3 Helpful Tips to Get Your Envelope Opened

Imagine, for a moment that you can see your prospect looking through her mail.  She is most likely standing near the trash can throwing out the mail she doesn’t need.  Somewhere in the stack is your envelope, and it is vitally important that your envelope grabs her attention and makes her want to see what’s inside.  Envelope packages are among the most effective direct marketing tools, as long as you can overcome the challenge of getting your prospect to open it.  Let’s look at some tips that will make your envelope stand out by making it look different than the usual “bulk mail”, and will help improve your direct marketing success.

Choosing The Right Postage

First, use a stamp to make the piece more personal.  Stamps can be used for both Standard and First-Class Mail and do not cause you to sacrifice any postage discounts.  The best way to get a letter opened is with a plain envelope with a real stamp (live stamp).  These look more personal than metered postage or indicia.  “Live” envelopes beat the others 75% of the time.  First-class stamps also pull very well also – but are more expensive.   You must decide if the cost is worth the chance of more letters being opened.  This is where it is really important to test packages against each other to see which performs better.


Include teaser copy on the envelope that relates to a benefit you discuss in the letter.  Teasers should only be written because you want to accomplish more than just getting it opened.

Here are some tips on effective teasers:

  • Suggest an idea that will help you sell the product
  • Create an emotional mood conducive for the sale
  • The more specifically targeted the teaser to match your target market, the better it will do
  • It’s a good idea to test envelope teaser against a blank envelope.  If you don’t do it in the beginning, do it later on.  You’ll never know if the teaser works until you test it against a blank.
  • Don’t make a promise on the envelope and forget about it in your letter.  It’s important to reinforce the promise on the envelope in the Headline or one of the Subheadings of your sales letter.   The most important thing is to always tell the truth and do not trick your prospect.  Nothing turns them off more.

Colors and Graphics

Try using a different color other than black to address the envelope.  Bold colors like red, dark blue, and orange are more urgent and get better responses than brown, yellow, and pastels.  Also, don’t clutter your address block with unnecessary postal markings. The postal markings above the address block are known as “Endorsement Lines,” and only have to be printed on the first and last piece within a postal tray (meaning two out of every 400 or so pieces).  Test these ideas in your next letter mailing and see if they work for you.

For more information about successful mailing strategies, please contact Ben Phillips at bphillips@excaliburdirect.com or 336.744.5000.