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  • Putting mail to work for you: Selfmailers

    Part 2 in a series on the benefits of different mail media.

    Highlights

    • Good info/cost ratio
    • Room for large photos
    • Effective newsletters

    In the world of direct mail, the selfmailer is often maligned as being less effective than a letter and less cost-efficient than a postcard. That’s a shame, because for certain types of mailings, the selfmailer is an excellent choice.

    Selfmailers are well suited for company newsletters and for sales promotions targeted at residential mailboxes. Their advantage over postcards is the space they allow for more information and larger photos or graphics. Yet they also offer some of the postcard’s advantages of less cost and complexity than a letter mailing.

    They make a great format for newsletters because they are the most economical way to mail a medium-length message. Newsletters have a different purpose than advertising mail. The chief priority of a newsletter is not to be eye-catching or innovative, because they are going to recipients who already want the information contained within. Efficiency is the main motivator for those mailing newsletters.

    However, that’s not to say selfmailers aren’t good for advertising mail. The selfmailer works well as an advertising tool in larger mailing campaigns when the goal is to get an image into the target market’s hands. A store promoting an upcoming sale can make use of this by sending out selfmailers with colorful pictures of the products featured. Selfmailers can include a tear-off reply card making it easy for prospective customers to request more information, which increases your database and contact with consumers. They are also an effective way of sending out coupons.

    According to USPS regulations, a selfmailer has to be made up of a single sheet of paper. Starting on Sept. 8, 2009, pieces that are comprised of multiple sheets of paper but are mailed without envelopes will be considered booklets by the postal service, and have more restrictions on sizing.

    Unlike a letter mailing, which requires at least two pieces, the selfmailer requires less labor to prepare, saving you money at the mail shop. The savings offered by selfmailers make them attractive for larger mailings that may not be as finely targeted or personalized as a letter campaign. If size limitations make postcards impractical, and the cost of a letter mailing is more than you’d like to spend, consider a selfmailer. Depending on your goals, the can be an ideal compromise between the two formats.

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