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The Self Mailer

A self mailer is a direct mail piece that does not need an envelope. It can be a folded brochures, a letter folded in half with a closing sticker or other formats. Self-mailers are effective at selling products and services and generating leads. They work well for event invitations or announcements, trade show traffic generation, mailings to prospects and mailings where you want the prospect to pass along the mailing to colleagues, software upgrade offers and invitations to seminars.

The format your mailer takes will depend upon certain factors. What is your marketing objective? What is the product or service that you are promoting? Who is your audience and what is your budget? A self mailer can build brand awareness and send reminders to customers or clients. It is simple and easy to read and handle. It can be sent to both cold leads and to existing customers and a large audience. Self mailers are often more visually appealing than a plain letter and they can be shared because they are not personalized. And, very important, they are cheaper to produce.

A very nice characteristic of a self mailer is that they are very simple. They are usually easier to design than other marketing pieces. A graphic artist does not have to design a mailing envelope, letter and brochure, but instead designs one sheet of paper front and back. And they are a cost effective way to present product photos, graphs, charts and other images. As stated before, the primary advantage of self-mailers is their lower cost. Because they get mailed as a single sheet, they are cheaper to print, are easier to put together by not having to match an addressee letter with the correct envelope and reply card. They are also flexible. Self-mailers can be as simple as a single sheet of letter stock paper folded in half or as intricate as a large sheet of stock folded in interesting ways. You can add a tear off coupon, an order form and a pre formed business reply envelope all in one sheet.

You want your self mailer piece to be perceived as professional. So, to make sure that it is, test the self-mailer against a standard envelope mailing. If you are doing a first time mailing for a new product or service, try a mailer with an envelope, letter and reply card first. Then test a self-mailer against it later. See what kind of numbers each one receives.

A folded self-mailer by definition, is a mail piece that has space for a name, address and postage, and can be mailed without an envelope. It is made up of a number of panels that are folded to create a rectangle or square. The following fold methods are the most common.

A bi fold is simply a single sheet of paper folded once in half, forming two panels. A tri fold is a single sheet of paper folded two times to create three panels. A quarter fold is made by folding one sheet two times, with the second fold at a right angle from the preceding fold, thus creating four panels. An oblong fold is a sheet that is the width of a letter and folded vertically. These folds are the basics and there are many other folding combinations that could be used in a self-mailer design, such as a gate fold or roll fold. You just have to make sure that the mailer follows the requirements set by the USPS in regards to height, length, thickness, weight, and sealing method.

The bottom line is that you want a self mailer that will stand out and communicate your message simply with a clear call to action that the recipient will respond to in a timely fashion. A self mailer with the right fold and message can be one piece that will bring success to the campaign.