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Would You Open This Envelope?


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I'm working on a cover for an outer envelope (8.5 x 11 mailer) to a direct mailing piece offering tax strategy reports.  Target market is small business owners, mainly men.

 

What are your thoughts?  Would you open it and, as important, be more inclined to positively read a sales pitch about ordering tax strategies?

 


badasstaxreports-envelope.jpg

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Disclaimer:  I'm anything but a professional direct mail consultant, so take my advice for what it's worth.  I am a small business owner, and you might even aim it at me.  I tend to be an over-thinker thought and therefore the results might not be typical with me.  

 

I personally like the copy because you took something boring (taxes) and lightened the mood.  However, I'm not feeling the alligator, it just feels a bit too light, as does the "badass tax reports" name.  I think I personally like the idea of a combination of professional and light and it it feels like it lacks professionalism, especially on what is a really serious subject.  I'd like to see that reflected somewhere in there.

 

Again, I'm just a self-employed professional cleaner, but that's my feedback on it.  I would probably open it just because I open anything out of a curiosity.  I particularly like to see how people market various services.  The things that I mentioned above would set me up to take it a little less seriously though.

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Too long.  You don't have that much time for someone to read an envelop to decide.  You want it down in as few words as possible. It's not a sales page - it's a grabber - and only a grabber. 

 

Second - Reports -- change it to Something in the way of  - Badass Tax Cutters.   Reports is too time consuming an idea. People want crots, not reports. 

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I'm not feeling the alligator, it just feels a bit too light, as does the "badass tax reports" name.  I think I personally like the idea of a combination of professional and light and it it feels like it lacks professionalism, especially on what is a really serious subject.  I'd like to see that reflected somewhere in there..

 

I have somber, pro sales pages elsewhere.  This is a new 'angle' to try where I'm looking for edge, interesting, fun - different to send biz owners.  It was a quick mock-up idea far different than what I started with.  Appreciate the feedback.  Direct mail can be expensive when trying a new idea.

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I have somber, pro sales pages elsewhere.  This is a new 'angle' to try where I'm looking for edge, interesting, fun - different to send biz owners.  It was a quick mock-up idea far different than what I started with.  Appreciate the feedback.  Direct mail can be expensive when trying a new idea.

 

When I was broke and just starting in the post card game ... in the late 90's

I made up a bunch samples and went and stood outside of the grocery store

and asked opinions.

 

It kinda worked, as in i got a solid idea of the pieces people hated.

 

The actual mailing did not bring back great results, but it was enough

to continue.

 

Not that it's relevant, it's just that what you said reminded me of doing that.

 

BTW, I have noticed - for post cards - that bright contrasting colors

work better then images.

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Too long.  You don't have that much time for someone to read an envelop to decide.  You want it down in as few words as possible. It's not a sales page - it's a grabber - and only a grabber. 

 

How many 8.5 x 11 envelopes do you get that look like this?  Versus just a name and return address?  My thought is this envelope will 'pop out' and be fully read because that's what I would do.  But maybe I'm in the minority.

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I would never open the OP mail.

 

 

 

I'll tell you what gets people to open mail...

 

AT&T has tricked me twice into opening junk mail letters that had hand written addresses and regular postage stamps on the envelopes. I bet they have a 100% open rate. When I gave the envelopes a second look after figuring out it was junk mail I found it was a handwritten font like found on dafont.com.

 

Anyways, AT&T got me twice...

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I

I'll tell you what gets people to open mail...

 

AT&T has tricked me twice into opening junk mail letters that had hand written addresses and regular postage stamps on the envelopes. I bet they have a 100% open rate. When I gave the envelopes a second look after figuring out it was junk mail I found it was a handwritten font like found on dafont.com.

 

 

I take it you didn't buy from AT&T?  I'm not interested in tricking someone to open the envelope.  Just increasing the odds they will take the action of opening the envelope and be interested in reading a letter - with the ultimate goal of making a sale.

 

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I take it you didn't buy from AT&T?  I'm not interested in tricking someone to open the envelope.  Just increasing the odds they will take the action of opening the envelope and be interested in reading a letter - with the ultimate goal of making a sale.

 

 

 

 

 

I was already an AT&T customer. The junk mail was just some latest bundle package they were promoting. No, I didn't buy, I wouldn't have bought either way because I'm not interested in bundles (phone + TV + internet). I only use AT&T for internet service, nothing else.

 

I'll tell you now, you best be aiming to trick people into opening the mail because your copy is spammy as a mofo. I would be surprised If US mail allowed you to include the word Badass on the outside of mail. That part looks very unprofessional and another reason to toss it in the trash.

 

BTW, once I opened the AT&T mail it was obvious it was junk mail, so their goal was to trick me into opening the letter, it worked but they didn't make a sale from me. I'm sure they made some sales, just not from me.

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How many 8.5 x 11 envelopes do you get that look like this?  Versus just a name and return address?  My thought is this envelope will 'pop out' and be fully read because that's what I would do.  But maybe I'm in the minority.

Most people are familiar with all the junk mail tricks.  I wouldn't bother reading that.   If it's not just a few words or a sentence that can be digested as soon as I look at it it goes in the trash.  You're not pre-selling them, just getting them to open the envelope. 

 

There's one that always gets me -- Warning: Important Insurance information enclosed.  I know damned well it's junk, but it's from the insurance company so I have to make sure it's junk. I open it. 

 

Isn't your title Attny at Law or some such?  From: your name and title coupled with Warning: Important tax information enclosed..........only a fool would throw it out without checking to make sure................

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I may be disqualified in being female, but I did own a business years back. That may disqualify me as well, as it was women's fashions, accessories, and lingerie, lol. Not very manly.

 

Anyway, the alligator on the envelope would catch my attention, the "Badass" would cause me to toss it out even if I did read further.  "Reports" just sounds like an attempted money grab. Perhaps if the word reports was replaced with "Techniques", it would fair better with me. What would grab my attention in a heartbeat was if that was from an attorney at law as Sal mentioned above.

 

I'm not sure about the return to our marketing service either. That might turn me off as well, the word marketing in particular.

 

Hope this helps you a bit.

 

 

Terra

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I have somber, pro sales pages elsewhere.  This is a new 'angle' to try where I'm looking for edge, interesting, fun - different to send biz owners.  It was a quick mock-up idea far different than what I started with.  Appreciate the feedback.  Direct mail can be expensive when trying a new idea.

You won't know unless you mail a few hundred. My advice (if you are printing the business owner's name) is that you direct his name to him, and not the Postmaster. It will strengthen the response.  My other advice is to be consistent. If the outside of the envelope is funny, the sales letter better start off funny as well. They have to be congruent. If they aren't, the mis-match will kill interest.

 

When I was broke and just starting in the post card game ... in the late 90's

I made up a bunch samples and went and stood outside of the grocery store

and asked opinions.

 

It kinda worked, as in i got a solid idea of the pieces people hated.

My friend;

 

I made that mistake in the past. I would ask people's opinion on sales letters, ads, postcards. And they would tell me what they thought sounded good. It's why direct mail companies test their offers by mailing them...rather than having focus groups.

 

But it had no relationship to the actual direct mail results I got.  It isn't whether they like it..it's whether it makes them buy.  

 

A fast test of this postcard, that won't cost much money, is a side by side Google PPC campaign. Half the people see one ad, half see the other. And you see who clicks the links. After a day or so, you'll have empirical evidence of what people actually want....not what they say they like. After they click it doesn't matter where they end up. You just want to see how many people click one ad VS the other. 

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You won't know unless you mail a few hundred. My advice (if you are printing the business owner's name) is that you direct his name to him, and not the Postmaster. It will strengthen the response.  My other advice is to be consistent. If the outside of the envelope is funny, the sales letter better start off funny as well. They have to be congruent. If they aren't, the mis-match will kill interest.

 

My friend;

 

I made that mistake in the past. I would ask people's opinion on sales letters, ads, postcards. And they would tell me what they thought sounded good. It's why direct mail companies test their offers by mailing them...rather than having focus groups.

 

But it had no relationship to the actual direct mail results I got.  It isn't whether they like it..it's whether it makes them buy.  

 

A fast test of this postcard, that won't cost much money, is a side by side Google PPC campaign. Half the people see one ad, half see the other. And you see who clicks the links. After a day or so, you'll have empirical evidence of what people actually want....not what they say they like. After they click it doesn't matter where they end up. You just want to see how many people click one ad VS the other. 

 

Damn... that's a good idea. - Good enough that im kinda pissed off that I never thought of it.

 

I can use that for a lot of other things. 

I have my mailer stuff locked down ... :)

 

also - yeah, "Opinions" ... they don't mean squat.

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A little off topic...

 

These two things don't work for a huge mailing because they get too expensive, but something I have done for top prospects:

 

1) Send a FedEx or UPS envelope. EVERYONE opens those. The downside is the cost involved.

 

2) Mail a regular envelope and put two dice inside. Again, postage will be a little more expensive. You can use something other than dice too. It fit my particular sales letter though. People are more likely to open an envelope when there is something solid like that inside.

 

 

On topic...

 

I think the "badass" would make me trash it. Maybe it is because I am in the marketing business, but it screams too much Rich Jerk, Frank Kern, Brad Gosse, etc. to me. Although they are all great marketers, I never really feel like they are trying to sell something that is truly in my best interest.

 

And I need something shorter than a "report". A report sounds like work. I don't want to do any more work.

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People are people, but the tone here is so hyped-up it will probably scare the crap out of a serious business owner.

 

I would think it was junk and not open it.

 

B2B needs to be quieter, smoother. IM-style copy freaks that market out. Subtlety is more effective than in-your-face language.

 

But the proof is in the pudding: as Claude said, what people SAY they want is often not what they ACTUALLY want.

 

This is an example of what worked on me:

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I agree with the others, in particular Jason's B2B comment.

 

Years ago, I spent a lot of money mailing John Carltonesque balls-to-the-wall letters to small financial service companies and got very little response. Each iteration would become a bit less "ballsy" and, surprise surprise, response kept becoming a bit more positive.

 

Make it less about what you have for them, and more about how they will benefit if they open that envelope. I don't think you need to be so mysterious about what the benefit is. Saying on the envelope that you can show me how I can reclaim a thousand dollars for each full time employee I hire would get me to open that envelope much better than having to guess whatever it is you are so nakedly trying to manipulate me to open that envelope for.

 

Even better... make it lumpy with a handwritten font and a real stamp in addition to a compelling real tidbit, and you'll have a really strong envelope.

 

Also, get rid of either the "Private & Confidential" or the invitation for the recipient to share it with another business. Having both on the envelope kills your credibility. There is an argument to be made for going either way, but I would lean towards keeping "Private & Confidential" because nobody is going to actually share an unsolicited piece of junk mail with their inner circle of business contacts, unless they have already become a big fan of yours.

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I agree with the others, in particular Jason's B2B comment.

 

Years ago, I spent a lot of money mailing John Carltonesque balls-to-the-wall letters to small financial service companies and got very little response. Each iteration would become a bit less "ballsy" and, surprise surprise, response kept becoming a bit more positive.

 

Make it less about what you have for them, and more about how they will benefit if they open that envelope. I don't think you need to be so mysterious about what the benefit is. Saying on the envelope that you can show me how I can reclaim a thousand dollars for each full time employee I hire would get me to open that envelope much better than having to guess whatever it is you are so nakedly trying to manipulate me to open that envelope for.

 

Even better... make it lumpy with a handwritten font and a real stamp in addition to a compelling real tidbit, and you'll have a really strong envelope.

 

Also, get rid of either the "Private & Confidential" or the invitation for the recipient to share it with another business. Having both on the envelope kills your credibility. There is an argument to be made for going either way, but I would lean towards keeping "Private & Confidential" because nobody is going to actually share an unsolicited piece of junk mail with their inner circle of business contacts, unless they have already become a big fan of yours.

 

I didn't notice the last part, but you're right. Very good point.

 

As far as the OP, I wouldn't open something like this. It's too hype-y for my tastes.  :(

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Actually, I just noticed the invitation to share was directed at the postal worker, not the recipient. That's even weirder, because it will never happen. Especially because it also says "Private & Confidential".

 

The details changed a bit, but not the ultimate advice. Double down on P&C, and make it really seem like you are really talking to John or Jane Doe.

 

My most successful mailing ever incorporated personalized info (beyond name/address, as in the recipient KNOWS I know something special about them) right in the window section of the envelope. THAT was compelling.

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I agree with the others, in particular Jason's B2B comment.

 

Years ago, I spent a lot of money mailing John Carltonesque balls-to-the-wall letters to small financial service companies and got very little response. Each iteration would become a bit less "ballsy" and, surprise surprise, response kept becoming a bit more positive.

 

Make it less about what you have for them, and more about how they will benefit if they open that envelope. I don't think you need to be so mysterious about what the benefit is. Saying on the envelope that you can show me how I can reclaim a thousand dollars for each full time employee I hire would get me to open that envelope much better than having to guess whatever it is you are so nakedly trying to manipulate me to open that envelope for.

 

Even better... make it lumpy with a handwritten font and a real stamp in addition to a compelling real tidbit, and you'll have a really strong envelope.

 

Also, get rid of either the "Private & Confidential" or the invitation for the recipient to share it with another business. Having both on the envelope kills your credibility. There is an argument to be made for going either way, but I would lean towards keeping "Private & Confidential" because nobody is going to actually share an unsolicited piece of junk mail with their inner circle of business contacts, unless they have already become a big fan of yours.

 

 

 

That makes sense. Although my testing direct mail pieces is limited, I have advertised in print, and have sold in malls and trade shows.

 

And my experience is that using gaudy flashy attention drawing gimmicks does work...at drawing attention. And mostly from people who are never going to buy, but are attracted to shiny objects.

 

The goal of an envelope should not be to get the envelope opened by everyone. The goal should be to get the envelope opened by the people that are likely to buy. 

 

Gimmicky envelopes may get more people to open the envelope. But less of the real buyers will be attracted to the appeal on the envelope.  Me? I would put a major promise on the envelope. One that is very easy to understand, and isn't clever. ...or make it a plain business envelope.

 

How many business owners throw away plain business envelopes, with a company return address, without opening them? I don't. 

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That makes sense. Although my testing direct mail pieces is limited, I have advertised in print, and have sold in malls and trade shows.

 

And my experience is that using gaudy flashy attention drawing gimmicks does work...at drawing attention. And mostly from people who are never going to buy, but are attracted to shiny objects.

 

The goal of an envelope should not be to get the envelope opened by everyone. The goal should be to get the envelope opened by the people that are likely to buy. 

 

Gimmicky envelopes may get more people to open the envelope. But less of the real buyers will be attracted to the appeal on the envelope.  Me? I would put a major promise on the envelope. One that is very easy to understand, and isn't clever. ...or make it a plain business envelope.

 

How many business owners throw away plain business envelopes, with a company return address, without opening them? I don't. 

 

I only do postcards, education brochures and flyers.

 

First, the opening aspect is removed.  If your message is succinct

they read it without meaning to ... AND ... if its done right it makes them

stop in there tracks for a min and give some thought to things.

 

Second, it's just cheaper to produce, allowing for more mail to go out.

 

and for me, the most important one of all.

 

Its super easy to test post cards vrs stuffed envelopes.

To much in the equation to ever really test properly ... unless you have years to do it,

as well as unlimited funds and addresses to send them to.

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Direct mail is my favorite prospecting method for b2b.  I sent out 1000s of letters over the course of a year.  I have to agree with Yukon and JasonK -- the more personal you make the mailer look, the more opens and responses you will get.

 

You will not make sales if the recipient doesn't open the envelope.  You want the mailing to look either personal(handwritten envelope) or important(JasonK's image).  I know from my own experience both of these work.

Keep in mind, it's a step-by-step process:
1) Get them to open the envelope
2) Deliver a message that makes them want to keep reading
3) Give them a compelling reason to take action with you right away

The envelop alone will not solve all of these, but it can get them to want to OPEN IT. Without this your mailing is a failure.

If I received your example, I would most likely round file it.  My time is too limited to read junk mail(not saying what you're offering is not valuable, your message/graphics doesn't convey that to me).

As for your example,the only way to know for sure is to mail it, see what the response is, and maybe follow-up with phone call.

Just my 2cents

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