This is the eleventh in a series of posts about the elements of a successful newsletter.
11. The Mailing Options
There are 2 decisions you need to make when considering your mailing options:
- Envelope or no envelope?
- Bulk mail or first class?
Envelope or no envelope?
An envelope will help protect your newsletter from getting crushed in the mail, it will allow you to include enclosures and enable you to print additional marketing information on the envelope. All of these, of course, come at a cost.
But being able to include enclosures can be quite valuable. For example, you may wish to include a coupon or some further information about your product or service, or maybe you want to do a deal with a local business that's similar but not competitive to yours and share postal costs by allowing their marketing material to ride along with yours.
The ability to print on the envelope has its upside and downside. There are 2 schools of thought, and they both relate to the problem of junk mail. As you know, the deluge of mail many people receive forces them to make quick decisions over whether to open an envelope or dump it straight in the trash. Now, you want your envelope to be opened, so you can either: print teasers on the envelope that sell the benefits of opening the envelope, or leave it entirely blank, except for a hand-written address so that it looks like a personal communications. It's said there are no half-measures here: either make it look like valuable marketing material or let it sneak in as personal correspondence.
I say this: once you have achieved a place in the hearts and minds of your prospects and clients, there should be no problem telegraphing the contents. By then, they'll want to read what you have to say.
Of course, envelopes come at a cost. The other option is to use a self-mailer. In other words, to send your newsletter on its own with no envelope. If you do this, you'll need to change your template so that half of one page has space for the address and return address. The USPS/Canada Post/Royal Mail will give you guidelines on how much space to leave.
The newsletter is then folded again and tabbed shut so that the address is clearly visible on one side. This is something a lettershop/mail house can do for you.
Bulk mail or first class?
Sending newsletters as self-mailers usually allows you to use cheap/bulk postal rates. This will often save you money. You usually have to mail a certain number of newsletters to achieve this -- the post office will tell you how many.
The trouble with bulk mail, however, is that it looks like bulk mail! In other words, it can get confused with junk mail.
On the other hand, first class, particularly if you use a live stamp combined with a hand-written address, gives the appearance of a more important, more personal letter. But it will cost you more -- for the envelope and in time.
The only answer is to test which works best. Test which your customers prefer, and which gives you the best return on investment. In other words, test how much extra business you generate compared to the cost of sending out your newsletters.
For a new or smaller businesses, I recommend hand addressing your newsletters and inserting them into envelopes. If you want to use the services of a lettershop or mail house, contact me and I will be able to help you.
(Photo on this post by asifthebes)