By Photograph: Frank C. Müller, Baden-Baden (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons October 26, 2015: When you reach into your mailbox and retrieve its contents, what’s the first thing that you do? If your answer is that you sort through the mail in order to choose which package or envelope to open (and which not to open), then you’ve answered correctly. But what exactly is it that influences you when making this choice? Is it the way the package looks? The way it feels?

When marketers mail pieces to their prospects, they intend for them to open them and view what’s inside. After all, they usually contain offers for prospects to take advantage of. Now, you might think, “well, how difficult can that be to do? It’s just an envelope. They’ll see it, open it and call the number listed on the document inside.”

In reality, however, it isn’t that easy.  People won’t open just anything they receive in the mail. The package needs to capture their attention. It needs to be intriguing.

So how can you as a marketer make your envelope attractive enough for consumers to want to open it? Below are several tips:

  1. Print a captivating message in the space near the envelope’s address. Studies have shown that between 70 and 80% of the time, those who receive an envelope in the mail have a tendency to shift their eyes to the top left corner first. Why? We don’t know. But what is known is that this space provides a perfect opportunity to place a clue or hint as to what lies within. Whether it’s an entire statement or just several appreciative words doesn’t matter. Just make sure you make it appealing. People aren’t fond of “boring” and placing something dull on the outside of your envelope will only cause the recipient to want to throw it in the trash.
  2. Use the word FREE. When it comes to mailing, one of the oldest rules in the book emphasizes that the sender should use the word “FREE” as often as possible (but only if what you are offering actually is free.) In case you’re wondering why, the reason is simple: it’s EFFECTIVE. Wouldn’t you rather take advantage of something that you don’t have to pay for over something that you do? I hope so, especially if the product is of interest to you. So, with that being said, knock yourself out. Use the word as often as you like and see what happens. We can promise you one thing: you won’t be disappointed.
  3. Make the receiver curious. What better way is there to hold someone’s attention than by offering something you know they will value, yet making them go the extra mile to get it? Think about it: if your favorite retailer offered you a store credit of $1,000 and all you had to do was fill out a form to find out more information, wouldn’t you do it? Try placing incomplete sentences and/or open-ended questions on your envelope in order to entice the prospect to open it. For example, on the outside header of the envelope, you could write something like, “Don’t feel like you’re alone..” and on the inside header: “An experienced representative is here to guide you.” By doing this, you are essentially assuring the receiver of something, but causing them to investigate further in order to find out why. And it works!

Mailing is one of the most important methods for reaching prospects.  Not only does it offer marketers the freedom to express themselves through whatever kind of messaging they choose to send, but in many cases (and especially when it comes to marketing directly) it also allows them to form a relationship with potential consumers. However, while mailing itself might be a useful tactic, getting this mail to perform takes strategy, especially when it comes to designing the envelope carrying the message.

If there’s one thing we want to leave you with, it is this: be creative and make your envelope interesting. Figure out what your target audience wants to see, come up with a plan, and then execute. By following the suggestions above, not only will you get the return you have been waiting for, but you will be well on your way to becoming a more successful marketer.