Top Features of Most-Opened Mailing Envelopes

woman opening letter

Studies in the U.S. and Europe highlight the factors—some of them surprising—that cause people to open the direct-mail envelopes they receive:

Addressing by Name

A NFO Research Inc. study for Pitney Bowes Inc. indicated that the most important driver that causes mail recipients to open outer envelopes is individual addressing, with the person’s name spelled correctly. Even envelopes addressed with misspelled names, the research showed, were opened more than generically addressed mailings. “‘Current Resident‘ or ‘Occupant’ just doesn’t cut it any more,” remarked Pitney Bowes Vice President Kevin Weiss.

Type of Postage

The second most important “openability” factor revealed by the NFO study was postage type. Stamped mail stimulated envelope opening somewhat more than first-class metered mail.

A business-to-business mail study conducted by Europe’s University of Ghent also showed stamped envelopes to be openability winners.

Envelopes carrying preprinted first-class or third-class permits flunked when it came to getting opened, the NFO study showed. In fact, third-class metered mail beat firstclass permit mail.

Complete Return Address

“Mystery Mail” tends to stay unopened. The presence of a return address, including the name of a person, was the third major factor leading to the opening of an envelope, according to the NFO study.

Other Factors

The NFO research revealed that standard #10 business envelopes were likeliest to be opened of the 21 envelope styles tested— especially if they carried a headline (in red). The European study also showed that “normally” sized paper envelopes increase the likelihood of being opened. Windowed envelopes scored high in openability, the NFO study showed. So did envelopes with ink-jet or otherwise directly printed addresses. However, using Cheshire addressing labels depressed envelope opening.

See also:

Critical Factors in Creating High-Response Envelopes

Getting Recipients to Open your Envelopes

5 Ideas on the Power of the Outer Envelope

4 Bob Bly Tips on Making Envelopes Pull

3 Pointers on Getting Direct-Mail Envelopes Open

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