Test these 7 Envelope Tactics to Boost Response

Changing your outer envelope, without touching any other part of your mailing, can punch up response by 100% or more at little or no expense. Here are seven low-cost envelope variations to test:


Headline changes, which do require thought and sweat to create successfully, cost close to $0 in coin of the realm.

Some headlines actually depress response. But using a “naked” envelope without a test is a bad idea.

Noted copywriter Bob Bly advises:

Do not fall head over heels in love with what you think is your best effort. Do an A/B test of your strongest envelope line versus no headline. Then roll out the winner.

Corner Cards

The sender’s name and address in the upper left-hand area of an envelope face make great candidates for testing.

The sender’s name and address area in the upper-left-hand corner of an envelope face is a great candidate for testing.

Bly reports that when a newsletter that usually printed the editor’s name and the name and address of the publishing company in its corner card added the newsletter title to the corner card: Response plunged 25%.


Those symbols of a company’s identity can cripple response when printed on an outer envelope, Bly writes.

“When the recipient gets an envelope carrying the logo of a company he does not know,” Bly notes, “he suspects that he is getting promotional mail and is therefore less likely to open the envelope, read the contents, and respond.” However, he writes, when your company or brand is well known, showing its logo (“IBM,” for example) can increase response. His tip: Test an envelope carrying your company’s logo in its corner card against an all-type version.

Paper & Color

In one test, Bly notes, an advertiser tested an A/B split between a Kraft and a white envelope. The white carrier out-pulled the Kraft envelope by 25%. (Which does not mean, Bly adds, that white always will do better than Kraft.)


Size matters, but carefully analyze the effects of using an envelope size different from the plain-vanilla #10 carrier, Bly advises.

Commonly, he says, a jumbo envelope will pull better than a #10 carrier, but not enough to be profitable.


Conventional wisdom, Bly says, holds that stamped envelopes pull higher response than metered outers, which tend to do better than printed indicias. Yet conventional wisdom often is wrong. So test.

First-Class or Bulk

According to the late marketing genius, Richard V. Benson, the only difference in results between costly first-class and more economical bulk (third-class or standard) postage is the speed, not the number, of replies received.

See also:

What Kind of Envelope Induces People to Open your Mail?

13 Pointers on Mailing Envelopes

3 Reply-Envelope Tests Worth Adapting for your Direct Mailings

6 Ways to Keep your Envelopes out of the Round File

How to get More B2B Envelopes Opened

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