10 envelope printing tips that get more opens for your direct-mail sales letters

December 10, 2018

Direct-mail sales letters are powerful marketing tools for both B2B and B2C businesses. But for all the time companies spend crafting the perfect sales copy, they often fail to address one of the most important elements of a great sales letter: envelopes.

Envelopes are the gateways to your sales letters. If you can’t get prospects to open your envelopes, they’ll never see your sales letter, and your marketing fails to work its lead-generation magic. An envelope designed to increase open rates, on the other hand, can make your sales letter much more effective. Increase ROI with the following envelope printing tips that get more opens for your direct-mail sales letters. 

1. Print oversized envelopes

The Data and Marketing Association states that oversized envelopes have the best response rates for household lists — 6.6 percent, versus 4.3 percent for standard letter envelopes. Not only that, but oversized envelopes yield the highest ROI at 37 percent. Larger envelopes get noticed and appear more important, so they get opened. The best part? They won’t significantly increase your postage rates so you can get more bang for your marketing buck when you print oversized envelopes.

2. Print color envelopes

Skip the plain white envelopes everyone is accustomed to receiving and stand out by printing color envelopes designed to catch customers’ eyes. One strategy is to print envelopes in a solid color that matches your branding  a fantastic way to maintain brand recognition. Another strategy is to print envelopes in bright, attention-getting colors such as red or orange to ensure it’s noticed straight out of the mailbox. 

3. Add photos and illustrations

Interesting photos and unique illustrations not only get noticed, but they also intrigue recipients and motivate envelope opens. In fact, 69 percent of people say they're more likely to open envelopes that feature color text and graphics, which creates a compelling case for incorporating them into your direct-mail sales pieces.

4. Personalize your envelopes

Use variable data printing to add your customers’ names to envelopes. We’re not talking about the address label, either, but a line that reads something like “John, are you ready to become the neighborhood grill master? Recipes inside!”

This strategy works even better if you have some insight into your recipients. In the example we gave, we can assume we know John has recently purchased a grill and will be interested in recipes. You might even showcase your personalized line in a handwritten font.

5. Print your offer and CTA on the outside

Why make customers open your envelope to deliver your offer and call to action? If your offer is good enough, it will prove powerful motivation to learn more. Add a time-limited CTA to influence prospects to open your mailer now, before it’s too late so they can get the details about how to take advantage of your special offer before it expires.

Your envelope might read: “Get a FREE haircut when you reply by Dec. 15. Details inside!” This promotion might offer a free haircut when customers buy a package of three haircuts, for example.

6. Ask a question

Intrigue customers with an interesting question they’ll want to know the answer to, then promise to deliver it inside your envelope. Ideas include:

  • “Why does your neighbor’s lawn look better than yours?”
  • “What’s the secret to a happy retirement?”
  • “How can you guarantee your child’s success?”

Your question should be centered around a topic that’s important to your audience, and your sales letter should follow through by answering the question and giving prospects an action step they can take to achieve their goals.

7. Deliver a benefit statement

Similarly, you can simply state the benefits of your products or services on the outside of your envelope, which will motivate prospects to peer inside so they can enjoy those benefits. Examples include:

  • “Get a lush, green, healthy lawn this year – guaranteed!”
  • “Retirement savings that outperform the S&P 500”
  • “The key to happy, successful children”

Again, it’s important for your benefit statement to align with your audience’s interests. Make a promise they’ll be invested in learning more about, and your response rate will skyrocket.

8. Print window envelopes

Window envelopes look important; and even though they might resemble bills, that resemblance can be used to your advantage. No one wants to accidentally forget to make a payment or miss official communications, so window envelope printing can be a good strategy for increasing envelope open rates.

9. Print “official” envelopes

A similar strategy is to print envelopes that look official. Add symbols and badges to your envelopes, print them with yellow or brown backgrounds or add text that makes your envelopes seem like official communications: “important,” “confidential,” or “respond by Dec. 1," for example.

The idea isn’t necessarily to trick your audience into thinking they have a letter from a government entity (which could be illegal) but to impress the idea that your letter represents important communication.

10. Print premium envelopes that feel luxe

Finally, you should invest in premium envelope printing that has superb tactile qualities, which lends the notion that you’re a high-quality company delivering an important message. Opt for 70 lb. white paper with a white wove finish; or, a 24 lb. stationery-grade paper with an elegant, smooth finish. Some other excellent envelope paper options include 80 lb. brilliant white or natural white linen paper.

Ready to boost your sales letter open rates by printing beautiful envelopes that motivate response? You can design your own envelopes online with our free envelope templates, and then save money with discount envelope printing services.

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About Brian Morris

Brian Morris serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. When he’s not writing, he can be found on the racquetball court - usually getting his tail kicked by guys 20 years older.

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The PsPrint Blog is a resource for graphic designers, freelancers, small business owners and fans of print marketing. You'll find helpful techniques on printing everything there is to print, including business cards, postcards, brochures, stickers, invitations, greeting cards, door hangers, magnets and more. The PsPrint Blog shares creative ways to improve your design and layout skills, and useful tips for marketing your business in any medium. We also like to have a little fun, sharing design inspiration and spotlighting some our favorite customers' printed pieces in our "Hot Off the Press" series.