Do You Have Lumpy Mail?

We often dub snail mail “traditional” (and as such, a bit dated), but your direct mail campaign should be anything but. However, it’s time to think outside the box — er … envelope. You need lumpy mail!

Amnesty International recently sent out millions of chopsticks. The chopsticks were actually pencils wrapped in paper casings. These chopsticks asked recipients to write the Chinese government and help end human rights violations. While you might not be fighting a foreign government with your direct mail campaign, you can use this example as inspiration to take your strategy up a notch and increase your open rate.

lumpy mail

Every day, you get piles of flyers, postcards, letters, and brochures from businesses trying to sell you something. It’s all flat, quickly sorted through, and promptly discarded. But how do you react when you see a piece of lumpy mail?

If you’re like most, you open the mailer. You often can’t tell what the package contains from the outside. And let’s face it. We all love the anticipation and excitement of tearing off the wrapping and getting to the good stuff!

Charles Gaudet of Predictable Profits explains, “The first goal of a direct mail campaign is to get your envelope opened. We’ve sent hundreds of thousands of direct mail pieces to prospects, and we find mailers with a lumpy object inside of the envelope have a near 100 percent open rate. People are curious what’s inside, and the curiosity gets them to open it. Now your job is to make it personal, relevant, and captivating, to get your piece read.” So, when you’re ready to start brainstorming for your next big direct mail success, you must keep a few details in mind.

1. Choose Lumpy Mail That Enhances Your Message

lumpy mailStuffing a bunch of plastic foam into a package with your marketing message and calling it lumpy mail won’t do the trick. You’re setting the recipients up for disappointment. Instead, you need a lump that rewards them for taking a peek. This is the “mystery principle.” And people use it for everything, from holiday gifts to baseball cards.

Consider this example. A company is offering an exciting new sale and wants to position the deal as red hot. They include a small package of Red Hots in the envelope or, better yet, put the whole offer in a bright red box. Not only is the package lumpy mail, but it includes something fun that adds imagery and leaves a lasting impression on the recipient. So, your package will be more memorable and much more likely to earn a response.


2. Make It Useful

lumpy mailYou must offer your audience value in the experience. Every interaction, whether online or offline, must be memorable and impactful. Because, by creating these quality interactions, you enhance the relationship, increase loyalty, and secure long-term client retention.

For example, consider the March of Dimes, a nonprofit that fights to end premature births, infant mortality, and birth defects. They regularly send personalized return address labels and notepads to their list. This strategy is twofold. First, it uses a psychological quid-pro-quo approach. They send a useful gift, with the expectation that their recipients will then reciprocate by monetarily supporting their continued research efforts. Second, providing useful items with their logo and contact information ensures that, even if a response is not immediate, the March of Dimes will maintain a presence in the recipient’s home or office.

3. Make It Personal

If you fail to make a personal connection, your marketing efforts will fall flat. But this is just as true with bulky mail as it is with a letter, email, or other form of marketing outreach. Let your recipient know that you know who they are and what they need. In the end, you must show them that you are available to personally lumpy mailhelp solve their problem or fulfill their desires.

As with all marketing mailers, nothing takes away the perceived value quicker than addressing it to “Current Resident” or “Preferred Customer.” Always address your lumpy mail to the individual. Make sure to use a real stamp to increase open rate.

But don’t stop there. Make sure you connect your customer to your message by presenting a relatable story. In addition, adopt a casual tone in your writing and explain why you’ve included the item you sent. A mystery package might be exciting, but your message can’t hit the target if you aren’t clear in your delivery.


Consider These Three Questions:

  1.   lumpy mailWhat part of your marketing message can you illustrate or communicate with a 3-D object?
  2.   How is that object valuable and useful in your consumers’ lives?
  3.   What can you do to make it personal?

With your answers, you’ll have laid the groundwork for an unforgettable direct mail campaign with an open rate — and response rate — you’ve likely never seen before. And when you’re ready to pull the trigger, reach out to our friend Travis Lee at He’ll have everything you need to make that impact, deliver a wow, and help you create an unforgettable direct mail experience.

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