Why Envelope Design Matters

Direct Mail Stands Out


Why Envelope Design Matters

If you’re sending direct mail letters as part of your marketing, definitely consider ‘judging a book by the cover’. Guaranteed, your recipients are always going to judge your direct mail by the envelope it came in. It only takes about three seconds to decide whether to open an outer envelope or not.

So, it’s essential to plan the design of your envelope to maximize curiosity if you want people to open your direct mail package.

4 Key Areas to Consider for Your Envelope

Mailing Address & Return Address – The mailing address is typically the first thing people will look at to make sure it’s theirs. The return address matters as well, because it can tell who the letter is from. Whether you want to reveal who it’s from or not, depends on the type of letter. We’ll touch on that more in a moment.

A Good “Teaser” Line – A teaser to the left of the address can be beneficial because of how most people’s eyes look over the elements of an outer envelope: middle > left > up > right. Many envelopes will include a teaser to the right of the address, which is a good alternative choice if your message has a lot to say, or needs additional space.

Postage – Yes, even the postage matters. Will pre-printed indicia be more effective? Maybe postage meter indicia? A physical stamp? Postage appearance can either add to or subtract from the credibility of your direct mail package. We have found that live stamps on envelopes with a ‘hand written’ font generate the best response in many instances. However – you’ll want to choose postage that fits the overall message of your direct mail package, for example: If you’re sending an “official” looking letter, you may have better response with a printed or metered indicia.

Should you reveal an idea of what’s inside – or not?

Back to that return address: Certain letters should be identified from a particular sender, for example: the mailing is being sent to loyal customers who would expect to receive mail from your company.

However, for an acquisition mailing, a good strategy may be to leave the envelope “blind” – which means exactly as it seems – there’s no identifying information about who sent the letter. This creates a very “official” appearance. The envelope may also show design elements or text that do not reveal its origins, but suggest urgent matters can’t wait to be opened.

“Triggers” can be used on an otherwise blank envelope to spark curiosity. While the envelope may be completely blank or just show a P.O. Box return address – you can also add text and a design element like a security screen pattern or official looking stamp seal. Things like “Renewal Notification,” “Final Notice,” “Response Requested,” etc… will create enough mystery to get your envelope opened.

Make it “Too Interesting to Pass Up”

You want to make an impression that gives people no choice but to open and read your envelope’s contents. No matter if it’s a blind/blank outer envelope that makes people so curious they must open it to find out who sent the mailing – or an obviously branded outer envelope that instantly displays who it’s from and what it’s about – When you match your envelope to your target audience, and make it enticing, your mail will shout to get opened.

Need help deciding which design and copy elements will make your envelope most effective? Contact us at: 1-800-826-2869.


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