Mailing Solutions, Equipment, & Software | Pitney Bowes

Six tips for a limited-budget campaign

Enrich your mailers – and messages – without breaking the bank

1.      Use professional designers. Even a freelancer found on a website like Elance can make a “night and day” difference compared to doing it yourself, says Craig Simpson, author of The Direct Mail Solution. Find a designer with a proven record of direct mail experience, and look for a design that enhances — not overwhelms — the copy.


2.      Consider a postcard. It’s the cheapest format to produce and mail, and the recipient doesn’t have to open an envelope to read the headline and view the offer. Households keeping a “mail diary” in a USPS study were considerably more likely to read — and less likely to discard — a direct-mail postcard compared to a letter-sized envelope, larger envelope, catalog or circular. Nearly 56 percent of postcards were read by at least one member of the household.1


3.      Try glossy, silky or heavy paper stock. It makes a mailer look and feel more substantial, and may be only marginally more expensive if your mailer is a postcard or a simple letter.


4.      Incorporate color. Colors can have a big impact on “brand personality,” or the traits consumers associate with a brand, says Lauren Labrecque, a marketing scholar at Loyola University’s Quinlan School of Business. Colors can also impact brand messaging: yellow evokes sincerity; blue represents intelligence and trust. Think about how color can  enhance your message but be careful, as envelopes with darker hues are not “machine friendly” at the post office and can take longer to arrive at their destination. 


5.      Play with PURLs. Personalized URLs (PURLs) can increase engagement rates up to 90 percent,2 says Ron Jacobs of Chicago marketing firm Jacobs & Clevenger and co-author of Successful Direct Marketing Methods. Some marketing firms specialize in PURLs, which typically cost a few cents per personalized site, plus the cost of designing a landing page template. The cost tends to depend on volume.3


6.      Test. Before splurging on an expensive mailer, test it against a less expensive one to see which one gets a better response rate, Jacobs says. “You can do three kinds of tests — for your mailing list, your offer or your ‘creative,’” he says. “By keeping the list and offer constant and testing the design, you can see whether the more expensive option justifies the additional cost. Never assume that the more expensive design is better. The important questions are: Is this easy to read? Is it easy to respond? Does it meet the goals of our campaign?”


1 U.S. Postal Service, “The Household Diary Study,” May 2013, Table A3-31
2 “How to Optimize Landing Pages and PURLs,” Jacobs & Clevenger
3 “How Much Should PURLs cost?”, March 2012; “PURL Pricing: How much do PURLs cost?”, Sept. 2014

© Pitney Bowes 2015. All rights reserved.

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