Recently, the United States Postal Service announced plans for a new service, Informed Delivery, which will scan your mail and email you the images every day. After subscribing to the service, you can receive images of up to ten pieces of mail delivered to your inbox before 11:00AM. For now, the service only applies for letter-sized envelopes and not packages or catalogs and magazines.

It does not appear that you can actually opt-out of receiving the mail if it appears to be junk, but it can save you a trip to the mailbox some days. Whether or not this is a service that will add value to the USPS remains to be seen. It is, however, interesting that the USPS is turning to one of the biggest factors in its downfall: email.

Really, it shows the importance of relevance. In email marketing, direct mail, or any other line of communication, businesses need to deliver content that their customers, subscribers and leads want. If any campaign feels impersonal, it’s sure to be ignored—or worse—marked as spam. In fact, relevant emails drive 18x more revenue than broadcast emails according to Jupiter Research.

The best way to deliver relevant content is by actively segmenting lists and keeping contacts organized with as much detail as possible. During the winter, most customers won’t want to be taunted with beachwear … unless the campaign is to lure them into planning a sunny getaway. However a list is segmented, whether it be based on gender, location, product preferences or anything else, it should make a customer or subscriber feel like the campaign in their inbox was tailored specifically for them.

Relevance can be derived by proper list segmentation, but it can also be based on the value being delivered. This can be in the form of savings, education and information or entertainment. If campaign is firing on all these cylinders, subscribers will not only feel that the email is relevant to them, but may even look forward to receiving those communications as well.

We’ll wait and see how Informed Delivery helps the USPS and its customers. For now, we’ll thank them for the opportunity to remind everyone about the importance of relevance. They have it hard enough this time of year. After all, they get shown up by an overweight senior citizen capable of delivering packages to the entire globe over the course of one night.