A Format for Every Message (1,036 words)
by Hallie Mummert
Everybody knows that, excluding the more fixed components of audience and product, it's the offer that drives response in a direct mail campaign. But how you present that offer is crucial to getting prospects and customers to respond, by making a purchase, sending for more information, filling out a survey, etc.
For this reason, formats and offers must work hand in hand to provide the right level of information and promotion to motivate people. Review the following round-up of formats—some old, some new—to see if any of them might work for your next offer.
And of course, as always, test!
The most common format used for direct mail offers, the #10 envelope package is also the standard form for most types of communication. These efforts can pass for personal, business or official correspondence, or accommodate graphics and type for a more promotional approach.
6˝ x 9˝ & 6˝ x 11˝ Envelopes
These two formats stand out in a sea of #10 envelope efforts, and provide more room on the outer envelope ("outer") for graphics, teaser copy, windows, etc. Their size also lets you insert larger elements, such as complex brochures and freemiums. The 6˝ x 11˝ size is a good choice when you have an image or design that needs a lot of horizontal room.
9˝ x 12˝ Envelope
The king of the jumbos, this format relies on sheer size to overpower other mailings. While the larger outer envelope offers plenty of room for dynamic images and copy, many users prefer the official or business-like look that a plain, kraft outer imparts.
The double postcard is a highly economical mailing that is all about the quick hit. It works best for well-known products that need little explanation and for offers that require only a yes/no response, i.e., free trial, complimentary issue, free information kit, etc.