25 Ideas for Getting your Envelope Opened
You’ve put a lot of time and effort into creating a mailer that highlights your business or organization, and you’re positive it will generate new relationships and increase brand recognition…if only the recipient will open it!

Your outer envelope is the key factor in determining whether or not your piece gets past the person screening the mail—both at home and at the office. The envelope creates the first impression, and it has only a few seconds to convince your prospect that what’s inside is worth checking out.

There are countless approaches to making your envelope appear valuable and intriguing enough to open. Here are 25 envelope testing ideas to get you started. Make sure you set up a system to track the results of each tactic you try. The information you gather will help make your next mailing that much more effective!

1. Test a double window envelope with colored glassine in the teaser copy window. When the teaser copy is printed on the insert piece in the same color as the glassine, the recipient has to open the envelope to read the teaser.

2. Something as simple as the color of the envelope can make a big difference in response rate. Mail a white control envelope and test it against a red or manila envelope.

3. Test your piece with and without teaser copy.

4. Test your teaser copy. For instance, test your results when you emphasize a product benefit vs. a special offer.

5. Test different envelope shapes and sizes. If your control mailing is a #10, test a 6” x 9” or vice versa. Or try testing an executive (monarch) size envelope against a standard #10 for business mailings.

6. Try textured or unusual paper stock like vellum to give your envelope a unique look and feel that sets it apart from the stack. For large runs, some envelope manufacturers will emboss a leatherette or grooved texture into regular paper, saving you money.

7. If your control mailer uses four-color printing, test print your image in two-color or as a duotone.

8. If you want the high impact of dot-whack stickers—but not the cost—print stickers instead. Tests how printed stickers can pull as well as, or better than, stickers printed separately and machine-affixed.

9. Test printing your return address on the back flap instead of the upper left-hand corner.

10. Test printing teaser copy on both sides of the envelope. After all, there’s no way to know which side will land face up in your prospect’s mail pile.

11. Work with your envelope vendor to design envelopes that are uniquely involving, such as a double-flapped envelopes with teaser copy hidden under the special end-flap.

12. Test postage. For consumer mailers or smaller runs, live postage stamps cost more than printed indicia but they can look more personal and appealing to the recipient.

13. Test a faux stamp with your bulk stamp. A custom-made faux stamp has no value to the post office, but lends your envelope the personalized look of a hand-applied postage stamp.

14. If you want your mailer to look extremely important, try a first-class envelope made of indestructible Tyvek, or a large format envelope designed to look like an overnight delivery, complete with mock signature receipt.

15. Sometimes less is more. Try printing nothing on the outer envelope except the recipient’s name and address.

16. Ask a provocative question related to a statistic or a business trend that will motivate the recipient to want to find out the answer. “What percentage of small businesses will go under in the first 18 months? And will you be one of them?”

17. Clearly state a benefit to opening the envelope. “Open now and save 20% this weekend!” “Your free passes to the boat show are enclosed!”

18. If you have a four-color brochure hidden inside your carrier envelope, try mailing it in a translucent envelope or picture window envelope that showcases it.

19. Test a #14 or other large envelope against a standard #10. Envelopes this big allow you to fold your letter once, vertically, making it easier to open and read. An oversized envelope also stands out in a stack of #10s.

20. Test a security envelope with a window and an official looking logo in the style of a government refund check.

21. Try testing the pop-up back flap on an envelope that actually pulls an insert out of the envelope when you “Lift Here.”

22. If you have to use an existing envelope but still want to run a test, add a dot-whack sticker or post-printed teaser.

23. Experiment with different fonts. Handwriting style fonts look personal and appealing. Some fonts appear more business-like while others can convey a sense of fun and excitement.

24. Test teaser copy that gives a strong reason to open your envelope such as “Free Sample Enclosed,” “Do Not Bend: Photos Enclosed.”

25. Test using your product name, your company name or an individual’s name (e.g., president, marketing director, customer service rep) as the first line in the upper left-hand return address block. This is a hot spot for mail screeners.

This article originally appeared in the August 2002 issue of Target Marketing written by Pat Freisen. PAT FRIESEN is president of Pat Friesen & CO. and is a direct response creative strategist, copy writer and trainer.
© 2008 BR Direct. All Right Reserved.