Critical Factors in Creating High-Response Envelopes

Nationally respected marketing consultant Robert W. Bly offers pointers on improving the effectiveness of outer envelopes:


Many astute advertisers think that a teaser printed on an outer envelope will boost response. Famed copywriter Bill Jayme, for instance, compared envelope teasers to the headlines on space ads. However, Bly says, a teaser often depresses response. “If you can’t come up with compelling copy for the outer envelope, don’t use a teaser,” Bly advises. “If you have a teaser you think is strong, do an A/B test of a teaser vs. no teaser.” He notes that a blank envelope from a stranger gets opened almost every time.

Corner cards

If the sender prints his name and address in the upper left-hand corner of the envelope face, or on the back flap, the recipient can tell who sent the mailing – a confidence booster. However, Bly advises, beware of backfires. When a publishing company added the title of a newsletter to his corner card – which already contained the names of the editor and the company – response plummeted by 25%.


When a recipient sees the logotype of an unfamiliar company, Bly writes, he is less likely to open the envelope. “To avoid this,” Bly urges, “omit your logo and print your company’s name and address in plain type.” Also, many advertisers report that including a name “typed” in New Courier or a similar case boosts response.

White or colored stock

Bly reports on an a A/B test of a Kraft versus a plain white envelope, both carrying a control mailing. The white carrier out-pulled the Kraft envelope by 25%. This does not mean that white always out-pulls colored stock. It does mean, he says, that you should always test your expectations.

Envelope size

Usually, Bly says, jumbo-sized envelopes pull better than plain-vanilla #10 carriers – but not enough to make jumbo envelopes profitable. There are tons of exceptions to the rule, Bly notes. So test.

See also:

Getting Recipients to Open your Envelopes

3 Pointers on Getting Direct-Mail Envelopes Open

5 Ideas on the Power of the Outer Envelope

4 Bob Bly Tips on Making Envelopes Pull

Top features of most-opened mailing envelopes

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