The folded self-mailer is one of the most eye-catching direct mail pieces you can send. It’s created by folding a single piece of paper, into panels (trifold, bifold, or oblong), and then sealing it along the edge. This promotional item doesn’t require an envelope because it’s secured with glue or tabs, so recipients can immediately be wowed with visuals.
This mailer boasts some qualities of a postcard and others of a letter, so it’s the perfect in-between solution for marketers. If you want a direct mail tool that is less costly than a letter package but has a larger footprint than a postcard, a folded self-mailer boasts room for design, creativity, and the company’s message, while maintaining privacy and measurability.
Folded self-mailers offer six major advantages to any marketing campaign:
The self-mailer is less expensive than a letter package, which requires printing multiple pieces and handling. Folding can be completed in-line by the press and there aren’t extra costs to fill envelopes. If your package requires coupons and other add-ons, they can be integrated into the self-mailer using perforations, which again reduces required work.
However, self mailers are a bit pricier than postcards because they require more paper and ink and the added steps of folding and gluing. This increased cost is offset by improved response in many cases, though, providing a great ROI (return on investment) when used correctly.
Instead of just the front and back of a postcard, designers have the opportunity for creativity because there’s more space to add images, graphics, and other visuals.
Make an Impact
Self-mailers offer a great opportunity to use attention-grabbing visuals on the exterior, where recipients will see it right away. There isn’t an envelope hiding a highly designed letter with visuals inside, so consumers can instantly see the offer. So, if you’re a clothing store advertising a sale for example, add a high-quality shot of a model in the latest trends with a headline that reads, “End of Year Sale” or “30% Off the Entire Store.”
Instead of just the front and back of a postcard, designers have the opportunity for creativity because there’s more space to add images, graphics, and other visuals. This is crucial because the design will have an immense impact on your response. Data shows 90 percent of the information processed by the human brain is visual and it processes images 60,000 times faster than text. This means you need to make an impression in an instant, and the expanded footprint of a self-mailer is a great way to do so.
More Room for the Message
Although there’s less space than some letter packages, there’s more room on a self-mailer than a postcard. A three-panel self-mailer typically measures 8 x 15 inches and a four-panel measures about 8 x 20 inches, both of which fold down to 8 x 5 inches, however, there are many other configurations, and your Design Distributor representative can help you with the format that works best for you. Compare this to a postcard, which ranges from 4.25 x 6 inches to 12 x 16.5 inches. Instead of a three-word headline and brief copy below, you can expand on your message with an additional six to 10 paragraphs. A folded self mailer under 6 x 10.5 will mail at the letter rate. If you were to use a large postcard, your postage rate would increase once you exceed the 6.125 x 11.5 size.
In terms of content amount, a self-mailer can rival a small to medium sized traditional letter package, which comes in three sizes: 8.5 x 11 inches, 8.5 x 14 inches, and 11 x 17 inches. The only difference? The format. A self-mailer is divided into three to 12 panels, while a letter is full page.
Self-mailers are best used in business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing to remind loyal customers about events, provide coupons, promote sales, or have clients take a specific action such as call a phone number or visit a website.
Great for B2C Businesses
A self-mailer’s combination of size and design makes it ideal for business-to-consumer businesses who want to make an impression. This is because these applications usually call for content that takes up more space, such as coupons, vouchers, or perforated response forms.
They’re especially helpful when reaching out to loyal customers about events, or to provide coupons, promote sales, or have clients take a specific action such as call a phone number or visit a website. Loyal customers are more likely to take action, which justifies the extra cost of a self-mailer.
Self mailers can be used in B2B situations sometimes, but typically a polished letter package is the preferred choice. If you’re going to use a self-mailer, pay extra attention to making sure it appears professional and will be appealing to the target businessperson while still taking advantage of superior design and content options.
Many don’t perceive self-mailers as private, however, they’re sealed at the edge, so they offer security similar to letter packages. You can include personalized information to increase response or attach coupons inside with the confidence they won’t easily be seen or fall out. However, don’t use a self-mailer for extremely private documents, such as bank statements or insurance information, because they’re not as secure as letters.
Self-mailers are a great way to add an additional layer of tracking onto the already excellent measurability of postcards and other direct mail. This happens through the use of perforated business reply cards, or other physical response devices.
This is powerful because it complements the physical nature of direct mail and may help keep your message in a home longer. Instead of visiting a URL immediately, your mail may stay in a home for an indefinite period while the recipient waits for the right time to use a coupon. When that happens, your brand is effectively inserted repeatedly into your recipient’s home life in a way that's' unrivaled by other forms of marketing.
Using the clothing store sale example, the self-mailer could include a perforated coupon advising the customer they’ll receive an extra 15% off the sale price if they present IT at checkout. The number of coupons redeemed will determine the success of the campaign.
To take advantage of these self-mailer benefits, you’ll want to make sure they actually make it into mailboxes.
To ensure customers receive self-mailers, the USPS provides strict guidelines to follow. If you don’t develop self-mailers according to regulations, they may incur extra fees or never be sent.
To guarantee your folded self-mailer is up to USPS regulations, they:
- Must be a minimum of 3 ½ inches and a maximum of 6 inches in height
- Have a minimum length of 5 inches and a maximum of 10 ½ inches
- Must be a minimum thickness of 0.007 inches
- Can be 0.009 inches in thickness if the height exceeds 4 ¼ inches or if the length exceeds 6 inches
- Must use a minimum of 70 pound paper
- Can have a maximum thickness of ¼ inches
- Can have a maximum weight of 3 ounces
- Must be rectangular with four square corners and parallel opposite dies
- Must have an aspect ratio within 1.3 to 2.5
If you follow the listed requirements above and the latest USPS guidelines when creating your direct mail piece, you should reap the six benefits listed above.
Design Distributors can help you take advantage of the impact of folded self-mailers.
Self-mailers combine the visual impact of a postcard and the security and content length of a letter package. Not only that, but this budget-friendly direct mail piece can be measured in many ways to get you the best ROI possible.
Each order of folded-self mailers from Design Distributors is available in either trifold, bifold, or oblong shape, with full-color printing options to create the attention-grabbing mailer necessary to get customers to look inside. Personalize it with our variable image and copy printing option to reach your target audience and increase sales by 10 percent.
To take the burden of following USPS guidelines off you and make the entire process easier, Design Distributors also ensures all orders come with a minimum of 70 pound paper and offers in-house postage and mailing options.