Direct Mail: Send Green, 
Save Green

Pistol Window Envelope: Multiple windows on this envelope allow variable data on the form to take the place of multiple printed envelope versions and eliminate obsolescence. Multiple windows also maximize testing opportunities without needing multiple print versions.

Trim to Nest: Using a trim-to-nest form allows the form and buckslip to be produced at the same time, eliminating a make-ready, saving paper and optimizing quality.

10 things direct mailers can do to help the planet and their bottom lines

Direct marketers have become increasingly savvy about the positive impact environmental policies have on their brands, in addition to the policies’ main intent of improving sustainability and lessening environmental impact. But challenging your design, production and printing partners to help meet sustainability goals also can have a positive impact on your bottom line. Here are 10 tips that will make your direct mail efforts more “green,” and save money.

1. Keep What Works, 
Cut What Doesn’t
Zero in on what elements of your mailing package really provide value. Remove what isn’t necessary and reduce when possible. For example, can your brochure be two pages instead of four?

When was the last time you tested 
your buckslip to see its impact on response and conversion? A robust testing strategy is the key to understanding the “sacred cows” in your mailing while culling what doesn’t result in higher response and more sales.

Slimming your direct mail package usually means lower production costs. You may experience lower postage costs as well, especially if you reduce your package from flat to letter-sized mail.

2. Reconsider Substrates
Including a plastic or paper promotional card in a direct mail package has been shown to increase open and response rates. If you include a credit-card sized magnet, people actually keep and use them, too! The feel of the card in the package is irresistible to most people and the envelope gets opened to see what kind of card is included (Is it a gift card? A loyalty card? A credit card?).

Recyclable and even biodegradable plastic and paper substrates that are more environmentally sound are now available. Be sure you understand how they can be used and how you can promote their use.

3. Reduce, Reuse
Look for ways to reduce basis weight, trim size, number of components and even sample requests. Employ lean manufacturing principles and review your processes to see where you can eliminate waste.

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  • Chet Dalzell

    Thank you Debora for keeping mailers focused on efficiencies in being "green" — there’s money off the bottom line when we’re not paying attention here. I invite all direct mail users to visit the Direct Marketing Association’s Green 15, and its online Environmental Planner to help with more suggestions to bolstering the triple bottom line:

  • Chris Daniels

    Great post Debora. In the spirit of Green Mail here is a mail piece example that uses one 11 x 17 sheet as the envelope and the letter: