by Trish Witkowski, Foldfactory.com/Rock the Mailbox
White #10 envelopes are the work horse of the mail industry. They’re practical, affordable and work well in many cases, but sometimes you just want something different.
These days, I spend a lot of time monitoring trends in the mailing industry. I watch mailers large and small looking for ways to shake things up and prevent marketing fatigue. I’ve been working on a list of my favorite envelope innovations and trends, and I wanted to share it with you, because I think there’s marketing gold in here. The solutions are in no particular order, and I invite you to investigate each of them further.
Western States Envelope & Label
Interaction is the name of the game when it comes to engagement, and what’s more intriguing than a little string embedded in an envelope? It’s Tear-ific!, from Western States Envelope & Label, makes it fun to open the mail. The recipient can pull the little perfed tab and string to access the contents or open it on the back with a flap. It’s Tear-ific! comes standard in a #10 regular, #10 window and a 6×9″ booklet size, and the string-pull mechanism also can be integrated into a custom envelope solution.
The Intelimailer™ is a uniquely designed, full-color “envelope” solution. The format, when delivered, looks like an envelope with a dramatic, diagonal flap. It stands out, given the uniqueness of its look. The Intelimailer is constructed from a full-color printed sheet, folded at an angle and glued at the edges. It can hold up to three 8.5×11″ inserts, with the option of a companion reply envelope or promotional card. The envelope opens into a flat 8.5×11″ sheet that can feature a full-color image and message on the interior for extra impact. Typically, the contents are digitally produced using high-quality HP Indigo presses, which lend themselves well to data-driven match mailings.
The Intelimailer gives you the ability to offer complete, hard-hitting letter packages supported by PURLs, QR codes and personalization in quantities from 300 up to 30,000. According to the manufacturer, the cost is only a few cents more than a one-dimensional postcard.
According to Tension Envelope, a little note can carry a big message. The company’s HotNote® envelope can boost readership and response to direct mailings, featuring a repositionable sticky note that is actually built into the envelope. It easily can be removed from the envelope and kept for later. The Hot•Note creates a long-term, visual reminder for the reader and can be printed in your choice of size, shape and color. You also can incorporate a message behind the sticky note, visible through a display window. The manufacturer states that the built-in sticky note can increase response rates by up to 60 percent over plain direct mail envelopes.
Feeling fancy? This product is a bit frivolous and fun. Envelofolds®, from Envelopments, look like pointy-flap Baronial or Euro-Flap envelopes when they’re folded, but when opened, you realize that the envelope isn’t really an envelope – it’s a wrap. Four pointed panels open up to the center panel and to the possibility of inserts. This solution is a treat for special event invitations and anytime you want your customers to feel extra special.
Full View/Display Window Envelopes
There are endless standard and custom window configurations to consider, but the big mama is the full view window envelope. This envelope, as its name suggests, offers a full view of its contents without skimping on protection. These envelopes are machineable and can be ordered in #10, Booklet and catalog sizes.
Conformer® mailers are expandable envelopes that are designed to be both durable and attractive. Every mailer features a patented construction that stands up to the mail process and offers extra capacity when you need it. If it is range youre looking for, Conformer mailers can be simple and white or full-color printed with embossing and foil.
The envelopes have been designed, tested and approved to run on Pitney Bowes, PFE and Bowe Bell + Howell inserters and are manufactured from a selection of environmentally-friendly FSC-certified premium papers. Conformer mailers are available in a wide variety of standard envelope options and designs, including windows and security features, and custom envelopes always are available.
Sim-Pull® Tab Mail Envelopes
It’s hard to resist a pull-tab, isn’t it? The Sim-Pull tab mail envelope features a pull-tab placed at the end of the envelope. Like its name, the Sim-Pull envelope is simple. The envelope’s contents are inserted like any other envelope; however, the recipient has the choice to open the envelope from the top or with the intriguing, side-opening device. It’s eye-catching and engaging, increasing the chances your offer will be read. The Sim-Pull is compatible with high-speed inserting systems and can be purchased as left or right opening and also is available with or without a window. Custom sizes and styles are available.
2-Way Reusable Envelopes
Various companies, including RECOCHET
Want to convey an environmental commitment to your customers? Try a reusable 2-way mailing envelope. The concept is that the envelope is designed to get to the consumer, be opened and then be re-used for the return mailing from the customer.
There are several 2-way envelopes on the market. The RECOCHET 2-Way Reusable Envelope includes traditional window and closed-face envelopes and are designed to use stamp, indicia or meter postage. The solution can be provided in ready-made or custom sizes with window configurations, paper selections and graphics to fit your marketing needs. RECOCHET 2-way envelopes are high-speed machine-insertable, USPS approved and DMM compliant. According to manufacturer ecoEnvelopes, marketers can save 15-45 percent on envelope and related mailing costs by eliminating the need for return envelopes.
Printable Clear Envelopes
Clear envelopes are hard to resist. We’ve all seen them, but have you seen one that was printed? EnvyPak’s clear poly envelopes are 4-color printable for a dramatic presentation in the mailbox. Printed EnvyPak envelopes add extra dimension to your mail campaigns, and the creative opportunities are endless. They’re auto-insertion-compatible and available in standard and custom sizes.
Yes, There’s More
Other fun envelope trends include textured and embossed envelopes, zip strips and windows on the back instead of the front (I call this the “rear-view window” strategy). If you haven’t guessed it yet, the key is to keep people guessing. So, I hope this little exercise in envelope innovation has inspired you to try something new or to recommend some fresh ideas to your customers.
Trish Witkowski is president of Foldfactory.com/Rock the Mailbox. An educator, author, designer and presenter, Witkowski specializes in creative solutions and engagement strategies for direct mail and marketing – and she uses her expertise to help companies find solutions that can meet, or exceed, their marketing goals. She also is the curator of the world’s most exciting collection of folded print and direct mail samples, sharing the best of her collection on her popular e-video series “60-second Super-cool Fold of the Week.” For more information, visit www.foldfactory.com.