Direct Mail and Marketing Tips


Is Your Envelope Working for You or Are You Working for Your Envelope?


When it comes to email marketing, we think of the subject line in a similar way to how we think about the envelope of a physical direct mail campaign. The subject line of en email holds the key. Boring or irrelevant and customers simply don’t open it. With envelopes, it’s much the same yet it’s often not given it that much thought. If you send a boring envelope that blends in with all the other envelopes in the mail, then it’s no wonder open-rates might be below average.

But what are the alternatives? How do you jazz up an envelope?

Well, it’s actually much simpler than you might think….

Consider Color

That’s right, simply changing the color of your envelope from a boring blend-in white to any other color that fits your brand or message can make all the difference. Once your envelope is actually opened, the rest is up to the content (just as with email). 

Ditch It

You heard us right! You could even ditch the envelope altogether and send a piece of direct mail that doesn’t require one, such as a postcard. Postcard campaigns have many benefits and work really well for lots of offers, but they are not always suitable. Sometimes an envelope really isn’t avoidable. 

Snap Pack

A pressure-sealed mailer, also known as a snap-pack gives your mail a formal feel and stands out in its own authoritative way. A snap-pack gives you privacy to include personal information but it also really helps with open-rates even if you’re not sending sensitive content. They are often associated with rebates and PINS, so when a recipient sees a pressure-sealed mailer they are much more likely to grab and maintain attention. 

Make the Most of Space

Large white envelopes offer a further opportunity for a teaser, to add more promotions or information to the front or back, you could even use an enticing message (similar to the subject line of an email) to get the mail opened. We’ve seen businesses use this space to upsell, promote their website, or just be fun and quirky in getting the customer excited about what’s inside. For example, a message such as … ‘you won’t know what to do when you open this….’ on the front of an envelope would be hard to ignore!  

If you do have a teaser line on the outside, it needs to be super compelling because it automatically identifies the piece as ‘marketing mail’. Some people will not open it if they think you are trying to sell them something. So, the rule here is that if you have something really compelling to say, that will get them to open, then you can use a teaser. 

Think About Windows 

Another thing to consider is whether to send your envelope with a double window, a single window or a closed face. 

With a double window envelope, the name and address are printed on the letter inside and they show through the windows. If you have a single-sided letter then it can be printed on the back and folded so it shows through. This saves the addressing step and can reduce costs. This format can work well because it looks like a bill. Recipients are usually much more likely to open a letter if it looks important. Also, by building the address block into the front of the letter, you can let other teaser information peek through the window as well.

A single window approach usually includes a return address printed on the outside and the recipient address printed on the letter inside which shows through. Often using a return address will increase response rates, because people don’t assume it could be promotional mail. They need to open it to figure out who it is from. Some people choose to print a logo with their return address on the outside. This can create a more professional look. This helps set the tone for certain types of letters before they are even opened.

Closed face envelopes always have a more personal feel. You can use a script font to enhance that even further. You can also use a live postage stamp to make mail feel more personal.

When you think about it, mail has been around for so many years that it makes sense, now is the time to be creative and think outside the box. There has never been a better time to engage in direct mail marketing because the digital world is so saturated! Direct mail is perfect for complementing your digital efforts and really focusing on a multi-channel, multi-funnel approach to reaching and connecting with customers who are ready to take action. 



About the Author

Wilson Zehr is a Direct Mail Industry Expert, Direct Marketing Specialist, and CEO of Cendix (, the leading provider of Web-to-print solutions that increase sales both online and offline. He is also the founder of Zairmail (, the company responsible for many "industry firsts" in direct mail.


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