Quality vs. Cost: How to Tell When "Extras" Are Worth It

Meet the writer: Karen Pieper

Hi, I'm Karen! I've been in the industry for 18 years and can't wait to share my perspective on all things direct mail. I'm currently the Digital Marketing Manager at Letter Jacket Envelopes and deal with tasks from managing the website, facilitating conversations with customers, and much more!

Consider the grocery trip. One week your mind is on your checking account. You keep your head down and stick to your list. But the next week, it’s wiser to stock up on bulk, splurge on the higher-quality staples, and load up on that fresh fruit. When you’re choosing how to send mail for your organization, there are seasons when your priority is to defend your bottom line. But there are other times when you make those far-seeing investment decisions. Even small elements in your direct mail and envelopes options can make a difference to sales and client relationships, depending on your needs. Sometimes those extras are worth it. When is it time for your business to check out the benefits of a custom printed envelope, a paper catalogue, or a self-seal envelope option, for example? Let’s unpack the options.

Custom Printed Envelopes

If you keep a few generic envelopes on hand, you should only keep them for your most generic office needs. Because when it comes to marketing, billing, client care, invitations, stationery, and even church offering envelopes, custom printing is so often the right option, we don’t even know where to start!

Custom printed envelopes are crucial any time you want your brand to be seen and your intention to be clear from the moment your readers see them. They also allow you to have control over what messaging you want to share right away, and what kind or level of hospitality you are offering to each kind of client for each kind of need. Custom envelopes, when planned with a great marketing partner (Letter Jacket can help you out, here), can integrate beautifully with your marketing strategy and branding across the board. They can even be set up for repeat orders at certain times of the year, such as key fundraising seasons, holidays, or new client follow-up. If you factor in the positive attention you’ll gain with a beautiful logo, the trust you build by keeping your envelopes clear as to their purpose, we think you’ll find custom printed envelopes to be a great investment.

Envelopes With A Custom Window

There are times when you might need a plastic window that doesn’t fit the standard 1 ⅛ x 4 ½ size or needs to fall in a unique location on your envelope. That might be a practical reason — needing extra data to show, for example. But an envelope with a custom window can also gain you just that extra glance you may need in the mailbox, throwing off a reader’s expectations and piquing curiosity with your envelope that looks just a little different from the rest. You might also want the size and location of your window to reflect something of your brand: What kind of attitude does it give to your envelope to change the size or location of the window? This is a decision to consider out of need, but also out of aesthetic preference: when you want to make an impression, reflect your branding in a unique way, or give a campaign that one-time pop.

Paper Catalogs and Booklets

Catalogs and other paper publications, such as booklets, are an investment. The cost of producing, printing, and mailing a catalog is much higher than maintaining information solely online. But when and why is mailing a catalog worth it?

Catalogs and booklets have staying power. They have held customer interest through the digital revolution, and now have a novelty appeal in age groups that have grown up with the Internet. Customers can find a new cool in “analog” options. They are also tactile: you can dog-ear and tear out pages, browse slowly, and are more relaxing to peruse than a screen. Paper also has a je ne sais quois, a unique appeal that can’t be reproduced and can’t always be accounted for. Research increasingly shows readers preferring paper to screen, perhaps because it involves a more holistic engagement with the senses.

So, if you want to give readers an enjoyable experience, appeal to a sense of luxury, provide tear-out coupons or inserts, or give customers a few minutes of fun browsing (and thus positive association with your brand), a printed catalog — or booklet, or other large, paper format publication — might be the right investment choice. Even formerly all-digital companies, like Airbnb, have moved into publishing paper publications to connect more deeply with clients and involve customers in company culture and narrative. In the 21st century, finding your own ways to blend digital with paper is your best marketing combo.

Letter Jacket can provide custom printed envelope options for your catalogs and booklets, too.

Self-Seal Envelopes

Though traditional gum seal envelopes are unpleasant to lick, they are not a health hazard, despite what that brilliant episode of Seinfeld says. But self-seal envelopes do have some advantages. A self-seal envelope is an envelope with a removable strip over the glue portion of the envelope seal. You simply remove the strip, press down the envelope flap, and voila! A self-seal envelope can make for a tighter seal and better security. And if you are producing a smaller mailing, you will save your staff the time and mess of applying moisture to hundreds of envelope flaps by going with a self-seal envelope. However, if your mailing is large scale, or envelopes are not being prepared by hand, stick with gum. This option depends on the size of your campaign.

Then there are some extras that don’t cost extra. Added thickness to your envelope paper, security tints, and standard windows don’t add a thing to your envelope cost with Letter Jacket. Check out our selection today, and remember, we’re always on hand to help you with your order.

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