Garden club sticks to proven direct mail format

proven direct mailMost experienced direct mailers know that a direct mail package generally outperforms other formats.

The National Home Gardening Club certainly knows that and have been using a big, colorful envelope package for years.

Because I’m an avid gardener, I’ve received this package many times. It arrived in a green and yellow 6” x 11.5” envelope with two windows, one for the address and one to show my name printed on the membership card inside.

I love the teaser: “We’re looking for people to test gardening tools (and keep them free!).” The back of the envelope shows several possible tools and says I have to do a scratch off inside to find out which I’ll get.

Inside, I find a huge, 4-page, 10.5” x 15” letter with a pack of seeds and a pack of plant food glued to the top of the letter. This is a crackerjack technique because it does so much.

It adds bulk to the package, makes a sound when the seeds move, draws my eye to the letter, covers the Johnson box to create curiosity, and stimulates involvement as I remove the seed packs. Wow!

The letter explains the membership offer and describes all the benefits, with a few line drawings and some handwriting thrown in for good measure. There’s also an insert asking “Which will you get?” and describing the items on the back of the envelope that I could get free.

A classic L-shaped reply features a personalized membership card, a yes sticker, and a scratch off which reveals my free gift. An ordinary BRE rounds out the package.

This mail piece seems to get everything right, from the colors to the easy-to-read type to the irresistible offer and involvement techniques.

The copy is simple, specific, and packed with benefits. I am left wondering if there’s a catch, which is always a problem when an offer sounds too good to be true. But the bottom line is that this is a package that you can’t help but open and read.

I’m particularly thrilled with it because so many marketers today have retreated to self-mailers, postcards, and small format packages. It’s a treat to see a big package that’s so well crafted, well-targeted, and fun.

If you’re using smaller mailers, is it time for you to test a proven direct mail package format? I’m seeing more and more mailers do just that.

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