Do’s and Don’ts of Envelopes.

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

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