8 Letter-Opening Enticements for the Back of Your Envelope

Your envelope is the gateway to your promotion. But if not properly handled, it becomes a barricade instead.

Keeping that gateway open and welcoming is the job of compelling envelope teaser copy.

While there’s always the option of mailing without teaser, most clients want to use it because it’s effective.

So, if one side of the envelope is good, isn’t using both sides better? The answer is a resounding, “It depends.”

If you're trying to convey a low-key tone, front envelope copy is probably all you need. AWAI mailings are a good example of this.

Another reason to concentrate your efforts on writing perfect teaser copy for the front of the envelope is if your client wants to keep costs to a minimum.

But if your client wants a no-holds-barred approach, the back of the envelope offers valuable real estate for copy and graphics that can guarantee getting the envelope opened.

Here are 8 effective back-of-the-envelope ideas …

  1. What your prospect will find inside the envelope. "Inside: Your choice of three FREE bonuses!" Tell your prospect what the pay-off is. Give him a good reason to tear open the envelope and start reading.
  2. The offer's expiration date. Make your prospect worry that he is going to miss out on a terrific opportunity.
  3. A long list of satisfied customers. If your prospect would recognize the names of satisfied customers, flaunt them. If you're selling supplements, list the names of known medical experts who use the product. If you're selling software, use large companies with recognizable names. And so on.
  4. Customer testimonials. Find your two or three best and use the words of satisfied customers to pull your prospect into the letter. Remember: You can edit testimonials for length. But keep them in your customer's words, bad English and all. And do not use anonymous testimonials.
  5. A note from the president or a top executive of the company. They can talk about the guarantee, the special offer, their years in business, past successes … whatever can make a distinct impact. It's like having a personal lift note right there on the envelope.
  6. A restatement of the bonus offer: "Your FREE exclusive report: 'The 7 Best Vacation Escapes for Luxury and Relaxation … at Half Cost or Less!'" Never underestimate the power of a bonus offer to boost sales. If you have something great to give away, say it loud and clear!
  7. Rave review quotes. These can carry a lot of weight with your prospect. But don't overdo it. Three to five quotes are enough. If you include too many, they won't get read.
  8. Award logos. If you've got them, put them in a prominent place for your prospect to see. They build your credibility and your prospect's confidence, overcoming his natural skepticism.

There are three things to remember about using back-of-the-envelope enticements.

First of all, it's up to your client to decide whether it makes financial sense for him. But if you think it's a good idea, offer it as a suggestion at the beginning of the file you submit.

Second, when making the suggestion to the client, be very specific about what you think would work, giving as many details as possible. For example, if you're recommending using two testimonials, include the ones you'd like to use and say that you want them in two different handwritten font styles, each set at an angle, etc.

Finally … and most important … back-of-the-envelope copy does NOT replace your front teaser.

Your prospect may initially be attracted by the rear copy and graphics – but he'll quickly turn the letter over to look for the one item most prospects examine closely: the return address.

After doing that, he'll look at the front teaser copy. Only then will he pay close attention to the back.

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Published: May 21, 2007

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