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We're putting together a physical direct mailer advertising leaflet.

I'm embarrassed to ask my colleague who asked me to include this request in addition to my headline.

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Can you give us more context? – Neil Fein Apr 5 '13 at 14:35
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The envelope line is almost certainly referring to one of two things:

1.) An actual envelope line.

If you're functioning as a designer of sorts, as I used to, then your colleague may be simply referring to the physical placement of elements on the envelope.

Perhaps what your colleague needs you to do is to move a design element because it interferes with the many folds, windows and/or postal service no-go zones that exist in the world of custom mailers.

I do not think this is likely, but it is possible.

2.) A tagline.

If you've ever received junkmail a direct mailer sent en masse, then you've seen taglines (or envelope lines, as the case may be). Examples might include:

  • You May Have Already Won ONE MILLION DOLLARS! (Check inside for details)
  • CONGRATULATIONS! You have prequalified for a new loan from SMALLTOWN MOTORS! (See inside for details)
  • BIGCO INSURANCE Could be saving you HUNDREDS on car insurance! (Details inside)

What your colleague is likely asking you for is a few small words that give the prospect a reason to open the envelope and not just dump it in the trash. And, IMHO, a good tagline is 5-7 words, makes a realistic promise of a tangible benefit and requests the reader to take action. It's not easy to do all that in a few words but hey, that's why they pay you the big bucks, right?

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