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The Great Envelope Teaser Myth

As a young bank marketer during the 1970s one of the memorable bits of information I was given concerned the use of teaser copy on the outside of direct mail envelopes.

In a nutshell, this sage advice consisted of the following:

Put teaser copy on the envelopes going to prospects.

Do not put teaser copy on the envelopes going to customers.

It was that simple.

At least these marketing veterans seemed to agree that teaser copy is very important with one exception.

When sending a marketing message to existing customers, because the return address in the upper left corner of the envelope tells them it is coming from their bank or credit union, there is no need for teaser copy on the front of the envelope.  They’ll have to open it to see what’s inside.  It may be very important account information.

Putting teaser copy on the outside “warns” them that inside is some non-critical sales message which they can ignore.

Over many years in bank marketing, I came to realize that the second bit of advice about mail to existing customers was, and remains, incorrect.

With very few exceptions, you should always put some teaser copy on the front of your mailing envelope.

I want to thank my blogging partner Joe Swatek for addressing this important issue in Monday’s blog available below.

Several hours after reading Joe’s blog, a direct mail package arrived in my mailbox which drives home the importance of envelope teaser copy.

While I’ve been using the same exterminating company for the past 22 years, it is the teaser copy shown above that quickly grabbed my attention and got me to open the envelope and read the letter inside.

I’ve been waging a war against termites from the first year in my house.  I’m currently paying $67 a month for termite station monitoring.

In the letter’s Johnson Box, I discover that Terminix offers termite protection for $28.25 per month.  At a minimum this suggests that I may want to make an appointment to learn more about the company’s services.

Without the envelope teaser copy I would never have opened the envelope and read the letter inside.

The same argument can be made for mail you send to your bank or credit union customers.

One good example is notifying customers about change in terms or repricing.  This is very important information you want your customers to read.  You can increase the likelihood your customers will open such an envelope if it contains teaser copy.  For example:

“We’ve made some changes to your checking account agreement.  Please read the important information inside.”

What if your bank is introducing a new, low-rate auto loan for customers only?

Do you send your current customers a marketing letter in a plain white envelope?  Or would more of them be more likely to open and read your message if you added some teaser copy on the outside?

“CUSTOMERS ONLY – Introducing a new, low-rate auto loan with one-hour approval.”

Strange as it may seem to some of you, your customers might appreciate such teaser copy as it helps them make a decision as to whether or not to open the envelope to learn more.

Some of them may see a plain white envelope containing a sales pitch as being deceptive.

Bottom line, with rare exception – sending replacement debit cards, for example – the smartest decision is to add teaser copy to the outside of your carrier envelope.

What have you got to lose?

The tough part is coming up with meaningful teaser copy that grabs attention and gets your customers and prospects inside the envelope.

As an aside, I find it strange that over the years I’ve never heard any marketing people refer to junk radio spots, junk TV commercials, or junk telephone calls.  And while I hear marketers refer to email “spam,” I’ve yet to hear anyone refer to it as junk email.

If you must use the term “junk mail,” please limit its use to describing the political mailers that arrive by the handful prior to elections.

Tagsbankbank marketerBank Marketingblogging partnerchecking account agreementcredit uniondirect mail envelopesemail spamexterminating companyJoe SwatekJohnson Boxlow-rate auto loanmarketing messageradio spotsteaser copytelephone callstermite station monitoringtermitesTV commercials

  Comments
  • Joe ClaeysMay 30, 2012

    I am a new follower to your blog and enjoyed the latest posts. I have an envelope design that may help your customers get a "lift" in response rates. Who should I contact?