The Self-mailer Challenge
• Your response device protects personal information. A perforated reply postcard should not contain a request for the recipient's credit card number or medically- sensitive information (e.g., "Yes! Send me information on how to treat my herpes."). It also shouldn't reveal any information the recipient might consider too private (e.g., "Your criminal record isn't that bad!").
Some basic, tried-and-true design rules apply when creating a good self-mailer:
• Cover or billboard side—Here's where you put your "big photo," headline and offer tease. The only goal of the cover is to get the reader inside the self-mailer. Consider this panel your "envelope," and design it to present your promotional look. Response is significantly better when you use production techniques that allow you to personalize this area, too. People are more likely to respond to a headline that reads, "Gayl, Your time is running out!," than to, "Time is running out!"
• Mailing panel—This is where the recipient's address and offer code (used for tracking) reside, along with housekeeping details, such as indicia and return address. Everyone who gets your self-mailer will look at this panel to see his or her name. Make sure you put a powerful offer headline on this panel, when possible. And personalize it if you can, just like you would the billboard side; we all love to see our names in print.
• Inside panels—The inside of a self-mailer has to serve as a letter, brochure, offer, lift note and response device all in one. So, what you do in here is critical to the success or failure of your mailing. The inside is where you need to connect with your reader emotionally, selling him or her on the ironclad logic of your offer and including a response mechanism. You'll also want to include eye-catching photography to hold the reader's interest.