Direct mail pieces are a design challenge in and of themselves. Often, they are postcards or self-mailers (larger pieces that are folded down with an integrated mailing panel) which are designed to be eye-catching and convey information and stand out in the pile of mail in the box. They have the advantage of being ‘naked’ – seen and processed on some level even if being recycled.
Direct mail that is inserted into envelopes poses the additional design challenge of encouraging recipients to open the envelope to see what is inside. Depending on what you are sending, sometimes the best answer is to keep it simple and simply have the address and return address on the envelope – maybe with your logo above the return address. This is especially true if you are sending to an office or somewhere there may be intermediaries who are tasked with tossing anything that looks like a solicitation!
But more often, you’re going to want to take advantage of all that print real estate to entice the receiver to open the envelope to find out what’s inside or to reinforce the message that is awaiting them inside.
Here are a few things to think about to integrate your envelope into your mailing:
1. Add a ‘teaser’ message – use words that will pique the reader’s interest and make them think you’re addressing them directly “Exclusive offer for bowlers inside” and if you have enclosed something in the envelope, tell them! “Two free passes, just for you!”
2. Tell them what you want them to do – use words like “see inside,” “look inside,” or “open immediately.”
3. Use graphics or pictures to really get their attention. If you have a product you are selling, a picture of what you are offering with the deal – “free” “25% off” etc. will be sure to grab their attention.
4. Add a deadline. “Reply by…” lends urgency to your message making it more likely that the envelope will be opened rather than set aside for later. Make sure it’s a real deadline so the reader doesn’t feel duped once they open the envelope.
5. Don’t try to trick people with “official” looking envelopes. If you’re making it look like an invoice or an official notice of some sort as part of your design strategy that’s one thing. If you are doing it to trick them into opening, you will not get the desired response.
Whatever you do, the important thing is that you give the envelope as much thought as you give the piece going inside the envelope.