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Featured Format Spotlight: The Coupon Mailer

Featured Format Spotlight: The Coupon Mailer

Folding Style: Tri-Fold
Subcategory: Coupon Formats
Level: Basic
Uses: Direct Mail, Promotion, Sales, Tickets, Loyalty Programs

Consumers love coupons. They’re a great way to reward existing customers, and to drive new business. In fact, more than 90% of Americans use coupons at least occasionally, and 57% made a first-time purchase because they had a coupon. And to be clear, I use the term “coupon” loosely—these wonderful, magical, tear-and-save nuggets of marketing gold can take the form of special discount offers, drink or raffle tickets, free passes to an event, business cards and just about anything else someone might want to hang on to and use.

As a marketer, you may be convinced that you want to send some coupons, but the options for how to send them can be overwhelming. So, I have a 3-coupon mail format for you that is really engaging and easy to work with, and I’ll show you 5 real-world examples of creative ways to use it. And, if you’re thinking maybe a 3-coupon format isn’t your style, I would encourage you to check out my post about the Sleeve Mailer—it’s another simple and stylish way to send a special offer.

This first example is from the popular restaurant chain, Fridays. They used the 3-coupon formation to feature three months of coupons—one coupon for October, one for November, and one that was valid throughout the month of December. You can see the entire layout in the ideas video below. I like the strategy of using one mailer to provide coupons for multiple restaurant visits.

For this post, I’m focusing primarily on a 3-coupon formation, but of course there are lots of ways to modify this design to feature other variations, like one large tear-off coupon, two coupons, or even four. I wouldn’t recommend more than four coupons in a mailer, since you don’t want to overwhelm your audience with too many choices, or too much information to process. Here’s what the dieline for this creative Coupon Mailer looks like, and you can download it here for free:

Production Notes: This format is self-mailing, which means it can be mailed without the protection of an envelope if it is tabbed to USPS specifications. Two tabs at the top along the open edge of the long dimension should do the trick but check with your printer or mail house to be sure. Baseline recommended paper weight for this format is 80 lb – 100 lb Cover. Both weights will work perfectly well, but if you’re looking for subliminal ways to communicate quality, the heavier weight sheet will help with that. So, it just depends upon what you’re looking for and of course the budget you’re working with.

The Coupon Mailer Done 5 Ways

I have 5 real-world examples to share with you—samples used in reward programs, hospitality, and promotion. Four of the samples utilize the 3-coupon formation, and the final sample features 4 coupons and an added flap to close.

Sample #1 and #2 Jacob Chavez, Graphic Designer / Sample #3 Hillary Wallace, Creative Director for Weber State University / Sample #4 Fridays, Inc. / Sample #5 Audi USA

This first two designs are the result of two years’ worth of coupon mailers that were sent out for Hospital Week at Ivinson Memorial Hospital. They mail the coupons for the yearly staff appreciation event, and the coupons can be redeemed for free treats and services. Designer Jacob Chavez created two entirely different and dynamic designs for the series. Sample number 3 is from Weber State University for their Wildcat Store and was distributed to incoming students. Designer Hillary Wallace added a QR code on the backs of the coupons to provide easy mobile integration with the offers. Sample 4 is the design from Fridays, with the “3 months of coupons” strategy that I mentioned above.

Lastly, I have a variation for you, and it’s from Audi USA. They added a short flap with fugitive glue to close for more of an envelope feel, along with a fourth coupon. The promotion was designed to send service-related reminders and promotions to current Audi owners. You’ll notice that the proportion on this sample is a bit longer to accommodate for the extra coupon. Eagle-eyed viewers will also notice that the fourth coupon is a blank. My guess is that they are using variable data, and that some customers had four offers to choose from. For efficiency, they likely created one format and either used or blocked the fourth coupon for each recipient, based on the model they have and what services the vehicle was due for.

Love it? Make Your Own Coupon Mailer

So, now that you’ve seen 5 creative ways to use this versatile mail format, would you like to try designing one for yourself? Good! Design and print your own Coupon Mailer here—you can download the template for free and get instant pricing, too.

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Trish Witkowski is a designer, a content creator, and a keynote speaker. She knows more about brochure folding than anyone else in the world.
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