So much business is done these days via the Internet. Heck, it’s often legit to e-mail a signature. But sometimes only old-fashioned snail-mail will do, and in those cases, your integrity as a freelancer or small-business owner could be defined by your envelope. The difference between being taken seriously as a businessperson versus coming off as informal and conversational could be your return address printed instead of scrawled on your envelopes.
Before you scoff at that statement, think about what your response is when you receive mail that features a handwritten return address – for me, I usually assume it’s an informal letter or an invitation from a friend. I never think a business acquaintance would handwrite a return address. Businesses are known to have printed return-address envelopes in boxes in the supply closet. Even in this digital age, it’s important to have printed letterhead and envelopes on hand – in fact, it’s doubly important, because nowadays it’s the most formal correspondence that requires printing.
Envelopes don’t require advanced graphic design skills – free templates are available for download. Choose No. 9 or No. 10 for corporate usage. Also, consider adding a thumbnail-size logo of your company for quick recognition.
Once you’ve designed your envelope, choose your paper: standard for bulk, mass-mailed letters or premium for a more robust and professional feel. If you’re concerned about the planet, rest assured that soy-based inks are available that reduce the amount of volatile organize compounds (VOCs) released into the environment. This is probably also a good time to remind you to recycle envelopes you receive in the mail as well as your outdated supply with old addresses or business names.