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Why Envelopes Outpull Self-Mailers in B2B Direct Mail Lead Generation


									?In business-to-business direct mail lead generation, letters invariably outpull
self-mailers, including postcards. Your sales message belongs in an envelope for a
number of good reasons.

1. Better privacy
An envelope announces to the recipient, "private correspondence enclosed." A
self-mailer, on the other hand, particularly a postcard, says, "this message has been
read by all and sundry, including the letter carrier and Joe in the mail room."

2. More personal
I realize that, with digital imaging, postcards and self-mailers can now be
personalized with the name of the reader. But they still look like and read like bulk
mail. A letter, on the other hand, always looks like a piece of one-to-one
communication, particularly when it is hand-signed by the writer and arrives with a
hand-affixed stamp on the carrier envelope.

3. Better response mechanism
If you want your prospect to answer a survey or return a business reply card, you are
better off going with a letter mailed in an envelope. There are self-mailer alternatives,
of course. Double postcards let the prospect tear off one side of the postcard and mail
it back to you. And you can always incorporate a perforated, tear-off business reply
card into your self-mailer. But these two methods have the drawback of making your
piece look like bulk mail, which is death in B2B lead generation.

4. Exclusivity
Which brings us to the major selling feature of envelopes over self-mailers.
Self-mailers, by their very design and utility, look like they are mass produced and
mailed in quantity. Even when addressed to a prospect by name and job title,
self-mailers still look like, dare I use the term, junk mail.

But envelopes, particularly #10 business envelopes, carry about themselves the aura
of exclusivity, of a message that is for the eyes of the recipient only. This is especially
true when the letter writer addresses the needs of the reader in particular by naming
the reader's company, mentioning the CEO by name, or discussing mergers, new
product launches, IPOs and other events that have affected the prospect's company in
particular. This cannot be done effectively, or believably, with a self-mailer.

How to get your envelope opened
To make sure that your business prospects open your mailings and don't consider
them bulk mail, make each envelope look private, personal and exclusive:
use a closed-face envelope, not a window
laser the address (no labels)
avoid teaser copy
don't use a bulk class postal indicia
use a first-class stamp, preferably a commemorative one
avoid gimmicks, like writing "IMPORTANT"

  2006 Sharpe Copy Inc. You may reprint this article online and in print provided the
links remain live and the content remains unaltered (including the "About the Author"



Alan Sharpe is a business-to-business direct mail copywriter and lead generation
specialist who helps business owners and marketing managers attract new clients
using direct mail marketing. Sign up for free weekly tips like this at /newsletter

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