Branding Beat - Cut Through the Noise

9 Envelope-Ready Giveaways for Your Next Direct Mail Campaign

I have a confession to make: 99.9% of the sales letters I receive end up finding a new home in the shred pile almost immediately. And believe me, between the correctly-addressed envelopes in my mailbox and the ones seeking out “Current Resident,” I have plenty to toss in the bin each day!

What does that have to do with you and your next direct mail campaign? I’d like to share a secret with you that’ll decrease your direct mail’s likelihood of ending up in said shred pile. Ready to hear it?

Mail an inexpensive promotional product with your sales letter.

Even though I destroy any solicitations that I’m not interested in, I’d be dramatically less likely to toss an envelope with a free gift in it! And not only will I avoid throwing it away, but I’ll probably remember your logo and company name, too. It’s a win-win.

Here are 9 compact promotional items that would be shoe-ins for your envelopes:

Plastic Letter Opener:

You can’t go wrong with letter slitters, at least not in my book! When you get mail that matters, this little guy should be the first thing you reach for, and that’s why it would be silly to throw it away. These plastic openers are sturdy, they hardly weigh anything at all, and their dimensions allow for effortless insertion into your direct mail piece. Really. It hardly requires any additional thought!

6" Promotional Ruler

Promotional Ruler

Promotional Ruler:

Don’t say that rulers are kid stuff unless you want to make me feel bad for having this exact item in my top desk drawer. This brightly-colored ruler comes in handy for measuring small spaces and for keeping my decorations level. And you know what? I could always use another one! Send me a pretty office item like this and I’ll commit your brand name to memory for sure.

Circle Stick Up Calendar

Circle Stick Up Calendar

Circle Stick-Up Calendar:

Adhesive mini calendars never go out of style, and I’m not just saying that to be nice. They’re everywhere! I’ve seen stick-up calendars on computer monitors, on cubicle walls, and even in cars. People compulsively snatch these when they’re offered for free at local banks or businesses, so why wouldn’t they be delighted to receive a free one in the mail? Enough said.

Folding Can Cooler Sleeve

Folding Can Cooler Sleeve

Folding Can Cooler Sleeve:

Can koozies aren’t as flat as magnets, stickers, or calendars, but that doesn’t mean they’re impossible to mail. Folding koozies lie flat when not in use and they provide enough padding to raise a red flag in recipients’ heads. Wouldn’t you open an envelope with something intriguingly squeezable inside of it? I would. Normally I’d tell you to avoid fluff in your marketing, but definitely not in this case.

Original Mood Meters Magnet (Digitally Printed)

Original Mood Meters Magnet (Digitally Printed)

Mood Meters Magnet:

Magnets are classic direct mail pieces already, so it almost seems unfair to add a fun twist to them like this. Mood Meters Magnets allow you to place the square over the mood that you’re experiencing; I can attest that house guests will be infinitely interested in playing with these. Your logo and contact information are printed in that space at the bottom, guaranteeing a bit of brand recognition over time!

5" x 3" Static Cling Custom Window Sticker

5″ x 3″ Static Cling Custom Window Sticker

Static Cling Custom Window Sticker:

Do you have a clever slogan and/or beloved company mascot? Static cling stickers give you the opportunity to share that with the entire world without asking people to damage their cars with regular bumper stickers. Although you may normally see these affixed to windshields as parking permits or oil change reminders, that’s not all they’re good for. Get out there and start a trend with your mailings!

Adhesive Sticky Note Pads - 25 Sheets

Adhesive Sticky Note Pads – 25 Sheets

Sticky Note Pads:

Adhesive notes are on the classic side of direct mailings, but they’ve still got what customers want. Their staying power indicates that people still need them and want them. Whether you go with the ever-popular square shape or design your own custom shape, it’s unlikely that these freebies will go unappreciated inside of envelopes.

Anodized Carabiner

Anodized Carabiner

Carabiner Keychain:

These carabiners are made from metal but they’re surprisingly lightweight. Plus, just like the koozies I mentioned, their size and shape is a dead giveaway that something more than a letter awaits customers when they open the mail piece.

Seasonal Items: Sunblock Packets or Ice Scraper with Visor Clip (not pictured)

Yes, I know that there are ten products featured here instead of the nine I promised, but I decided to combine the ice scraper and the sunblock packets into one category: seasonal items. Give your customers a gift they’ll be able to use by targeting your giveaway to their climate. Are you sending mail to Chicago customers in January? Go with an ice scraper. Or maybe you’re trying to reach Miami customers in July…sunblock packets would be a hit!

Regardless of the mailable giveaways you choose, remember these handy tips:

  • Avoid products with sharp edges that could poke holes through envelopes.
  • Specify somewhere on your envelopes that there’s a gift enclosed, otherwise people may throw it away anyway.
  • Check with your local post office for rates. Sometimes bulky or heavier items require additional postage.

What are your favorite direct mail giveaways? Would you be more likely to open a piece of mail if you knew there was a promo item inside?


Bubba is the Quality Logo Products mascot. He may have started out as "just a stress ball," but he's come a long way since the company's launch in 2003. Bubba has been immortalized in numerous vector artwork designs for internal and external promotions, and you can see him change outfits on the Quality Logo Products homepage whenever a holiday rolls around. Oh, and he thinks pants are for the birds. You can connect with Bubba on


  1. JPorretto

    Here’s a free gift I received I would’ve been upset if I threw away…. CASH!! Some survey company keeps putting a dollar or two in the envelope begging me to take their survey. I can only imagine how many people throw that one right in the shredder never knowing…

    • Amanda Sneed

      Funny thing about me is, even if I know I’m going to toss it, I always open the envelope anyway. I sure hope somebody sends me cash! =)

  2. Amanda Sneed

    Nice post Jill! I’m with you–I toss just about every piece of junk mail or advertisements that I get! But a freebie would make me think twice about it for sure.

    We switched insurance providers last year, and it was because of their mailings that our new company got our business. They had sent a couple post card type things out, and so when we started looking for a new insurance plan, we called them first. And I let our new agent know that–and he was thrilled! He was so glad that his mailings worked and that I made it a point to tell him that’s why we called them first. =) So your post rings true–these small, inexpensive items do really work! Especially for service type businesses like insurance, they get our continued business for years to come now.

  3. Jana Quinn

    Never EVER underestimate the power of calendars. I love calendars. I have one in my office, at least three at home (two monthly and one weekly), and one on my phone. I will take freebie calendars from EVERYWHERE.

    And the best part of being crazy like me? I look at them constantly. That’s somewhere between 1 and 2 bazillion brand impressions every day. I am an easy target… and not the only one.

  4. Joseph Giorgi

    Great ideas, Jill!

    I’d just be way too curious NOT to open a letter that I could clearly tell had something inside. And I’d probably end up remembering exactly which company sent it as well. This is the kind of promotional tactic that pays off in the end, and savvy business owners would do well to give it a shot during their mailings.

    Of the options listed, I’d personally prefer a sticky notepad as a promotional gift. I can always use those things. Sticker assortments would be a good idea too. Who doesn’t like stickers? 😀

  5. Mr. Grumpy

    I wouldn’t recommend mailing CHALK when/if looking to add a little “lumpiness” to your next mailer.

    Think this one through. Chalk is white. Chalk breaks easily. When broken down enough chalk turns into white powder. White powder in an envelope – that’s a BIG no no my friends!

  6. Jennifer Woodard


    This is a great post. I would also suggest that you mail something people will keep and not use up. Like the letter opener, it is something that will be around for a long time and get put to use, constantly keeping the companies name if front of the person. People might not respond right away, but when the time is right, they will remember your name.

    I also want to add to make sure that you send to people who are likely to hire your business and person most likely to do the hiring or influence the hiring decision.

    Happy blogging,

    • Jill Tooley

      Great suggestions, Jenn! You’re right: it’s all about getting people to remember you, and that’s why it’s a MUST to target your marketing pieces to the correct person or audience. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

Leave a Comment

Copyright 2003 - 2019 Quality Logo Products, Inc., Registration No. TX7-524-201. All Rights Reserved.