Direct-Mail Primer: How to Get Your Envelope Opened
“To the Order of ,” cries one envelope. “To be opened by Addressee only,” cries another. “Personal information,” peeps through the window of yet another.
Direct mail — or junk mail, as most of us call it — has grown into an industry that generates more than $350 billion a year in sales and hits Americans with an average of 1.7 pieces of mail every day.
Just the volume of mail alone has made consumers less receptive to it, and mailers are finding it difficult to make sure their pieces get opened. So they're going to new lengths of creativity to gain attention. And much of this creativity has moved from the copy to the outer envelope or carrier itself.
Does it surprise you that 75 percent of all direct mail you receive ends up in the trash can … unopened? Think about that for a moment. What mail do you actually open when you get home at the end of the day? And why do you open it?
Then think about what your own organization sends out in the mail. How do you know yours isn’t being tossed in the circular file? What are you doing to give your mail piece enough needed impact so it gets opened? And what type of impact does it actually take to get opened?
There are actually two reasons why your letter won’t produce results for you:
- It doesn’t get read.
- It never gets delivered.
Consider the mail process and these figures. When sending a letter via bulk rate, meaning you do a lot of the work to get a discount in postage, one out of three pieces is not delivered. The USPS figures 66 percent of all bulk mail is delivered.
Even when you mail is deivered, it's read over a trash basket, then put in priority piles. Of the 66 percent delivered, 75 percent is thrown out because it looks unimpressive. This leaves 16.5 percent left to read.