Inspiring direct mail envelope samples from my great big stack of stuff

The down economy has killed a lot of the fun and creativity of direct mail in the last few years.

But if my phone is any indication (the plastic is melting from all the calls), the economy is getting ready to roar back to life.

So I thought I’d dive into my big stack of stuff and pull out some envelope samples to give you a little inspiration and maybe help you summon the courage to test something beyond yet another postcard or cheap self-mailer.

These are in no particular order. I just rifled through my sample file and pulled out anything that struck my fancy today. I’ve made each envelope sample as big as I could, so the proportions are not accurate here.

Here’s a classic direct mail envelope for a recipe book. Lots of color and excitement with a token showing through a window to encourage involvement.

direct mail envelope sample 1
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I wish all catalog copy could be written like this

Duluth Trading catalogThe J. Peterman Company has long been hailed as the reigning king of catalog copy. And I’ve been a fan ever since I bought one of their “anti-gravity” shirts.

But they have some serious competition from the Duluth Trading Co., which you might describe as J. Peterman for the working class.

Here’s an example of their masterful copy from the April 2011 catalog, which I received just last week:

WE DARE YOU TO WEAR ‘EM OUT
TOUGHEST WORK PANTS EVER OR YOUR MONEY BACK

FIRE HOSE: America’s most heroic fabric. So durable, so surprisingly comfortable, you’ll wonder why we were the first to use it in clothing. It’s the same great 100% cotton canvas that once wrapped rubber fire hoses, responding to call after call, dragged up and down stairs, pulled through windows, yanked around sharp corners. We located a supplier for that cotton canvas and specially washed it to make it soft and comfortable. Then, we treated it to resist stains and water. Supreme toughness and supreme softness in one fabric. Now that’s something to get fired up about!

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How to brainstorm the BIG IDEA step-by-step

creativity in direct marketingBoost Your Direct Marketing Creativity
- Part 6 -

We’ve covered a lot of territory in this series:

The three levels of creative mastery, good creative traits, bad creative habits, releasing your natural creativity, and inspiring your creative staff.

In this final installment, let’s look at one of the most widespread and powerful creative techniques ever devised. When used properly, it can produce more and better ideas than any other process.

It’s called brainstorming. And it’s based on the concept that two heads (or three, or four, or more) are better than one.

Many would argue that you can’t create by committee. I agree. Writing, designing, and other creative acts are best performed by individuals. Creative execution by committee invariably regresses to the mean. The results are weak and watered-down.

However, brainstorming is not about creative execution. It’s about idea creation. And it is almost always more productive as a group activity.

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8 ways to turn your creative staff into idea machines

creativity in direct marketingBoost Your Direct Marketing Creativity
- Part 5 -

Okay, let’s summarize this series on creativity so far:

In Part 1, we listed three levels of creative mastery.

In Part 2, we covered the traits of highly creative people.

In Part 3, we looked at bad habits that can limit your creativity.

And in Part 4, we discovered how to release your natural creative genius.

Now we’ll take the next logical step. If you’re in charge of a creative staff, we’ll see if we can find a few ways to help them be even more creative.

First, lets have a little plain talk about creativity and your staff. This may be a little painful.

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10 easy ways to release the creative genius inside you

creativity in direct marketingBoost Your Direct Marketing Creativity
- Part 4 -

If you’ve been reading this series from the beginning, you’ve learned about the three levels of creative mastery, the traits of highly creative people, and bad habits that can limit your creativity.

Now, let’s pick up where we left off and see if we can discover a few basic ideas for shedding bad creative habits and building new habits that can turn you into a creative genius.

The important point to remember is that everyone has creative abilities. It’s a natural and necessary part of being human. The only difference between the creative geniuses and everyone else is that creative people use and develop their creative skills.

Usually this is not a conscious effort, but a natural result of their personality and upbringing. However, everyone can energize their creative powers and release the inner genius, including YOU.

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