Can your choice of business envelope affect if your mail gets opened? What about how you address your envelope? Does it matter? Will “any old envelope” do?
Envelope Tips For Business Owners
Put it this way: if get your business envelope wrong, you can waste a LOT of money.
The wrong choice might see your envelope tossed in the bin before it is even opened. You’ve wasted postage. You’ve wasted printing costs.
And if you’re relying on that message bringing you sales, you’ve wasted that revenue opportunity too.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to make some key mistakes. Don’t skip over due consideration of your envelope!
You need several types of envelopes based on why you’re sending out a letter.
Spending a little time planning this in advance can add up to big results.
FIRST, remember the PURPOSE of your envelope. It is two-fold:
- Safely deliver the contents to the recipient; and
- Get itself OPENED!
In some situations, a service like shrink-wrapping might help you achieve the first purposes.
For example, in the lead-up to the 2019 Australian federal election in May, the weather was quite cold and rainy where we live.
One local candidate sent out an envelope full of lots of important material. Unfortunately it got soaked before we could open it. The contents were ruined. What an expensive mistake.
But another item arrived from the electoral commission the same week in shrink-wrapping. It got SAFELY inside our home. The contents were easy to read.
Now generally you don’t have to worry about shrink-wrapping. But in some cases you don’t want to overlook the first purpose of the envelope!
So what kind of envelopes do you need in your business?
1. Business envelope printing with your company logo/branding
These types of envelopes are often all that business owners have to use. They represent typical business stationery: an envelope with your company’s branding.
Yes, these are essential. But they’re not “all-purpose”.
What are they best for? They work best when the receiver knows who you are.
Now that sounds obvious. But abusing this simple qualification can kill your effectiveness.
If you’re not writing to your customers, or others who know you, do not use this type of envelope.
Because when your envelope shows up, the first decision is whether to open it. And if you’re unfamiliar to the receiver, you run the risk they won’t open the letter. Many receivers will look at the logo and decide in advance if they should bother.
So whatever offer or message is inside gets missed. Or at least runs a big risk of doing so.
Ouch, that’s costly!
Go ahead and use these envelopes with your customers. Send them offers and newsletters. Send them letters. But don’t use them with people who don’t yet know who you are.
Plain Face or Window Face?
If you’re ordering envelopes, should they have a window? That depends.
If you’re sending a lot of transaction-style mail, windows are very handy. For example, invoices, statements or new membership cards.
These types of letters have an address in a fixed place. So the window saves time having to add a separate address. It also ensures there is no mismatch of the outer and inner address.
But that time saved comes at a cost.
The perception when using a window-faced envelope is the message inside isn’t personal.
So make sure you ONLY use window-faced envelopes for non-personal mail.
Otherwise, use a plain-faced envelope, without a window.
Now you know what type of envelope to use when the receiver knows who you are. Below we also look at business envelopes to use when this isn’t the case.
Either way, the way you address the receiver is important.
How do you include an address on a plain-faced envelope? Again, it’s a decision worth giving a little consideration.
2. The Lost Art of Personal Communication
Let’s say you’ve decided you need to send a letter in a plain-face business envelope that has your company’s branding on it.
You can add an address in at least four ways:
- Hand-write it;
- Use a printer to add the address straight onto the envelope;
- Use a label; or
- Use a typewriter (!)
There are obvious differences in how much time each method takes. But they each have an impact on the receiver’s perception.
If you want to look personal, bar codes are also out. Yes, they save you postage costs. But they look very businesslike. And sometimes you want to avoid that.
(You definitely want to have accurate addresses. But that’s another topic altogether).
A hand-written address says a lot more than a hastily-applied label.
It says “I’m a personal message. Open me.” It also conveys the letter isn’t some bulk- or mass-produced piece. Because of that, it helps ensure the envelope gets opened!
The receiver is curious about why they’re getting a personal letter from you. They want to know what’s inside.
The more often you can hand-address a business envelope, the more often it gets opened.
So what if you’re sending 1,000 letters?
The best option is to hand-write each one. Even if you get help, which can be quite inexpensive.
“Yikes!”, I hear you groan. “I don’t have time for that.”
That’s unfortunate. Making time for this step can add up to some huge results.
But I know that’s not always possible.
And there are some ways to mimic a hand-written envelope. They’re not perfect, but they are better than many alternatives.
Let’s look at the alternatives to hand-written addresses:
PRINTING ON THE ENVELOPE ITSELF
To me, this is your best alternative. And you can even mimic hand-writing to an extent (more on that shortly).
Many inkjet printers make this option very affordable. Make sure the printer has a “straight paper path”. You don’t want the envelope wrinkled in the machine. Often you load the envelopes at the back.
Laser printers can do this job too. But be aware of wrinkling. Some laser printers aren’t effective for envelope printing.
I like inkjet printers better for this purpose. The ink soaks into the envelope stock a little. That can help a handwriting font look hand-written. And it avoids any shiny toner appearance, which may look more mass produced. Finally, it can be much more cost effective to setup.
Labels are admittedly convenient. Either from a label printer or a sheet of labels, they save time. But they don’t say “I’m personal”.
They’re great if you don’t need to convey a personal message. Otherwise, they can affect how many receivers open the envelope.
That is especially true for an irregular message you send, such as a letter.
But if you’re sending a regular mailout, like a newsletter, you have more leeway. Your recipients will be expecting your mail. So the label doesn’t present a hurdle. It won’t stop them opening the envelope.
Make sure though you apply the label straight! Crooked labels look rushed, and less caring.
Now if you still have a typewriter around, it has its benefits. This “old-fashioned” method of addressing an envelope still works. It says “I’m a personal message” more than a label. But for all the time you take, hand-writing will still trump a typewriter.
3. Being Personal Without Handwriting
How can you mimic handwriting on an envelope?
The best way is to use a good handwriting font with an inkjet printer.
Now by ‘handwriting font’ I do not mean any old script or brush typeface. I mean a font design based on actual handwriting.
There are hundreds of options. It’s easy too to get your OWN handwriting turned into a typeface. There are several internet-based services that can help. They will turn your handwriting into a font.
Unless you have a very sophisticated typeface, it’s not perfect. It can be easy to spot that a computer has created the lettering. You should especially check a few address examples to see what the font looks like. Numbers can look out of place. Or some letters can be particularly troublesome. So check first.
Some fonts too look like printed lettering, not handwriting. The letters are not joined. But even then, aside from real handwriting, it is still a great option.
The second-best way is to use a good typewriter font with an inkjet printer. The typewriter style still conveys a personal feel. Again, the sites above offer a lot of choices.
4. Direct Mail: “Sneak-Up” approach or not?
First, what do I mean by “direct mail”?
Direct mail is sales and marketing mail. It is when you are promoting something. You’re sending mail to get a response, such as an order or appointment. This is a great way of getting an offer to someone on a mailing list who isn’t your customer.
In most cases, you are sending this to people who are not your customers. So you most likely will not want the receiver to see your company details on the envelope at all.
That’s because the envelope’s job here is to get itself opened. If it looks like advertising, it might get thrown out without even being opened.
So you can use a “sneak-up” design to help avoid that scenario.
If the envelope has only the recipient’s address, and a small, innocuous return address, it can work well.
The way the envelope is addressed, and the return address, should not look like it’s from a commercial business.
This invokes curiosity. Recipients are more likely to open the envelope. You are sneaking up on them… they won’t know who you are before they decide to open the envelope.
(Don’t overlook the fine art of presenting the contents inside! But that’s for another blog post).
You can also take the opposite approach. In this case, the envelope screams “advertising”. You can use this method to entice receivers with a great offer. Or you might not even need an envelope this way. Instead, you could use a flyer or postcard on its own, without an envelope.
But that way, you’re not sneaking up. You need the postcard or flyer to be very enticing. Yes, it can work. But it is hard to make that seem genuinely personal.
5. Two Special “I’m Personal” Envelope Tricks
COLOUR AND SIZE
Sometimes the best way to reach someone is to make your envelope look un-businesslike.
A great option is using a plain, coloured envelope. Most business envelope designs are white. So colour stands out and says “I’m not from a business”.
Most envelopes for business-size letters are DL sized (110x220mm). So avoid white DL envelopes if you can for this purpose.
You CAN use specialty papers like metallic gold or silver in DL size. Again, they suggest something personal.
Or even better, use a size that most businesses don’t use.
A great example is a C6 size coloured envelope. C6 is 114x162mm. Very few businesses use this very common size, even though it is easy to get. This takes an A4 sheet folded twice in half. Or an A5 sheet in half (even a greeting card). For some messages, this is super effective.
It’s great too because it costs no more to post. It’s a standard letter size. That means too it fits into mailboxes a lot easier than oversized (large letter) envelopes.
When combined with handwriting this can be very powerful. The envelope looks very personal. Its chance of getting opened is thus very high.
STAMPS vs POSTAGE PAID
Another “trick” for looking personal is the use of actual postage stamps.
A lot of business mail has a “Postage Paid” imprint. This often saves time as there is no need to add a stamp. And it often means a postage discount.
But stamps? They say “I’m personal”. Someone has taken a bit of time to do apply the stamp. They can even be a little crooked. This reinforces that a machine wasn’t used.
While there is no discount this way, the impact can be well worth the extra cost. We have created business mail to tens of thousands of addresses all with real postage stamps. They definitely help the envelope get opened.
There are a few other postage stamp “tricks” too. But I’ll save them for another time.
6. A Hand-Crafted Business Envelope?
If you’re doing a really small mailout, there’s one more thing to consider: making the envelope!
Now this might take time and need a little crafting skills. But it is not difficult to do. Google is your friend and will bring up dozens of envelope templates to download. When something really needs to stand out in the mail, it might be hand-made.
7. Taking Over Another Business? How To Tell THEIR Customers.
One final tip. We had a client once who had purchased a competitor’s business. They wanted to write to their competitor’s customers to announce the change.
Now that’s a great reason to get in touch of course. You introduce yourself. You persuade the competitor’s customers to keep doing business with you. (Unsure how to do that? We can help!).
But when you send out your mail, be careful! You want to use your competitor’s old envelopes, not your own.
The receiver doesn’t know your business. Or, if they do, they’ve chosen your competitor instead of you. So don’t send out mail yet in your business envelope. They are more likely to throw it away.
Instead, use the branding of the business you’ve taken over. Even if you have to print a batch of new envelopes. You can even be effective if the old business has lost its good reputation. In that case, the right announcement on the envelope can help you.
All in the name of getting your envelope opened!
Business Envelope Printing
We can help with any and all types of business envelope printing. Whether more traditional sizes like DL, C5, C4 or B4, or less common sizes like C6, DLX, DLE, or 11B … we can help. Contact us and we can arrange a quote.
FULL RANGE OF FEATURES
We have all sorts of features such as privacy (harder to see inside), window faces (in standard and barcode size), coloured and fully custom printed envelopes. There are press-seal (lick-and-stick or moisture-seal) or peel-and-seal type options to close the flap. And we can print envelopes with outside seams suitable for use with mail insertion machines.
THE WHOLE MAILOUT!
We can also arrange for your business envelopes to be PRE-addressed for you. We can lodge the mail, and complete your whole mailout. We can add live stamps (to envelopes and postcards). We have even done this for mailing runs above 50,000 quantity (we work with accredited mailing houses for big mailouts). We can also arrange shrink-wrapping.
BE CAREFUL WITH THE SEAL
One final tip: press seal or gummed envelopes often don’t have a shelf-life longer than about 6 months (depending a little on how they are stored). So if you don’t use envelopes as frequently, specify peel-and-seal as this style lasts much longer.