When designing a direct mail strategy, you’ll probably find yourself focusing mainly on the content of the letter as opposed to the envelope, seeing the latter simply as a ‘vessel’ to deliver your important message.

Yet, although it may seem surprising, the outer envelope is just as important as the message inside it.

At Paperplanes we make sure to take care of every component of the mail we send, including the often forgotten outer envelope.

Here’s why.


1. The envelope is the headline of your direct mail

The envelope is to direct mail what a subject line  is to an email: it is the first thing the customers will see, and it has the important role of catching their attention and leading them to engage with the content inside it. It can make or break the chance of the letter being opened.


The importance of catching the customer’s attention is summarised by the 3:33 rule, a time proven formula that explains that the letter has:

3 seconds to catch the reader’s attention among the rest of the mail

• 30 seconds to interest the reader enough to get the envelope opened

• 3 minutes for the content of the mail to be read

The rule shows how time is a crucial element that plays a role in your customer’s experience with mail. Because the time to get their attention is limited, the outer envelope impact has to be immediate, clear, and engaging.


2. Personalisation increases brand awareness 

Studies reveal that 60% of people prefer purchasing from brands they are familiar with. Direct mail marketing is a very powerful, cost-effective way to improve customers’ familiarity with who you are, and the envelope is where it starts.

An envelope personalised to include the brand’s name means that the customer will receive a piece of mail which will most likely lie around their house for some time, and remind them of you every time they look at it, whether intentionally or not.

This builds a relationship between the customer and your brand, which will result in better conversion rates, and increase the probability they will come back for more purchases.

Envelope for NBA direct mail campaign


So…Why Paperplanes?

A lot of marketers underestimate the importance of the outer envelope, instead opting to send blank, non-branded envelopes on the basis that it will encourage the customer to open if they don’t know what it is. These are the kinds of letters that end up in the trash before even being opened. And if envelopes are not opened, all the efforts put into their content inside them goes to waste.

At Paperplanes, instead, we know the added value of personalisation, and use innovative envelope designs for all of our direct mail campaigns. And the effects on costumeThe effects this can have on customer behaviour is evident: our engagement rates and conversions are higher than industry average (23% return to website and 12% conversion across 2020)

Here’s how we do it:

  • We grant total flexibility on envelope designs. Differently from most printing services, we have no limitation to ink coverage or minimum volume expectations; so your campaign can be built around customer behaviour.
  • Maximum personalisation. We can personalise allcontent on envelopes based on the specific customer, from their name to actual products and categories we know they are interested in thanks to our data.
  • We prioritise the recognition of your brand: colours, fonts and text are personalised to remind the costumer of you.
  • We conduct A/B tests to verify the effect of different designs on conversion rates, and refine our strategy accordingly.Envelope for SIMBA direct mail campaign


Final thoughts

Personalising the outer envelope creates great opportunities for a Direct Marketing campaign and increases the likelihood of customer conversion, and brand awareness. Don’t miss out on these opportunities, contact Paperplanes to take your digital marketing strategy to the next level through integrating post.



  1. https://www.worcesterenvelope.com/do-direct-mail-envelopes-really-matter/
  2. https://valtim.com/blog/why-your-outer-envelope-matters-in-direct-mail-campaigns/
  3. https://www.roadrunnermailing.com/mailing-information-postal-regulations/envelopes/item/77-the-unsung-hero-of-direct-mail-your-outer-envelope


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