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An Effective Marketing Envelope: Avoid Death in the Trash Bin

By Mark Lee In a direct mail campaign, your outer envelope’s design has just two basic goals: 1) To carry your message and 2) To create sufficient interest so your target customer will open and read your message. Craig Huey, a leading direct mail marketing consultant, points out that the first goal is easy. You just have to make sure your envelope design is structurally sound and conforms to postal regulations. The second goal is harder to achieve and requires creativity and knowledge of your target customer’s needs and wants. Otherwise, your direct mail piece will suffer the fate no one wants to contemplate – quick death in a nearby trash bin. Ed Nash contends that “the outer envelope is the headline of direct mail.” Don’t wait for the recipient to open the envelope to see what you’re offering. Start the sales pitch on the outside envelope with “teaser” copy. A teaser says just enough in a few words to whet the recipient’s appetite for more information. “What Credit Card Companies Don’t Tell You” or “What Never to Eat on an Airplane” are examples of effective teasers. Huey also advises to avoid giving yourself away with your return address. The first thing your prospect will look at on your envelope is the return address. You’ll do better to use your address only without a company name. And always list a street address, never just a P.O. Box. Whenever possible, use stamps. Bulk rate stamps resembling “real” postage stamps cost the same as printed indicia, yet result in a return rate that is consistently 10% to15% higher than indicia. Stamps are more personal and generally create a warmer response on the part of the prospect. Take it a step further by using “themed” stamps (ex. An automobile-themed stamp to go with a sales message about cars. To keep your direct mail campaign from getting stale, try a different color envelope. A new color may give the mailing new life, as a quick glance will convince a recipient that he has not yet seen this package. With advances in printing technology, just about any color can be used. Printing your background color on white wove stock can save you both time and money: You’re not paying a premium for colored stock and there’s no waiting for special mill runs. Additionally, a myriad of colors becomes available with this flexographic process. You can pick just about any color from a Pantone color book, or choose to screen back a color. Remember: Envelope packages are among the most effective direct marketing tools, as long as you can overcome the challenge of getting your prospect to open it. AlphaGraphics – Arlington, Texas

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