5 Answers About Getting Envelopes Opened
Like other industries, direct mail has been hurt by the current economic woes, but its original challenge is steadfast: get the prospect to open your envelope. This challenge was faced head on by direct marketer and copywriter Alan Rosenspan, president of Alan Rosenspan & Associates, during Inside Direct Mail's recent webinar "21 Ways to Get Your Envelope Opened."
In the ensuing hour, Rosenspan engaged the audience with effective techniques to test in order to make opening the envelope practically irresistible for prospects. At the tail end of the webinar, attendees flooded Rosenspan with questions, many of which he couldn't tackle before the hour ended. Instead, he answered them individually, and here are some of those questions and answers that all direct mail marketers may find valuable.
Question: What is your take on having testimonials from users or actual user photos on the [outer envelope]?
Rosenspan: I love using testimonials as much as possible. And I used them on the outer envelope for [an] Advanta [campaign I developed]. I would be a little reluctant to show the person, since this will make the envelope look too promotional. Also, one great testimonial on the OE is probably better than several. Fundraising companies do it all the time—and it can work very effectively.
Question: Have you tested stamps vs. indicias? If so, which outpulls the other and by how much?
Rosenspan: Stamps have always outpulled indicias, so much so that we don't bother to test that anymore. Even bulk stamps. This is especially true in business-to-consumer, where your goal is to make the envelope look like it came from a real person—not just a company.
Question: What do you think of a mail piece that folds over a BRE? Does that fall into the less successful self-mailer category?
Rosenspan: We have used this technique, and it does seem to perform better than just a postcard or a traditional self-mailer. That's because it allows the person to send in their response in a closed-face envelope, instead of an open card.
People are very concerned with identity theft and privacy these days. But I would still test an envelope package, and I'm willing to bet it will do better.
Question: Are most backs of the outers blank, or do you just think the front is the most important?
Rosenspan: I think the front of the envelope (or where the name and address is) is probably most important, but why waste the back? But once again, you have to be careful. Don't just give me additional information; give me something that compels me to open the envelope.
Question: Why does an envelope perform better than a postcard?
Rosenspan: Three reasons, I think. One, opening an envelope is a "mini-commitment" to spending more time on what's inside. (And the more time someone spends with your direct mail or e-mail, the more likely they are to respond.) Two, it allows you to include a real letter, which is the most important part of a direct mail package. Three, it just does. Test it, and you'll see.