5 Window Treatments That Work
On June 10, 1902, in Chicago, window envelopes were first patented by the wonderfully named Americus F. Callahan. His patent described the windows as “holes” for looking at the paper inside, and he noted that they could save both time and labor. Callahan also hinted that window envelopes could be more colorful than ordinary envelopes. For example, he said, “black paper [presents] an advantage over papers of other colors in that a striking contrast may be provided between the address appearing through the envelop[e] and the balance of the envelop[e].”
Today, windows are still used heavily in direct mail—and many aren’t that much different than Callahan’s invention, in innovation or purpose. “Like curtains, they can create interest, revealing only what the user wishes. Handy invention,” comments Peggy Greenawalt, president/creative director at Tomarkin/Greenawalt, based in Hartsdale, N.Y.
Alan Rosenspan, president of Alan Rosenspan & Associates, a direct marketing creative and consulting firm based in Newton, Mass.—and who wrote about the outer envelope in his “50 New Ways to Improve Response” article in the March 2008 issue of Inside Direct Mail—agrees. “They say that the eyes are the window to the soul. The window may perform the same function in a direct mail package. It should give you just a glimpse of what’s inside and help you decide whether or not you want to go any further.”
Accordingly, here are five ways to “treat” that envelope.
1. Intrigue the prospect
Greenawalt says there are good reasons to use non-address windows. “It’s intriguing to have a free offer sticker, premium photo, freemium or a message peering through, so that the prospect has to open the outer to find out about what is hidden.”
Meanwhile, she gives two good response reasons to use a window for the addressee section of an envelope, including 1) making content look like an invoice or check in monarch or #10 mailings, and 2) making a jumbo manila envelope look as if there is a report or other important letter or official document inside.