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Some direct mail formats have higher “open and read” rates than others, according to a study conducted by Nielsen and RAPP Germany. Their study, “Future of the Mailing,” tested five different types of mailings from a fictitious travel agency, sent to 1,800 subjects. The five types were a mailing in a standard envelope, a mailing in a printed envelope, a self-mailer, a wrapper and an email.

The format that generated the highest open and read rate was the mailing in the printed envelope. Second best response came from the email. The mailing in the printed envelope was twice as likely as an email to motivate the recipient to recommend the offer to a friend or acquaintance. On the other hand, email performed strongest for moving recipients to search for further information on the specific offer.

Here are three take-aways from the study to improve the success of mailings:

  1. Use real envelopes. They give a perception of high value.
  2. Personalize it. Make the personalization immediately apparent, such as in the address of the envelope or in the subject line of the email.
  3. Use both print and email, depending on the objective of your mailing.

Thanks to our friends at WhiteOak for sharing this insight with us!