Posted on 11/16/2016
- by Dan Allenby
There’s an old saying in direct mail: “An envelope has two jobs. The first is to get delivered to the right mailbox. The second is to get opened.” Getting prospects to open the envelope is a key step in having them read what’s inside and, ultimately, make a contribution.
The best way to get your alumni to notice (and want to open) the envelope is to capture their attention and make them curious. One way to do this to use envelopes that stand out either because they are unusual in size, shape or color or because they are creative or eye-catching in some other way. Using standard #10 envelopes for mailings may be easy and cost efficient, but doing so also increases the risk that your appeal will be overlooked.
Another way to increase the chances that your envelopes get noticed is to use teasers (i.e., short eye-catching messages or images) that lure alumni to look inside. A good place for teasers is between the recipient’s name and address (usually in the middle of the envelope) and the return address (usually in the top left corner of the envelope). These are the first two places people’s eyes go when they look at an envelope, and your message will stand out when their eyes move from one to the other.
Regardless of where it goes, a teaser should try to tap into the prospect’s emotions. For example, “Find out why your gift could help our rankings!” might evoke a sense of pride or connection. “Is your name on this list?” could make recipients curious (and possibly concerned) that they might be left out in some way if they don’t act. Don’t be afraid to try humor now and then. The University of California, San Diego used a teaser that read, “OPEN ME. Seriously, I can’t open myself. I don’t have hands because I’m an envelope.”
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