Snap packs have been around for a while, and they all pretty much look alike. They’re basically envelopes that you open with one or more perforated strips. The contents are usually just a sheet or two printed in one or two colors.
But here’s one from AARP that’s a little different. The snap pack format is not used so often that it gets stale, so its official look always grabs your attention. However, the AARP mailer goes one more step and adds a teaser above the address that reads, “Card Enclosed. Please do not bend.”
The enclosure is a temporary membership card printed on heavy, laminated stock that stiffens the envelope significantly. Most mailers of this type include nothing but thin paper, so the extra stiffness activates your tactile senses and tells you something important is inside.
When you rip off the perforated strip, you see the card, a membership form and a business reply envelope. The membership form includes a perforated reply at the top, with the recipient’s name and address preprinted. All you do is return the form (nothing to fill out) with a check or money order. The form also includes a personalized message and a list of benefits.
It’s interesting that no credit card option is provided, so I assume they’ve tested out of that. It’s also worth noting that AARP mails at the nonprofit rate, making this mailer extra efficient. It helps explain how they can offer a one-year membership for only $16.
I like what AARP has done with this mailer because while it uses the economical snap pack format, it also borrows techniques from standard direct mail packages. There’s a “letter,” reply form, reply envelope and a valuable insert. There’s only decision to make: Am I ready to admit my age and join up? Price is certainly no barrier.
The takeaway here is that you can be creative even with simple direct mail formats. As long as your creativity is driven by results and not by aesthetics, any format can be tweaked into something a little different and more profitable.
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