|If Your Envelope Looks Like This - Your Prospects Aren't Opening
How To Get Your Direct Mail Message Opened - If It Is Stuffed In An Envelope.
I've said it for years, and until the data changes I will continue to say it...if you must stuff your Automotive Direct Mail message into an envelope, for the love of ROI make sure it stands out!
Research shows that unsolicited direct mail has a very low open rate (some suggest under 20%). The worst thing you can do in my opinion is stuff your carefully designed message in a "plain-jane" envelope that screams SOLICITATION!
Over the years my companies have printed well over 15,000,000 Direct Mail Ad's for Auto Dealers all over the country. Under 500,000 of our pieces have ever been stuffed into an envelope (buy-back letters, j-letters etc). However....if you really love your envelopes, we have a list of ways to really spruce it up and set it apart from the crowd.
Be willing to change up the standard envelope sizes and arrangements. A slightly different envelope rarely effects the overall cost significantly. Depending on your message a large 9x12 Envelope may net you more "opens" than a standard #10 Brown windowed.
Every direct mail nerd I know (myself included) is a sucker for "Color Trends". Humans respond to colors in a very unique way. It is a large part of the algorithm for every successful campaign. Keep an eye on your own mailbox at home. Notice trends with multi-colored/graphic envelopes? Follow these trends in your own marketplace. Without having to do all the expensive research on your area...the big "mailers" in your market (Retail Stores, Law Firms, ValPaks Etc) already know what color schemes are working best. Believe it or not, Color preference and response can actually change in certain regions.
3. Font / Typography Believe it or not, BOLDER is not always better. The science of Typography in Print Media/Direct Mail is a very fine indeed. A soft and personal font like COURIER NEW or even a "Handwritten" type face will seem much more credible to your prospect that something loud like GEORGIA or TREBUCHET. When in doubt...have some folks read it out. Your eyes while naturally tell you if something doesn't jive well. Keep in mind it is VERY RARELY A GOOD IDEA TO YELL AT YOUR PROSPECTS USING BOLD WORDS AND ALL-CAPS on an envelope.
4. Postage The postage you use on a direct mail campaign can be a key indicator of "importance" to your customers. First Class is ALWAYS recommended for anything you put in an envelope. If you are paying all that extra money for a highly targeted prospect list and an envelope...it's a great idea to use either a 'live stamp' or a rubber stamp in place of the standard "bulk mail" indicia. A live stamp add's that human touch (sort of like the handwriting element) and a red rubber stamp can add an extra layer of urgency. The indicia can actually make your customers feel much less important, if using a bulk indicia on your mai campaign, it is important to try your best to personalize the rest of the piece with things like Variable Data, Handwriting Elements, etc. So your customers feel you talking TO them, instead of talking in their general direction.
5. Practice The A/B's of Direct Marketing As an automotive dealer...the most important thing you can do in your Database/Conquest letter mailings is A/B Testing. I LOVE A/B testing and it is my standard operating procedure to do many studies of A/B testing before we release a new product. Test things like Colors, Fonts, Envelopes, Stamps, On-Envelope Graphics/Logos Etc...BEFORE you send out the big campaign. For instance if you plan on mailing out a big 20,000 piece letter campaign, my first step would be to segment 2,000 of those prospects and in a controlled setting send out the 2 most popular versions we cam up with. Tests can be structured to validate about any component of the campaign. After mailed, all that is left to do is track and measure your results to find out which TEST did better A...or B. This way you always put your best piece forward.
In conclusion... I would never advise doing "envelope" mailers for your dealerships direct mail more than a few times a year...but when you do utilize the envelope, make sure you are following these best practices to get it opened.
President, Drive Promotions