Marketers thoughtfully develop the inside components of a direct mail package. But the best letter, brimming with features and benefits and a measurable call to action, is worthless if it’s never read. The envelope is the key tool that determines whether your direct mail gets opened or tossed.
A poorly designed envelope that fails to motivate the recipient to open it is like mailing money out the door. Carefully consider every element, including physical dimensions, copy, layout, and design.
Anything outside of the standard #10 envelope, either larger or smaller, will set you apart. Make sure the envelope is at least ¼” larger than your largest insert. Steer clear of window envelopes unless it’s the only way to achieve personalization. Smooth, heavier stocks show off your color designs, while textured stocks, such as linen or laid, offer high-end feel. Explore the myriad of options now available.
Technology has advanced to the point that you can place dynamic messaging on the front, back, and even the inside of the envelope. Your copy should provoke curiosity, but not give everything away. The goal is to pique interest so the recipient looks inside, but there should be something more – new information, a special offer – as a reward for opening it.
The envelope should be clean and well-designed, but that means different things to different marketers. Some, concerned that documents with too much visual flair will be dismissed as “junk mail,” choose plain white envelopes imprinted with the corporate logo to lend credibility and seriousness. The other extreme is the marketer who uses starbursts and call-outs that shout, “Open Now!” The best strategy is somewhere in between – a mix of bright colors, interesting textures, vivid imagery and bold messaging to grab attention quickly. While it’s important to keep the design cohesive with your other printed materials, using the same envelope design for multiple mailings may work against you. Even a friendly prospect might assume he’s already heard the message inside.
Personalization increases response rates, whether it’s through variable-data messaging, using a legible script font, or actual handwriting. Postage stamps add another personal touch. An envelope has the best chance of being open if it’s delivered on Tuesday or Wednesday, the lightest postal delivery days. Six weeks seems to be a good interval between mailings – you want to stay fresh in your prospect’s mind without becoming a nuisance.
It is really important to not assume what will work best for your business and test, test, test to be certain. The abundance of creative options makes envelopes a versatile vehicle for presenting your message. Give these precious communication-carriers a try as you plan your next direct mail campaign.