Production: An Ode to the Self-Mailer
Self-mailers also make versioning by segments much faster and economical because of the marriage of database technology and more complex manufacturing capabilities. Today, having cells in the hundreds or even thousands is typical and more manageable because of these advances.
Why not forgo all direct mail and focus on e-mail? Because direct mail, when done correctly (that means when tested), will still outperform e-mail, especially from a prospecting vantage point. Self-mailers can be a good, inexpensive way to differentiate yourself in the overcrowded marketplace and yield the desired action—a call, reply response, click or visit.
Options Worth Exploring
Let’s take a look at a few of the self-mailer format options available and discuss the pros and cons of each.
The Classic Self-Mailer: Think of classic self-mailers as uncomplicated, brochure-type mailers. Simple often produces the best results in our marketing message-bombarded world. The size, copy length and paper quality varies here, but typically, these are more basic and “ugly.” They’re easy to create and should be a part of your testing strategy. (There’s a reason so many are found in your mailbox; they work.)
The Snap-Pack: Debate always swirls around whether or not snap-packs are self-mailers. As they have no outer envelope, they are. These were once ubiquitous but have fallen off in recent years sans rebate checks. That’s exactly why you should test them, especially if you are after an official look and mail larger quantities. Snap-packs get opened!
The Roll Fold: Roll folds are quick, interactive and hold the recipient’s attention until the payoff: your offer. These work well, from my tests, for Generation Y and can be a lot of fun to create.
The Oversized, the Undersized and Weird Shapes: This is a fast-growing category. I have seen heart-shaped mailers, circles, squares, triangles and other unique shapes. While I’m aware of quite a few oversized pieces, I don’t see many that are small.