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!

The 7 Best Direct Mail Teasers of 2015

How do you engage direct mail prospects in your message? It’s a question that’s always in the back of my mind when I analyze mail for Who’s Mailing What! The easiest and hardest place to start with, if you’re mailing with envelopes, is the teaser.

Let’s put aside for the moment the never-ending debate of whether envelopes should even have a teaser. To quote copywriter Lea Pierce, “You have three seconds to live or die” as your mail is being opened.

So what makes a good one? I know, it’s a loaded question.

I compiled a list of about four dozen new teasers that engaged me right off the bat in 2015, especially once I saw that the message inside fulfilled my expectations.

In no specific order, here are seven of the top ten.

Sure, many insurance companies vow to save you money. GEICO is particularly good at this with much of its mail.

Geico_01But what got me here was mixing type sizes so that the promise really stands out, and pairing it with a QR code that can be scanned to completely bypass the message inside. Or … you know … open the envelope anyway.

2. California College San Diego
This mailer also mentions money (“the income you deserve”) in the teaser as it flatters the recipient.

CCSDThat tactic – tapping into the yearning for a better life – is pretty uncommon for college mail, even when the target audience is working adults. The letter and other components inside reassure the student that they can balance their responsibilities while achieving their goals.

3. Lifelock
It seems like every week brings news stories about financial, employment, or customer records being hacked from a variety of places around the world.

Lifelo_01Lifelock leverages fear of identity theft in this membership effort by using the teaser to noting a healthcare records attack, and then go into more detail about the crimes (and their solution) on a buck slip inside the envelope.

4. Quantum Wellness Botanical Institute
Mention a “big” institution to some people, and you’re sure to get a negative reaction.

Quantu_01To customers of a natural supplements company, “Big Pharma” is part of an establishment that opposes them.The anger that’s present on the outside becomes a sidebar on the brochure inside, which focuses instead on selling curcumin.

5. Hillary for America/Cruz for President
Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz are two pretty different people, but their question is the same.

Politui_01Maybe this will be the eventual matchup in the presidential race. In their letters, the two major party candidates lay out the challenges they each see for America and the stakes in the election as they try to rally support from donors.

6. Amnesty International
For decades, this human rights group has included generic notes in its fundraising appeals to win the release of political prisoners. This campaign is different.

Amnest_01The annual Write for Rights event is a recent development that focuses on specific cases. The black outer and the simple “WRITE A LETTER. CHANGE A LIFE” message are going to members who merely have to fill out one or all of the protest notes and return them with a donation..

7. Ocean Conservancy
I love direct mail that uses fascinations – little interesting factoids – to tease what’s inside. But this clickbait-like teaser is also irresistible.

OceanC_01I’m surprised this digital tactic hasn’t popped up more.  Here, it doesn’t result in disappointment or annoyance. The brochure inside cleverly devotes a page to each ocean fact. It directly directly supports the group’s mission to save ocean habitats and wildlife.

So, for many of these marketers and fundraisers, the mail moment for their envelope has advanced past the three-second mark. But as with everything in direct mail, A/B testing will go a long way in determining a winner.

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!