push-the-envelopeEnvelopes are our thing. Curtis 1000 has been known in the marketplace as the envelope printer since 1882. When it comes to envelopes, it’s safe to say we’ve seen it all! And while they are no longer our main focus, we still produce countless envelopes for mailings of all varieties. I know, printing envelopes seems a bit tame in today’s multi-channel world, but because they shape the recipient’s first impression we shouldn’t discount their marketing power. If designed with your audience and message in mind, envelopes are effective attention-grabbers and can motivate the recipient to open your mail piece.

Here are 10 ways to increase envelope open rates:

  1. Start from the Inside – Clearly define the goal, target audience and message of the piece. This will drive your envelope design and delivery strategy.
  2. Make it Personal – The outside of the envelope is the first thing your recipients see. Use that space to capture their attention with something personally engaging like a hand-written note thanking them for being a member or by featuring their graduation year and a throwback logo. Personal information lets people know it’s not junk mail and is intended exclusively for them.
  3. Double Check the Data – We have all been involved with mailings gone wrong! Maybe the name is incorrect. Or perhaps the address is outdated and the piece never reaches the recipient. Any way you slice it, incorrect mailing information can sabotage your efforts. Always check to be sure variable mailing and reply information is accurate or else your communication won’t leave the right impression, or possibly even the post office.
  4. Use Color – There are all sorts of studies about the power of color and how we can use it to communicate without saying a word. The use of this principle in direct marketing is no exception. Sure, white envelopes are the standard, but that is all the more reason to brighten things up and add attention-grabbing color consistent with your branding.
  5. Create Intrigue – The beauty of an envelope is the mystery of what’s inside. Tap into people’s natural curiosity with techniques like peep windows offering a glimpse of the inner message and taglines that act as cliffhangers. These tactics leave the recipient wanting more and promise if they open the envelope they can get it.
  6. Engage with Imagery – A picture’s worth a thousand words. Create excitement with action shots that communicate who you are and what you’re trying to say. These images shouldn’t be left under wraps; put them on the outside of the envelope to engage the recipient right away. Make sure you include images on the inside as well to continue the conversation!
  7. Size Matters – Sometimes bigger is better, but sometimes so is smaller. We have seen tremendous success with 6 x 9 envelopes and smaller 4 x 6 envelopes. Standard #10 envelopes still reign as the most popular, so changing up the size can help you stick out in the stack.
  8. Add Texture – Give them something to touch and feel. Bubble mailers, flat mailers, and even envelopes with unique finishes have all proven to be effective. Test it yourself! Close your eyes and feel the stock you’re planning to use. If it makes you want to open your eyes to see it, then it will likely have the same effect on your target audience.
  9. Review Postal Regulations – Sometimes rules and regulations dampen the creative spirit, but when the fate of your mail piece is in the hands of those who make the rules, you need to make sure it’s deliverable. Once a concept is developed, be diligent in sharing it with your mailing team to ensure nothing is impeding the space needed for barcodes, address blocks and postage.
  10. Check the Sender Info – The return address is just as important as the mailing address. People like mystery, but they don’t want to be creeped out by receiving mail from an unidentified source. Make sure you include at least your logo and a specific contact. This also applies to electronic envelopes! When sending emails, make sure the sender name and email address are in compliance with CAN SPAM standards. Treat your subject line as you would a tagline on the outside of a printed envelope.

With so much emphasis on the content developed for inside the envelope, it’s easy to forget about maximizing the space on the outside. For your next project, try pushing the envelope. You’ll be pleased with the increased response.