How to get prospects to open your direct
In direct mail, you have a formidable enemy—the wastepaper basket.
Your prospects take one look at your mailing envelope and decide if they
will open it or fling it into the trash can (or recycling box). One way
to persuade them to open your envelope is to make your envelope irresistible.
Here are a few ideas.
1. Unusual colours
Keep your mailing envelopes the same size and weight, just change the
colour from white to something different or more daring.
2. Odd size or shape
Send your message in a jumbo-size envelope. Or in a square envelope. Or
send your message in a tiny envelope. Just remember that your envelope
has to conform to postal regulations for size and shape, and fit through
a normal mailbox.
Put your prospect’s name right on the front of the envelope, perhaps
in the form of a question: “Hey, Alan, know who offers the lowest
Speaking of personalization, put a cartoon on the front of your envelope,
and put your prospect’s name in the caption (so that one of the
cartoon characters is using your prospect’s name in what they are
Ask a provocative question, give a compelling statistic, feature a gripping
photo or use another device that intrigues your prospect and motivates
them to open your envelope to satisfy their curiosity.
6. Go plain
Sometimes just a plain old #10 envelope works as well as anything else.
IBM discovered in tests that they increased their response dramatically
just by putting their logo in the top left hand corner of the envelope.
You may increase the number of people who open your envelope by not using
your logo, or not mentioning your company name, just your return address.
The secret to irresistible envelopes is creativity and testing. Be as
imaginative as you can, and then test your hunches in the marketplace.
May you discover many winners!
About the Author
Alan Sharpe is a business-to-business direct mail copywriter
and lead generation consultant who helps high-tech firms
attract new clients using creative, cost-effective direct mail.
Subscribe to "Sharpe & Direct," his weekly newsletter, at
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