The 7 best direct marketing teasers of 2015

Source: Target Marketing

How do you engage direct mail prospects in your message? It’s a question that’s always in the back of my mind when I analyze mail for Who’s Mailing What! The easiest and hardest place to start with, if you’re mailing with envelopes, is the teaser.

Let’s put aside for the moment the never-ending debate of whether envelopes should even have a teaser. To quote copywriter Lea Pierce, “You have three seconds to live or die” as your mail is being opened.

So what makes a good one? I know, it's a loaded question.

I compiled a list of about four dozen new teasers that engaged me right off the bat in 2015, especially once I saw that the message inside fulfilled my expectations.

In no specific order, here are seven of the top ten.

1.GEICO
Sure, many insurance companies vow to save you money. GEICO is particularly good at this with much of its mail.


But what got me here was mixing type sizes so that the promise really stands out, and pairing it with a QR code that can be scanned to completely bypass the message inside. Or ... you know ... open the envelope anyway.

2. California College San Diego
This mailer also mentions money (“the income you deserve”) in the teaser as it flatters the recipient.


That tactic – tapping into the yearning for a better life – is pretty uncommon for college mail, even when the target audience is working adults. The letter and other components inside reassure the student that they can balance their responsibilities while achieving their goals.

3. Lifelock
It seems like every week brings news stories about financial, employment, or customer records being hacked from a variety of places around the world.


Lifelock leverages fear of identity theft in this membership effort by using the teaser to noting a healthcare records attack, and then go into more detail about the crimes (and their solution) on a buck slip inside the envelope.

4. Quantum Wellness Botanical Institute
Mention a “big” institution to some people, and you’re sure to get a negative reaction.


To customers of a natural supplements company, “Big Pharma” is part of an establishment that opposes them.The anger that’s present on the outside becomes a sidebar on the brochure inside, which focuses instead on selling curcumin.

5. Hillary for America/Cruz for President
Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz are two pretty different people, but their question is the same.


Maybe this will be the eventual matchup in the presidential race. In their letters, the two major party candidates lay out the challenges they each see for America and the stakes in the election as they try to rally support from donors.

6. Amnesty International
For decades, this human rights group has included generic notes in its fundraising appeals to win the release of political prisoners. This campaign is different.


The annual Write for Rights event is a recent development that focuses on specific cases. The black outer and the simple “WRITE A LETTER. CHANGE A LIFE” message are going to members who merely have to fill out one or all of the protest notes and return them with a donation..

7. Ocean Conservancy
I love direct mail that uses fascinations – little interesting factoids – to tease what’s inside. But this clickbait-like teaser is also irresistible.


I’m surprised this digital tactic hasn’t popped up more.  Here, it doesn’t result in disappointment or annoyance. The brochure inside cleverly devotes a page to each ocean fact. It directly directly supports the group’s mission to save ocean habitats and wildlife.

So, for many of these marketers and fundraisers, the mail moment for their envelope has advanced past the three-second mark. But as with everything in direct mail, A/B testing will go a long way in determining a winner.

How about you? What teasers rock your world (or your customers), even if they’re a few years old? Please, let’s talk about it in the comments below!