Direct mail marketing remains one of the most popular promotional strategies despite being an offline channel. Today we will talk about an inherent direct mailing campaign element – self-mailers. Learn more about their types, why and who uses them, and why you should do that too.
What Is a Self-Mailer
In short, a self-mailer is a piece of direct mail that mail services send without an envelope. It is designed to print address information directly on your self-mailer. The self-mailer can be of any direct mail type, from a political advertising postcard to a toothbrush marketing brochure. Its main characteristic is simplicity.
Self-mailers usually look like a single piece of paper that contains the necessary information and images on both sides. Depending on the self-mailer type, it can include multiple pages as well.
What Are the Types of Self-Mailers
Self-mailers differ in shape and physical characteristics. Hence, US post offices share different printing and delivery recommendations depending on the form, weight, height, and scale of folding criteria. They also have numerous uses that vary based on what you want to achieve with your marketing strategy.
Depending on the form, the USPS differentiates the following self-mailers:
- Letter-sized folded
- Using a Quarter Fold
- Folded with Attachments and Loose Enclosures
- With Opening Devices
- With Die-Cut Elements
- With Perforations
You can check how they look in this guide to decide what format is the most appropriate for your marketing goals.
By Usage Scenario
Here are the types of self-mailer pieces by use case:
A postcard is always a self-mailer. Postcards usually focus on a single product in a single piece. They can be of different sizes and content. Postcards are universal for any promotion, and their size makes them easy to produce in bulk. That's why postcards remain the most used self-mailer type for B2B and B2C businesses. Learn how to run successful postcard marketing in one of our previous blog posts.
USPS differentiates regular self-mailers and booklets despite them having very similar characteristics. Still, the booklet is a book of a minimal size that opens on three sides before sealing. What's good about booklets is that they contain more information than regular postcards due to a higher number of pages. Booklets are more engaging to read but are less appealing than postcards because of their size. We recommend using them for an audience already interested in your product.
A self-mailer catalog is similar to a brochure. Its main difference is the focus on one product per page instead of featuring multiple services. It looks like a small book with promotional content but has the largest volume of all direct mail types. Catalogs usually contain product lists and try to tell as much as possible on a single page about them.
What Are the Benefits of Self-Mailers
Self-mailers are frequently used in direct mail campaigns as they have significant benefits compared to other methods such as email marketing or digital ads.
High response rate
If you read our blog for the first time, you may be surprised to learn that offline postcard mailing remains a highly relevant marketing strategy. According to USPS research, 86% of respondents check their mail to discover its contents. People like the tactile experience of receiving physical mail. In the age of digital marketing that knocks on the door as soon as we unlock our home screen, self-mailers feel fresh and more engaging.
USPS supports different self-mailer designs and printing options. You have a piece of paper and are free to do whatever you want with it. We will give some design advice a bit later, but for now, note that the creativity of text and imagery will make your self-mailers stand out.
Instead of a random email address, you reach a physical property with a mailbox that is easier to address directly. Knowing the residents of a marketed area, their age, and preferences allow you to target your campaign more accurately. The information received will also let you measure the responsiveness rates. Try attaching a QR code or other interactive elements to the letter to hook the reader even more.
When sending a postcard mailer, you can add a coupon for customers to activate in the store. A CTA that requires actions feels much more rewarding than a nice slogan. So be sure to keep your ads interactive. Besides, the ability to measure the responsiveness of your audience comes from the interactivity of self-mailers. When someone interacts with the mail piece, you can track it and use the findings for analytics.
Self-mailers don't require that much finance and complex logistics. Decent copywriting, a nice design, and an engaging CTA will reach the audience. Such simplicity helps to run mail marketing campaigns even if you don't have experience.
Cost-effectiveness is why successful businesses of any scale choose to use self-mailing in the first place. The absence of an envelope and a small number of pages won't influence the price of a single delivery. But taking a deeper look, you may see how much cheaper self-mailers are than their "enveloped" counterparts.
Combining all these benefits makes self-mailers an affordable, highly customizable, and easy-to-handle way of direct mail advertising.