5 Eye-Catching (and Affordable) Direct-Mail Techniques
"A passion for paper” is one way to describe my obsession with direct mail (yes, I’ve said it for the record). And, yes, I find it challenging — dare I say, unbearable — to toss any unique piece of mail into the recycle bin because I’m always on the hunt for a nugget of inspiration to pass along to colleagues and co-workers. And who knows if that piece I toss is going to be the one I should have kept? Honestly, you should see my sample library … it’s quite impressive!
But, what about the performance of these pretty, clever or pretty darn clever mailings? It’s nearly impossible to discern which of the hundreds of pieces of mail that cross my desk on a weekly basis performed the best — especially when reviewing mail samples contributed by an industry colleague from his or her home mailbox. That’s when you rely on your gut and years of experience to identify techniques and formats that have that j’ai ne sais quoi (translated: that special something that stands out).
This month’s DM Deconstructed is on how some simple — or complex — features of affordable, attention-grabbing commercial direct-mail pieces might be an inspiration to direct-mail fundraisers with the goal of getting donors to open those envelopes.
The first example is a rather simple format. A letter-sized envelope, the color is used sparingly, and although the official markings are definitely eye-catching, the real attention getter is the bumpy texture (look closely for the embossed bubble effect). This special envelope can be machine-inserted, unlike the bubble-padded mailer it mimics. It’s also available as smaller No. 10 with a more standard window and with no additional die costs.
When to use this format: It’s suitable for a special appeal or report, a membership card, early renewal, or even a welcome kit. The ideal print quantity for the bubble-embossed texture is 150,000-plus. Appealing to multiple senses, this envelope will get the attention it deserves!
2. Urgent/official mail
In this selection of urgent and official mail, the impact is conveyed through key words and phrases, font choice, and select graphics. Surprisingly, none of the samples incorporate the traditional “urgent” colors of neon yellow and red with hatch mark design. In fact, it’s the simplicity and spare use of color that makes the designs more impactful. The bold phrase “DATED MATERIAL — CONTENTS REQUIRE YOUR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION” and the red-stamped “TIME SENSITIVE DOCUMENTS PLEASE REVIEW IMMEDIATELY” are simple but powerful teasers.