Yet too often, the outer envelope’s design, copy, and postage are non-decisions based on non-strategic factors such as inventory or letter shop capabilities.
Eyeflow and Hot Spots
According to Professor Siegfried Vogele’s eye-camera research, Eye Flow Studies Provide Clues for Improving Your Direct Mail, here’s how people look at outer envelopes along with tips for maximizing the impact of these four envelope hot spots.
1. Mailing Address
The study shows the eye goes to the MAILING ADDRESS first. People look for their name. They want to know if the mailing is for them or someone else. They also look to see if their name is spelled correctly. And does it include the appropriate prefix. TIPS: Choose the typeface for addressing carefully. Do you want it to appear handwritten? Is a serif or sans-serif font more appropriate for the design and more readable for your audience? Should the name and address be in all caps or upper and lower case? The appearance of addressing contributes to an envelope’s overall look and perceived value to the reader.
2. Teaser Copy
The research suggests if you plan to use TEASER COPY, it should be placed to the left of the mailing address because the reader’s eye shifts here next. TIPS: If you choose not to use a teaser, don’t worry. Having no teaser may actually tease your reader into keeping and opening the envelope. If you use teaser copy, it’s important to test both copy and placement.
3. Return Address
The eye then moves to the RETURN ADDRESS in the upper left corner. By disclosing the sender, this area helps the reader decide if your mailing is of interest. TIPS: Depending on the overall look and feel of the envelope, it may be appropriate to have the return address appear handwritten versus typeset. You also have a choice whether or not to include your company name and logo. For customers who already know you, revealing it is probably a plus. For cold prospects, maybe not. To know for sure, test.
The studies indicate POSTAGE is important for more than getting your mailing delivered. The upper right corner is where the eye tracks after checking out the other top three hot spots. People use postage as an indicator of a mailing’s importance. TIPS: Don’t assume a pre-printed indicia or metered postage is best because it’s cheapest. It may cost you in response. First-class stamps stop the eye...commemoratives and multiple stamps add intrigue. Whatever you use, make sure it’s appropriate for the mailing’s appearance whether that’s personal, official, or highly promotional.