Creating effective envelopes doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of money. To the contrary, it means understanding your audience and offer and then creating an appropriate fit. Here’s how to ensure that recipients welcome your next envelope package.
- Ensure your envelope is at least ¼” larger than the inserts.
- Put your company name on the envelope if you’re confident it will cause a positive reaction from recipients—otherwise leave it off.
- Match images, graphics and copy appropriately to your audience.
- Use postage stamps if possible, especially for small mailings or anything that requires a personal touch.
- Use metered mail as a second choice, but avoid the dreaded indicia—studies show that Fortune 500 companies route 30% of Standard Mail to the wastebasket immediately.
- Personalize—that can mean anything from variable-data messaging to using a legible script font or actual handwriting—non-profits read this again.
- Include teaser copy that is compelling, intriguing and invites curiosity.
- Test envelope color, size, style and paper—differences might attract people who pitched a mailing before.
- Consider an enclosure that creates an envelope lump—people can’t resist them, but be aware that it will add to postage costs.
- Play the angles—an angled teaser line or even a slightly angled stamp can make your envelope get noticed.
- Use form letter or bill formats—they typically either get tossed or put with the bills.
- Use a window envelope—possible exceptions are if it’s the only way to get killer personalization inside or if it’s a full view that shows a compelling graphic.
- Put your offer on the envelope—especially to a cold list.
- Underestimate the power of envelope tone—official, fun, etc.
- Neglect to plan well in advance if you want to use a specialty envelope—custom envelopes take longer to produce.
- Address your B2B mail to generic titles if at all possible—nothing screams mass mail louder than generics.
- Skimp on any element of address accuracy—Cathy with a “C” might tune you out in a heartbeat if you spell her name with a “K.”
- Dupe recipients into thinking your envelope contains something it doesn’t—tone needs to fit the actual contents.
- Use statements like “Open Immediately”—see above.
- Forget to order 5–10% more envelopes than you need—you’ll likely lose some in setup.
- Time your mail to arrive on Monday, the heaviest mail day of the week—aim for Tuesday, the lightest day, or Wednesday, the second lightest.
By Larry Bauer
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One of the biggest mistakes designers can make is ignoring the envelope that contains their client’s direct mail components. Envelopes are the key tool that determines whether your direct mail gets opened or gets ditched.
Design Tips for Creating Intriguing Envelopes for Your Direct Mail Campaign.
- Vary the size: think outside of the standard #10 envelope. Look at oversized envelopes or even undersized. Anything to break out of the normal in-box clutter.
- Use color: consider envelopes that reflect your brand’s primary color or consider anything that isn’t white, yet fits your offer. White envelopes tend to blend in with everything else in the recipient’s mailbox. Consult your designer or printer for interesting textures and colors.
- Print a teaser message on the envelope: the operative word here is ‘teaser.’ There’s no rule that says you need to give it all away up front. Leave a little something to reward them for opening. Keep the message enticing.
- Consider using a translucent or clear envelope: if your budget allows, there are a myriad of clear and translucent options. Choices include vellum, glassine and polybag-type envelopes. But be cautious when sourcing vellum as not all are crack resistant. Consult with your printer for vellum options that minimize cracking. And also don’t assume that polybag-type envelopes are only available in crystal clear. There are many exciting color choices that ignite the imagination. ClearBags has a great online resource to get your creative juices flowing, but do work you’re your printer for larger quantities.
- Consider the design of the interior components up front. Don’t’ just toss them in a clear envelope without thought to what will show through. Again, you may need to redesign the outward facing messages on the interior components if you’re using a clear envelope.
- You may also consider window envelopes as an alternative to solid paper or clear poly envelopes. There are several sizes including booklet envelopes with nearly full-view windows that deliver a similar effect.
- If going with a translucent or clear envelope, you’ll have to reconsider how you handle addressing the envelope. Depending on the color and translucency of the material, you may have to use an address label. Or you could design the backside of the inserts to contain the address info.
- Remember what I said about vellum. While insanely cool, you must work with a good printer to spec a stock that is crack resistant.
- Some envelopes don’t come with a sticky seal. Some glassine envelopes, for instance, may require you to use a label to close the flap. This is another opportunity for messaging.
- While an envelope mailer will cost more to produce than a postcard, a well-designed envelope can outperform a postcard if the message is right for a closed-envelope package. The challenges are the budget, of course, and ensuring the envelope is the right vehicle for your direct mail’s desired outcome.
- Spec converted envelopes to save money. The only drawback is that you won’t be able to print across folds or bleed off a cut edge. But a good designer can certainly work within these restrictions to save you money.
Ignore at your own peril the envelope’s ability to tease, entice, intrigue and seduce the recipient. But also remember what mom advised in your youth: don’t give it all away up front and do leave something to the imagination. Envelopes are no different. Enticing someone to open is often a matter of making a promise but only enough to generate excitement. Like wearing just the right dress on your first date. Not too much, not too little.
By Julia Moran Martz
Postcards are more popular than ever, though many writers and designers run for cover when they hear the word. Some don’t like condensing the message into such a small space. Others dismiss them as low-end, low-value promotions for companies that can’t afford anything else.
But savvy marketers know better.
Postcards can be performance powerhouses when done right. In fact, they sometimes do remarkably well even when done poorly. One of the reasons they continue to work is that postcards come “pre-opened.” There’s no decision to make. The offer is right in front of you. Postcards draw immediate attention and give you more than a fighting chance to entice the prospect even when you’re unknown.
Perfect for today’s over-messaged marketplace.
Understanding Postcard Basics.
Although our intent is to take the form to its highest level, there are four postcard basics that you need to get right no matter what technology you integrate into your campaigns:
- Attention-demanding Headline. You only get a few seconds to gain attention, so make your headline big and benefit oriented.
- Involving Visual. Draw in the recipient by making the visual and headline work as a team. Visuals should be as large and involving as possible. Showing a product or service in action is always effective.
- Persuasive Copy. Maintain interest with strong, feature- and benefit-oriented copy. Since you are likely using a multi-step approach, write your copy to entice and qualify.
- Call to Action. Be sure to tell the recipient exactly what action to take and don’t assume anything. Direct the person to “Call toll free today for a free sample and information kit,” or whatever is the appropriate action for your program. Multiple, user-friendly options tend to work best.
Adding Some Technology Juice.
Separate your postcards from the competition by taking advantage of today’s technology.
- Do Your Database Work. From variable data digital printing to inkjet imaging, print technology provides a lot of opportunities to personalize and customize your postcard mailings. There’s a strong likelihood that you have plenty of existing data to elevate the performance of your postcards. Start simply if you must and work your way up, but do use your data. Every personalization step you take will deliver better results. Keep in mind that there’s also worthwhile demographic information you can append from outside sources while you’re building your internal database. Seek help if you need it.
- Personalize. Get past the “name thing” quickly. It’s not that using someone’s name isn’t worthwhile—it is—but today’s variable technologies allow you to do so much more with photos, graphics and copy if you know anything at all about your target. You can create postcards that are variable in every respect with digital presses or do something as simple as offline- inkjet imaging a store location map when you’re doing the addressing. You can also create postcards with personalized URLs (pURLs) that connect recipients to a personal landing page where they typically receive an incentive for their effort. Many times there are additional offers beyond the original promise, such as an opt-in newsletter or club membership, available at the personal landing page. Besides the personalization effect, the big benefit of pURLs is that they provide a reliable method for tracking postcard recipients who went online as a result of the promotion, whether or not they took advantage of the offer.
- Involve. Postcards can now be more involving than ever. QR Codes, which are hotter than hot, are two-dimensional barcodes that enable smartphone users equipped with the correct reader software to scan the code. This causes the phone’s browser to launch and redirect to the programmed URL. A real estate company, for example, could offer a property on the postcard and the QR code might take the recipient to a video tour of the home. But don’t dismiss other involvement devices such as scratch-offs, repositionable notes and other proven techniques.
The bottom line is that postcards not only work, but also are evolving tools that can achieve virtually any level of marketing sophistication your program requires.
By Larry Bauer
Want Expert Advice?
MondoVox Creative Group can help you develop postcard campaigns that take advantage of today’s technology. For more information, email Julia Moran Martz.
You can connect with Julia Moran Martz on LinkedIn. Or follow her on Twitter.