Maximizing the Outer Envelope


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You’re asked to quote on your client’s next multiple-piece direct marketing package…but where’s the envelope? Too often the outer envelope is treated as an afterthought. But the envelope can be what makes or breaks the campaign. Here are some envelope marketing tips and strategies to help your client’s next mailing succeed.

Brought to you by Mohawk MakeReady, this presentation can be used by your printing business for internal training initiatives or customer presentations.

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  • You’re asked to quote on your client’s next multiple-piece direct marketing package…but where’s the envelope? Too often the outer envelope is treated as an afterthought. But the envelope can be what makes or breaks the campaign. Here are some envelope marketing tips and strategies to help your client’s next mailing succeed. Brought to you by Mohawk MakeReady, this presentation can be used by your printing business for internal training initiatives or customer presentations.
  • 41% of Americans say they value and pay more attention to marketing materials mailed in an envelope. 84% say envelopes leave a memorable impression. OK, we admit these stats are from a study by the Envelope Manufacturers Association Foundation, but even so, the value of a well-designed, well thought out envelope is clear. They can be a critical factor—and sometimes the key—to a successful mail campaign.
  • Consider the envelope at the very start of campaign planning. Numerous factors go into the right choice of envelope for your campaign—whether you want a stocked or special make envelope, solid or window, what is your messaging, what size do you want? But first and foremost is actually the final statement on this slide. What is the goal of the campaign? What action do you want the recipient to take? How can the envelope assist in reaching these goals? Once you know the answers to these, you can start tackling each of the other items outlined here.
  • Let’s go through a step-by-step process to insure you meet all of these goals. The very first thing you need to decide is whether the envelope is going to be a stocked item or special make. It’s all about time. As a digital printer, you emphasize quick turnaround…fast, fast, fast. Make sure you take into consideration at the outset the time it takes to source, order, and receive the pre-converted or stocked item…or, that you allow enough time for a custom order, whether it be custom because of size or color. And of course, if you’re printing the sheets to send out for converting, you’ll want to jump on it immediately.
  • Your customers may be weighing the option of having a closed-face envelope vs. a window envelope. The advantage of a closed-face envelope is that it can look like personal or business mail. The advantage of the window envelope is that the recipient’s name and address can be imprinted or affixed to the reply element, which can be positioned so they show through the window—making it easy for the recipient to respond. Some marketers choose to test one package against another, window vs. solid. There’s no right or wrong choice. A closed-face envelope feels more personal, maybe more important. For financial offers, messages to customers, and for high-end products, closed is probably better. In lead generation programs it seems to make less of a difference. One deciding factor is whether or not you plan on printing on the envelope. If you’re not, then a window envelope rather than a label for addressing might be a better choice.
  • It wasn’t that long ago that the majority of envelopes were printed one or two color—or not printed at all. Now, our world is all about color and graphics. Many frequent mailers do nothing more than change the color of their mailing envelope when a mailing package “wears out.” And response picks right back up. Same goes with paper quality and texture. Anything that changes the look or feel of the package can add to the impact value. The marketing director for a national nonprofit was recently quoted as saying that all of their best-performing packages have “heft”, or in his case, a small object enclosed in each mailing package. This is where you can really stretch your capabilities. Pull an image from another part of the package and print it on the envelope. Use a bright color envelope. How about a color that fits into a seasonal theme? Whatever you choose, make sure your envelope meets basic postal requirements. It must be constructed from at least 16 lb. paper; and, 24 lb. and up basis weights are recommended. All of the colored envelopes stocked at Mohawk meet postal standards so as not to interfere with automated address reading.
  • The most conventional envelope size in the U.S. is #10. In much of the rest of the world it is slightly larger—an A4. Creating an envelope that is either smaller or larger than the norm can greatly affect response. Every so often test other sizes to see if it does affect your results. MakeReady Tip: Keep your brand consistent by considering the same stock you use for your corporate identity materials for your mailings.
  • Decades ago, direct mailers learned that by enhancing the outside of the envelope with copy you increase response to the message inside. Some 70% to 80% of direct mail now includes teaser copy. In some cases, the envelope will include both an offer and a call to action (which could simply be to open the envelope!). Understand what motivates your customers and make sure your offer brings them benefits they’ll respond to. Mohawk MakeReady Tip: 3 of 4 people who touch an envelope will turn it over before opening. Why not put something on the back!
  • Test, test, test. Any direct marketing resource you go to considers “test” as the golden word. Test different colored envelopes. Test messaging. Test market segments. Variations in the envelope size, copy, and design can have a big impact on the campaign’s success.
  • Creating a direct marketing campaign is no easy task. There are numerous factors beyond just the construction of the envelope. The 40/40/20 rule dictates that 40 percent of the direct mail success is dependent on the quality of the mailing list. Another 40 percent is all about the offer. The last 20% covers everything from the price of postage to which day you'll be mailing your printed piece to the presentation itself. Great design that serves as an extension of the offer and resonates with the audience can reinforce the persuasive power of any direct-mail marketing effort.
  • Mohawk provides easy to use envelope layout guides and instructions to help make your job error proof. Test your envelope in your (or your customer’s) laser printer before running to avoid jamming and creasing caused by envelope thickness. And check with the Post Office before printing anything! And when you’re ready to order, download the Mohawk Envelope Order Checklist for preflight planning. Mohawk MakeReady Tip: Look for the “M-notch” in the envelope as a sure symbol of Mohawk’s quality manufacturing and high performance printability. (Hold it up to the light and look at the seams!)
  • The Postal Service offers training opportunities and assistance to anyone who wants to learn more about using the mail for cost-effective business growth. Whether you’re a small or large business owner looking for training in direct mail, a mail professional looking for workshops and certification, or you’d like to join the greater community of business mailers, USPS can help.
  • Now that you know everything there is about maximizing the outer envelope, how do you convince your customers? Go ahead. Show them! Mohawk stocks over 85 million envelopes—with over 1400 skus and 26 different sizes—from window envelopes to expansion envelopes, in a diverse palette of rich colors, fibered shades and distinctive textures. With next day delivery to most areas of the country. Plus with our in-house converting capability, we can provide almost any envelope configuration. A wealth of information is readily available at You’ll find guides, templates, and easy online ordering, as well as sign-ups for special offers.
  • Digital printing is changing…and fast. That’s why we created Mohawk MakeReady. A go-to place for guidance, insights and tools to keep you prepared for what’s next. There’s a reason we named this service MakeReady … a little irony, too. Taking a familiar industry term in a new direction, Mohawk MakeReady offers ways for you to make more efficient use of your time, material, people and entrepreneurial energy. To grow your digital printing business, you need to be prepared — with actionable information and tools — so your team can implement best business practices, craft effective sales strategies, and create opportunities to use and promote new high-value products. That’s what you’ll find here: an ever-expanding site , rich with content built on the experiences of digital printers like you. As a leading manufacturer of digital substrates, Mohawk brings you practical wisdom gained from our experience in sales, marketing, production, and operations. With how-to articles on marketing your business, videos on topics like precision sheeting, and PowerPoint presentations showcasing how to identify sales opportunities. All strategies you can put to work today. Talk to us. Let us know what’s on your mind. Mohawk MakeReady. Dedicated to making you ready for the exciting future ahead.
  • Maximizing the Outer Envelope

    1. 1. Help your customers think from the outside in December 2011
    2. 2. An envelope is more than a carrier Marketers spend tremendous amounts of time and money creating new direct mail packages, then often treat the outer envelope as an afterthought. But if you can’t convince people to open the envelope, it doesn’t matter how targeted your list is, how great your creative is, or how strong your call to action is.
    3. 3. Important Envelope Factors to Consider Stocked Pros: Readily available, usually less expensive Cons: Forced to fit insert(s) into a standard size Special Make Pros: Can fit the envelope to insert size; custom shapes or colors Cons: Longer lead time, sometimes more expensive Solid Pros: Less expensive, more stocked, more personal or formal Cons: Envelope still needs addressed Window Pros: No need to print address on envelope Cons: More expensive, less stocked. Most important: what are the goals of your campaign?
    4. 4. Make sure your envelope: • meets postal regulations • prints well • is sturdy enough to protect its contents Get your envelope going first!
    5. 5. Window Envelopes Lead generation programs Commercial applications Business applications Closed-Face Envelopes Financial offers Customer messages High-end products Formal or more personal
    6. 6. Brighten things up, add color! <ul><li>You an easily add to the impact value of a project by: </li></ul><ul><li>using colored envelopes </li></ul><ul><li>using textured envelopes </li></ul><ul><li>printing 4-color </li></ul><ul><li>Break out of the clutter with color, texture! They are less expensive and more readily available than ever before. </li></ul>
    7. 7. Custom Envelope Styles Maximize Real Estate Almost any size and shape can be manufactured Custom envelopes can be manufactured from any Mohawk paper, in any standard or special size. As a digital printer, you may or may not have envelope printing capabilities. Mohawk now offers a complete envelope operation, whether you need plain, custom or printed envelopes featuring fast turn times at reasonable prices.
    8. 8. Time to put on your marketing hats Add visual
    9. 9. Don’t be afraid to experiment: If time allows, test the mailing for the best response rate. Add visual
    10. 10. There are so many questions! <ul><li>Size does matter: test different sizes </li></ul><ul><li>Stamp, meter or indicia? </li></ul><ul><li>Window? </li></ul><ul><li>Paper stock & color? </li></ul><ul><li>Teaser or no teaser? </li></ul><ul><li>Color of Ink? </li></ul><ul><li>Who is the mail piece from? </li></ul><ul><li>Mailing class? First or third? </li></ul>
    11. 11. Be a hero! Avoid mistakes <ul><li>Ask for an envelope layout guide and instructions </li></ul><ul><li>Request samples and a full envelope guide </li></ul><ul><li>Allow time for conversion and testing </li></ul><ul><li>Test the envelope before running the job </li></ul><ul><li>Check with the post office </li></ul>
    12. 12. Positioning is Critical: The USPS has templates for everything. Even take a course by clicking here .
    13. 13. Sell the envelope Print a four color envelope <ul><li>Offer one of the new Mohawk Budget Saver Cotton envelopes </li></ul><ul><li>Use an image from the collateral, full size </li></ul><ul><li>Ghost it back and knock-out an area for address </li></ul><ul><li>Keep image within printable live area </li></ul><ul><li>Put return information on the flap </li></ul><ul><li>Add some teaser copy </li></ul>
    14. 14. Mohawk MakeReady provides practical tools and actionable information for digital printers like you. We can help… Visit: to browse content, request a meeting, or join the community.