Mailing Advice

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Aug 2014

Every Direct Mail Package Will Get Results If You Just…

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Having spent 25 years in the direct mail business, I can confidently say there are 10 reliable ways marketers can boost rates of consumer response and engagement.

1.Retail events drive urgency and freshness: Whether it’s a car insurance promotion or a limited-time offer to receive a new roof, a retail promotional hook is guaranteed to generate a rise in response.

2.Rotating formats: If you find a creative execution that performs on par with your standard mailing, rotate it in with your scheduled mail drops. You’ll see an even larger lift in your average response rates.

3.Interruptive formats get noticed: Formats such as greeting cards, Visa promotional packages, and disruptive colors and textures all help your piece stand out and get opened—which, ultimately, is the first phase in driving responses.

4.Good/better/best presentations: Show your offer in a small, medium, large format, with the largest option called out as the best-value proposition.

5.Envelopes without teasers on the exterior: The objective of an envelope package is to get the recipient
to open it. By not disclosing what’s inside, you leave room for some mystery and let the recipient decide whether they are interested in opening it.

6.Interruptive graphic elements: Treatments that seem gimmicky at first, such as using a handwriting font, highlight marker or metallic ink, get the reader to pay more attention to the message.

7.Use analytics to maximize audience response: Marketers always feel like they know their market better than anyone. Don’t fall victim to this false premise. Make a point to invest the time and the effort to get unbiased data that can boost response rates from your prospects.

8.Use a variety of creative elements: Even subtle variations, such as addressing a lead differently than a blind prospect or adding personalization to make the piece more relevant, can make a difference in your response rates.

9.Last-chance urgency: As consumers, no one wants to feel like they are about to miss out on a great deal. Positioning that your offer is about to expire will drive a bump in sales just before your offer closes down.

10.Tell prospects they are unique: Creative executions with messages such as “You’re pre-approved” or “This exclusive offer is just for you” will make consumers feel like this is a deal they can’t find anywhere else.

By Camilla Lorentzen

Originally posted at



Aug 2014

Direct Mail Myth: Self-Mailers Never Work

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As we move deeper and deeper into an age of all-screens digital campaigns, it seems like there are more myths cropping up about the effectiveness of direct mail as a marketing channel. One myth that is perpetuated often in direct marketing circles is that self-mailers don’t generate the same performance as envelope packages.

FACT: If the three mainstay principles for any good direct mail campaign are followed, then self-mailers can be very successful at driving your message home to your target audience:

  1. Target the right audience—Typically, a self-mailer works really well for existing customer communications rather than for reaching prospects, because communications to prospects usually need to tell a bigger story. The existing customer audience is presumably already engaged with your brand, so there isn’t a need to create a psychological interaction of opening an envelope as there is in an acquisition piece.
  2. Craft the right offer or call to action—Given that the real estate on a self-mailer is limited and the audience is familiar with your brand due to other communications they’ve received, self-mailers are most effective when they are either delivering one focused piece of information or a single call to action. For example, an oversized postcard announcing a discount offer to try a new product can be highly effective and less expensive than a more costly mail package.
  3. Present the message in your brand’s look and feel—Because there is no envelope carrier for your message, it’s critical that the creative be arresting so customers can quickly scan the self-mailer and recognize your brand as they are going through their mail. The piece needs to clearly convey your brand and the messaging should speak to the reader in a targeted, personalized way. As mentioned earlier, this format performs best when targeting existing customers. So be sure to take the time to populate their name throughout the piece and say thank you for being a customer.

By following these simple steps, you can make self-mailer formats effective for your communications and get the performance metrics you are looking for. Find other great tips on how to make your marketing programs more successful at


Camilla Lorentzen