Ways to get that envelope opened

The most impactful part of a direct mail piece is the carrier (outer) envelope. More than anything else you do, the carrier determines success or failure.

Here are some hints from AH&A’s Industry Voices blog on ways to improve that envelope: What are YOU Afraid of?


  1. It’s called a teaser not a lead — keep it brief and interesting.
  2. Break Expectations — move away from the DM standards.
  3. Humor is subjective — tread carefully.
  4. If you use graphics or photos, don’t overdo it.
  5. Steal smart.
  6. Slick often does not work!
  7. If you are sending renewals, you better add the word “renewal” to the carrier.

(More details at the original post.)

These square with my experience. The only thing I’d add is this: Consider putting nothing on the envelope. It often beats anything else.


Comments

4 responses to “Ways to get that envelope opened”

  1. Junk mailers often feature faux-official markings like “Activation Notice” or “Priority,” etc. Personally I’ve learned to disregard them, and I’m sure I’m not alone. So your “consider putting nothing” suggestion is a good one. It will take a very special kind of messaging on the envelope to get past recipients’ BS-meter.

  2. Junk mailers often feature faux-official markings like “Activation Notice” or “Priority,” etc. Personally I’ve learned to disregard them, and I’m sure I’m not alone. So your “consider putting nothing” suggestion is a good one. It will take a very special kind of messaging on the envelope to get past recipients’ BS-meter.

  3. Great points. Key to remember is it’s a “teaser” … tease the reader’s interest and don’t give it all away on the envelope. Or, as testing proves, don’t say anything at all.

  4. Great points. Key to remember is it’s a “teaser” … tease the reader’s interest and don’t give it all away on the envelope. Or, as testing proves, don’t say anything at all.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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