Direct Mail Marketing: 10 Ways to Get People to Open an Envelope

Direct mail marketing is one of the best ways to draw new customers and clients into your sales funnel whether you’re a B2B or B2C business. While it may seem old fashioned, direct mail actually tends to have a higher open rate than cold emails. There are a variety of reasons for this, including the fact that advertising via snail mail isn’t as common as it used to be, making it of greater interest to the recipient. That said, getting a high open-rate means relying on a few tried and true strategies that have proven themselves over the decades. Here are ten ways to increase your open rate that are both easy and effective.

#1 Your Company Name and Logo

The number one factor for getting any mail opened is the name of the sender. People are more likely to open an envelope that’s coming from an entity they know such as a friend, family member, co-worker, or a company that they’ve interacted with at some point in the past.

The good news is that putting your company name and logo on the envelope can go a long way in overcoming this problem. This is because a certain percentage of your target audience may have heard of your company before, and if not, your company name and logo will at least make the envelope look professional. If the mailing is going out to previous customers, then the familiarity will already be there, giving you a big advantage when it comes to your open rate.

#2 Tell Them to Open It

You can have as much text on your envelope as you want and while having too much may look tacky, there is nothing wrong with having a short call to action. Generally speaking, a CTA of this nature should follow the “do something simple, get something great” format. In this case the “do something simple” is the recipient opening the envelope. What they get for doing that is up to you but commonly used incentives include credit cards with 0% interest for a certain time frame, a special discount, or a limited time offer. Whatever you choose, make your recipients feel adequately rewarded for opening your envelope.

#3 Change Up Your Envelope Size

Most business mailings come in the standard 4 1/8″ by 9 1/2″ envelope size. While this can be seen as professional, it can also be incredibly predictable and does nothing to make your mailing stand out from the crowd. Instead, try experimenting with different sized envelopes. If you’re doing a smaller scale mailing you can even try using something like a big 9″ by 12″ envelope if you can afford it. This will make your mailing look more important and interesting to recipients and help you get a higher open rate.

#4 Change Up Your Envelope Style

In addition to experimenting with different envelope sizes, you can also change up the color and texture as well. Some companies like to use a shiny silver or gold color that catches the eye, while others go for a matte or glossy look. Anything that makes your mailing stand out and appear more interesting will lead to more people opening your envelopes.

#5 Use a See-Through Window

Some envelopes come with a large see-through window. This can be used to let your recipients get a peek at what you have for them inside. This is especially effective when used with special offers, discounts, membership cards, or pictures of your product. Regardless, this strategy gives you more options when it comes to the visual design of your mailing which is always a good thing.

#6 Appear Less Businesslike

Just like with email marketing, using snail mail as a marketing tool can be difficult because anything that seems like junk mail will quickly get thrown into the trash can. This can be overcome by making your mail look more like personal mail than business mail. In addition to using a smaller envelope size, you can also use handwritten fonts for the sender and recipient. If you are using standard mail, you can also use stamps with cancellation marks to make it feel more personal and authentic.

#7 Research Your Demographic

This is a given, but the better you’re able to narrow down your demographic and really focus in on your target audience, the higher your open rate will be. Sending out mail to people who have no interest in who you are or what you’re offering is a huge waste of time and money. Even if it is your first mailing, you’ll get a better open rate if your recipients know who your company is, and have an interest in what you’re offering.

#8 Create a Sense of Urgency

Limited time offers creates a sense of urgency by using the element of scarcity. Humans are psychologically wired to fear losing something more than they enjoy the idea of getting something. Giving your recipients something to lose by creating a limited time frame in which to open your mail will almost always lead to a higher open rate.

One thing to remember when using this strategy is that you shouldn’t use false scarcity. False scarcity can create distrust among your recipients at best and can be illegal at worst. Make sure you’re following all the applicable laws in your area, and don’t try and trick your recipients with false scarcity.

#9 Building Trust Among Your Recipients

Open rates tend to be higher among people who have received your mailings multiple times rather than those who get them for the first time. This is because familiarity and trust that builds up over the course of several mailings will have a positive effect on your open rate if you’re offering your target audience true value.

However, the opposite is also true. If your recipients come to the concussion that your mailings are junk, then future mailings will be discarded instead of opened. Keep in mind how your mailings present your company, and how they affect your reputation. You want to build trust and respect, not annoyance and distrust among your recipients.

#10 Track Your Statistics and Keep Testing

Getting high open rates is always a work in progress. Make sure that you’re tracking all of your mailing statistics as best you can and change up any strategies that don’t seem to be working. The more you test, the more winning strategies you will find, and the higher your open rate will be. There is no “one size fits all” strategies when it comes to direct mail, so you have to find what works for your company, and your demographic.

Scaling Up Your Mailings

Once you find something that works, scale it up. This will increase the amount of revenue you’re generating allowing you to grow your business. You’ll also be able to put some of that revenue towards things that can make your mailings more profitable, such as better packaging, hiring better sales writers, or just sending out a greater number of mailings.

In any case, make sure that you take advantage of the fact that people who have opened your mail once are far more likely to do so again. Cold mailings can get you started, but once you have a responsive audience you can focus more on the people who are actually opening your mail.

You can also draw people who respond to your mailings deeper into your sales funnel via a website or online app. While direct mailing is an excellent business strategy, it really is just the tip of the iceberg and can lead to far more sales on the back end when used correctly.

Scroll to Top
Priorities Magazine Newsletter