According to the Target Marketing Group’s Who’s Mailing What! Archive, an online library of direct mail campaigns, it appears that the popularity of self-mailers has remained steady for the past few years. However, it’s surged in some sectors while slipping in others, including some sectors employing self-mailers that may have never done so before.
I spoke with Bob Bly—a freelance direct marketing copywriter who specializes in B-to-B marketing and author of “The Copywriter’s Handbook, Third Edition: A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Copy That Sells”—about the directions in which the self-mailer may be headed.
1. Self-mailers becoming the standard format in many markets
Bly says that for financial newsletters, for instance, magalogs are the most popular direct mail format. For business opportunity mailers, digests are working. For nutritional supplements, tabloids have worked well, though the new postal regulations concerning flats have made it more difficult for magalog and tabloid mailings. For B-to-B lead generation, postcards have become very popular—much more so than trifold self-mailers with tear-off BRCs.
2. Self-mailers replacing #10 envelopes for generating leads
Traditionally, anyone generating leads for consulting or professional services used a sales letter with a reply card in a #10 envelope and likely offered a free report or booklet. Now they are using postcards driving traffic to a specific URL where prospects can download a PDF whitepaper or register for a webinar.
3. Self-mailers not killing copy, for the most part
With long-copy consumer offers—mainly financial and health care newsletters, business opportunities, options trading, nutritional supplements, and similar products—copy has always been king and continues to be so. But B-to-B marketers increasingly are convinced that executives have no time to read, and therefore their self-mailers have minimal copy—typically a headline, three to five bullets and a Web site URL—with an emphasis on creative color graphics.