Direct mail question: I didn't buy security envelopes, and you can see some of the text through it..

by DaniMc
15 replies
As the title says, you can see some of the text through the envelope.

It isn't much. I had the letter folded so that the text is on the outside, so when you pull it from the envelope you see the headline. The headline is in Red, so you can kind of see it through the paper.

On the front, you can see text from the letter.

I am wondering, do you think this will make people more likely to throw it away?

OR

Do you think it will make people curious and open it? I know people can't resist an unanswered question. Partially seeing the text might just force them to open it.

I am printing the envelopes on my inkjet, so it looks less professional and more like a personal letter. I am also using stamps and my personal name on the return address.

Thoughts?
#buy #direct #envelopes #mail #question #security #text
  • Profile picture of the author Mwind076
    I know the answer for me is that if I don't know the return address, wasn't expecting it, and it's not a "window" envelope (like a bill or a bank statement type), I usually throw it right in the trash.

    On the off chance that I do open it and peek in (I don't even take it out), the second I see the "red" question, or that it's not important, it's trash.

    Don't know if that helps.
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    • Profile picture of the author bob ross
      Originally Posted by Mwind076 View Post

      I know the answer for me is that if I don't know the return address, wasn't expecting it, and it's not a "window" envelope (like a bill or a bank statement type), I usually throw it right in the trash.

      On the off chance that I do open it and peek in (I don't even take it out), the second I see the "red" question, or that it's not important, it's trash.

      Don't know if that helps.
      This is so true for me as well!
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      • Profile picture of the author Irish Intuition
        hmm, whenever mailing via envelopes I like to use a few
        different things to inspire opening.

        One, no return address. Two, I use 'special edition' postage
        stamps (i.e. Disney, hot rods, Elvis, whatever). Three, I
        affix the stamp a tad crooked.

        I have found that response has not varied with a hand
        addressed verses printed. That said, if the sale you are
        after is worth a lot to you I'd hand address them with
        colored pencil.

        Most try direct mail and have no luck with it. There is
        no bigger blocker of getting read than the envelope.

        People don't open every piece of mail (I throw most
        of mine)... but would I be very curious over the type
        of envelope mentioned above. Most would have to
        at least take a peek.

        As for hidden messages in a see-thru type of way...

        Very few are going to waste time trying to read a
        message through an envelope. You do not need
        security envelopes as you really shouldn't have your
        text facing outward anyway.

        Make sure you have a letter in the envelope, never
        a flyer or brochure. Those are instant trash.
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        • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
          Originally Posted by Mwind076 View Post

          I know the answer for me is that if I don't know the return address, wasn't expecting it, and it's not a "window" envelope (like a bill or a bank statement type), I usually throw it right in the trash.

          On the off chance that I do open it and peek in (I don't even take it out), the second I see the "red" question, or that it's not important, it's trash.

          Don't know if that helps.
          Originally Posted by bob ross View Post

          This is so true for me as well!
          Thanks! I value the input. I am sending these...I know that if I get zero response it was because of the envelope. I will put it on my list of direct mail lessons learned.

          Then again, in my marketing life I have had some things surprise me. Sometimes it is illogical why things work the way they do.

          Originally Posted by sandalwood View Post

          Why waste time w/all the crap mailings? Just my thought...

          Tom
          Thanks Tom. Direct mail works. Finding the right formula is just a matter of testing. All advertising works. None of them are crap.

          Originally Posted by Irish Intuition View Post


          Most try direct mail and have no luck with it. There is
          no bigger blocker of getting read than the envelope.

          People don't open every piece of mail (I throw most
          of mine)... but would I be very curious over the type
          of envelope mentioned above. Most would have to
          at least take a peek.

          As for hidden messages in a see-thru type of way...

          Very few are going to waste time trying to read a
          message through an envelope. You do not need
          security envelopes as you really shouldn't have your
          text facing outward anyway.
          Thanks Irish. I didn't mean to have it this way, just didn't anticipate seeing the text through. Hard to think of everything in advance.

          But, now I'm here with 500 printed envelopes and letters with stamps on them!
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          • Profile picture of the author Irish Intuition
            Originally Posted by Prevalent View Post

            Thanks Irish. I didn't mean to have it this way, just didn't anticipate seeing the text through. Hard to think of everything in advance.

            But, now I'm here with 500 printed envelopes and letters with stamps on them!
            All is not lost my friend. Go out and by a stamper and stamp 'Important"
            or "Do not bend'.

            These actually work, believe it or not.

            In order to find out if the 'see thru' approach worked you
            will need to find out why they opened it. I'd say "by the way,
            I am always trying to improve my marketing. What made
            you open the letter?".

            It may not be the 'see thru'



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          • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
            Originally Posted by Prevalent View Post

            Thanks! I value the input. I am sending these...I know that if I get zero response it was because of the envelope. I will put it on my list of direct mail lessons learned.

            Then again, in my marketing life I have had some things surprise me. Sometimes it is illogical why things work the way they do.


            Thanks Irish. I didn't mean to have it this way, just didn't anticipate seeing the text through. Hard to think of everything in advance.

            But, now I'm here with 500 printed envelopes and letters with stamps on them!
            Prevalent;7122958;
            "I know that if I get zero response it was because of the envelope"
            Probably not. It's the headline that either makes them want to read the rest of the sales piece or not. Then the first paragraph must sell the reader on reading the next paragraph...and so on. If they can read the headline through the envelope, that just means they decide a few seconds faster whether they want to read more. If thy can't read the headline, they just take a few seconds longer to decide.
            The most important part of your mailing is; The choice of mailing list, the headline, and the offer. The envelope matters, but it's way down the list.


            "it is illogical why things work the way they do"
            No. The reasons are completely logical. We may not see them, but they make perfect sense. That's why a few peoplw here are making tons of money with direct mail...consistantly, and the vast majority aren't. Because the few know how it really works, and most don't.
            Direct mail is very improvable by testing. But you can shorten the learning curve dramatically by reading a few classic direct mail books.
            Direct mail is math.

            You are mailing 500? That really isn't a test. You may get a few sales. You may get none. Now, what do you know? Nothing, because you don't know what you did right or wrong. It may take you four or more attempts before you hit on an appeal that works. You may never figure it out.

            How many proven direct mail pieces, that sell what you are selling, have you read and studied? Usually the number is zero. And this one step can save you thousands and thousands of dollars.
            What is the quality of your list? Have they proven that they will buy from a direct mail piece? Have they bought what you are selling before? Have they bought from you before?

            How many have to buy before you start making money? Is it more than 1/4 of 1% ? That's an average result with a decent cold mailing.
            What are you going to sell them after they buy your first offer? I have to tell you, almost all the money is made here.

            Just food for thought. But the envelope is a small, small part of what you need to think about.

            And about the other replies? The vast percentage of all direct mail is thrown away. Most of it unopened. That's why you need to make your headline Soooo powerful...Sooo apppealing...that the small percentage that starts reading the letter, really wants what you have.

            It's also why having a list of prospects that are used to opening direct mail letters and buying from them, in your niche, is so creitical.

            I wish you luck, I really do.
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    • Profile picture of the author sandalwood
      Originally Posted by Mwind076 View Post

      I know the answer for me is that if I don't know the return address, wasn't expecting it, and it's not a "window" envelope (like a bill or a bank statement type), I usually throw it right in the trash.

      On the off chance that I do open it and peek in (I don't even take it out), the second I see the "red" question, or that it's not important, it's trash.

      Don't know if that helps.
      Let me third that since Bob did the second. Why waste time w/all the crap mailings? Just my thought...

      Tom
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  • Profile picture of the author bsbear
    Originally Posted by Prevalent View Post

    As the title says, you can see some of the text through the envelope.

    It isn't much. I had the letter folded so that the text is on the outside, so when you pull it from the envelope you see the headline. The headline is in Red, so you can kind of see it through the paper.

    On the front, you can see text from the letter.

    I am wondering, do you think this will make people more likely to throw it away?

    OR

    Do you think it will make people curious and open it? I know people can't resist an unanswered question. Partially seeing the text might just force them to open it.

    I am printing the envelopes on my inkjet, so it looks less professional and more like a personal letter. I am also using stamps and my personal name on the return address.

    Thoughts?
    Honestly, only way to find out is what you have done--test it.

    Asking internet marketers/marketers about their personal opinion will demonstrate different outcomes than your average person.

    Marketers tend to think differently. But if you are asking them for their professional opinion, then that might help you out more.
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    • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
      Originally Posted by bsbear View Post

      Honestly, only way to find out is what you have done--test it.
      That's what I decided. I plan on coming back here to report the results either way. If by some miracle people do open them and I get sales, that would be another tool in the belt.
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      • Profile picture of the author sandalwood
        Prevalent,

        I wasn't saying direct mail doesn't work, I was saying when I look at it, some of it is crap. To me, I have a preset idea of what I will and what I won't open. I've opened a lot of direct mail but I have also NOT opened a lot of direct mail.

        Hope that clarifies my statement. I wish you a ton of success in your endeavors. When you find something that works, let us know. Bob certainly shares his experiences with us and I know I've benefited from them.

        Have a great day,

        Tom
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  • Profile picture of the author Rob28x
    I just went through pretty much the same thing.

    My first round of mailing went as follows: I used security envelopes, return address had just the address with no name, and the addresses were laser printed in blue in a hand written style font. I also used a real stamp. Inside was a sales letter folded so the text was on the outside. I mailed to 350 local businesses, received one call. The letter is not trying to sell but get an appointment.

    Second round: I used a new sales letter, folded with text to the inside, regular envelopes this time addressed the same way with real stamps. But this time, each one had 2 pennies in it which went with my sales letter. I was hoping this would lead to more people opening it wondering what was rolling around inside. It's been a week since they were mailed, haven't had a single call yet.

    I am sure there are many variables, but just wanted to share what I have done thus far.
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  • Profile picture of the author wrcato2
    I would make the letter black and white, no colors. The reason for this is that you want it to look like a letter from a friend. If you really want to make an impact write it out by hand. You are doing right by the envelope, however, use several cheaper stamps opposed to a 47 cent stamp.
    P.S. try using courier or Garmound text in your letter.
    Hope this helps & keep up the mailings
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  • Profile picture of the author 300SMG
    TheONLY time we use letters for direct mail marketing is for pre-qualified follow ups or specific high interest potential clients. When we do, it's always in a company envelope, hand addressed with an actual stamp - not machined postage. We include a personalized letter with an actual signature not a rubber stamp.

    For our initial mail marketing we send an oversized postcard (8.5 x 5.5) followed up by a standard postcard 2-3 weeks after to those that didn't reply to the first mailing.

    That seems to work best for us.
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    • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      Prevalent;7122958;
      "I know that if I get zero response it was because of the envelope"
      Probably not. It's the headline that either makes them want to read the rest of the sales piece or not. Then the first paragraph must sell the reader on reading the next paragraph...and so on. If they can read the headline through the envelope, that just means they decide a few seconds faster whether they want to read more. If thy can't read the headline, they just take a few seconds longer to decide.
      The most important part of your mailing is; The choice of mailing list, the headline, and the offer. The envelope matters, but it's way down the list.
      Those are all really good points and I greatly appreciate your feedback Claude.

      The List:
      I pulled my list from two sources 1) A purchased list of Real Estate Agents in my metro area. There are 9500 of them. 2) I wrote a script to scrub prominent RE listing sites to find Realtors who currently have a house listed at 700k or more.

      I then wrote another script to compare the two. So with this mailing I am only mailing Realtors I know are active, can use my product, and have money to spend. I have their office and home addresses, as well as email, office phone, and cell phone. I will be following up on all fronts repeatedly.

      The Headline:
      I wrote about ten headline variations, condensed it down to five different versions. Nothing is different about each letter but the headline. So hopefully one of them pulls well and I can use it from now on.

      The Offer:
      My product has several steps and requires some interaction so I am not selling them on the product in the letter. I am selling an appointment to discuss further. I hope this was a good approach. Of course, I am touting the product and hitting all their emotional reasons to buy in the three page letter. At the end, the call to action is a phone call to my office to schedule an appointment.

      Your experienced feedback on any of these areas is greatly appreciated.

      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      "it is illogical why things work the way they do"
      No. The reasons are completely logical. We may not see them, but they make perfect sense. That's why a few peoplw here are making tons of money with direct mail...consistantly, and the vast majority aren't. Because the few know how it really works, and most don't.
      Direct mail is very improvable by testing. But you can shorten the learning curve dramatically by reading a few classic direct mail books.
      Direct mail is math.

      You are mailing 500? That really isn't a test. You may get a few sales. You may get none. Now, what do you know? Nothing, because you don't know what you did right or wrong. It may take you four or more attempts before you hit on an appeal that works. You may never figure it out.
      I agree with you totally. Everything is for a reason. I just meant (and this is what I tell my clients) that we don't really know ANYTHING until we test it. At first, something that seemed it would "never work" turns out to be great!

      It seems almost every client throws out reasons why this or that will never work in their business. I have to remind them that we know nothing until we test it.

      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      How many proven direct mail pieces, that sell what you are selling, have you read and studied? Usually the number is zero. And this one step can save you thousands and thousands of dollars.
      What is the quality of your list? Have they proven that they will buy from a direct mail piece? Have they bought what you are selling before? Have they bought from you before?
      I have never seen this type of product sold via direct mail. Can you point me to a resource where I can find various sales letters about different products? I have read many sales letters, and am always looking for more.

      These people have never bought from me before or even heard of my company. I am certain I will have to send postcards, emails, phone calls etc...before they respond.

      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      How many have to buy before you start making money? Is it more than 1/4 of 1% ? That's an average result with a decent cold mailing.
      What are you going to sell them after they buy your first offer? I have to tell you, almost all the money is made here.

      Just food for thought. But the envelope is a small, small part of what you need to think about.

      And about the other replies? The vast percentage of all direct mail is thrown away. Most of it unopened. That's why you need to make your headline Soooo powerful...Sooo apppealing...that the small percentage that starts reading the letter, really wants what you have.

      It's also why having a list of prospects that are used to opening direct mail letters and buying from them, in your niche, is so creitical.

      I wish you luck, I really do.
      I will profit if I sell about 1/2 of 1%. Hopefully as I pursue these people with other contact methods, this will increase.



      Originally Posted by 300SMG View Post

      TheONLY time we use letters for direct mail marketing is for pre-qualified follow ups or specific high interest potential clients. When we do, it's always in a company envelope, hand addressed with an actual stamp - not machined postage. We include a personalized letter with an actual signature not a rubber stamp.

      For our initial mail marketing we send an oversized postcard (8.5 x 5.5) followed up by a standard postcard 2-3 weeks after to those that didn't reply to the first mailing.

      That seems to work best for us.
      I like the post card idea. I think I will send those next, and to a larger sample. I will also have appointment setters calling them and I will be sending emails.
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Prevalent; Thanks for the compliment. I see that you are really thinking this through.

        To tell the truth, I really like 300SMG's idea about the oversized postcard.
        Nobody throws away a postcard without at least reading the headline.
        And a phone call later will be better received because your name will be familiar to them.

        You said you are trying to set up an appointment. But you also said you were selling your offfer in the letter. That's almost always a mistake.

        Sell the reasons for them to make an appointment with you.
        What thing will they gain just from the appointment alone?
        This can be competitive information, market trends, a physical gift, or other information that they will get just from meeting you.

        Of course, we are all flying kind of blind here. do you sell a product or service? Is it for the agent, the agency, the buyer? You don't have to share propriatary information, but it may help to know more.

        Sales letters? Believe it or not, I find the books of direct mail sales letters from the 1940's and 50's to be the most productive to study.
        Direct mail is evergrean. Human nature never changes. And in these books you see provewn sales letters written to generate sales.

        Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples
        Million Dollar Mailings by Denison Hatch
        The Greatest Direct Mail Sales Letters Of All Time by Hodgson
        The Robert Collier Letter Book by Robert Collier
        The Ultimate Sales letter by Dan Kennedy

        This whole library you can get for maybe $100 used on either E-bay or Amazon.


        because you have a profile of your prospect, you can use that to personalize your headline and offer. For example:
        "Limited Offer Only For Active Real Estate Agents With A Current Listing Of $700,000 Or More" If you have a City, that's better. If you have a certain kind of listing, that's better. If your offer will only appeal to a certain % of that list, figure out what sets them apart, and include that.

        The more I think about this, the more I think a live call from you, not an assistant, would work best. If you have a list of 500 agents you are targeting, you could really profit from the ideas in The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes. Even 1,000 prospects is a real small universe.
        Repeated contacts from you, hitting them with different media, and phone calls....will eventually get you in to see most of them.
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