  • Optically Variable Ink: Contains metallic materials that change appearance when viewed from different angles.
  • Piezochromic: Change appearance under pressure.
  • Hydrochromic: Change appearance when exposed to water or liquids.

Each of these inks are unique and interactive. They can make your mail piece fun for your customers and prospects.

2. Sensory Treatments – Use unique treatments and paper substrates to trigger engagement. They must be connected to the marketing message on the piece.

  • Paper: Paper that has soft touch, leathery, crinkly, or feature embossing.
    • Print and finishing: Add tactile coating, raised UV, digital dimensional coating, emboss or deboss.
  • Scent: Utilize scented varnishes, coatings, or labels to create unique aromas that complement content on your mail pieces. Scents such as cookies, fresh bread, or bubble gum, and grass.
  • Sound: Incorporates sound chip or speakers.
  • Taste: Paper that incorporates edible components.

I do not think using taste on a self-mailer is a good idea but if you have a message best conveyed with taste you can enclose the piece in an envelope to keep it clean. I really love soft touch; I can’t help but keep petting the mail piece. There are so many coatings you can use for a wide range of different experiences. Coatings are the most cost-effective options for qualifying for the discount.

3. Interactive Elements: Take engagement to whole new dimensions with pop-ups and complex folds on your mail pieces. These features must be in support of the mailer’s marketing message.

  • Infinite Folds – These fun folds provide a message at each turn of the fold and are usually folded through at least twice as they drive curiosity. Check out an example.
  • 3-Dimensional – These can be really unique and drive interest. As they are not flat pieces of paper but all kinds of things in boxes or tubes. Check out some examples.
  • Pop-ups – These mailers are fun and a little scary. They deliver flat and when you open them the pop up into a form. Check some out examples.

My two favorites from this group are the infinite folds and pop-ups. There are so many ways you can create interactive mail pieces and they are super fun to use.

All mail pieces must be submitted via USPS mail to the TSI Promotion Office for review and approval no later than one week prior to the mailing date. Your mail service provider can help you with this. Are you ready to get started and save 5% on your postage?