Self Mailers: A Creative Way to Share Information

Self-mailers are inexpensive and have many benefits. If you want a direct mail tool that is less costly than a letter package but has a larger footprint than a postcard a self mailer may be the solution. Self-mailers are created when a single piece of paper is folded to create a self-contained mailing format. Folding configurations for a self-mailer include the bi-fold, tri-fold, or four-panel fold. A multi-page document, such as a small booklet or saddle-stitched newsletter, can also be designed as a self-mailer. The United States Post Office requires self mailers to be sealed at least once using glue lines, wafer seals, or glue spots along the edge.

Many companies are finding direct mail to be a direct and valuable way to reach their customers with pertinent information and increase engagement.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of self-mailers:

  • Because they require no envelope your branding, images and message are seen immediately.
  • Self-mailers have no envelope or inserting costs. This makes them a great option for tight budgets.
  • In today’s fast paced world, providing quick and easy information is a priority.  When unfolded, self-mailers provide lots of real estate for graphics and messaging.
  • Even on digital presses, self-mailers can be printed on a wide variety of substrates, including heavier substrates.
  • While we tend to think of self-mailers as simple, folded formats, their substrate flexibility allows them to include pockets and interior panels into which you can insert gift cards, reply cards, or small samples.
  • Because self-mailers can be digitally printed, they can be fully personalized like any other mailer.

Self-mailers are readily identifiable as marketing mail, so they can have lower response rates. For this reason, some businesses use them for mailing to people with whom they already have a relationship—loyal customers who will open them simply because of their relationship with the brand. Others use them for campaigns in which people want promotional mail. Examples include promotions around clearance sales, new store openings with discounts, and free samples. They can also be used for business to business to promote things such as conferences, open houses, events and new member welcome.

Types of Self Mailers and When to Use

Self mailers allow for creativity in design, while keeping costs down.  There are various formats for self mailers including: postcards (multiple sizes), single fold self-mailers, double fold self-mailers, triple fold self-mailers and multiple-page booklets.  For visual examples of multiple folding options, check out Fineline’s Print Resource Guide.

Self-mailers can be effective at generating leads. Business-to-business direct marketers have found self-mailers to be effective when used for the following:

  • seminar invitations
  • event announcements
  • trade show booth traffic generation
  • mailings to prospects who do not have a mailroom screen their mail
  • mailings where you want the prospect to pass along the mailing to colleagues

 Tips for Higher Results with Self Mailers

  • Use photographs to convey information to the reader, you want them to know immediately what you are sharing.
  • Cue the recipient to respond right away and make it easy to do so.  Put your phone number or QR code on the front of the piece.
  • Use personalization thoughtfully to make your mail piece less generic.  You can personalize the photograph with a lifestyle image or personalize the information.
  • Color intention: specific colors that work with your branding guidelines will help reinforce your brand, or colors that appeal to your audience:  will help reinforce your message. Understanding the psychology of color will go a long way to improving the power of your message.
  • Be sure to follow the guidelines set forth by the United States Postal Service when designing your piece.  This will ensure that your hard work will be seen by your entire database of addresses.

In the end, choosing the correct format for your self-mailer, depends on your target audience and the goals of the campaign. The success rate of direct mail marketing—especially when used in conjunction with digital marketing campaigns— makes it smart to start integrating direct mail into your marketing strategies. It is becoming clear that it is a touchpoint businesses need to incorporate into their marketing and sales strategies to see solid results and higher ROI.

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