Archive for May 2010

Envelopes—Your “Get Opened” Tool.

May 26, 2010

Marketers have a lot of direct mail formats available—postcards, self-mailers, dimensional mailers and, of course, the good old envelope. Many factors from budget and objective to the nature of the offer and audience enter into format decisions. So let’s begin our discussion with when you should recommend an envelope package.

Four Reasons to Choose Envelope Packages.

The first and most obvious is that envelopes provide an ideal solution when the offer requires more space for multiple components such as a cover letter, brochure, buckslip and reply envelope. After all, something has to keep the components from falling on the ground.

Second, envelopes better accommodate the fact that people buy in different ways. The letter-brochure combo provides alternate ways of presenting information—one more verbal and fact oriented, the other more visual.

Third, real people send things to real people in envelopes. Recipients feel more catered to when they receive an envelope package—especially a personalized one—and that’s essential in today’s marketplace.

Fourth, envelopes tend to look less promotional than postcards and self-mailers, so they have the ability to lift a mailing above the marketing fray with a classier presentation.

Then There’s the Offer Thing.

Some types of offers just beg for an envelope. After analyzing lots of tests and studies, most direct marketing authorities consider envelopes more effective for these types of offers:

  • Financial products—loans, credit cards, securities, insurance
  • Magazine and newspaper subscriptions
  • Continuity/membership clubs
  • Charitable solicitations
  • Professional services
  • High-ticket consumer goods
  • Technology products
  • Telephone services

But perhaps the most important and often overlooked reason to use an envelope is that it can contain a letter. A real, honest-to-goodness personal letter. Oh, I know we don’t write so many of them anymore, but that’s not because they don’t work.

If fact, letters are incredibly powerful either as a standalone component or as part of a package. Many direct mail authorities still believe that a letter is the most important single element in a direct mail package. And many tests show that letters can hold their own or even exceed the performance of postcards and self-mailers.

Consider recommending a letter when your client’s message needs to:

  • Come from one person by name.
  • Be addressed to an individual by name.
  • Requires added credibility or confidentiality.

And the more personalized you can help your client make the content, the higher the letter’s impact will be.

Sealing It Up.

Well, I suppose I digressed a bit from envelopes. But perhaps it highlights the most important point of all. Nothing really stands alone in marketing. We talk about integrated media while sometimes forgetting the integrated relationship of components within a single element like a direct mail package.

Now about that envelope….

By Larry Bauer

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Do’s and Don’ts of Envelopes.

May 26, 2010

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 are recommendations to ensure that recipients welcome your client’s next envelope package.

Do

  • Put the company name on the envelope if you’re confident it will cause a positive reaction from recipients—otherwise leave it off.
  • Ensure the envelope is at least ¼” larger than the inserts.
  • Match images, graphics and copy appropriately to the 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—tell this to non-profits twice, if necessary.
  • 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 an envelope get noticed.

Don’t

  • 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 the offer on the envelope—especially to a cold list.
  • Underestimate the power of envelope tone—official, fun, etc.
  • Address your b-to-b 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 the mailing out in a heartbeat if she sees her her name spelled with a “K.”
  • Dupe recipients into thinking the envelope contains something it doesn’t—tone needs to fit the actual contents.
  • Use statements like “Open Immediately”—see above.
  • Forget to recommend ordering 5-10% more envelopes than they need—clients can forget they’ll likely suffer some damage in setup.
  • Time the mailing 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

Missed Getting Your Copy of The Little Book of Marketing Do’s & Don’ts? Not to worry. We printed plenty of copies, and we’d be happy to connect you with one. The Little Book of Marketing Do’s & Don’ts is a collection of the eight most viewed “Do’s & Don’ts” published by our PrintStrategist newsletter to date including:

  • Taglines
  • Print Advertising
  • Referrals
  • Trade Shows
  • Corporate Brochures
  • Direct Mail
  • Thought Leadership
  • White Papers

Simply email Larry Bauer your postal mailing information and we’ll send you a complementary copy.

The Art of the Envelope Tease.

May 26, 2010

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.

Production Considerations.

  • 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

Upcoming Newsletter Topics.

May 26, 2010

Just a few of the topics we’re working on for future newsletters:

  • Evaluating illustration vs. photography.
  • Dimensional mailers—making your “dream” project a reality.
  • Choosing the right personalization strategy.

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