Direct Mail

Sales Letter Mailer

Still one of the most popular mailer formats

The sales letter mailer remains one of the most popular of all direct mail formats – in part, because it continues to generate results.

It’s also one of the most familiar formats for readers.

Since childhood, we have all written and received letters from friends, family and pen pals.  So the letter is familiar to all of us – which makes communication easier and more effective.

The sales letter mailer is the perfect choice when you want to use more personalized communications.  Personalized direct mail helps to get the attention of your reader and helps to create a true one-to-one message.

Two types of sales letter mailer

The sales letter mailer is typically produced in one of two ways – as a personalized mailer or as a marketing mailer.

sales letter mailer

A personalized mailer looks like a letter you might receive from your lawyer or bank.  It has a corporate looking return address in the corner, the name and address are typed directly onto the envelope (no label is used) and there is no teaser copy (promotional copy). Inside, the letter is professionally personalized and the reply form is personalized.

A marketing mailer is personalized too but not to the same extent.  It may include a window envelope (with the name and address showing through the window), teaser copy on the outer envelope and possibly a generic letter.  Only one element of the mailer – the envelope, letter or reply form – needs to be personalized (to reach the target prospect), but you can personalize more than one if you want.

The sales letter mailer also provides complete flexibility in messaging.  Thanks to laser printing technology, the entire text of the letter can be changed “on the fly” so prospects can receive individualized letters. The letter package gives you more flexibility to customize your message to individuals or segmented audience groups.

Response handling – reply mail, phone, landing pages, PURLs

The traditional way to generate response from a sales letter mailer is to provide a reply card or a reply form with a reply envelope.  These can be either Business Reply Mail (postage paid by the mailing company) or Courtesy Reply Mail (postage paid by the person responding).

Phone response is a popular.  Generally, prospects who respond by phone are better prospects because they are willing to engage with you.  But fewer people are willing to use phone.

In recent years, sales letter mailers have also included landing pages for response.  A landing page is a dedicated web page designed specifically for the particular direct mail program.  It helps to facilitate the response more easily, more immediately and automatically.

To further advance the landing page, we also have personalized landing pages (or PURLs) which provides more personalized message, pre-populated forms and better tracking of all responses.

Mailing components

This format has multiple components, including:

  • an outer envelope (usually a standard #10 but could be larger)
  • a 1- or 2-page letter
  • a reply form with a reply envelope  or a business reply card
  • brochure or other type of insert (optional)

Why is the brochure optional?

Many companies want to include a brochure in their mailings because it will help build their brand and convey their message.  This is an understandable sentiment.

In some cases, a brochure makes sense.  But not always.

Here’s why:  If you are using direct mail to generate leads, you want to give your prospects a reason to respond.  You don’t want to provide so much information that they don’t need to respond.  A brochure could serve a distraction from that goal.

However, if you are using direct mail to generate an order, you need to provide more information and a brochure could provide the clarification and credibility you need to close the sale.  A word of caution though:  the brochure should be relevant to the message of the mailer.  It should focus on the product you’re selling and is not simply a corporate brochure with a company overview.

Lead generation vs. order generation mailers

Not every sales letter mailer is the same.

When we begin a project, we look at the objective of the mailer.  Is it to generate a lead or an order?

These two objectives are very different and they often require very different mailer specifications.

A lead generation mailer is often short on content – a 1-2 page letter and reply form.  An order generation mailer is often longer in content – a 2-4 page letter (sometimes longer), reply form, brochure and maybe other inserts.

The reasoning is the lead generation letters use low commitment offers like a free white paper, information kit, special report or tip sheet.  Because the commitment level is low, you don’t need as much copy to convince people to respond.

An order generation mailer, on the other hand, expects response to come in the form of a check or credit card payment (or at least commitment to buy).  This is a high commitment entirely focused on the price and related discounts of the product.  Because you are asking people to buy your product (not request free information), you need to provide more information.  This calls for a larger/longer direct mail package.

How we can help

We can help you create and execute your sales letter mailer campaign.

We can provide a full-service approach that include:

  • list research/acquisition
  • offer planning/development
  • copywriting/messaging
  • graphic design/creative
  • testing strategy
  • print/mail production
  • landing page/PURL creation and hosting
  • post-mailing analysis

We also provide our creative services (copywriting and graphic design) to those who prefer to manage their own campaigns.

If you want to handle everything yourself, but would still like to our guidance, we provide coaching services on a project or monthly basis.

To learn more …

Please contact Bob McCarthy at 508-473-8643 or  Or fill out the form below

Direct Mail Estimate Request