Lift Your Response Rates with Creative Outer Envelope Design

One of my goals this year is to get in shape. It’s one of those resolutions that seem to find itself on my New Year’s resolutions list every year. For many marketers, getting their direct mail program in shape is another year-after-year goal that never really goes away. This may include developing a new control, refining a mailing list, honing messaging, or rethinking other elements of their direct mail packages to boost response rates.

These are all great goals when it comes to direct mail because they can all help improve overall return on marketing investment (ROMI). But the first step in reaching this goal is to get prospects to stop and pay attention to your messaging.

You can have a great product that meets a real need and is offered at the best price, but no one will buy it if they don’t know you’re selling it. That’s why the outer envelope design is so important: It will either get your offer opened and your message seen, or send it towards to the recycling bin.

Here are three ways you can tweak your outer envelope to help your letter get opened:

  1. Match the tone of your offer. Keep your messaging consistent by using an envelope that reflects the type of messaging inside. For instance, a promotional piece can use bright colors and imagery on the outer envelope, while more serious products, like finance and insurance, tend to be better received when an “official” envelope is used.
  2. Play with sizes and stocks. Anything that helps differentiate your envelope design from the others in the mailbox is a good thing. Changing the size of the outer envelope, using a heavier stock, or choosing a unique finish can make all the difference in getting your offer the attention it deserves.
  3. Use unique devices or marketing techniques. There are a lot of ways to tease the prospect into opening your envelope. Windows that allow a card to peek through or show personalized messaging can spur the prospect to open. Adding labels or using opening devices like pull-strings also help to engage the prospect with the package and get them to take notice.

Of course, testing is key when implementing a new outer envelope design. It’s important to keep the interior forms consistent and test small changes to the envelope so results will clearly show what works and what doesn’t. We often choose size, stock, and messaging as a good starting place for envelope testing because they are significant changes that can be easily implemented and impact open responses in a big way.

Good luck with your New Year’s resolution, whatever it is! If you have any questions about crafting and testing an outer envelope design or getting your direct mail program in tip-top shape, contact me today.

Blog Author

Mike Dietz
Executive Creative Director, graduate of St. Cloud State University and IWCO Direct team member for more than 12 years. Personal business philosophy: “Beautiful design is fantastic, but if it doesn’t work it doesn’t matter.” Proud father who enjoys spending time with family, golfing and is a life-long Minnesota Vikings fan.

View More Posts by Mike

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