Do you know how much of the mail you send out is getting read or thrown away? Have you and your team ever considered changing what your mailers look like to hopefully improve the viewership along with the response rates?

As the competition continues to increase in gaming markets across the country, there’s no time like the present when it comes to re-evaluating the look of your direct mail. Yes, some of the ideas below might cost a little more than what you’re spending now, but if readership and response increase, the extra expense is worth it. And don’t assume you can’t afford it before talking to a printer about the actual cost—you might be surprised to find that some of these ideas are not as pricey as you might think.

• For a special event, theme your mailer beyond the form of the visuals or colors/pictures you use on a postcard. For example, if you’re having a pool party for VIP players, you might mail out a pair of flip-flops with the details of the invitation printed on stickers that adhere to the heel of each sandal. This set of flip-flops can be sent in a Tyvek envelope or a cute box.

And don’t worry; recipients will open a bulky mailer.

Consider putting together a “fun kit” in a box. Boxes used for this type of mailing come in many different sizes. You can create a cute/fun mailing label for the outside. You can order different colors for the box. Then fill the box with fun goodies—Halloween candy, Christmas trinkets, casino promotional items, etc. This type of mailer would be good for a grand opening or a “thank you” to your higher-end customers.

For postcard mailings, consider using larger size stock. Postcards should at least be 9x6 inches, but you can mail a postcard up to 11x8 inches (letter paper size). This will be sure to increase your readership.

Consider adding special treatments to your current mailers such as a UV coating or gloss coating to make them shiny. You could also add dimensional texture to the piece, so that certain parts of the surface are raised and feel different than the rest of the mailer. You could add a varnish or foil or use special/unique paper. Again, the goal is to make your piece stand out from all the other mail in the mailbox.

Mail out an envelope that has a sample or promotional item in it. Such promotional items can include a deck of cards, a commemorative casino chip or even a key chain, anything that adds bulk will always increase your audience’s curiosity.

If you’re doing a small mailing to your higher-end guests, consider hand-writing their name and address on the outside of the envelope. You can also use a real stamp to create the same personalized appearance. The goal is to avoid using the standard postage indicia.

Consider doing a mailing series. This series should be no more than three to five mailers and these should drop no more than one month apart. A postcard series with a theme is an example of just such a series.

Less is more. Don’t clutter your mailer with copy. Consider just a few words on the front then you can go into detail on the inside. Words like “FREE” and “WIN” and “NOW” are powerful.

Use a big font with bold letters that is easy to read (no script or cursive or calligraphy). The K.I.S.S. theory definitely applies when it comes to separating your mail from the rest.

Simply put, be sure to think about what your mail looks like on a regular basis—maybe once a quarter, sit down with your team and assess all of your mail pieces. It’s very easy in the hectic, busy world of casino marketing to just keep doing the same thing over and over. But innovative, unique, creative and eye-catching packaging can make a difference in readership and response.