Let's face it, if your envelope doesn't get opened you've just wasted all the time and dollars that it took you to create the enclosed direct mail proposition. So, let's talk envelopes - size, copy, colour, look, postage.
A quality envelope with an appropriate business looking return address, the recipient's name address typed onto the envelope, mailed with a stamp will almost always get opened. Or will it?
Unfortunately it is not quite that simple:
* An envelope with a stamp always generates more response than postage-paid imprints.
* A two-windowed envelope outpulls a one-windowed envelope.
* A quality coloured envelope outpulls a white envelope.
* Textured envelope stock outpulls smooth stock - especially among executives.
* Quality teaser copy on envelopes - regardless of windows, mailing class, colour, textures and size - tends to outpull non-teaser envelopes.
There are plenty of quality teaser examples. One we're all probably familiar with is the fake overnight, express-mail envelopes. It can be argued that their effectiveness has fallen off as people have got used to them but it doesn't mean they can't still be used effectively if tested prior to mailing.
In conjunction with solid, quality teaser copy, anything that creates curiosity; like a hole punched through envelope, an unexplained word, an oddball photo, - can help get the envelope opened. Remember to test your envelope's size, colour, shape and message regularly.
Cutting those printing costs
Printing is one of the major costs of direct mail, so let's look at how to save printing dollars without adversely affecting the "look" and response of your package.
* Reduce paper weight. You pay for paper by grams per square metre (gsm). If you use paper the next gsm down you save money and possibly postage costs.
* Always thoroughly proofread your artwork. Don't make changes to your colour proofs. After film is made and you see proofs, changes mean new film - an expensive exercise.
* Don't use coloured type made out of multiple colours. Use black or one PMS with nothing behind it.
* Use existing cutting forms. When designing envelopes or presentation folders, use dies that already exist. Use envelopes that your supplier already has in stock and you can save as much as 50 per cent.
* Design your art so that you can use it over and over again - your brochure art can also be used for an advertisement or incorporated into a Web page.
* Don't use gloss stocks if you have a coupon response. Biro doesn't work! In addition, matt finished papers look and feel more prestigious.
* If your 4 colour print requirement is under the 1000 run, you must consider digital printing. It's cheaper and you can incorporate personalisation on your mail pieces.
* Don't print just 10,000 for this job if your are going to need another 10,000 in three months. Run-on costs are cheap.
The home-spun alternative
Interestingly, with the quality and speed of colour printers today, quite a few of my clients are printing inhouse - the condition being that the final product looks professional. And then, of course, there are those avoiding printing altogether by creating pdf files that they e-mail to their clients and/or they put on to their Web site.
I have just been involved in two campaigns where all invitations went via e-mail - covering e-mail letter with attached pdf file. Responses were great for both organisations (we did undertake telephone and e-mail follow up) and costs were so controlled that we went out and spent some of those savings on a fantastic meal in each instance.Dolores Diez is managing director rivers of communication. Reach her at email@example.com