Increase your open rate – and decrease waste – with lumpy mail

packageDirect mail can be an excellent way to promote your business because it it highly targeted, trackable, is more likely to command your prospect’s undivided attention than many other forms of advertising, and can be relatively inexpensive to implement.  Done right, it can also be extremely effective, especially when mailed to customers you’ve already established a relationship with.

Some Green marketers are hesitant to use direct mail because of the solid waste involved.  Fortunately, there are ways to make direct mail more sustainable.  I will highlight some of these in future posts.  Today, though, I want to discuss one direct mail trick that pretty consistently increases response rates – and profits – from direct mail campaigns.

Overcoming the “First Big Challenge” in direct mail


Unless you are using postcards, one of the biggest hurdles you are likely to face when using direct mail is simply getting your mailing opened.

Even the best sales letter in the world won’t have a chance of working if it never makes it in front of the prospect’s face.  On the other hand, even if the prospect doesn’t respond to a mailing, the act of opening it up and reading the contents at least exposes him to your message. This may influence a later decision to purchase from you.  If so, it’s still valuable as advertising.

Increase your open rate with lumpy mail

There are many things you can do to encourage your prospect to open your piece.  Some of these include using unusual envelope sizes or colors, hand-addressing the envelopes, using “live” stamps instead of bulk insignias, and using “teaser” copy on the envelope to encourage your prospect to open it.  But one of the most effective techniques is known as “lumpy,” “dimensional,” or “3D” mail.

Have you ever received a piece of mail that had some sort of object in the envelope?  It’s pretty hard not to open, isn’t it?  Three dimensional objects (including packages as well as lumpy items sealed in envelopes) pique the prospect’s curiosity and increase open rates.  Another advantage is that other envelopes also tend to slide off them, so they are likely to end up on top of your prospect’s pile of mail.

Of course, exciting your prospect’s curiosity with lumpy mail won’t guarantee a great ROI for your mailing.  You will still need a promising list, a captivating headline, persuasive copy, and a tempting offer.  But adding a 3-D element to your mailing is quite capable of turning losers into winners, and winners into superstars.

And of course, that’s not just good for your bottom line, but for the environmental impact of your mailing as well.  Because anything you can do to increase your open rate not only increases your chances for immediate profit, it also decreases the waste factor represented by unopened mail.

photo credit: lemonhalf via photopin cc

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