Any good marketing person will tell you that the first objective of any direct – mail – campaign is to get the prospect to OPEN THE ENVELOPE.
And so there has been a lot of research done on sizes of envelopes, color, shape, address (printed or handwritten), copy on envelopes vs. no copy on envelopes, return addresses vs. P.O. Box return addresses and, first class vs. bulk rate
I have found that there are only two types of envelopes that will get a reader’s attention in a pile of mail.
One is a handwritten envelope.
The second is a bulky envelope. I call it the “Crackerjacks effect” that promises to contain more than just another bill or boring letter. Most people are naturally curious. If there is a prospect of getting a gift or a treat, then at the very least they are going to open up the letter to find out what’s inside. This is one of the reasons why the Crackerjacks effect is so effective.
Curiosity is a tool that you can use to your advantage when working on a direct mail campaign.
Think of small items that you can include in your letter that will make the envelope bulky and therefore make your readers curious enough to open it. Be careful to only use items that will remain intact. Biscuits for example will just end up as a handful of greasy crumbs.
Campaigns with chocolates are best done in the cooler winter months otherwise that too can end up as a sticky mess. If you don’t want to use plain pictures then consider sponge cut outs. This could be a very effective way of making your envelope bulky but ensuring that your message remains intact.
Why should I read your letter?
With direct mail campaigns, you need to give your prospects a compelling reason to open and read your letter. Because people get bombarded with so much information and so many sales pitches on a daily basis, you need to find a creative way to get your prospects attention.
Give them something to be curious about and you already have a foot in the door. Here are a few ideas that are very effective:
· Include a headache tablet with the phrase: “If thinking about something to do with the family this weekend is giving you a headache? Happy Lanes can help. Then go on and explain your program pointing out the benefits of affordability, quality time, feelings of accomplishments, team spirit, etc.
· Attach a matchstick to the top of the letter. In your introduction you can explain “Here’s a burning idea that’s all about Good Time family Fun.” Happy Lanes is the place to cool off with family and friends this weekend>
· If you are a promoting a special event or corporate party, you can include a balloon. “Dear Peter, if you are thinking of ideas for your next company party or celebration we can help you….”
· You can include chocolates. You can even personalize the chocolate wrappers. Then in your introduction you can say something about having a sweet deal to tell them about.
· Include a sweatband and a comment: “Are the costs of your weekend family fun making you sweat? Does it feel like an endless marathon effort? Happy lanes can help!
For most people getting a surprise in the mail is a welcome diversion from an average stressful work day. A bulky envelope with a handwritten address is far more likely to get a person’s attention than a corporate looking printed envelope.
Not every letter needs to be bulky mail especially if you are sending out a series of letters. You can decide at what point it will be most effective in your campaign.
Be creative and have fun with it. If you do you can be sure your readers will enjoy it too.
As always, I strongly urge that you use a multitude of tools in CONJUNCTION with your mail campaign, which may include a series of letters + an email campaign + daily posts on Facebook and a “YouTube” video, strategically timed and placed.
And finally it is better to go after that segment which is tightly defined to represent your best prospect for buying the offer you are selling…even if it represents fewer in numbers.
Give me 1000 great prospects vs. 10,000 suspects any time!