Does my direct mail envelope need a teaser?

Pre-Approved envelope teaser

A direct mail envelope serves two purposes – getting printed material to your reader, and convincing the reader to open the envelope. Depending on your target audience, you may or may not want to design your envelope with a teaser message.

With the growth of direct mail campaigns, we’ve all changed the way we process our incoming mail. Most of us stand at the recycle bin as we shuffle through the pile, making snap judgments whether to keep or toss each piece based on the message conveyed by the envelope. How do we make these choices?

Research has shown that people are more likely to open mail that appears personal compared to something that looks like advertising. We value and open correspondence from known business contacts, financial information from banks and lenders, magazine and newsletter subscriptions, and merchandise from familiar vendors. Many successful campaigns achieve a personal look by keeping the outside of the envelope simple, without advertising copy. Some even chose not to print the company name or logo in the return address panel, using instead the name of the letter’s signer, especially when the signer is a well-known person.

If you decide to print a teaser on your envelope, your design must create a sense of mystery that will entice the reader to open the envelope. Be careful that you don’t spell out the whole offer in the teaser. Once you get your reader inside, you will have plenty of space to lay out the details of your offer and make a compelling case that will close the deal.

Phrase your teaser to appeal to the target of your campaign, and give them a reason to tear the envelope open to see what’s inside: “Hiring? Find better candidates with these recruitment tools” or “Inside: Save 15% on your electric bill!” or “Exclusive offer for photographers.” Your copy should state a clear benefit that can only be realized when the reader opens the envelope, and the envelope’s contents must deliver on the teaser’s promise.

Here are some teaser ideas that will generate curiosity:

  • Use a provocative question or outrageous statement.
  • State a problem on the envelope and suggest the solution is inside.
  • Play to your prospect’s underlying emotions.
  • Tell your reader there’s something free, valuable, new, or exclusive inside.
  • Refer to a recent news story relevant to your offer.

Finally, make sure you follow USPS bulk mail address panel requirements. The best teaser in the world will be useless if your envelope gets returned to you or filed in a USPS recycling bin. Your local USPS bulk mail processing facility will be happy to verify placement of your envelope’s artwork. is also a full service bulk mail house. We’d love to help with your printing and mailing needs. For a list of our product offerings and sample pricing, go to