Mail advertisers often wonder what a mailing package should contain besides a sales letter, and a reply device and envelope. For example, say you are selling newsletter subscriptions. Your mailer almost certainly will comprise an outer envelope, a sales letter, an order form, and a business reply envelope. But are they enough? Or are more inserts overkill? Here are guidelines:
Include a sample issue of a publication when there is something inherently appealing about it. As an example, a great advantage of the Bits & Pieces newsletter is that a copy fits into a shirt pocket — a benefit that a sample issue dramatizes. Use a sample issue if the newsletter has a broad, strong, almost universal appeal to the entire base of potential subscribers.
Insert a specimen copy — not an actual newsletter from any particular month, but rather a sample composite assembled from articles taken from many issues. A specimen is preferable over actual issues whose main cover story or theme is of interest only to a limited portion of the subscriber base.
Employ a full-size brochure — perhaps an 11" x 17" sheet folded to form four pages — when you want to reprint readable sample pages from the newsletter, with call-outs that emphasize the newsletter’s editorial features. A full-size brochure also is useful for illustrating multimedia products, for example a loose-leaf service with multiple components such as a binder, tabs, supplements, special inserts, or a CD-ROM.
Include a “slim-Jim” folder — typically, an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of paper folded twice to form six panels, or an 8-1/2" x 14" sheet folded three times to form eight panels. Use a slim-Jim when you have a limited amount to say or illustrate beyond what is already included in your sales letter.
Insert a premium sheet — usually, an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet printed on one or both sides. It is used to highlight premiums and their contents.
Include a “Buck” slip — typically, a 4" x 9" sheet printed on one side. Buck slips are used to highlight premiums when you have only a few that need minimal copy to describe –– or to boost pass-along readership.
Use a lift letter — a second letter inserted in the package, often Monarch size. It can be used either to reinforce a point made in the main sales letter, or to introduce an additional selling point or supporting sales information.
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