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    What’s wrong with this envelope?

    Checkout this nice little envelope I got in the mail sent to my apartment: Here it is:


    Awww…..it almost looks like a personal letter from a friend! 

    It looked handwritten.  GOOD! 

    It was mailed with a real stamp not a bulk mailhead.  GOOD!

    It was mailed from an individuals name.  GOOD!

    It was addressed to “Current Resident”.  BAD :-( 

    Since they didn’t know my name, the sender could’ve addressed it to something less obvious like “King of the castle” or “Our favorite Austinite”....something with a casual tone of voice

    Regardless, I gave this mail a shot and opened it. What I found massively disappointed me. 

    And the reason was lack of congruence.


    You see, they made the outside all “personal” so I’d think this is a personal letter from one of my friends and open it. 

    But on the inside it’s like the corporate world threw up all over it.  

    Check it out:direct-mailer-5.jpg


    WHOA! What happened?? 

    On the outside it was a friendly letter. GOOD!

    On the inside it was junk mail trynna sell me.  BAD :-( 

    This difference causes my brain to explode in a bad way.  Had they sent me a simple letter-style message with the benefits, I probably would’ve actually read this piece of mail. 

    Maybe if on the inside of the envelope they did something like this:


    ……in my experience that would’ve got FAR better results because it was more congruent with what people originally thought it was (a simple letter, not a piece of spam mail). 

    Admittedly the letter would still be tossed out at a decent rate, but the conversion rate for the company would be faaarrrr higher.  


    Perhaps you should make sure your own marketing is congruent??Sincerely, 

    Neville Medhora – Kopywriter



    Out of curiosity I googled the name and city from this envelop: 

    “Chris Thomas El Segundo” 

    ……and found this post on Facebook which made me literally say “YESS!!” out loud because it proves that people hate this incongruence in marketing:


    YUP!  Seems this in-congruence really pissed a bunch of people off!


    Do you ever get any mail like this?

    What is your reaction to it?

    Even if you hated it…..did it actually WORK?


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Yes, I receive this type of in-congruence every day in the form of email subject lines. Promising one thing and then on the inside it does an about face.
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    Yeah this totally sucks. I love word congruence by the way, PUA ftw
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    Haha... Awesome. The good thing about being in Korea is that my junk mail looks like this:

    이봐, 나 한테이 일을 구매해야합니다. 그것은 휴대 전화의 ... 그리고 끝내!^^

    Which in Google Translate gives me: Hey, I need to buy a day hanteyi. It's a phone ... and awesome!

    Obviously, if Google translate worked better, I'd be a better customer... Too bad for these guys.

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    Guest Dave Bross


    Hmm. Let's see. Well, what about this? What if my prospect opens what he thinks is a piece of personal mail and then, all of a sudden, he finds out it's not...because he sees a color brochure, a

    printed order card, a BRE, a rabbit's foot and some kind of YES-NO "hot potato"?

    No good. Certainly not if my life depended on getting a response. No good at all. There's just no

    way I would be willing to risk having my guy open what he thought was a personal letter and then see all that stuff and go, "Oh, yuk!"

    Nope. You know what I decided I would want him to see when he opened that letter? Actually, it's so unusual I'll bet you'll never guess. And, unless you're very broad-minded, you'll probably never forgive me for this kind of anarchistic thinking.

    Because... what I decided I wanted my guy to see when he opened that envelope was a (gulp!)...a...a...a...


    Yes. I wanted him to see what was, or at least appeared to be, a real, honest-to-God personal letter.

    And nothing else.


    And so, my very first "life or death" mailing contained only two elements: the rather plain envelope I've already described and a simple one-page (361 words) letter that had the appearance of a personally typed letter.

    Did it work?

    I'd say so. That letter generated 7,300,000 cash-with-order customers and was the wellspring that built a mail order company, (Halberts) that eventually employed more than 700 people, 40 of whom were needed just to make our bank deposits which often consisted of some 20,000 checks per day."

    - Gary Halbert - from How to Make Maximum Money in Minimum Time

    He had another good trick.


    There was always a letter, but, if he had to include sales literature he would put it in a second smaller envelope inside the main envelope so they wouldn't get the immediate "yuk" reaction before they read the letter.

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    Guest Don The Idea Guy


    In my opinion those inkjet "handwriting" fonts used to address the envelope are all too easy to spot (this one even used the same font for the barcode atop the address.) I don't think they fool anyone and get opened less than a straightforward corporate branded approach. This would have gone straight to the "circular file" if I'd received it. HOWEVER, if the envelope had simply told me it was from DirectTV AND I had an interest in DirectTV, I would have opened it. With their approach they miss out on future customers because they tried to fool them and ended up pissing them off AND they missed out on potentially interested prospects because they kept their message hidden. Lame on multiple accounts!
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    I've seen plenty of these tricks to know that they're probably garbage. The ones I love the best are the ones that look like checks, complete with the tear away edges. Those go right to the garbage also (although, I've probably thrown away some legit checks. Oh well, eff me.)

    The best letter I ever got was similar to this, except it was hand written, addressed directly to me, and inside had a simple, handwritten on notebook paper message that said: "I can help you sell your house," signed with only her first name, "Marie," and a phone number. I called her, we met, she short sold my house, I rejoiced. I'll never forget her.

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    Guest yolanda padilla


    The reason I value your blog posts and consistently click thru to read them is because you show how it could be done better.

    In a world of easy outrage and jumping all over stuff to pick it apart and stomp it to bits or make fun of it, you provide clear thinking and objectivity that I appreciate & value.

    Cheers for happy holidays & a prosperous new year!

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    Guest Brandon Turner | BiggerPockets


    Hah - I got this exact piece of mail as well and thought the exact same as you. However, mine actually said my name on the outside, so it was pretty much perfect in terms of a direct mail letter. It accomplished the goal: get me to open it. But yeah, I opened it and immediately tossed it in the trash laughing, so they failed miserably on that end. I wonder if they split tested that thing, (Or maybe they were currently split testing, hence the reason mine had a name and yours didn't?)

    Anyway, keep up the good work bud.

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    What's even worse was when they send you these important looking envelopes that tear off on the sides and top, and inside they contain ads. It caused me to almost throw away a piece of mail that was actually an important check.
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    Guest Wayne Kille



    I kinda feel handwriting fonts had a short period where they gave an edge for a DM letter envelope. Nowadays they no longer have the new/ interesting factor.

    Funnily enough I was in my dad's living room yesterday and he almost threw out a Christmas card without even opening it because the handwriting on the envelope was so neat it looked like it'd been done on a computer! (It turned out to be from my sister's in-laws...)

    What gets my interest is someone who talks straight to me about something important to me AND at least tries to provide value in advance.

    Btw, my current DM (going to hair salons) is addressed to 'Our Glorious Leader and Majesty'..... why not? ;-)

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    I can testify that being personal and not trying to trick people works well. Our small charity does well because we write to donors directly and always use their name. We talk about something only related to them.
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    Guest Neville


    Ugghh.....I hate that.

    People ask me all the time how to get people to open their emails (wanting some easy subject line answer), the real answer is WRITE GOOD STUFF INSIDE THEM!!!

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    Guest Patricia


    E-mails with your name are 99% like that. What actually sucks... I wonder where are the brains of the people who actually think that just by putting my name there will make me open it. Maybe 5 years ago that would work 'cause it was a new thing, but then people - as usual - think that's the formula of success 'cause it worked at the beginning, but they fail missing the point. It worked because seemed like something exclusive, now is hard to receive an e-mail without your name there, and is far more easy for me to open one that doesn't have my name on 'cause I automatically think "maybe that one is not just trying to sell me something and actually has something interesting going on".

    I actually got one of those at my door one time, and I was as disappointed as you were. God, I think that depressed me for a couple of hours. I really felt disrespected. It's true, I'm not joking. And yes, made me pass from indifference towards the company to "I hate that company so bad I would never buy anything from them". If they had done nothing it would be better for their marketing than trying this shit.

    They should get a tattoo saying: it's not about some formula, is about how much time and effort you put into it.

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    Guest Eric Gross


    Yolanda has is right, it's super easy to criticize.

    But adding value in the form of useable advice is what keeps me reading. That the commentary is peppered with snarky sarcasm, well that is just pure bonus awesomeness.

    Personalized marketing does make me cringe a bit, not as much as say someone bragging about their world traveling exploits...

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    Guest farkhondehTarighi


    I like to have a smart fortwo car and send to my home directly and pay money in direct as loan or only complete money to dealer and fill papers and receive car beside home
    Link to comment
    Guest scott ownbey


    I need some help with copy on our websites and some direct mail pieces- what do you charge?
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