DM Spotlight: Plain-Jane Voucher Gets Makeover
Vouchers have been in favor with publishers and fundraisers for years because they are not as expensive as larger 6" x 9" or 9" x 12" packages—and they still capture good response rates. The voucher is bare-bones by definition, consisting of a one-page description of benefits and a reply device, usually carried in a #10 outer.
When American Craft Council, a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to fostering an environment in which craft is understood and valued, partnered with Sage Communications to redesign its direct mail package, the Westborough, Mass.-based direct marketing firm used the voucher strategy but added a few bells and whistles to get a big lift in response.
The voucher that Anne and Josef Kottler, founding partners of Sage Communications, came up with is not your typical plain-Jane effort. The Kottlers refer to their format as an enhanced voucher or voucher-plus package because it includes a brochure and insert and contains personalized messaging and community-based content that you would not find in a regular voucher.
"We now call it an enhanced voucher or voucher-plus package, in that ... we can enhance response by adding the right combination of content-related messages. All the publishers would love to have more content in the presentation as long as it's cost-effective, and in this particular case, we've shown it can be," Mr. Kottler shares.
Instead of a stark-white, business-looking outer, the package arrives in a #10 with a full-bleed, black-and-white photograph of a potter's hands on the front. The hands are open, and there is a window in the middle of the envelope with a personalized, temporary membership card showing through that looks like it's being cupped by the hands. The image really stands out in the mail; it is a piece of creative that Sage Communications carried over from one of American Craft Council's previous packages. "Essentially, when you get the envelope it's like we're handing you this membership card," Mr. Kottler says.