Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing March 2007 Newsletter:
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Getting Your Envelope
by Robert Wilkinson
If you use direct mail it's in your best
interest to get as much of it opened and read as possible.
You may have spent a small fortune on the copywriting and
the expensively printed brochure, but if you don't ensure that as many
packs are opened and read as possible, then both copy and brochure are
There are two main schools of thought
on how to avoid being binned. The first is to use disguise, and the second
to use persuasion.
Using disguise is mainly a business to business approach but it works for
business to consumer mailings too. Business to business promotional
mailings are marked out in that they don't appear to have been handled
individually. This can be indicated by an envelope pre-printed with a
postage mark, and use of a window or address labels to show an address.
Try one or more of the following to give the envelope a more individual
Use stamps. They have to have been put on by hand, so it must be
individual. There's no more obvious an indicator than a pre-printed stamp
impression. When a preprinted impression is used in conjunction with a
window envelope it practically screams advertising so don't do it.
Hand write the address on the envelope. This is probably only viable for
higher value items but will certainly get more attention this way. It
doesn't have to be copperplate, it just needs to look as though it's been
Use an unusual material for the envelope, say vellum or a textured paper.
In tests conducted by a paper merchant, this alone increased responses
significantly. The additional cost for the special paper was more than
compensated for by the additional revenue generated by the mailing.
Again, do anything to make your mailing appear more individual and
personal to the recipient. Probably the most important element is the use
of stamps. This on it's own can be enough to get you under the recipient's
Secondly, use persuasive tactics. This is completely the opposite from
disguise and is used mainly for business to consumer, but again it works
for business to business too. In this instance we mark it out specifically
as commercial by using advertising images, copy and headlines on the
outside of the envelope itself. In this instance it doesn't matter if you
use a printed postal impression.
Unlike the previous method which uses curiosity to get your envelope
opened, we need to give the recipient a good reason to open the envelope.
This can take a variety of forms, but as a couple of examples you can
state a benefit, "Increase sales by 15%", or alternatively provide an
incentive, "Reply by the end of the month and get 2 for the price of 1".
Be very clear and very specific about what the contents are going to
achieve and remember you are only trying to get the envelope opened and
read. Avoid anything vague. Don't expect to appeal to everyone using this
method. You don't have that much room on the envelope, and you can't be
all things to all people.
Hopefully you will achieve a strong enough response in a small percentage
of recipients that they open, and read the contents. Your persuasive copy
will follow on logically from the envelope copy, and keep your prospect
There is a lot of advise against this in business to business direct mail,
and there is probably an element of truth in this. If you are mailing to
an executive whose mail is screened then it's likely good advice. However
there are plenty of owner/managers out there that still open their own
mail, if the offer or benefit is clear enough and of interest, it will get
opened. You may well consign your mailing piece to the bin for the 99.5%
of your prospects by doing this, but it wasn't about them was it?
In summary it's pretty simple. Don't be run of the mill. Step away from
the norm and make sure your envelope is overtly commercial with a clear
benefit or incentive or alternatively make it look personal. If you do
this you are halfway to getting it read and that's more than half the
About The Author
Robert Wilkinson is the owner of
www.arhiann.com a direct mail production company
mailings for small and medium sized businesses.
Study: Consumers Respond to
Coupons, Discounts in Direct Mail.
study shows that, perhaps not surprisingly, marketers can increase the
effectiveness of their direct mail pieces by including exclusive offers
According to the Vertis Communications Customer Focus Direct Mail study,
72 percent of total adults surveyed said they have responded to a direct
mail piece that included a buy-one-get-one-free offer, while 63 percent
have responded to direct mail offering a percentage discount on
merchandise, writes MediaPost.
As for electronic direct mail, the study found that 53 percent of all
women ages 25-54 who have access to email read email advertisements.
That's down just slightly from the 54 percent who did so in 2005.
The study also found that men between the ages of 18 and 34 are more
likely to read grocery store direct mail than their female counterparts,
and that 85 percent of women between the ages of 25 and 54 read marketing
are giving away two tickets to see the New York Islanders. These
seats are center ice, four rows from the action!
To win, be the first telephone caller (please don't hit
reply or email). Call Michael Borkan at 631-667-5500 x 303.
The game is:
Thursday March 8, 2007.
Islanders vs. The N.Y. Rangers 7:30 PM.
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