How to Kickstart Your Noodle During a Creative Block

“Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.” (Paul Rand, graphic designer)

Never does a page seem so bleak as when you experience a creative rut in design.

Design ruts are the graphic artist’s equivalent of writer’s block. And everyone has been there! The world’s most imaginative people have experienced this obstacle and found a way to battle through.

One benefit of getting stuck is that you’re forced to rediscover your own creativity! Need help getting started? Here are some different ways to break out of stagnation when you’re stuck on a design:

1. Think laterally

Designs are ultimately problems waiting to be solved.

When you are stymied by the project at hand, come at the problem from a different angle, no matter how extreme it might seem.

One way to do this is to temporarily focus your thinking around individual parts of a message, like why a client might need your product or what pictures might best communicate its benefits.

2. Concentrate on your market

What are your target customers used to seeing, and what would make them lean forward and take note?

Maybe you need to challenge existing assumptions and go for something bolder. For example, in the financial world, materials tend to be produced in very corporate colors, like navy blue and grey. How could a fresh design upend traditional concepts in a way that is appealing and energizing?

3. Try the “what if” or the “why” game

When designs don’t seem to flow, start with questions instead. Like this:

What if questions:

  • What if I only use illustrations?
  • What if I only use type?
  • What if the type made the illustration?
  • What if I draw it with my eyes closed?

Why questions:

  • Why do I need to focus on this particular product feature?
  • Why is this feature important to prospects?
  • Why is this something that will impact their life in a significant way?
  • Why is this something they need to think about now versus later?

4. Take a Quick Tutorial

While it can be tempting to rip off a design from someone else, one of the best ways to build your original muscle is to go back to the drawing board.

An easy way to do this is to jump into an online tutorial. Though traditionally intended to educate, tutorials can be a rich source of design inspiration. Don’t merely skim the tutorial and glance at the result, go through the tutorial step by step with the author.

Doing this will force you to think like another person as you try to understand the implementation of methods that aren’t your own. This can energize you to think about new possibilities.

Don’t Force a Solution

When you feel overwhelmed by your lack of inspiration, remember that feeling stuck is just another step in the creative process.

If all else fails, embrace the moment and give it some time. What seems like a rut now might be an important step on your creative journey. Be patient, learn from it, and trust that you’ll come out on the other side.

Need help with your design idea? We can help!

Finish in Fine Form with Beautiful Varnish Coatings

Have you ever judged a book by its cover?

You’re not alone! First impressions are essential to how people judge a person, a product, or a business. And when you’re going for visual impact, research suggests visitors will form an impression in as little as 50 milliseconds!

Once you’ve invested all the hard work and planning into your print marketing materials, it is important to go the extra mile on quality.

Want a simple technique that beautifully enhances your impact and appeal? For a budget-friendly bonus, try adding a varnish!

Know Your Options

Just as varnish on a dresser or table protects the wood and gives it a nice finished look, the varnish used on printed pieces enhances their look and durability.

Adding a print varnish brings a transparent coating to your printed page. Varnish can add a unique, creative element to get that five-star appearance, so make sure you choose the one that best fits with the look and tone you’re trying to communicate.

Here are a few options to consider:

Dull

Also known as matte, this is very different from a varnish-like gloss.

A matte finish is best suited if your design contains a lot of text, as it will deflect light and glare. Using a dull varnish can be an excellent tool for improving readability on pages containing text. Although called dull, matte finishes scream sophistication. These varnish coatings are never overdone but carry a simple and stylish vibe.

Gloss

As its name indicates, this varnish is the diva of the bunch and gives a glossy type of appearance.

Gloss varnish makes colors look more saturated, and your design elements look crisper and sharper. It is perfect for printed pages containing items like photographs and graphics, adding a glare or shine to bring extra attention to the areas where it is applied. An overall gloss varnish will protect areas with heavy coverage from rubbing off and will keep your piece from scuffing.

Satin

Looking to strike a compromise?

Satin varnish is created by mixing gloss and matte varnishes and offers a moderate amount of shine. This option is ideal if you have a lot of photo and text combination pieces.

Spot Varnish

Want to highlight a certain section of your piece, so it leaps off the page?

Spot varnishes are a great way to maximize the contrast between matte and gloss surfaces. This technique allows you to apply varnish to an individual image or graphic on your printed piece (such as a logo or photo) while leaving the rest of the piece unvarnished.

Aqueous Coating

The most popular coating for printed material is aqueous coating.

Aqueous is a clear, water-based coating that is environmentally friendly. Since it is water-based, it is best used on papers with a text weight of 80# or heavier, so you do not end up with curling or wrinkles. Aqueous coating dries quicker than varnishes and makes it ideal for running inline on the press.

UV Varnish

A UV varnish is applied off-line and is cured with ultraviolet light.

This process gives the surface an exceptional gloss and rub resistance. A great example of the glossiness of UV Coating is sports trading cards. These have a UV coating on the photo side but no coating on the stat side. This coating is cured by passing under an ultraviolet light that quickly dries and hardens the coating, creating a high-level sheen but the greatest possible protection. UV coated elements in your piece will take center stage.

Want to add excitement and durability to your next print product? Give us a call to talk about varnish options today!

Add Spice to Your Print Ads with Distinct, Arresting Images

In a world where digital advertising screams for attention, print ads need a little extra spice to compete.

Ads that evoke emotion, add humor, or spark curiosity have extra impact. Need inspiration? Here are three imaginative print campaigns to consider.

Opel: A Road Safety Campaign

Opel, a German automobile manufacturer, wanted to draw attention to the danger of texting while driving.  

Opel’s message is distinct because it uses nothing more than the black background and a short line of text that packs a big punch:

“Your typjng whille you drive is asbad as your drivinh whilr yoou typr.”

Sharp, memorable, and humorous, this ad immediately shows why texting driving is a bad idea. Opel paired this with gigantic black and white sidewalk banners of a person pushing a 7-meter-long baby stroller. The banners included this caption, highlighted in yellow:

“1 second on your phone are 7 meters on the street. Don’t text and drive.”

Vodol: Smelly and Simple

Did you know the human brain can process images up to 60,000 times faster than words?

With a picture, you convey much more than you can with words. In some cases, it can take a thousand words to describe what is displayed in one picture!

Whenever possible, use pictures that share concepts in striking, unusual ways. Vodol, one of Brazil’s best-known brands for preventing athlete’s foot and odor issues, nailed this strategy. Its print ad featured a foot with normal toes and arches, while a rounded nose took the place of the heel’s natural curve. The nostril – mashed into the ground – was accompanied by this caption:

“Protect your feet. And our noses.”

French Ministry of Health: Offend Others or Let a Bland Message “Melt” Away?

Print ads in magazines, newspapers, and catalogs are viewed as more trustworthy by consumers who already have connections with that print advertising channel.

Looking to address childhood obesity and target behavior change, the French Ministry of Health created a print ad where a flesh-colored, triple-scoop ice cream cone was melting into the shape of a very large belly.

This arresting image, accompanied by the caption “obesity starts at a young age,” caused people everywhere to think twice about daily food choices. Sometimes a stark image is needed to grab attention, and in this case – with the number of obese people doubling in recent years – France was serious about getting its message across.

Strategic Design is Key

While each of these print ads each hold some shock value, they also carry a distinct, easy-to-understand message.

To create effective print ads, thoughtful design is essential. Because of its tactile nature and sensory impact, print offers a more curated approach than digital media. Use highly targeted content and distinct, powerful images to grab attention and compel engagement from your viewers.

And, as these ads demonstrate, simplicity is powerful. To go for more, sometimes what you really need is less.

How to Lead with a Level Head in Stressful Situations

On January 15, 2009, US Airways flight 1549 ascended from LaGuardia Airport and had a chance encounter with an unexpected adversary.

Shortly after take-off, the Airbus struck a flock of Canadian geese. Flames exploded before an eerie silence, and an odor of fuel filled the cabin. Both engines had shut down, and Captain Chesley Sullenberger and his team tried unsuccessfully to restart them. After turning back toward LaGuardia, the pilots quickly realized their only option was an emergency water landing in the Hudson River.

As they passed less than 900 feet above the George Washington Bride, Sullenberger radioed the coast guard for assistance and barked “brace for impact!” Ninety seconds later, the plane crashed into the water with no bounce, followed by a gradual deceleration and a speedy deboarding. All 150 passengers were saved, and Sullenberger was the last to deplane after walking the cabin twice to ensure it was empty.

Later, the crew was presented with “keys to the city” by mayor Micheal Bloomberg, and the incident was dubbed “the miracle on the Hudson.”

Four Tips to Steady Your Nerve

Have you ever had a “falling-through-the-floor feeling” moment like this in your leadership?

Maybe it wasn’t a life or death experience, but most seasoned leaders regularly experience pressure. While these moments may tempt you to lash out in anger or duck and run, level-headed leaders make decisions that are rational, consistent, and upbeat.

Want to stay calm in the heat of the moment? Here are four steps to consider:

1. Conduct a Threat Assessment

When the alarm signals start to flash, it’s easy to go down a rabbit hole of “what if” statements: What if X? What if XYZ? 

Instead, step away from this panic-mode mentality and ask a simple question: “what kind of problem is this?” Here you can discern if something needs an immediate reaction, a team-based response, or a strategic, long-term plan.

2. Leverage Prior Experience

While you may not have faced this particular challenge before, you’ve probably been in a similar situation. 

Ask yourself, “When ____ happened before, how did we resolve it?” Even if you’ve only faced this scenario in training, tell yourself, “this is just a different version of a problem I’ve solved before.” Leveraging past experiences (and those of your close colleagues) can help you size up a challenge and rationally consider the threats at hand.

3. Focus on What You Can Control

When things get tough, it isn’t easy to stay positive. 

But an upbeat attitude is more than a rosy perspective; it’s actually a lifeline to breakthrough. One Navy-trained explosive specialist shared a story of a time he was defusing a mine underwater and got trapped, unable to move his hands or his feet. 

How did he move forward? With positive thinking: “I’m still breathing, so that’s good,” he told himself. “What else do I have that’s going for me?” 

The specialist realized that even if he could do one little thing to make something better, this was better than no control at all:

“If you can do another thing and then another thing, then you can have cascading positivity as opposed to spiraling negativity,” he said. “It’s really only an emergency if I can’t find a better solution.”

4. Plan Your Next Step

Even if you can’t see a way out, you can probably take one step forward. 

When you don’t have a solution, the secret to staying calm is to decide on a next step. This prevents an anxious gap from opening, where worry and speculation can flourish.  

Think in technical terms, ask for help, and take a baby step forward wherever possible. Focus on the process, not the outcome, and you’ll stay sharp in moments of crisis.

Shout Your News with Stylish Printed Announcements

Have you recently won an award, reached a milestone, or done something pretty incredible?

Whether you’re launching a product or expanding to a new market, your business or organization can share the news far and wide with printed announcement cards. In a world of digital noise, the medium is just as important as the message, so why not opt for something more personal and pristine with gorgeous custom announcements?

Share Something Special and Significant

Announcement cards offer a wonderful way to market your events, products, achievements, or stay in touch with your clients. These stylish notes are more than just fluff; they denote something of significance that boosts your brand and business.

Want to put your news at their fingertips? Here are just a few catchy headers:

  • Launching SOON
  • Coming to a neighborhood near you
  • We’re Hiring
  • The Future is HERE
  • You asked, we answered . . .
  • Save 20% more time with _____!
  • We’re growing. Find us at our new location __________
  • The best in the business: presenting our award winning ___________
  • Your new investment expert: welcoming MBA Edwin Harris to our endowment team

Want to have some fun with your announcements? Try one of these energetic theme ideas:

Take a photo of your team holding a sign announcing the news. Add colored party hats, streamers, or sparkling confetti.

Try peel-to-win cards or scratch-off tickets. Everyone loves a surprise, so include peel-to-win promotions (for example: 20-50-75 percent off or an exclusive 10 grand prize winners) as part of your announcement card.

Post a picture of a new location or featured team member using eye-catching props (like pulling a $100 bill from a magician’s hat or posing with a llama that is wearing a birthday hat).

Print a customized puzzle and send it in an envelope, so recipients have to put together the pieces to learn about your exciting news.

Do a mailing to your key referral contacts (or top clients) with a note and gift relating to the announcement. You may use a simple postcard for the majority of customers but add an incentive for others. For example, when announcing your new GOLD status, send bags of gold chocolate coins or gold-dusted chocolate strawberries to your VIP clients.

Keep Readers Curious

Remember, while announcements involve your news, readers will enjoy them more when you make it about THEM.

In all your messaging, focus on how your news translates into value for your friends and customers. Reiterate a special offer, a time-bound coupon, or a free sample for clients who attend your event. Use powerful action calls or “you” statements that convey benefits for the user. Whether you are a political candidate or a neighborhood business, reader-focused messaging gets the best results.

For example:

Measure Strain Without Stress

Make the Most Out of Your ________

Advancing our Community Together

Save $100 on Your Subscription When You Bundle _________ and __________

Something to Write Home About

Printable announcement cards make it easy to send exciting news to your friends and associates without breaking the bank.

From elegantly embossed envelopes to oversized foil-stamped postcards, ensure your message shines strong as you share events, grand openings, sales announcements, and more.

How to Ask for Help at Work

Were you forced to work from home in 2020?

What were your biggest challenges? Perhaps it was learning the necessary technology – or teaching it to others. Maybe it was forming a new business plan. Or perhaps you struggled to meet the workday demands while homeschooling your kids.

If you weren’t stretched this year, you were probably in the minority! And as you reached the end of your abilities, you probably faced a question most people prefer to avoid:

“How can I ask for help without looking weak?”

Though an independent attitude is great, at some point, everyone needs to lean on others. And sometimes, a can-do spirit can push you to take on more than you can reasonably handle, leading to failure or burnout. According to a 2018 Gallup study, 23% of full-time workers reported feeling burned out at work very often or always. And one major reason for this burnout was an unmanageable workload.

Examples of How to Ask for Help

Do you need more help but struggle to verbalize this? If so, having a script to start from can be a push in the right direction. Here are some principles and example “asks” that might be helpful:

Keep it Simple

When you beat around the bush, people sometimes feel manipulated or deceived. Instead, lead with a simple phrase like, “I’m stuck,” or “Can you please help me?”

Be Specific

When you want a clear answer, lead with a specific request.

For example: “Are you free Wednesday morning? I need feedback on my sales report and would greatly value your input.”

Or: “Can you give me a warm intro to Russ Colton? He’s your head of marketing, and I would love to collaborate with him.”

Give the “Why” Behind Your Request

People are much more likely to help you out when they know why your request is important. Try leading with a need, like this:

“I’m awful at design, and my slides look terrible. Could you help me tweak this presentation?”

Or: “This project needs to be done by Friday, and I have no idea how that will happen. We are juggling three proposals, and I can only manage two projects this week.”

Use Examples of Effectiveness

When you compliment someone during your request, they realize you truly value their input.

Try leading with a specific example of their competency, like:

“Would you please review this before I send it to XYZ? Your input really helped my previous pitch to ABC succeed.”

Begin with a Question

When you want to ask for help, start your request with a discussion and a clarifying question.

For example: “I’m still learning the ropes on this – could you give me an idea of how long this task should take me?”

From here, you can follow up with natural questions, press into another’s expertise, or pose a specific request about where you need assistance.

Say Thanks in Advance

Gratitude is always a powerful way to appeal to others.

A recent study of 350,000 e-mail exchanges found that sign-offs like “thanks in advance” and “thanks” yielded average response rates from 63-66%, compared with 51-54% for other popular options (including “best,” “regards,” and “cheers”). Even expressed preemptively, gratitude can keep people invested in helping you, as long as you focus more on their generosity and selflessness—and what that says about them as people—than on how you’ll personally benefit.

Together is Better

Finally, remember that when you need help, it’s best to be as honest as possible.

Being authentic and truthful makes people trust you and increases their desire to pitch in. And when you ask for help, you increase your team’s likelihood of succeeding and thriving.

Teamwork benefits everyone – so don’t be afraid to ask!

How to Use Normalization to Change Behavior

If you grew up in the early eighties, you’re probably familiar with the “Mikey likes it” Life cereal campaign.

This capstone commercial centered on three young brothers eating breakfast. Before them sits a heaping bowl of Life. Two brothers question each other about it, noting that it is supposed to be healthy. Neither has any desire to taste it (“I’m not gonna try it—you try it”), so they test it on their brother (“Let’s get Mikey . . . he won’t eat it, he hates everything!”).

Mikey briefly stares at the bowl, then starts devouring the cereal, as his brothers excitedly exclaim, “He likes it!” 

Strategically Shaping the Internal Narrative

If you are a professional marketer, your job exists to do one key thing: to make change happen.

Finding an agent to trigger change – like Mikey demonstrating healthy cereal is delicious – is the key to persuasion. But this can be harder than it sounds because all people act in accordance with their internal narrative. You can’t get someone to do what they don’t want to do! And most of the time, the action a person takes is one that reinforces their internal narrative.

In sales, your fundamental goal is to tap into someone’s internal narrative and strategically shape it. Some people have a narrative that makes them open to changing their behavior (e.g., Martin Lloyd votes for various individual candidates, not a specific political party), while others are very resistant.

But for most people, behavior change is driven by a desire to fit in (people like us do things like this) and perception of status (affiliation or dominance). People don’t make decisions in a vacuum – instead, they base them on the perceptions of their cohort.

Actions are primarily driven by one question: “Do people like me do things like ____?” For example:

  • People like me don’t speed in residential neighborhoods.
  • People like me avoid debt.
  • People like me love funky accessories.
  • People like me buy organic.

Normalization creates culture, and culture drives choices, which leads to more normalization.

So marketers can prompt change by normalizing new behaviors among a specific cohort of people. In the “people like us do ____” paradigm, the “us” matters. The more specific you can be about who “us” is, the better.

Here are three steps toward normalizing new ideas:

1. Map and understand the worldview of the cohort you seek to change.

2. Focus all your energy on this group. Ignore everyone outside this persona and build stories that will resonate with your target (soccer moms, granola hippies, techie teens, etc.).

3. Within this subculture, build an exclusive cohort. Exclusive is an internal measure (us versus them, insiders versus outsiders) that members resonate with. Exclusive organizations thrive when members are clearly identified, and inclusion is perceived as valuable or beneficial. People love to belong and to gain status as they link up with others “like us.” And when you market to “we” or “us” cohorts, your message carries much greater weight.

Case Study: The Blue Ribbon School District

Ready to see normalization in action? Here’s one example from marketer Seth Godin:

My little town had a problem. Despite having extraordinary schools (our elementary school won the national Blue Ribbon School designation), there was a schism over the upcoming budget vote. Many were upset about rising school taxes and, for the first time in memory, the first school budget failed.

Before the final budget vote, school proponents stopped trying to defend budget numbers and took a new tack: they tied one hundred blue ribbons to a big tree in front of the middle school in the center of town. Within days, the idea spread. In the week before the election, dozens of trees around town had blue ribbons hanging from them. Thousands of blue ribbons hung by dozens of families.

The message was simple – “people like us, people in this Blue Ribbon district, support our schools.”

The budget passed two to one.

When you target the smallest viable market, you maximize your chance of changing behavior. This subset of people, enriched and connected by the change you promote, can then organically share the word with the next layer of the market.

That is the power or people like us.

Unique Fold Options for Your Marketing Masterpiece

Looking to add some finishing flair to your next marketing piece?

Unique, eye-catching folds offer so much room to flex your creativity! When creating your next masterpiece, here are some fun print folds to consider:

Sliding Message Sleeve Mailers

To fuel engagement with your prospects, try a die-cut envelope that peaks through to a sleeve mailer inside.

Upon first glance, readers see one message or image. But when they slip the inner card out of the envelope, a brilliant reveal appears from the back panel.  

Accordion Folds

Accordion folds are great because they fold down small but hold a great deal of information.

Accordion folds resemble the letter “Z” and zig-zag back and forth, dividing a page into thirds (or even sixths!). Use them for brochures, mini-booklets, or sticker-sealed mailers. The average accordion-folded sheet includes two folds and six panels of design space (front and back). Make the most of your real estate with this flexible, engaging design.

Poster Folds with a Zip Strip

Looking to send something large in a pocket-sized package?

Try a zip strip opener with an inner package that unfolds to a unique shape or size. Whether the folded section is wide and narrow or opens as an iron-cross brochure, this small package blooms bright for a big, memorable impact.

Roll Folds

Rolls folds consist of four or more panels that roll into each other.

Also known as a barrel fold, this option is perfect when you have a considerable amount of content but you need to keep the finished product as compact as possible. Roll folds also spark curiosity and depth as you reveal a new message or theme with each opening panel.

Exotic Folds

Like intricate origami, exotic folds are non-standard, completely unique folds created to a designer’s specifications.

Though they can be expensive, exotic folds allow you to stretch the limits in unforgettable ways. From a flower-petaled postcard to a custom-printed folding box, these highly tailored pieces will give your media a fancy, luxurious edge.

Pop-up Folds

When you want to add extra dimension to your booklet or brochure, go 3D with a die-cut and fold technique that creates a pop-up feature from within.

Pop-up pieces should instantly pique customer interest with a direct focus on the product or service you are promoting. Examples might include:

  • A performing arts invitation that reveals a pop-out “stage” once the card is unfolded
  • A fold-over mailer or brochure designed to look like a briefcase, which springs open to deliver your unforgettable offer
  • An architect’s brochure that brings to life a 3D city skyline, with revitalized storefronts in the center

A Shape That Tells Your Story

No matter what fold or design you choose, remember your story should play the starring role.

Choose a focused narrative and weave it through your imagery, tabs, pullouts, pop-up text, or brochure copy. From fun folds to creative exterior packaging, great designs will blend all these elements to share your clever, cohesive story. 

Want to go a cut above the competition? Leverage your printed piece’s shape to add character or dimension people just won’t forget!

Snag Younger Customers: How to Build Connections with Generation Z

With the oldest of Generation Z graduating and entering the workforce, it’s time to set your sights on this powerful consumer demographic.

Who are these Gen Z individuals, and what is the most effective way to reach them? While many media companies have written them off as “screen addicts,” Gen Z is actually very nimble, engaged, and unique.

Here are a few facts to consider:

  • Born after 1996, most members of this generation are not yet old enough to vote.
  • Generation Z represents the leading edge of the country’s changing racial and ethnic makeup. 52% are non-Hispanic white, 25% are Hispanic, 14% are black, 6% are Asian.
  • Gen Z logs on to social media for roughly two hours and 55 minutes each day. This is almost an hour longer than the average millennial.

Want to engage younger prospects? Here are five tips to consider:

1. Diverse images are extremely impactful

Gen Z has a natural awareness of how diversity is depicted (or overlooked) in your media.

Whether it’s custom photography or variety in your testimonials, it will seem strange (or even offensive) if your media is too homogenized.

2. Gen Z loves a good deal

Estimated at having $4 billion in discretionary spending, the buying power of Gen Z is significant.

But having grown up during the 2008 recession, Gen Z has an innate appreciation for a bargain. Gen Z will hunt for value in two ways: buying from inexpensive brands or purchasing expensive items with durability guarantees. Generous warranties and engaging in-store experiences are also a way to offer them more bang for their buck.

3. Gen Z was born social

Over 91% of Gen Z kids have a digital footprint, and Gen Z spends more time on mobile devices than Millennials.

Gen’s Z’s favorite sites are YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. Because they are so visual, whenever possible you should “show,” not just “tell.” Image-based advertising and short-videos are especially effective!

4. Real is best

Gen Z people seek uniqueness in all walks of life, and particularly through the brands they buy from.

Gen Z-ers prefer brands that are authentic: 82% said they trust a company more if it uses images of real customers in its advertising, and 72% said they’re more likely to buy from a company that contributes to social causes. Product quality, positive reviews, and customer service are the top three characteristics that fortify their trust in a brand.

5. Give them a voice or a role

Given how socially aware this generation is, remember Gen Z-ers love opportunities to contribute, create, lead, and learn.

Whether you allow them to personalize your product or you prioritize ethical marketing (like partnering with nonprofits or standing for a cause), Gen Z appreciates buying from brands that give them a role in the journey.

Help Them Live in Person

Finally, remember that Gen Z longs to engage, and this doesn’t have to be online. 

A new A.T. Kearney study reports that 81% of Gen Z respondents prefer to purchase in stores, 73% like to discover new products in stores, and 58% browse in-store selections to disconnect from social media and live in the moment.

From gorgeous window banners to sharp point-of-purchase displays, sensory impact plays a principal role in creating the right mood for an impulse purchase.

Envelopes: The Humble Hero of Direct Mail

Who doesn’t love a good party? 

As we move toward year-end holiday gatherings, many of us look forward to gathering with friends and family. However, a party is only successful if people actually COME, and most people attend for one primary reason — they were invited!

Attractive Envelopes Invite People to “Come on In” 

The same principle is true in business. 

A mailing is only as effective as its response rate, and an envelope serves as a great invitation to dig deeper. Custom envelopes are a simple tool that dramatically increases reader response. In a world of distraction, envelopes serve as a soft introduction, inviting people to “come on in” and experience more of what you have to offer. Thoughtful, creative envelopes will entice people to dial into (and not discard!) the message you have carefully crafted.

Do you want to expand your business by reaching new prospects? Current direct mail statistics are exciting! The 2018 Direct Mail Association Response Rate Report revealed household list response rates are around nine percent, significantly up from 2017, when it was 5.1%. The prospect list response rate was 4.9%, also showing a significant increase compared to the 2.9% the previous year.

What’s contributing to this spike? Technology. Thanks to technological advancements, mail marketers are gathering more data about consumer behavior. On average, response rates increase by 30% when direct mail is paired with digital targeting. 

When you send mail to people who actually look forward to it, you’ll prompt much greater interest! 

4 Keys to Getting Your Envelopes Opened

When you’re ready to create your custom envelope, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Oversized envelopes have the highest response rate

Larger envelopes prompt a reader response rate of around five percent, the highest of any direct mail format.

When you break from the norm, people will notice. Experiment with a wide variety of shapes and sizes, colors, and textures (linen, cockle, matte, coated, glossy, or metallic). Make your envelope stand out from the other envelopes people receive every day!

Follow the three-second rule

When designing your mailing, remember the envelope has about three seconds to engage readers.

Grab attention with enticing product photos or short teaser prompts (like, “your free gift is here!”). You pay for the whole envelope, so why not use it? Use every inch for impact by including your logo, taglines, or back-flap branding.

Experiment with the “extras”

There are so many ways to build curiosity with your envelope.

Have fun with options like these: 

  • Try a peek-through window featuring a color photograph of your product, a membership card, or contest entry form.
  • Embellish your envelopes with foil stamping or embossing to feature an anniversary or warranty seal. 
  • Drive engagement by using a zip-strip opener, a peel-off sticker, or a pull-off repositionable note to encourage reader retention and reaction. The longer your prospects engage with your envelope, the more likely they will be to open it. 

Put the reader First

When crafting a sales pitch, many marketers focus more on the product than its audience.

But readers are not primarily concerned with how slick your idea is, they are concerned with how great it will make their lives. Envelope taglines or images should concisely present a key benefit your product brings to consumers.

Packaging Matters

Great packaging can increase response rates and enhance emotional connections with your clients. 

Are your envelopes offering people your best? In a world of visual clutter, excellent envelopes are a vital component of every marketing mix. Be sure your envelopes carry a message that’s classy and confident, just like you.