How Pop-Up Mailers Can Transcend Gimmick

Today’s marketers are constantly looking for ways to capitalize on the opportunities direct mail campaigns provide both in terms of delighting consumers and delivering results in the form of new contacts and leads. Postcards and other one-dimensional mail pieces have long been the tool of choice for marketers in the direct mail game, but pop-up mailers have emerged as an exciting direct mail format that allows marketers to provide an interactive experience for consumers. 

A recent report published by the United States Postal Service revealed that 88% of millennials — which are a prime demographic across a variety of industries — take the time to review their direct mail to ensure they’re not discarding useful information. Additionally, the same report revealed 65% of millennials pay attention to direct mail advertising. 

This means there is a captive audience for pop-up mailers, but where things get tricky with the pop-up format — as things so often do with innovative ways of doing things — is ensuring your pop-up mailer provides value for consumers and doesn’t rely solely on the novelty of the form. There are even print-on-demand services that make it easier than ever before to order a pop-up direct mail campaign, which means marketers need to weigh a handful of conceptual and strategic considerations to make sure their pop-up mailers transcend gimmick and hit home in a big way for customers and clients alike.  

Use your pop-up mailer to tell a story

The dimensional nature of a pop-up mailer allows you to think outside the box when it comes to both the design and content of your mail piece. More times than not what lands a pop-up mailer in the gimmick camp is not creatively and effectively using the pop-up element in a way that is different from traditional mail pieces like a postcard. Crafting your pop-up mailer around a narrative and using the components of the pop-up form — imagery, tabs, pull-outs, collapsible flaps, and more — push the content of your mailer beyond simply relaying information, and increase the odds your pop-up mailer resonates more deeply with your audience. 

Human beings by nature are fascinated by processes or systems, and the pop-up mailer is the ideal form to demonstrate how processes or systems can help solve  the recipient’s challenge, alleviate their concerns, or overcome obstacles. We leveraged the power of storytelling and process explanation when working with paper manufacturer Sylvamo to create an interactive pop-up mailer that tells the story of how paper is sustainably produced at their Ticonderoga Mill.

The pop-up nature of the mailer allowed for a more interactive reading experience and provided a more expansive, dynamic canvas to illustrate the true value of partnering with Sylvamo on paper needs. But the pop-up aspect of this mailer was only the beginning — more on this in a moment. 

Take the call-to-action to the next level

As with any direct mail piece, it’s of course critical to make your call-to-action clear and concise and ensure your offer provides enough value to make your pop-up mailer worth your recipients’ time. 

As opposed to a standard website or landing page — both of which provide valuable insight and data for ROI in terms of visits or form submissions — think outside the box on how your pop-up mailer provides a unique opportunity to build on in the interactive experience you’ve created and extend that experience in ways that further delight and attract the consumer. 

On-demand videos. Virtual product demonstrations. Interactive landing pages. Digital resource libraries. 

These are just a few ways in which the CTA on your pop-up mailer can supplement the dynamic quality of your mail piece while also providing the recipient with a unique offer or next step. These digital CTAs also provide the same analytics as a traditional landing page to help you judge the effectiveness of your campaign. 

Expand your reality 

Pop-up mailers have the ability to enhance the customer experience by allowing recipients to interact with products or services in new ways. Adding technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) and/or Augmented Reality (AR) opens a whole new world for marketers to enhance the storytelling in their pop-up mailer in a way that drives results. 

Another recent study by the USPS showed consumers were 135% more likely to purchase a product or service as a result of a direct mail piece that incorporated an AR experience. Because innovative technologies like AR transform your pop-up mailer into a more memorable direct mail piece, the USPS also offers unique incentives as part of its Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion to encourage marketers and printers to use AR as part of direct mail campaigns. 

The visual nature of pop-up mailers and AR experiences makes it easier for consumers to connect to complex ideas or processes. Additionally, because pop-up mailers engender a more immersive experience, AR can help advance the storytelling and showcase with more ingenuity products or services in ways consumers may not have experienced in a specific marketplace. 

In fact, below you’ll see just how we used AR to bring our Sylvamo mailer to life. 

Think strategically about the shape of your pop-up mailer

The term pop-up mailer is pretty vague and there are a number of possibilities in terms of the shape or form your pop-up direct mail piece can take. Some common examples include pop-up cubes in various dimensions and sizes, pop-up balls or spherical shapes, pyramids, tent cards, and unfoldables — though pop-up mailers can be customized to almost any shape or form marketers can think of, which is part of what makes them such a valuable and dynamic direct marketing tool. 

Thinking strategically about the shape of your pop-up mailer means to weigh the message or story your mailer is trying to convey and align that message with a pop-up style that serves to enhance or supplement the narrative. For example, an agency partnering with a car dealership to promote a used-car buyback program to existing customers would be better served with a tent card style mailer as the simple, streamlined design does not detract from the straight-forward nature of the offer. 

However, an industrial pump supplier looking to demonstrate the reliability and durability of its products would be better served using a more sophisticated pop-up mailer with more opportunity for dynamic imagery, interactive tabs and pull-outs, or creative use of copy for a more immersive consumer experience. 

Pop-up mailers are engineered by design to capture attention and create a memorable moment that outlasts that of a traditional postcard. Taking measured, considered steps to ensure your pop-up mailer extends beyond gimmick and leverages to full effect what the form offers in storytelling, digital integration, and design will create a clearer path toward achieving your campaign goals.