Overteased and Underwhelmed
Sometimes teasers are like bad pick-up lines. And with the split-second decision your donor makes when she glances at your outer envelope, you don’t get a second chance to talk your way out of a poor first impression … you’ve already been round-filed.
In a recent two-week period, I received 58 pieces of mail. Discounting five self-mailer newsletters, all but four packages had teasers. Very few of them were understated.
Maybe that’s what made the teaser-free packages stand out. There are times, however — particularly with certain offers — when a teaser helps entice your recipient to open the package.
Three of the 49 packages with teasers offered back-end premiums, and all of them used photos or a description of the premium — an umbrella, a blue-footed booby plush and an “I AM POWERFUL!” scarf.
With the six up-front premium packages, I received three sets of note cards, one zipper pull, a collection of wrapping paper and a bumper sticker. Interestingly, four of the six packages teased with a line about a “gift” or “surprise” enclosed; two said exactly what was offered inside.
I’m not sure how well bumper stickers are working these days, but I have hopes for Sen. Harry Reid’s effort. The bumper sticker he sent me reads, “Give ’Em Hell Harry” with his Web site address.
Like premium offers, there are a few other classics that likely benefit from a teaser. Three teasers announced matching-gift offers — one was an annual fund, and two were personalized, local, door-to-door/neighbor-helping-neighbor drive teasers.
Three packages showed colorful membership cards through a second window in addition to using teasers pointing out the card, along with other directions and information about the contents of the packages.
After that, the teasers are a free-for-all. And not all good. Many did nothing but announce the fact that inside the envelope is a solicitation. Some teasers tried to be clever; others were real head scratchers.