Envelopes are every bit as important as the materials contained with in them. In fact, if your envelopes aren't optimized to motivate customers to open them, your communications will literally be lost on your customers. That's why it's so important to carefully consider your envelope marketing strategy before you send your mail.
Here are some envelope marketing essentials you should incorporate into your next direct-mail sales letter campaign:
Start planning early
Envelopes should not be an afterthought — the design, copy, size and message of your envelopes should be considered at the start of your campaign planning. Recognize that in order for your sales letter to be successful, it must be read, so your envelopes must be at least equally enticing. Consider the goal of your direct-mail campaign. What action do you want your recipients to take? How can your envelope serve as an introduction to that end?
Get a great list
Like all direct-mail marketing, your sales letter campaigns must meet the needs of a highly targeted audience. In fact, the 40/40/20 rule of direct marketing dictates that 40 percent of your direct-mail success is dependent on the quality of your mailing list. Understand your customers and what motivates them, and make sure your offer brings benefits your audience is likely to respond to.
Include your offer and call to action
Your envelopes should include your offer and a call to action. This doesn't have to be your final, end-all-be-all call to action. In fact, in most cases, your envelope call to action is to simply open the envelope to see what's inside. Let's say you're a real estate agent and you want to send a direct-mail sales letter to prospective sellers. To help pique your audience's interest, you're giving away a free white paper on selling for profit in today's market. Your envelope might therefore include copy similar to: "Open Immediately — And Learn The Secrets To Selling Real Estate For Maximum Profit (before the next guy learns it first)." See how that simple line included a call to action (Open Immediately), a benefit (Learn The Secrets...) and projects urgency (before the next guy ...)?
Get great design
Bright colors, vivid imagery and bold headlines grab attention fast, so make sure your full-color envelopes are designed to stand out from the junk mail clutter. Depending on the nature of your sales letter, your envelopes might include graphic elements or simply be designed with a bright (even fluorescent) background. In some cases, envelopes are even designed to look like government-issued checks or other important or confidential material, though this strategy can also cheapen your impact if not done with the right audience and products/services.
Test and repeat
Variations in your envelope size, copy and design — even slight variations — can have a big impact on the success of your campaign. To maximize your earning potential, you should test different envelopes on smaller market segments before launching a full-scale campaign. By tracking response, you can tell which envelopes will yield a higher return on investment.
You should also repeat your mailings. By sending another sales letter or used in conjunction with a full-color direct-mail postcard marketing campaign, you can leverage the power of repetition to make more sales. You don't want to inundate your prospects with so much mail that you seem like a nuisance, but you certainly want to always be fresh in their minds. Try spacing mailings six weeks apart for the best results.
As you can see, envelope marketing is a science all its own — do it right, and you can reap huge profits. Do it wrong, and you're just mailing money out the door. Follow these envelope marketing essentials to make sure you're on the right track from the start for a robust return on investment in the end.