What Does Your Outer Envelope Say About You?

The outer envelope is the king in direct mail, and it should receive just as much attention in the development process as what goes inside of it.  An envelope has only one purpose: to be opened.

Schools should consider the following when creating their direct mail outer envelope:

  1. Size Matters: different size envelopes can mean different things.  Decide what tone you want to convey and match the size to it.  For example, invitation style envelopes tend to feel more personal while window envelopes often contain financial or business information.
  2. Indicia or Stamp: if you are going for “personal” connection, a live stamp usually fits the bill.  And while indicia’s are more efficient, you should consider the visual style to avoid a mass mailing impression. 
  3. The Message: make sure any message you include on your envelope is relevant to the person and indicative of the information inside.  But don’t give away all of the good stuff up front – give the prospect a reason to open the envelope.
  4. Personalization: whenever possible, use the person’s name and make it stand out.  People like seeing their name, plus it indicates that the information inside is just for them.
  5. Artwork: when deciding between full to little to no artwork, remember to approach the design from the point of view of the prospect.  Most people don’t open mail because it simply looks nice, rather they open it because it feels relevant to them.
  6. Honesty: remember that the envelope needs to be consistent with the content inside.  Stay away from tricky or misleading styles and messaging.