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How an envelope creates a first impression for your promotion…

the same way clothes create a first impression for you.

Everyone likes a bit of respect now and then. If you are leaning toward your first direct mail program in quite some time or are a regular user of direct mail, envelopes are a great option. For some unknown, envelopes get no respect.

From a practical point of view, an envelope is simply a container. It holds your letter, invitation, and other printed matter so they can be delivered to the recipient. Upon arrival, it is torn open and discarded. So, what’s the big deal?

The big deal is that an envelope is far more than a container. It creates a first impression and carries the burden of making sure the contents are read. If the envelope fails to create the right impression, the envelope is not opened and with its contents, discarded. The entire direct mail package, including your carefully crafted sales literature, is thrown into the trash.

Give your envelopes the respect they deserve!

An envelope creates a first impression for your promotion the same way clothes create a first impression for you. It must conform to expectations, fit the occasion, and give people a reason to spend at least a few minutes with you so you can say what you should say. To conform to expectations, your direct mail piece should look like something your prospect would receive in the mail.

There are five basic types of mail:

advertising, publications, bills, personal or official communications and merchandise.

The default appearance is advertising, but the others can be useful. For example, if your company specializes in smart phones and you’ve just introduced an Internet service to avoid dropped calls, your prospects may assume any ad mailer from you is about phone services.

It may be better in this instance to make your mailer look like a publication or an official communication to allow your prospect to look at your mailer with an open mind.  Fitting the occasion is about making the envelope match the theme of your mailing. Is it an invitation, a notice, a personal letter, or something else?

If you’re selling smart phone accessories, you may frame your promotion around a dire warning about deleting the free introductory offer, so the envelope should look like an official notice. Your envelope should work with, not against, your theme.

To give people a reason to open the envelope and spend time with your envelope contents, you can use teaser copy or graphics to create curiosity. Copy as simple as “Look inside” or “Open immediately” may be all it takes.

We’ve seen a clear plastic envelope that allows people to see the contents. Enclosing a bulky item makes people wonder what’s inside. A valuable-looking certificate or gift card showing through a window makes the envelope impossible to ignore. The techniques are nearly endless.

The envelope is arguably the single most important part of your direct mail package. Give it the respect it deserves and spend plenty of time creating and designing the “package.” There are many new and different envelopes and designs made to entertain the reader. An entertained reader may very well be your next new customer.

The success of your mailing depends on it.

Let me know what you think.

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Mike Deuerling
aka: MarketingDoc

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