Campaigns & Execution

How to Find Great Paper and Envelopes

great paper and envelopesIt’s amazing what great paper and envelopes can do for a direct mail campaign.  They aren’t necessarily cheap, but they can lift your response rates and give you more creative firepower.

If you’re purchasing large quantities, the internet may not be the most cost-effective place to buy paper.  But if you’re doing a small mailing and/or don’t have time/budget for professional design & printing, you can produce a special piece by using fantastic envelopes, textured paper, etc.

Here are my three favorite websites for great paper and envelopes:

Paper Zone – This “crafty” store offers some really unique specialty papers and envelopes in quantities of 100’s – perfect for small mailings.

I actually came across this site because I found a terrific metallic paper at a major craft store.  Unfortunately they only sold it by the sheet – too expensive for my budget.  Luckily I found the same paper at Paper Zone at a price that worked for my campaign.

Paper on Demand – Lets you shop for paper in a variety of categories, including machine type, which is terrific if you’re printing on a digital press.  The product descriptions are informative and educational, describing key features and production details.

Jampaper – If you need great envelopes, check out this site.  You’ll also find unique portfolios, folders, and translucent shopping bags.

Here’s how I approach the paper decision when I’m working on a new campaign:

1.  Look through my library for ideas.

Every direct marketer should have a “library” – paper samples, envelopes, and marketing collateral you’ve collected from competitors or other companies.  Looking at a chartreuse envelope may spark a great idea for a campaign.

2.  After I’ve created my campaign strategy and budget, I can estimate the number of pieces I’ll need and how they’ll be printed.

It’s easier to compare your options and prices when you have these specs done first.  I also add 1-4% for overruns, depending on the size & complexity of my job.  Better to have leftover paper than to run out when paper is eaten by the equipment.

3.  Verify what’s available and get prices.

Sometimes I find the original selection I had in mind isn’t available or has been replace by another paper, so I try to finish this step as quickly as possible to avoid delays.

4.  Order and ship.

Even if I’m sending the job to a printer, I still buy a small quantity of the paper and have it shipped to my office — it helps me build my sample library, lets me create mockups, and helps me brainstorm with my team during design process.




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