We have been advising clients for many years not to put brochures into envelopes – a large and growing percentage of which get thrown away unopened.
Frankly, we tell most clients not to put anything into snail mail at all, but that’s not an absolute rule. Dimensionals, for example, are often opened first.
I just retrieved an envelope from the garbage to prove the point. It was a plain #10 size, with only a logo from a high-end appliance retailer (which I won’t name, as that might be apt to hurt someone’s feelings). Inside was a colorful sales catalog, with some attractive pricing on hundreds of items.
Instead of hiding this inside a paper coffin, one could blank out part of an outside panel for an address, then add a wafer seal to make it into a self-mailer. Would this be a wonderful piece? Maybe or maybe not, but pictures of 80-inch plasma tvs, Weber gas grills and colorful KitchenAid doodads would greatly enhance the odds of getting people to explore it. The visual stimulus would cause many more people to break the seal and daydream about shiny new refrigerators.
The ROI of deathvelopes that never get opened is, well, zero.