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Creative envelope treatments
Creative envelope treatments are a perfect opportunity to differentiate your direct mail pieces and grab your audience’s attention. Yet many marketers squander it by sending out mailers that don’t even leave a ripple as they land in your mailbox.

Yawn… Circular file.

If you’re looking to command the attention of your target audience, you need to stand out. But the way to do so isn’t necessarily about shouting your message in large, colorful type all over the envelope. Here are some easy and creative ways to make a big splash with creative envelope treatments – without turning off the people you want to influence and persuade:

Clear envelopes: Imagine a window envelope on steroids – where the envelope is ALL window. If you’ve created a spectacular, attention-getting direct mail piece, this type of clear envelope enables you to display it in all its glory. Our sister company, Cultivate Communications, and several of our clients have had outstanding success using these see-through wonders.

Oversized envelopes: Oversized and odd-sized envelopes stand out in a stack of mail, ensuring that they will break through the clutter and help your message avoid the circular file. Our clients have had very good success with square envelopes with postage stamps. Even without a design or text on the envelope, large or odd-sized envelopes are likely to get a second glance and get opened. Best of all, they are more affordable than many other envelope options.

Colored envelopes: Imagine what your pile of daily mail looks like. It typically contains white #10 envelopes, gaudy postcards and direct mail envelopes emblazoned with breathless “ACT NOW!” messages. In this environment, colored envelopes can help your mailing stand out – in a good way.

But this approach isn’t for everyone: You need to be careful to ensure that the envelope color you select doesn’t conflict with your organization’s branding.

Forget the indicia. Use a stamp. Sometimes the little touches make the biggest difference. When it comes to postage, who would have thought that using a postage stamp instead of a printed indicia could make such a huge difference?

But it does. Why?

Because consumers and business people have become conditioned that any mailings with a pre-printed indicia are junk mail. After a long history of success with this deceptively simple approach, our clients are convinced that postage stamps are worth the extra cost. It’s a simple form of personalization. And it works like a charm.

Designs and text on envelopes: This strategy can work, but the message must be really compelling and targeted to your audience’s needs. Otherwise, they will tend to ignore it as junk mail.

For best results, test this approach with your audience. Compare a version with a colorful design and message on the envelope against a “control” version with a plain envelope. Compare the response rates to see what works best for those groups, and then utilize the winning approach for the rest of your list.

Another variation on this approach is to personalize the message on the envelope with the recipient’s first name, and a message that “teases” the benefit of what’s inside. Once again, test a design with a small segment of your list before you commit to a large mailing. Then use the approach that performs best for the rest of your list.

Here are some other creative envelope ideas you can explore and test:

  • Create a custom hash tag to tie in with your direct mail campaign, and display it on the envelope and on your mailer.
  • Run a social media contest that ties in with your direct mail campaign. Use a QR code or personalized, shortened URL on the envelope and the direct mail piece to drive prospects to a specific channel or landing page.
  • Place a brief teaser message on the envelope flap, to build curiosity and compel the recipient to open it to learn what’s inside.
  • Include a deadline on the outside of the envelope, to create a sense of urgency and compel readers to take action.
  • Place something “lumpy” inside the envelope, such as a pen, a coin or a flat metal bottle opener, for example. Lumpy envelopes tend to end up at the top of a stack of mail, increasing the odds that they will be opened.
  • Hand address the envelopes. Yes, it takes much longer to do, but it also makes your direct mail piece undeniably personal.

Whether you decide on a minimalist approach or on a big, colorful message on the envelopes of your direct mail campaigns, be sure to keep them focused on the needs of your target audience. If you’ve done your homework, you know their pain points, challenges, aspirations and objectives. Use those insights to focus your approach and messaging to get their attention and compel them to open your mailer.

Don’t leave your direct mail envelope to chance. Test and refine. Use your imagination. You’ll make a big splash with your target audience in no time!


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