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More marketing envelope options.

In recent issues we've written about envelope size, color, and teaser copy, but there remain a couple more decisions the newsletter marketer can make in regard to carriers.

Postal indicia

Tests consistently show that, for consumer mailings, a live stamp out-pulls any other type of indicia. For these purposes a Third Class stamp is effective if you aren't mailing First Class. If, however, you are mailing First Class, by all means call attention to that fact by printing FIRST CLASS MAIL on the face of the envelope.

As far as I am concerned, the report that a live stamp pasted on the envelope off-center or at an angle outpulls one placed "correctly" is an urban myth. If Publishers Clearinghouse or some other giant mailer ever actually tested this, I haven't seen the results.

For business mail, a metered indicia is usually the most effective. How much stamped mail do you see in an office? The post office frequently has attractive new commemoratives. Using those might get your envelope a "second look," but this would probably fall into the category of "could this possibly be worth testing?"

The U.S. Postal Service did marketers a favor a few years back by changing Third Class mail to Standard Rate. I suspect a certain percentage of recipients, including those "sophisticates" who look at the envelope stamp, are not yet aware that Standard Rate is the old "bulk rate mail."

For both consumer and business mail, the least effective alternative is the pre-printed Standard Rate permit indicia.

Other envelope possibilities

In the post-anthrax scare age, I'd recommend using a full return address. If you don't want to interfer with the "selling message" on the front, put it on the flap on the back. Don't get "creative" in placing the return address. Anywhere but the top left corner (or on the back) and USPS Optical Character Reader, (OCR) might read it as the delivery address and return all mail to your office (looping). It has happened.

For sample issue mailings, always identify them on the outer envelope. "Newsletter Issue Enclosed."

One of the reasons to create and include a mini-report, or "freemium," is to be able to create a sense of value that "Executive Report Enclosed" implies.

Because I strongly oppose putting anything on the outer envelope which might leave the prospect feeling cheated or deceived, I never use "Personal" or "Confidential" or the like on mail that clearly is not.

At one point, however, I liked a couple of investment titles that were using jet-inked addresses and added an additional "hand-typed" line such as

Mr. Fred Goss Only Please

Following the maxim that prospects won't infer anything or do anything other than that which they are directly instructed to, perhaps it doesn't hurt to add, on a teaser copy envelope, Open Immediately, Please or an arrow labeled See Inside.

And I'll close with another favorite marketing envelope urban legend. Use split gum envelopes (where the reverse flap is only partially glued). The theory is that since the envelope will be easier to open more of them will get opened.
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Copyright 2003, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:DM Notebook
Author:Goss, Fred
Publication:The Newsletter on Newsletters
Date:Aug 16, 2003
Previous Article:One word or two? Compose or comprise?
Next Article:Coming events.

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