Say what you will about the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), but direct mail still is big business. As reported in the USPS’ “Postal Facts 2015,” 512.8 million mailpieces were processed and delivered last year. Another interesting fact from the data: The USPS delivers more mail to more addresses in a larger geographical area than any other post in the world, with 153.9 million delivery points nationwide, 244,365 total delivery routes and 32,000 total facilities. In other words, that’s a lot of first impressions for marketers to make.
For many, new business begins—and potentially ends—with the envelope. Thanks to new technology and a push toward personalization, bright colors and irregular sizes, mailers have become more actionable. However, a dazzling design isn’t the only way to make an impact. Always consider your clients’ needs. One client might need something that can withstand the elements, while another simply wants access to instant quoting or a product that meets strict postal requirements.
Then there are the clients who don’t even have a mailing at stake. Take financial institutions, for example. With RFID technology becoming mainstream among credit card companies, there is an even bigger need to prevent fraud. Do you have an envelope that can do that? Whatever the goal, it helps to stay current on suppliers’ latest offerings. Here are a few ideas to help you make the right decision for the job.
COMMUTER CARD PROTECTOR
From The Envelope Express, Bensenville, Ill.
Made of Tyvek, this keycard envelope measures 2.25x3.375". It features a custom window and flush cut/thumb cut, along with full-color litho printing.
According to Sterling Smith, sales and marketing director for The Envelope Express, this custom window envelope was specially designed with the goal of saving time and money for the Sacramento State University transportation department. Tyvek was the right choice for this project because it has “a higher strength-to-weight ratio than paper, absorbs little to no moisture, is strong and rip-resistant, and is made of environmentally responsible material,” Smith said. “Valued by [the] students and faculty, our design has become a staple amongst Sacramento State [University] commuters,” he remarked. “While working closely with International Trade Printing (ITP) President Gary Ruzich, we used our envelope expertise and resources to exceed ITP expectations.”
From Trade Envelopes, a Div. of Ennis, Tullahoma, Tenn.
The tear-resistant SAFE sleeve was designed to deflect RFID signals and protect personal information. Custom printing is available.
As more financial, health and security institutions convert from magnetic strips to RFID technology, the need for extra protection continues to grow. This is where the SAFE sleeve can help. It is constructed with a unique conductive layer inside, preventing the possibility of the RFID chip on a credit card or passport from emitting a readable signal into the airwaves, noted Paul Gray, general manager of Trade Envelopes, a Div. of Ennis. “This technology has been popular in Europe for years, and finally is making its way into the U.S.,” observed Gray. “It is most popular on credit cards, but you also will see it on insurance, gift and ID cards. Soon, some states may adopt it for driver’s licenses. While it is convenient and helps to prevent fraud, we are still vulnerable because someone can walk through a crowd and, with a simple piece of equipment, can read the information off your card.”
Logo exposure is another selling point. “A SAFE sleeve imprinted with your customer’s logo and information makes a perfect ad specialty item because consumers carry it with them all the time,” Gray said.
#10 FLIP AND SEAL WINDOW ENVELOPE
From Northeastern Envelope Co., Old Forge, Pa.
This envelope features 24# white wove construction and a standard #10 tinted window. No moisture is required thanks to its flip-and-seal closure.
A bulky enclosure is no match for a flip-and-seal closure envelope. Terry Burke, president of Northeastern Envelope Co., pointed out that this product is designed for “quick, clean, touch-of-a-finger” sealing. “These envelopes are real time-savers and very easy to use,” he said. “Simply raise the lower flap, press down on the upper flap, and it’s sealed. [These are] offered in both regular and window—with or without security tinting.”
PEEL ‘N VIEW ENVELOPE
From Western States Envelope & Label, Butler, Wis.
A Peel ‘n View envelope has a self-stick, easily removable reminder note that can be placed on any surface. The perforations along the sticky note are designed to withstand the rigors of inserting and mailing equipment. This envelope can be used for promotions, event reminders, coupons and more.
In a world where digital is king, direct mail must work even harder to engage recipients. Greg Retzer, vice president of sales and marketing for Western States Envelope & Label, believes the Peel ‘n View envelope is up for the challenge. “[These envelopes] feature a sturdy, built-in sticky note that not only withstands the rigors of inserting and mailing, they entice the recipient to open the mailpiece,” he said. “Under the note is a ‘surprise’ window that’s perfect for personal or promotional mailing. Encouraging recipient interaction is one of the best ways to garner a response that you can ultimately profit from.”
COLORED PAPERBOARD MAILER
From Envelopes.com, Amityville, N.Y.
This Colored Paperboard Mailer is available in two sizes: 6x9" and 11x13.5". It comes in bright fuchsia (pictured), holiday red, electric green and midnight black.
A brightly Colored Paperboard Mailer is a great way to help your message stand out in the busiest of mail piles, said Vickie Herbst, marketing coordinator for Envelopes.com. But there’s more to the product than bold color options. “[The mailer’s] sturdy structure is ideal for safely sending documents, photos, calendars and much more,” Herbst shared. “Colored Paperboard Mailers feature adhesive strips that are easy to peel and press, securely enclosing contents. Recipients can open the mailers with ease thanks to the pull-strip, similar in design to overnight express mailers. Colored Paperboard Mailers are an exciting alternative to the standard.”
From Envelope Mart USA, Northwood, Ohio
EnvelopeMartForLess.com is an online source for wholesale printed envelopes that provides resellers with 24/7 access to instant quoting, order entry, artwork approval and job tracking.
Norm Shapiro, president of Envelope Mart USA, explained why distributors should take advantage of this service. “New technologies have enabled us to streamline printed envelope projects at lower pricing on the most popular items with faster turnarounds,” he said. “Envelope Mart for Less is one of the largest, independent, wholesale envelope printing companies in America, offering more than 2,000 different sizes, styles and colors of envelopes in stock for fast delivery through our online store.”
CLEAR CATALOG MAILER
From EnvyPak, Marysville, Ohio
Made from crystal clear, heavy-duty polypropylene, a Clear Catalog Mailer highlights your client’s catalog graphics and endures the rigors of mail and distribution. It is stocked in many sizes—with custom sizes available. A permanent tape closure is optional.
Compatible with letter-shop insertion equipment, a Clear Catalog Mailer is an effective way to protect and promote your client’s brand. “EnvyPak envelopes are also available with full-color graphics printed on clear polypropylene,” added Jim Geers, director of new business development for EnvyPak. “Design your clear EnvyPak graphics to interact with your printed catalog or insert to deliver a truly unique mailing vehicle—and entice your customers to open your mailpiece.”
ANNUAL MEETING INVITE – EXPERIENCE COLUMBUS
From Team Concept Printing, Carol Stream, Ill.
This mailer features laser die-cutting and black flood print with reversed out text/copy. It is housed in a clear envelope.
Mailers are the primary touchpoint and, oftentimes, the first and only impression your client gets to make with recipients. A unique design can be a strong selling point, as seen with the annual meeting invite. “The laser die-cut achieves the crisp, clean edges of the skyline,” said Luci Estevez, project manager for Team Concept Printing. “Along with utilizing this piece with a clear envelope, the uniqueness of the mailer is seen by everyone that handles this all the way to the receiver. Something so eye-catching stops everyone that handles the invite. This, in turn, gives an abundant audience.”
CUSTOM PRINT MUSCLE-PAK MAILER
From The Regal Line/Poly-Pak Industries, Melville, N.Y.
Made of strong, co-extruded material, a Custom Print Muscle-Pak Mailer is used in many industries, including: banking, medical, security, payroll and data processing. Stamps and labels easily adhere to this water-resistant mailer. Printing is available in up to eight colors.
A Muscle-Pak Mailer is half the weight of paper, and an alternative to Tyvek envelopes for sending documents, like soft goods and non-fragile items. “[Muscle-Pak Mailers] offer a significantly lower unit and shipping cost versus corrugated,” noted Melissa Cantor, sales and business development manager for The Regal Line/Poly-Pak Industries. “[They are] available with standard single permanent adhesive and duo tape with perforation, which allows consumers to return items using the same mailer.”