The most important part of any direct marketing piece it to get the attention of the person receives it.
Using an envelope puts a physical barrier between your marketing materials and the recipient. If people think that the contents are marketing materials then they will quite often put the piece of mail in the bin without even opening it.
It is not a small proportion of the population that do this, it is actually becoming quite prevalent, so much so that companies who are sending legitimate information to customers are quite often having to mark the outside of the envelope with messages such as “Important information enclosed” or “this is not a circular” so that people do not put it in the bin without opening it.
My advice would be to avoid putting your marketing materials in an envelope at all costs – you have much better chance to grab the attention of the recipient if your message is immediately obvious and ‘in their face’ rather than being hidden behind another piece or paper.
Remember that even if you are posting your marketing materials then you do not have to use and envelope and the address can be printed on the material itself. If you are doing this then make sure that the materials are designed to accommodate the address and the stamp (or mailing symbol) as you do not want these basic items getting in the way of the communication of your message.
While I would urge you not to use an envelope whenever possible, there are some instances where you will either have to use one (because there are multiple pieces, for example) or you have designed it in such a way that your materials are better served by being in an envelope. This would be applicable if you are using a letter rather than a more leaflet-based marketing piece. While this technique can be used for business to consumer (B2C) marketing, it tends to be more effective for business to business (B2B) marketing.
If you decide to use an envelope the then it is not necessarily just a case of picking any old envelope, putting your marketing material into it, sticking on a stamp and putting them in a post box.
Here are some things you need to consider:
Size of envelope – determines whether your marketing materials need to be foled or not and can also affect the price of postage.
Stamp, frank or post icon? When using an envelope you need to do all that you can to avoid making it look like direct mail. Using a post icon is a dead giveaway for direct mail so using a franking machine or even better a stamp can help to make it look less like direct mail and, therefore, increase the chances of it being opened.
Window or no window? Using a window envelope is really only an option if your marketing material is in the form of a letter because you can print the address on the letter. The other consideration is that using a window makes your mailing look a bit official and can convey a lack of interest – i.e. you can’t be bothered typing the envelope.
Sticker address or print on envelope? If you choose not to use a window envelope then you will have to decide how to print the address on the envelope. You have three options here:
1) Print a sticker. This is not the best way to do this for a number of reasons, mainly that it can look very unprofessional if they labels are not put on exactly straight and also it can look like you are taking the easy way out and can therefore send the wrong message to the recipient.
2) Print directly onto the envelope. This is a more difficult option that (1) unless you have a specialised printer but can be worth it so long as the printing is professional and looks good as it gives the impression that you have made a bit more effort, sending a more positive message.
3) Hand write the address on the envelope. This is obviously by far the most expensive option and would not be a feasible option for a large mailing. Having said that it can be very powerful and you can almost guarantee that everybody who receives it will open it simply because it is so unusual to receive anything that is hand written these days!
A half-way house may be to print using a script that is similar to handwriting but this can be a bit obvious and never really works.
Who do you address it to? You should always address your correspondence to a named person. There is no better way to ensure that your mailing goes straight to the bin that to address it to ‘The Occupier” or “The Owner”.
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