Direct mail isn't dead nor is it dying. As part of doing everything you can to keep your own direct mail efforts alive and well, you must test. One of the key components to test is your carrier or outer envelope.
Your outer envelope makes the first impression and helps your mailing stand out from the rest of the day's mail. It gets your piece past the person screening the mail—both at home and the office. The envelope also gets your mailing opened and read.
The challenging part is doing all this in only a few seconds—some studies say three to seven seconds.
Following is a checklist of outer envelope tests ideas. Some are the latest, most innovative outer envelope formats currently being tested. Others are tried-and-true tips that have worked for decades and still have a bright future. Keep in mind what's appropriate for your offer, audience and budget:
1. Increase intrigue. Test a double window envelope with colored glassine in the teaser copy window (see example below). When the teaser copy is printed on an inserted piece in the same color as the glassine, the recipient has to open the envelope to read the teaser. It's new, fun and intriguing.
2. Mail a control envelope that's white. Test it against a yellow or red outer envelope.
3. Test teaser copy—specifically, product benefit vs. offer.
4. Test teaser copy vs. no teaser.
5. Test different sizes. If your control mailing is a #10, test a 6˝x 9˝ or vice versa. Or try testing an executive (monarch) size envelope against a standard #10 for business mailings.
6. Try textured paper stock to make your envelope look and feel different. For large runs, envelope manufacturers such as Tension Envelope actually can emboss a leatherette or grooved texture into regular paper, saving you money.