Let’s face it, in the direct mail world, being ‘different’ is a good thing. Unique shapes and packaging, combined wi­th name and address personalisation, will increase the chance of your piece actually being opened. And in today’s oversaturated marketing world, that’s half the battle.

If you’re not already familiar with the word ‘self mailer’, it’s the industry term for a one piece postage item. No outer carrier required. Secured in such a way, it becomes the envelope, marketing tool and response mechanism. Neat huh? A self mailer would replace all three elements from your traditional direct mail pack, but all in one handy container.

But once you’ve got past the first hurdle and your item is opened, the challenge then becomes, as with any outbound marketing campaign, persuading the recipient to do exactly what it is you want them to. That could be to donate, buy, respond or simply engage. And regardless of whether your medium is a direct mail pack, email or letterbox drop, this is where things get tricky.

The advantage of a self mailer, is the opportunity to design and pre-populate the response mechanism. Imagine how easy subscribing, buying or donating would be if all of your personal details and shipping information were already there? All you had to do was sign and return in the integrated, postage paid envelope. Mission accomplished!

Mailers, on design alone usually achieve a better open and response, but don’t discount the other important elements of personalisation, copy, creative, relevancy and a clear call to action.

Self mailers aren’t a marketing saviour. They’re simply a more efficient and often under-utilised way to engage with your audience.