Full access to Entrepreneur for $5

It's In the Envelope

There's more to direct mail than the letter.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

While direct mail can mean everything from a postcard to a catalog, many business owners get the best response from sending out a direct-mail "package." In addition to the sales letter and brochure, this typically includes three other elements:

  • The outside envelope: There are two schools of thought on this. One school swears that "teaser" copy on the envelope can get recipients to open it. On the other hand, some people throw away anything that looks like junk mail. The opposite strategy is to trick readers into opening your mail by sending direct mail that looks like personal letters. Software programs can print addresses so they look like handwriting. Put only your address, not your company name, on the return address to arouse the recipient's curiosity.
  • A response form: The form should be easy to fill out. Be sure to include your phone number in case the prospect wants to ask a question to order by phone.
  • A reply envelope: Enclosing postage-paid reply envelopes helps get orders. If you can't afford postage-paid envelopes, include a preaddressed reply envelope. If the prospect has to put the mailing down and search for an envelope, they may have time to have second thoughts.

Excerpted from Start Your Own Business: The Only Start-Up Guide You'll Ever Need