A number of my clients have been having great results using an attractive sales piece format known as the Invitation Mailer. This format fulfills a very specific purpose, and it’s not appropriate for every situation, but in the right circumstances it can bring you an amazing response.
The mailer is made up of several different pieces included in one package. The idea behind it is that the recipient has the impression that he or she is receiving an actual invitation. Who doesn’t like to receive an invitation? If you got one, wouldn’t you want to open it up right away to see what it was all about?
But of course, the mailer is not an invitation to a party, wedding, or social occasion. It’s an invitation to participate in some event, like a seminar; or to join a group, like a weekly group session with a coach.
Generally there’s something exclusive about the invitation; only a limited number of people will be able to take part in the event. It may also be relatively expensive to participate; or there’s an implication that it will be expensive to be part of the group down the line. The invitation mailer has a certain mystique about it that supports the exclusivity and justifies the potential cost.
What Does It Look Like?
The envelope: A small, square envelope of high quality paper – perhaps a linen finish – similar to the kind used with a greeting card.
You can either leave off the return address (don’t print anything on it) or print the return address on the envelope, but usually without the company name; you’d just use the address. And there should be no other sales copy on the outside. You don’t want it to look like a sales piece at first glance. That would defeat the purpose.
To complete the illusion, you’d want to use a real stamp – not a printed indicia. A first-class, full-rate postage stamp would be best. Do NOT use a First Class Presorted Stamp – that’s a dead giveaway.
If possible, handwrite the recipient’s name and address, or produce it using a handwriting font. If you’re mailing during a holiday season, using a holiday-themed stamp can be very effective. People will think they’re receiving an invitation to a holiday party. It may make some people think they’re getting an invitation to a wedding or engagement party.
For the final touch, you can consider adding a gold seal to the envelope – with possibly “RSVP” printed on the seal.
The card: Inside the envelope is the card that looks like an invitation. The reader is “cordially invited” to participate in the event. If only a small number of people will be allowed to take part, that should be emphasized: “You are cordially invited to be one of just 20 people . . .”
The letter: This is a 4-page letter printed on stationery-size sheets that match the quality of the envelope. This is the sales letter, where you explain what your offer is, playing up the exclusivity, and providing instructions for responding.
The length of the letter may vary based on what you are offering. For my clients, the 4-page format works very well. It’s long enough to provide the necessary information, but short enough to be appealing and still look like it will be easy to read.
Be careful not to make the letter too “salesy.” You want to keep the tone “classy.” Even though recipients now realize the invitation is not to a wedding, but to sign-up for something, they should still be made to feel special and that they are indeed being invited to be part of an elite group.
One more important note on the letter… If you are selling a higher priced coaching program, seminar, mastermind group, or anything that is over $497, DO NOT put the price in the letter. One of the main purposes of the Invitation Mailer is to generate a phone call. Intrigue the prospect enough that they WANT to call you. Don’t ruin the impact by scaring the prospect away with your pricing. Get them on the phone and then you have a chance to sell them your high priced product or service and can defuse any of their objections.
Even if you don’t have a higher priced product or service, I’d still suggest using the invitation mailer to generate a phone call rather than make a sale. Yes, it can be used to sell something under $500, but I’ve seen the most success using it to drive customers to the phone.
When Would You Use One?
Are you planning a special seminar to introduce your product to a group of serious prospects? Will you be offering an ongoing service of some kind that can only accommodate a limited number of subscribers? Do you want to impress people with your presentation so they will be willing to pay what your service is worth?
There are lots of applications for an Invitation Mailer. It provides a touch of class that will get the right kind of individual to respond favorably.