The 6 Best Direct Mail Teasers of 2016

To get a direct mail prospect, customer or donor inside your envelope, the teaser is a crucial factor.

To get a direct mail prospect, customer or donor inside your envelope, the teaser is a crucial factor. How do you make that happen? What headline can you use to get them to act?

A year ago, I reviewed the thousands of direct mail packages received by Who’s Mailing What! Keeping in mind the great work of so many giants of the craft, like Mel Martin and Bill Jayme, I came up with some of the best direct mail teasers used in 2015.

This year, I spent some time looking through even more mail from 2016. I made a list of two dozen or so good ones; here are six, arranged in no particular order.

1. HelloFresh
HelloFresh teaserThis online meal delivery service loves sending colorful direct mail. Here, a large image supports the teaser. “HEALTHIER” appears in larger type than the rest of the copy.

I also like how it includes two qualifiers. When can you cook healthier? “TODAY.” How? “Without leaving home.”

2. Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports teaserThese guys have produced a lot of great direct mail over the years. Sometimes the name of the magazine alone (or a line drawing of its building) on the envelope was enough to get a big response from subscribers.

This latest effort calls attention to the three “bubbles” it bursts right below the headline. As usual, the intention is to show a little taste of how the magazine’s content inside the mail piece defies pre-conceived notions.

3. Farmers Insurance
Farmers Insurance teaserOversized windows allow you to put compelling copy and images in two places at once: the outer, and the inside piece. Farmers has been leveraging its popular TV commercials with J.K. Simmons as “Professor Burke” in its mail for a few years.

This latest campaign uses an image from one of its “Hall of Claims” spots, where some crazy and funny story results in a claim being paid by the company. With this familiar branding and slogan from TV, an agent can generate a lead, and also play on their experience and training.

4. Met Life
Met Life teaserI’m not sure which I like better about the front of this 6”x9” envelope. The giant “$0” is impossible to miss. But the crisp, short statement works so well: “No down payments … Ever.” No wiggle room there. None.

5. Sierra Club
Sierra Club teaserSpeaking of making a point with minimal copy, you can’t get much more concise than “BUZZ KILL” in a distressed typeface. Paired with a photo of a dead bee, it’s a good way to introduce people to the collapse of bee populations due to pesticides. Many of the variations of this fundraising direct mail package include a packet of free seeds for attracting pollinators.

6. Sirius XM
Sirius XM teaser“You served for us. Now it’s our time to serve you,” this teaser says. And inside, the letter is from the company’s VP & GM Operations, John Archer. He also happens to be a Navy Reserve Captain.

He offers an impressive 25% lifetime discount on the service to his fellow veterans. I’d love to see more segmentation like this, mail that explicitly honors our service members.

So, those are some of my top picks. How about you? What teasers rock your world (or your customers), even if they’re a few years old? Please, let’s talk about it in the comments below!

5 Ideas for Subscription Box Direct Mail

It’s been a while since I’ve been a member of a continuity club or program. Maybe it was coffee, or wine, I’m not sure.
But seeing so much mail from subscription box services has got me thinking. Here’s my take on what works across this growing retail niche.

It’s been a while since I’ve been a member of a continuity club or program. Maybe last time, it was coffee, or wine, I’m not sure.

But seeing so much mail from subscription box services has got me thinking about joining one of the many startups from the last few years.  Food and clothing are pretty popular. Then there’s shoes, cosmetics, pet stuff, gamer items … it just goes on and on.

They’re convenient. You can save time and aggravation by getting your shopping done without setting foot in a brick-and-mortar store, or wandering among the thousands of choices offered by many retailers online.

Based on what I’ve collected for Who’s Mailing What!, here’s my take on what works across this growing retail niche.

1. Show What’s In The Box
trunkclubotherbox_01An element common to these direct mail pieces is the box that the delivery arrives in. Simplicity sells, like on this postcard from Trunk Club, another curated fashion service. It helps the shopper make the association between shopping and shipping.

2. Demonstrate How It Works
letoteprocess_01Maybe the most crucial task is to convince the prospect that the process is easy to understand and follow.

Le Tote, a women’s fashion rental service, does more. An entire panel of its self-mailer lays out the steps every member takes. Each one is described in simple terms, and accompanied by an illustration.

3. Provide Some Content
hello-fresh-recipe_01Hello Fresh ships ingredients for meals to its subscribers, as well as recipes. In a recent promotion, it included one in the envelope. Printed on an 8-1/2”x11” sheet of glossy card stock paper, it’s intended to help convince the prospect of the service’s value.

4. Be A Curator
stitchfix2fer_01A clothing shopping service, Stitch Fix, highlights the work performed for its clients by its stylists. Each employee profiles her customer. Their expertise builds credibility in the eyes of the prospect. And in turn, each customer provides a testimonial for the brand’s personalized service.

5. Keep Yourself Top-of-Mind
freshdirectmagnet_01Fresh Direct, an online grocery service, mailed a 5-1/2”x10-1/2” vertically-oriented postcard. “Fill your fridge in just a few clicks!” says the front. And, it has a checklist of the types of foods it carries. A magnet’s attached to the address side. Following the advice here provides a solution for when the fridge or cupboard starts to run bare.

At the end of the day, arriving home to see a package waiting on the doorstep  kind of feels like getting a present. And, depending on the company, it may include a few surprises as well.