Mailing lists, unlike Email lists require a bit of a different approach to get them to pay off. After all, you don’t have the immediacy of an Email but you also have a better likelihood that your target will actually get the mail that you send to them. Here’s what you need to know:
Start With the Envelope
Unless you are sending a postcard, you need to find a way to get people to open the envelope that they receive when you send out to your mailing lists. There are two theories about this. One is the plain envelope theory which suggests that putting the mailing into a plain envelope with either a label on the front or even better a window with the address showing is more likely to get people to open it. The reason is simple – people will assume it’s a bill or something else important.
The other theory is that you start your advertising on the envelope and that you realize these are cold mailing lists, where you have a list of people who have been signed up at one point or another for certain types of mail so they are more susceptible to certain kinds of messages on the outside of the envelope. For example, if you were sending them an offer to participate in a sweepstakes, you might mention that on the envelope somewhere.
Just make sure to check on postal regulations before preparing materials for your mailing lists since there are places you can’t put advertising (and if you do, your letters could be delayed or not even delivered).
What is the First Thing They See?
The next step in turning mailing lists into customers is to decide what people will see first when they open the envelope. Generally, your message should be apparent the moment people open the envelope. Folding a letter so that nothing is visible is generally frowned upon since it obscures your message and makes it more likely that your mailing will be tossed in the garbage, unread.
Don’t Send Too Much
The fact is that if you sent a package with a free sample of a product, it’s more likely to get opened and looked at. The trouble is, sending a free sample out to your mailing lists will increase your costs exponentially since you pay by weight (the first ounce costs the same, after that, you pay per ounce up to 12 ounces, then it goes to a pound). So make sure that what you send is both high impact and relatively light weight.
Bulk or First Class Mail?
This is a tossup. Mailing lists are sold and passed around all the time so you have to be careful when sending to them to get the maximum bang for your buck. This would see to indicate that you want to use bulk mail. On the other hand, because mailing lists are sold so often (even today, when Email seems to be all the rage), many people who see a bulk mail stamp immediately toss such letter in the garbage, unopened, assuming it’s junk mail.
We suggest that if you are going the plain envelope route you’ll want to send with a plain stamp. If you are doing advertising on the outside of the envelope anyway, then anyone on your mailing lists will already know that it’s an advertisement so it doesn’t help you to send with first class mail.