In an upcoming issue of Target Marketing's sister publication Fundraising Success, Jeff Brooks, creative director at Columbia, Md.-based database marketing agency Merkle, revealed the secret that a blank envelope often outperforms its teaser counterparts in direct mail.
That sentiment is confirmed by Cathy Carley, account executive at New York-based nonprofit marketing program provider Sanky Communications and direct mail consultant to Coalition for the Homeless. "A lot of times, teasers aren't going to lift response," she affirms, "so you're better off testing and making sure before you roll it out with the whole mailing."
Carley recommends doing A/B split tests to different segments of your mailing lists to gauge a teaser's potential in the mail. For certain segments, you may find one teaser outperforms another; for other segments, no teaser at all may work best.
And while teasers may not always improve response, both Brooks and Carley agree that it doesn't mean you should steer clear of them. In fact, sometimes they are necessary to spruce up a mail package, especially if you mail many similar packages each year—which is exactly what Coalition for the Homeless did with its most recent "Camp Homeward Bound" campaign.
"We added it just to make the package a little different and to stand out from the rest of the packages we've sent out this year," Carley says. "We knew the response wouldn't necessarily increase, but we wanted to offer donors something different to view." And you should always be looking for teasers that can improve upon results from a blank outer, says Brooks.
So, don't stop using teasers to help boost your appeal in the mail, but don't just roll them out blindly either. Test to make sure a teaser will do the job better than a blank outer. The results may surprise you.