Get the Envelope Opened!
Some envelope companies offer a variety of flexographically printed patterns which simulate the look of specialty stocks. Book-of-the-Month Club uses this technique for its "Please Don't Tell Your Friends..." mailing. BOMC employs a Blue Granite pattern, which simulates an expensive granite stock.
According to Dudley, another aspect to test is texture; when people are leafing through the mail, an envelope with embossed grooves has a unique feel to it. This texture might catch your recipients' attention, and lure them into the envelope. The embossed grooves, which can run vertically or diagonally, create a classy look and feel, and may be another way to convey the idea of an invitation.
The Bottom Line
According to Dudley, when he talks to a customer about testing, their budget often dictates what can be tested. With this in mind, envelope manufacturers are striving to offer less expensive ways to produce some of the "bells and whistles" we've discussed. Westvaco, for example, set up a task force to develop affordable alternatives for direct mailers to differentiate their packages.
With the all the recent advances in printing—special effects, such as metallic colors, fake "stickers," embossed grooving—are making it easier to use techniques that get the envelope opened and still save money.
As Malcolm Decker says, "Remember, your envelope stands between you and orders. More prospects see your envelopes than will ever see what's inside them. So make sure your envelope not only carries the message, but also does everything possible to set up the sale."