4 Successful Tips for the Outer Envelope

Written by Daniela Burgos, Assistant Account Executive

Direct Mail

Junk mail is a bad word where I am from—I deal with direct mail. The kind of mail meant to stay out of the trash. What’s the difference between junk mail and direct mail?  Well, the meaning behind direct mail is sending custom crafted offers and messages to a carefully targeted audience. Where junk mail is standard class mailings, such as advertisements, sent indiscriminately to large quantities.

So how does someone recognize direct mail versus junk mail?  We customized an offer and message meant specifically for you.  And the most important piece of direct mail is—the outer envelope—we want you to open our mail because it’s just for you!

The outer envelope (OE as we like to call it) is the “first impression.”  We need that outer envelope to interest you enough to open the package. We can create a mail piece containing out of this world, mind-blowing deals/offers, but if they don’t resonate to you, all the time and hard work we spend creating it means nothing.

So how do we know what will catch our target audience’s attention? We test. Test, test and test again. Ultimately, we test different OE’s to know what works and what doesn’t work by tracking the response.

So what things do we test on the OE? Here are a couple of techniques we use:

  1. Vary OE sizes. The standard and probably most professional of all OE sizes is a #10 envelope. When testing, this is the time to play with sizes; test both bigger and smaller sizes to see which gets the higher response rate.
  2. Vary color between mailing attempts. People do not respond to mail they’ve seen over and over again. Adding full or partial color to the OE assures the piece will stick out from the rest.
  3. Use windows.  Envelope windows are not just to show the recipient’s name/address.  They can highlight an urgent respond by date or even a personalized offer.
  4. Test teasers. These are attention grabbers on OEs. And sometimes different messages will get a greater response.  Also using words like “Urgent,” “Immediate Response Requested,”  “Final Request,” create a sense of urgency to get the piece opened.

As Mark Weinstein wrote in his blogpost, The End of Saturday Mail Delivery and the Impact on Direct Marketers, we want our OE to stand out from the other pieces of mail you receive!  So we utilize the techniques listed above to develop successful direct mail.  Because junk mail is a bad word here at The Weinstein Organization. Direct mail only please.